Photos from nature
I have finally convinced my sister to write on her blog. It has been almost a year now since her last post. And since my friend Boris started to publish his photos, I suggested the same to my sister. Under all the pressure she bulged and uploaded some of her photos of nature to Flickr. Check out her blog entry for links to the photos. I hope she continues to post on her blog and upload photos.
2nd Red Hat Summer Camp in Bohinj
Let me remind you there is less then a month until the beginning of the 2nd international Linux training camp, which starts on 20th and ends on 27th August here in Bohinj, Slovenia. Last year's Red Hat Summer Camp was a huge success. For this year Red Hat and Housing prepared a program with 4 different tracks to choose from: Pingo Linux (for beginners and people new to Linux), RH300 with RH302 (get certified for RHCE), RH133 (Enterprise Linux System Administration) and Lab track (MySQL, PHP, firewall). In addition to learning about Linux, each track includes sport activities (adrenalin park, canyoning, rafting...). I hope you come and visit us here in beautiful Triglav National Park.
Slashdotted and spammed
A few hours ago a news entry linking to my KDE 3.5 Previews article was published on Slashdot.org. And immediately my blog started to receive A LOT of visitors form all over the world. If I had my blog hosted on my own server on a poor cable link the Slashdot effect would bring it down in no time. I've never imagined that one of my articles would cause this.
But with good there also come some bad and irritating things. Some stupid spammer started to fill comments here, and some of the text was even racist. If he has something intelligent to say (which I highly doubt) he should set up his own blog. I think this coward is very sick and should get himself some professional help. Thanks to this ill person I had to disable all the commenting on this blog. Sorry for this! And after this incident I finally see how poorly Blogger.com service is prepared to fight against spam. I hope they improve this very soon or else they will loose their users to competition.
JLP's KDE 3.5 Previews - Part 1
Every year, during the summer holidays, I regularly download the source code of the new version of KDE desktop that is in the works and compile and test it. If any bugs are found I report them and from time to time I also make some feature suggestions. When the feature and message freeze comes into effect I also start helping with translation into Slovenian language. This year is no exception, in most parts. One of the differences is that now I'm testing on two computers: 32-bit Athlon 1200 MHz (with Mandriva Linux 2006 beta installed and GCC 4.0.1) and a much faster 64-bit Athlon 64 3000+ (Gentoo Linux and GCC 3.4.4). It is always good to have things tested on as many platforms as possible. Another change is that this year I've decided to post previews of and experiences with development version of KDE on this blog. I'll try to put up as many screenshots as possible so that everyone can see what is coming in the future.
Stability of this prebeta version is very good. I rarely encountered crashes or freezes. Speed is also about the same as with current stable version 3.4.1. The default font sizes have been reduced to 10 points, which makes a little bit more room on the screen. This is how the default desktop looks like:
As you can see there is not much change since the previous versions. Even the version on the wallpaper is still the old one. You can expect to see more innovations in KDE 4. But there are some more or less hidden differences and some of them I'll show you next.
The first thing I noticed was that the new tooltips, first introduced in KDE 3.4 (only for buttons), are now also used for minipager, taskbar buttons and clock. I think it would be a good idea to also use them for system tray icons.
There are now three different appearances for Kicker that you can choose from: Elegant (the default), Classic and For Transparency.
Minipager has received many improvements. It can show icons of applications, background can now show desktop wallpaper or it can be transparent. You can even drag and drop windows from one desktop to another.
Another improvement for kicker is Add Applet dialog. The inspiration probably came from GNOME desktop and it replaces the current context menu based method. It makes it quite a bit easier to find the right applet.
Storage Media Notification
Next new feature in 3.5 is storage media notification. This is something users of the current Windows desktop already have and some Linux distributions, like Mandriva, implemented their own version, mostly just as simple autorun. KDE will now also show a special dialog of possible actions when some media is inserted. I hope authors of KDE applications will soon start to add actions for their program. On the other hand it is simple to add, edit or remove actions yourself.
KIOSlaves are a special feature of KDE that make it simple to work with files and folders over different protocols. You probably know some of them very well, like file, http or ftp. A new one has recently been added: home. When you open location home:/ in Konqueror you can now see all home folders of the users belonging to the same group as you do.
One of the main complaints about Konqueror was that there were some menu options that just don't make sense in file managing mode and should only be shown in web browsing mode (and vice versa). The work is being done to correct this.
Konqueror now supports AdBlock content filtering. You can add simple filters by, for example, right clicking on an image and selecting to block it.
There are a lot of other behind the scenes improvements to various parts of Konqueror. And now that Apple provided access to their improvements to KHTML and KJS, KDE developers can and did backport them into Konqueror.
End of Part 1
Well, this is it for the first part. I hope you like it. I'll take a look at other applications and new developments in following articles. Expect the next one in an about two weeks. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Translations and derivative works
Blog now under Creative Commons License
As of now all the articles on this blog are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. This license is similar to the GPL license for free software and lets you remix, tweak, and build upon my work even for commercial reasons, as long as you credit me and license your new creations under the identical terms. If you are also an author there are a lot of different Creative Commons licenses to choose from. Pick one and let other people clearly know (by marking your work by the famous CC mark) how they can use your work and share it on.
