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06.26.08

OpenSUSE 11.0 Weaknesses — in the Words of Others

Posted in Audio/Video, GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE, Review at 3:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A

fter this previous post, and over at the IRC channel, I promised AlbertoP some more specific details. He asked for a better supported set of complaints that show the weaknesses of OpenSUSE 11.0. So here is just a quick rundown.

Too much like Vista, says Techie Moe in his short review.

OpenSuSE 11: Channeling Vista

If SuSE is actively trying to make Vista converts feel comfortable (at the expense of everyone else), they’re catering to a different demographic than me. When that sort of thing happens, I look elsewhere.

Visual gripes aside I had a solid experience with OpenSuSE 11, when I installed it from the DVD. It’s not quite something I’d pay $60USD for, but it would let me do what I needed on Rig 2 in a pinch.

Bruce on the lack on focus:

OpenSUSE 11: A Feature-Rich Distro in Search of Direction

Some members of the free software community will reject openSUSE out of hand, remembering the Microsoft-Novell pact in November 2006, and damning openSUSE along with its patron Novell. That is understandable if not entirely fair.

However, thinking only on the technical side, a better reason to have reservations about openSUSE is its lack of focus. These days, major distributions are known for a particular focus — for example, Ubuntu for user-friendliness, Fedora for the latest innovations, and Debian for stability and software freedom. By contrast, like the distributions of a decade ago, is still trying to be everything to everybody.

This guy too reckons it’s for power users:

openSUSE 11.0 x86_64 Review

I have finished setting up openSUSE 11.0 on my HP dv2000z AMD Turion64 X2. Up to version 10.3 I was running the 32-bit version of SUSE and decided now was a good time to do a ‘New’ install and give x86_64 a spin.

[...]

I’ve covered the basics for getting openSUSE 11.0 x86_64 installed. So far, I have had only a few minor ‘nuisance’ issues described above and feel that the openSUSE Development Team have done a great job of putting together another winner. YaST is even easier to use combined with ‘one-click’ installations that puts it on the same level of ease of use with Ubuntu’s Synaptic GUI. At the same time openSUSE is a power-user’s Linux.

Beranger takes things apart, as one just ought to expect.

40 minutes with KDE4 under openSUSE 11.0

I was initially impressed by what I thought it was minutiae in Bruce’s report, but this ended shortly after I noticed he mixed old and new impressions as if everything was hot stuff. The babbling about the EULA is certainly BS: «By accepting the license, you agree not to distribute copies for profit or bundled with anything else, and also not to reverse engineer or transfer rights. The rationale is probably that the license refers to the distribution as a whole, but, all the same, it seems at odds with the free licenses of the individual applications — especially any version of the GNU General Public License — so you might want to consult a lawyer before using openSUSE commercially.»

Fiddling phobia:

openSuSE 11.0 – A Closer Look

So, to summarize at this point, I am considerably happier with openSuSE 11.0 than i was after first installing it. However, I still think that it is much more complex, and requires a lot more fiddling and tuning from the user, than Ubuntu 8.04. If I were setting up a system for someone else, I would certainly install Ubuntu. But if I were setting up a system for myself, I would seriously consider openSuSE, and I will have to do some more investigation before making a final decision.

Audio issues:

Resolving openSUSE 11.0 Sound Issue With Some Audigy Cards

In the last few days I managed to install openSUSE 11.0 on more than 6 desktops, helping my friends on setting up the distribution, and on one of them I encountered a strange problem, running KDE 4.0. The problem occurred with the Audigy 2 ZS card, same as the one I have. From forums I noticed that I was not the only one to get this strange hiccup. As it seems, this small problem lies within the KMix settings.

Achieve Zen with openSUSE 11.0 (i.e Get rid of pulse audio)

I’ve been having a lot of stability issues with openSUSE 11.0 lately and the majority of them boiled down to audio.

Jan shared some pet peeve which is to do with package management.

OpenSUSE – searching for programs and packages

Looking for software that isn’t there is a nuisance, though you can’t expect the repositories to contain everything you like. What really got on my nerve was the menu panel. I switch from app to app and to click on Computer, then on More programs and then have to wait in order to see the list and then find the application is cumbersome and requires more mouse clicks than I want. Okay, I didn’t dump it immediately. I added a new panel and a menubar.

Moosy’s speed comparison (on fat and bloat):

Ubuntu faster then openSUSE?

So, my conclusion. If you change the openSUSE 11.0 menu to the traditional GNOME menu and disable some of the need features of openSUSE it feels very very similar.

The impact of including an early version of KDE4?

Staying with openSUSE – Switching to GNOME

I started using Linux at the suggestion of a friend, around the time of RedHat 7.1, and that friend told me to install KDE because it was better than GNOME, and I did.

The disconnect that newbies would find daunting:

Installed OpenSuse 11.0

First, the installer misdetected my monitor resolution, then i told him the good one, but that ended up in a messed xorg.conf that applied zoom onto the desktop, i had the remove the Option “PreferredMode” line from the file.

No match for Ubuntu yet:

openSUSE 11 installation this weekend

In summary: a great effort, lots of neat features. I’m not sure it would replace my hardy heron laptop yet. Looking forward to 11.1.

Minor complaint:

openSUSE 11.0

In the future, I would appreciate that developers focus on the individual applications and drivers, to reach a very high level of desktop functionality.

This is not intended to demoralise. It’s mostly specific and instructive.

Links 26/06/2008: More GNU/Linux Laptops; XP’s Demise a Microsoft Mistake

Posted in News Roundup at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Laptops

  • Gdium, another Eee PC competitor

    An unique feature is the GKEY, a Linux “bootable” USB key, that fires up the Gdium and stores all your personal information.

  • Linux laptop retailers fearlessly face name-brand competition

    The company’s customer list boasts the likes of Boeing, NASA, the US Army and MIT. But if recent trends are any indication, Linux Certified and similar companies that specialize in selling computers that run Linux are about to see some of the world’s largest computer companies warm up to the open source operating system. Major manufacturers have begun to take notice of Linux’s potential on the laptop.

  • Even Easier to Love

GPUs

F/OSS

Leftover

Ogg Theora

Direct link

Microsoft: How Will the Internet Have it Remembered?

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Windows at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

M

icrosoft’s most glorious days are behind it. We recently explained just why Microsoft grew relatively feeble, so it’s not worth repeating.

To those who are confused or deceived by revenue, the short explanation would be this: the company exchanges its savings for artificial growth by acquiring more companies (along with their staff and revenue), so there’s an illusion of inflation on the surface, whereas the company’s savings vanished into buybacks (stock), the profits declined in the previous quarter, and the market cap sank roughly $30,000,000,000 a couple of months after that bid for Yahoo had been announced.

“…Microsoft is trying very hard to buy itself a positive image (improvement of brand value).”Do not permit the Microsoft-influenced press (some of it is funded by Bill Gates, using his supposedly charitable foundation) to fool you; we have selected some lesser-covered stories from the press because they expose the reality of the situation that led to em mass departure of seniors, more latterly a director.

As we’ve stressed again and again in the past few days alone [1, 2, 3, 4], Microsoft is trying very hard to buy itself a positive image (improvement of brand value). It’s exploiting the press to achieve this, so be careful whatever you read.

A reader has sent us his calculated thoughts about the verdict on Vista — especially the way it will probably be remembered in the future (its sibling products are not better off by the way).


It just occurred to me that the commercial success of Vista (1) is not getting enough mention, due to Google-bombing. It’s open source — actually public domain really — and free for download, use, modification (2). It has a thriving community base (3) and commercial support network (4).

1    http://www.va.gov/vista_monograph/
      http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_29/b3993061.htm
      http://www1.va.gov/cprsdemo/page.cfm?pg=1

2     ftp://ftp.va.gov/Vista/Software/

3     http://www.hardhats.org/

4     http://www.vistasoftware.org/resources/

So perhaps future slams on Microsoft Vista could also point to the real Vista, lest the trademark become disparaged.


The same reader also points out something rather curious about the role of politics. He notes the that the ZDNet link which was contained here had suddenly died (not even moved to a different URL if Web search is anything to judge by). Here is how it’s summarised:

NZheretic writes “In May, under oath at the antitrust hearing Jim Allchin, group vice president for platforms at Microsoft, stated that disclosing the Windows operating system source code could damage national security and even threaten the U.S. war effort. Now in February, Microsoft signed a pact with Chinese officials to reveal the Windows operating system source code. Bill Gates even hinted that China will be privy to all, not just part, of the source code its government wished to inspect. Either Jim Allchin lied under oath, to prevent code revelation being any part of the settlement, OR the Microsoft corporation is behaving traitorously, by exposing national security issues to foreign governments”

We were asked if we could pin down a replacement. Quite fortunately, there is a copy on the Web Archive.