James Montgomery Doohan died
While reading Wil Wheaton's blog I found out that today, on the anniversary of the first Moon landing, James Montgomery Doohan died at the age of 85. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease. If you are a Star Trek fan you sure know him as the funny chief engineer Scotty from the starship Enterprise from The Original Series. As he would say: "Scotty to Heaven... One to beam up.". May he rest in peace!
My first patch for KDE
A few hours ago my first patch for KDE has been committed to KDE SVN. It is nothing big, just a fix for a compilation problem for Juk (a very nice music player and tag editor) when Akode is not installed on the system. But it is a start and I hope to learn enough C++ and Qt soon to be more helpful. Until then I'll continue to do my best with translation into Slovenian, testing and bug reporting. Oh and by the way, I was following these instructions on how to send patches to KDE.
Firefox 1.0.6 and Thunderbird 1.0.6
Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6 | ED2K
Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.6 | ED2K
Looking for a new room in Ljubljana again
Yesterday evening my roommate Vito informed me that in the next semester his girlfriend is finally moving in to live with him. This unfortunately means that there is no free bed for me left in the apartment and I will have to join my sister in a search for a new room in Ljubljana. I hope we find something that is close to our faculties and that is reasonably priced. The task is not easy and good luck plays quite an important role in this. Anyways, I had a great time in this apartment. The best place I've had in Ljubljana so far. Thanks to all roommates for this and sorry for any inconveniences I've cased. I must also say goodbye to our neighbor students on the upper floor. Take care and have a great time! All of you in the house. Oh and if anyone reading this knows of any cool place for two or three students, be sure to drop me a note.
Free Software Magazine - Issue 5 - June 2005
Issue 5 of Free Software Magazine is finally here. Articles for June 2005 are:
- The internet's plague: spam
- Linux in a Windows World by Roderick Smith
- From Bash to Z Shell by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek and Peter Stephenson
- The leap from virtual host to virtual machine
- Xen, the virtual machine monitor
- Tech World
- Web site blocking techniques
- Who's behind that web site?
- Word World
- The future of computing: is free software ready?
- Free software 2.0
- On the "Creative Commons": a critique of the commons without commonalty
While we are all waiting for the next issue of Free Software Magazine I would like to tell you about another free magazine I have come across a few days ago. It is called MyOSS Magazine, where MyOSS stands for Malaysian Open Source Software. And no, it is not written in Malaysian, it is in English so everyone can read it. To find out more about the magazine be sure to check out its mission and social contract. If you already have some FOSS article ready or are thinking about writing one you are more then welcome to contribute to the magazine and community. Besides downloading MyOSS from its home page you can also use ED2K links. Oh and a big thanks to people behind MyOSS for a link to my blog in one of their articles on the home page.
Goodbye OS/2 Warp, welcome Linux
Just a few minutes ago I found out that after about 20 years of existence IBM is going to stop marketing (now) and selling (on December 23, 2005) their OS/2 operating system. OS/2 Warp 4 was the first operating system we had on our very first computer. I still remember all the countless hours I spent playing the excellent game Galactic Civilizations. As far as I remember OS/2 was a great operating system. Completely 32 bit, very stable and powerful. Much better than Windows 95 we had to buy later. Well OS/2 is gone now and IBM are recommending that their customers migrate to Linux now. They have even prepared a special OS/2 to Linux Client Transition guide.
Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.5
Right after updating the best web browser Mozilla foundation has also released a new version of my favorite e-mail client (additionally it is also a very nice client for news groups (usenet) and a great RSS/Atom feed reader) Thunderbird. Version 1.0.5 has improved stability and a couple of fixed potential security problems. Download here. You can also get the new Thunderbird using ED2K links or any BitTorrent client using these torrents: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Mozilla Firefox 1.0.5
A new version of one of the best web browsers, Firefox, is out. Version 1.0.5 is bringing you some stability fixes and plugs a couple of potential security holes. So update as soon as possible. Download here. You can also get the new Firefox using ED2K links or any BitTorrent client using these torrents: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X.
Oh and by the way. Firefox has recently just passed the 70 000 000 downloads mark and is also on the 4th place of the most frequently downloaded apps on Download.com during the past 10 years. Extremely impressive for such a young application.
New Google extensions for Firefox
The extremely popular web browser Firefox already has many easy to use modern features by default. And there are a lot of additional extensions that make Firefox even better. Google released three extensions of their own yesterday:
- Google Toolbar: among other things it brings spellchecking, automatic fill out for forms and translation
- Google Send to Phone: enables you to send short text messages of web page content to your mobile phone (unfortunately limited to US numbers only)
- Google Suggest: completes your search terms as you type them into the search box located to the right of the address bar
If you are still using some old and insecure browser like Internet Explorer be sure to check out Firefox and extensions for it.
BitTorrent support coming into browsers
BitTorrent has become a very popular technology for downloading files. Almost all GNU/Linux distributions can be downloaded this way and more authors are deciding to release their creations using BitTorrent every day. If you want to download using BitTorrent now you need a special client, like the original one or one of the more advanced ones like Azureus. Wouldn't it be convenient if you could use BitTorrent directly from your browser? This would make it as easy to use as it is downloading files over HTTP or FTP.
Good news everyone! It's happening as I write this. They just released first beta version of Opera 8.02 (download from FTP) which already includes simple support for BitTorrent downloads. There is also BitTorrent support in the works for Firefox browser (as part of the Google Summer of Code project). Unfortunately it will not be ready for integration into version 1.1. Until version 2.0 comes out we will have to use an extension to get the support. It is not going to be as powerful as Azureus, but it will bring BitTorrent closer to the average user and make it much easier to use.
Software patents rejected
In the morning members of the European parliament voted on a very important issue for every computer user. They were deciding on the future of the software patent directive. As all of you should know by now, it would legalize almost unlimited patentability of software, if accepted. This would only be good for big multinational companies and extremely damaging for everyone else (medium and small size companies, free and opensource software community and all the people who use computer software).
Fortunately the fight for our rights was successful. Members of European parliament clearly rejected the software patents directive in its current form by a large margin (648 votes against 14). This means that the directive must be rewritten from scratch. And this time we have to make sure it will be written properly and benefit all the people.
- FFII - European Parliament says No to software patents
- BBC - Software patent bill thrown out
- Reuters - EU assembly throws out bill to harmonize patents
- RTE - EU vote over software patents
- IHT - Patent law is rejected in Europe
Trying Ubuntu Linux (not yet)
Ubuntu Linux is getting very popular among users of the free operating system. I've read some very positive reviews and heard only good things about it. After visiting DistroWatch.com I could see that second beta (or Colony 2 as they call it) of version 5.10 is out and I decided to download it and try it out.
First I tried to download it using BitTorrent but the download was extremely slow. So I just decided to use the normal download and the ISO image of LiveCD for AMD64 was down in less than an hour. Before burning it I have let it share over BitTorrent for about one day.
I finally rebooted my computer yesterday evening to boot into Ubuntu and check it out. But unfortunately I didn't get far. After some booting activity I was "welcomed" by a blank black screen with a blinking character _ in the lower left corner of the screen. As it is expected from a good open source community member I have immediately reported a bug about this. During the night another person with the same problem reported his computer configuration and I guess it is some problem with nVidia graphics driver failing to load.
First exploration of Ubuntu didn't even start. It looks like I'll have to wait for Colony 3 (or maybe even final version). Unless there is some workaround.
Mozilla Application Suite continues as SeaMonkey
In March I have reported that the development will stop on Mozilla Application Suite and shift to individual applications (Firefox, Thunderbird, Nvu and so on). But a lot of people and some developers like the suite so much that they have decided to continue working on it. And so the SeaMonkey Project was born. This wouldn't be possible if Mozilla was not free software and open source. When some company decides to stop working on some proprietary and closed source application, well there is nothing you can do and application is dead.
You can read the official announcement here:
SeaMonkey Project Continues Internet Suite
How software patents endanger free and open source software
There is a nice article at Groklaw that has a couple of quotes from Richard M. Stallman, Linus Torvalds and other well known people from the free software and open source world. They tell how software patents are dangerous to them and other small and medium sized companies. And some people, with substantial help from mega-corporations, try very hard to hide this danger from us.
Let me remind you that voting on software patents directive is on 6th of July when European Parliament will have the last chance to prevent disaster from happening. And we, the people, have the last chance to tell them why software patents are so damaging to all of us. We have to convince members of European parliament to vote for Buzek-Rocard-Duff amendments!
TUX Magazine - Issue 4 - July 2005
Issue 4 (July 2005) of TUX Magazine is out. If you are new to Linux or are still considering switching to it, this is the perfect free magazine to read. Topics in this issue are:
- Easy Does It
- How to Make Linux Perfect for the Desktop
- Q&A with Mango Parfait
- Home Plate
- Let a Tomboy Manage Your Notes
- Suited Up
- Getting Started with OpenOffice.org Calc
- TUX Explains
- Introduction to Linux Security, Part I
- Scrapbooks and Albums
- Windows-to-Linux Migration with Qt
- Libranet 3.0
- Gadget Guy: Products with Drive
- The Last Word
- Why Piracy Hurts Open Source
Norway goes open source
While reading blogs around the internet I've stumbled upon an entry titled Norway to Kick Microsoft Out? on UMMO Letters. There is a link to an article Norway goes open source in which you can read that...
The Norwegian Minister of Modernisation, Morten Andreas Meyer, has promised that his government will stop using proprietary software and transfer to open source.
If you read the news article you can also see that he understands how important are open and free document formats (like OASIS OpenDocument) and that closed proprietary formats have no place in communication between citizens and government. Too bad our Slovenian government doesn't understand all of this.