Gates reveals Windows code to China

Microsoft on Friday signed a pact with the Chinese government to reveal the Windows source code, making China among the first to benefit from its program to allay the security fears of governments.

In addition, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates hinted that China will be privy to all, not just part, of the source code the government wishes to inspect.

The Chinese government and military have previously stated their preference for the rival Linux operating system because its source code is publicly available.

[...]

Last month, it announced GSP agreements with Russia, NATO and the United Kingdom. Microsoft is in discussions with more than 30 countries, territories and organizations regarding the program.

The more curious can find some information about back doors in Windows and the poor security record of Windows Vista.

Our reader then added: “I notice that the articles and posts that reflect Microsoft nature tend to get removed faster than others:

      http://blogs.zdnet.com/threatchaos/?p=311
      http://www.acm.org/classics/sep95/

“It’s hard not to point out that this means he and his execs committed treason and/or perjury and should not be walking about,” concludes our reader who pointed all of this this out.

OpenSUSE 11.0: The ‘Vista’ of SUSE?

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE at 1:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NindowsEarly adopters urged to beware

OpenSUSE aficionados and Novell sympathisers teased us a little by claiming that OpenSUSE 11.0 was well received. They urged others to believe that there were no negative reviews, but there are actually quite a few, most of which will be shared on Saturday. Here is a brand-new one which stands out.

For anyone who has used SuSE Linux for a while, the mixed bag that comprises an x.0 release shouldn’t be any su[r]prise. For the unfamiliar, SuSE (and now openSUSE) follow the Windows upgrade rule: wait for SP1. In the case of openSUSE, that’s the x.1 release. In my experience (which started with SuSE Linux 7.2) the release cycle is like this:

* x.0: Big bang, big casualties.
* x.1: Bugfix to x.0 to get back to x-1.3 quality/support/compatibility.
* x.2: Incremental improvements since x.0 that were held up bugfixing for x.1.
* x.3: A stable, polished, albeit aging release.

So, needless to say, I’ll be doing my day-to-day work on openSUSE 10.3, for at least a few more months. 11.0 is installed on my laptop, too (thank you grub for making that easy), but I don’t see myself touching it until I see some bugfixes come out of Novell.

Over at the IRC channel, it was suggested some hours ago that OpenSUSE may have given KDE4 a bad name because it included an old version++ and claimed it to be the most polished experience. SJVN was grumpy about it yesterday; Aaron Seigo seems to have shut the gates of his blog.

To be fair, KDE 3.5 is still included on the OpenSUSE DVD, but there is no LiveCD installer for it. Why?

At the end of the day, herein we find more reason to choose GNU/Linux distributions, not Ballnux.

___
++ Fedora did too, but at the time of its most recent release (9), including 4.1 was less practical.

Ian Bruce (Not Lowry): Microsoft/Novell PR?

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marketing: an art of twisting facts, sometimes lying

A few month ago, Bruce Lowry left Novell. It happened around the same time that the company’s General Counsel, Joseph LaSala, left as well. A week after the departure of a Vice President, the belated replacement of Bruce Lowry finally arrives.

Quick, late introductions – I’m Ian Bruce, the new director of PR at Novell. I’ve taken over from Bruce Lowry (being called ‘Bruce’ is a requirement for the job), who held the position for over 8 years and did amazing work driving visibility and awareness for Novell.

Mr. Bruce will need to get used to preaching about the wonderful relationships between Microsoft and GNU/Linux (or Novell), which essentially means lying . Mr. de Icaza could kindly teach him.

Speaking of PR, be careful what you read about SUSE and Novell at the moment. Novell recruits boosters and it also has talking heads in the media.

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

Microsoft Novell

Links 26/06/2008: Red Hat’s Revenue Up 32%, France’s Push for Unbundling

Posted in News Roundup at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Red Hat net up slightly, rev climbs 32 pct
  • Open source phone goes mass-market

    Openmoko has begun shipping its Linux-based, open source Neo Freerunner phone to five newly announced distributors, in Germany, France, and India, says the company. The Neo Freerunner features an open hardware design, and a Linux-based operating system that users are free to modify.

  • Freedomware conquers the mobile world
  • [Release] Linux 2.6.26-rc8

    It hasn’t been a week, I know, and this is a pretty small set of changes since -rc7, but I’m going to be mostly incommunicado for the next week or so, so I just released what will hopefully be the last -rc.

  • Stop the Blob?
  • Windows Price Ruling Not Enough, Says French Consumer Group

    A French electronics retailer must display separately the price of computers and of the software bundled with them, a Paris court ruled Tuesday. It stopped short of ordering the retailer to sell computers without bundled operating system software, however.

    [...]

    The ruling will give little comfort to those wanting to buy a PC on which to run Linux: they will still have to pay for Windows, although they will at least know exactly how much they had to pay for it.

  • The new wave of Linux Lite – lean, mean and green

    Linux is coming to an ultraportable near you! Sure, the oft-touted “year of the Linux desktop” is seen in the same light as such notable phrases like “the cheque’s in the mail”, “I’ll respect you in the morning” and “Duke Nukem Forever is being released” but there’s no denying the smash-hit success Linux is enjoying in the budget price ultraportable market. These are the Linux desktops that will catch on and here’s why.

  • My Newfound Love for Xfce!

Devices

F/OSS

Leftovers

Passing Intellectual Monopoly Laws Using Propaganda Terms, Political Corruption

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Harsh realities

The mainstream press seems to have picked up the scent of a very hot topic. Some important publications, such as the Financial Times, have turned their attention to those who endorse the message of monopolies/oppressors using daemonisation terms or — contrariwise — glorification terminology. Here are some good examples that political blogger are all too familiar with.

One sure sign of a lack of political vision is a rise in the number of pieces of acronymic legislation. After September 11, the US Congress passed the euphoniously named “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act” the initials of which spell out “USA – Patriot.” The Patriot Act is a pretty bad piece of legislation, but at least its drafters worked hard on the acronyms so that opponents could be labelled “anti-patriot” – a perfect level of analysis for Fox News. Admittedly, in this administration, having public officials torturing acronyms rather than detainees might be counted as a plus, but I still find the whole practice distasteful. I’d suggest that politicians vow to vote against any piece of legislation with its own normatively loaded acronym, no matter how otherwise appealing. It might make them focus a little more on the content.

In any event, Congress has been at it again. The House just passed, and the Senate is considering, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 – or “Pro-IP” Act. (If it passes, a version is sure to be urged on Europe as a matter of “harmonisation.”) Are you pro-intellectual property? Then surely you must be for this piece of legislation! The name says it all.

This will hopefully raise more people’s awareness. Harmonisation in this case is somewhat like the joining of oxygen and methane. Not every combination is a healthy one, especially knowing what we already know about people who scream in protest against the USPTO. It is a system whose poor state is irreparable, having permitted too many people to invest in patents that should not have been granted in the first place.

We shall continue to keep track of those who are involved in ruining the system on a global scale for smaller players to suffocate [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It’s well disguised and a lot is happening behind closed doors.

Apropos — patents are not unique here; it has been the same problem when it comes to copyrights. According to Larry Lessig, such corruption is very common. He’s venting backed by historical evidence.

On a massive display screen, he [Larry Lessig] loaded up a portrait of legendary New England statesman and eventual Secretary of State Daniel Webster, whose professional conflicts of interest would have been enough to make even the most lukewarm of political bloggers cringe.

“Bribery wasn’t even a crime in our Congress until 1853. The 19th century was a cesspool of this kind of corruption,” Lessig explained. “Up to 25 percent of the voters literally sold their votes. I’m not talking about a golden past.”

[...]

“Just putting money on the table removes the conditions of trust,” Lessig said. “Money destroys the opportunity for trust. Eighty-eight percent of the people in my district believe they have their votes bought.”

[...]

He left his role as founder and CEO of copyright reform advocacy group Creative Commons in April to focus on Change Congress.

Over at IEEE Spectrum (latest issue), more problems with the intellectual monopolies systems get highlighted, but it’s not specifically about software patents.

You can learn a lot by searching patents, but what you learn can sometimes be dangerous. If a court should ever find that you infringed on a patent knowingly, you might have to pay triple the damages, together with attorney fees.

The message to a programmer (in the US, Australia, Japan, etc.) seems clear:

  • Spend your time reviewing patents instead of developing and at the same time increase risk;

OR

  • Ignore patents, reduce risk and penalties, dive straight into actual work

Some laws are simply too ridiculous — if not impossible — to comply with and obey. Welcome to a world where mathematics is a minefield because politicians are foolish enough (or compensated sufficiently) to do the unimaginable.

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates

No Patents in Linux

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 25th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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