Thursday, May 31, 2007

There I was...

...sorting out yet another MS Windows machine that its owner had got clogged up with all manner of dodgy stuff. That one made 18 this week.

Viri, malware, spyware etc are all designed to slow PC's running MS Windows to a crawl. Not only that but they are designed to create a sometimes huge botnet which if you are tagged, your machine will become part of the attack.

As I was fixing yet another MS Windows machine infestation my thoughts turned to why is this situation so bad? I think I have the answer.

The people who create the tools to fight these infestations do not want to totally stop then from infecting your machine. No. They would have no way to extract money from you for thier products if they did that. The same goes for Microsoft and their lacklustre efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice as they have claimed to be doing for quite a while now. How many of they prosecuted? One, if my memory serves.

Not one of the so called Security outfits, and this includes Microsoft, are interested in stopping and much less interested in prosecuting the people that create Viri, malware and spyware simply because if they started on this road then the cash cow that is Security programs will run out of steam very very quickly.

So you, poor MS Windows user are left to fork out yet more money for the latest and greatest "secure" MS Windows and the latest and greatest security application and of course let us not forget the firwalls that everyone and his grandmother say you should have. More money spent there and along with all this you are left with machines that at best manage to boot and at worse crash and burn on booting.

They simply do not care.

Go Linux, you know it makes sense as we have none of these viri, malware and spyware things to content with.

Monday, May 28, 2007

When Ubuntu sucks.

It can suck bad...

Rather an open statement in that title. My meaning is basically that there are still areas of this Linux distribution that will give everyday users major headaches. Before someone tilts and attacks me for saying something sucks in Linux let me state clearly right now I have used and continue to use Slackware Linux and more recently BlueWhite64 Linux and I have never run an MS OS on my main workstation for more than a few days and even then because back then it took that long to download the install files, and never will. In fact, every machine on my local networks runs Linux and I am a vocal advocate in favour of it.

That said. One area where Linux in general can suck less is wireless. Sure once everything is working as it should then as usual it is rock solid but when it does not work it can be a struggle to get it working.

A case in point was my recent foray into installing Xubuntu (and for the record Kubuntu, Edubuntu and plain Ubuntu all exhibited the same symptoms) for my wife. For many reasons I understood she has struggled to get to grips with Slackware so after looking at many a-distribution we both settled on Ubuntu. She likes XFCE4 so for obvious reasons Xubuntu got the nod. This gave us too many other issues so we moved to permanently to Ubuntu.

While the install phase of all the various Ubuntu flavours is painless, getting her wireless working was not under any of them. But, at first, no matter what we tried her wireless refused point blank to initialise even though the OS itself said it was found and even though this particular card had worked, and was working, fine under Slackware. It is the usual chicken and egg thing. No internet connection because the device will not start but one needs the internet to either locate a newer driver or to seek help in getting it working. We are lucky here in that we have other machines for these purposes but many do not and are in point of fact single machine users.

In these modern times wireless is everywhere and in a large number of machines, laptops in particular, it is often the only connection available. So, when Ubuntu found the wireless but insisted it was a wired connection we had a fight on our hands.

After much messing about with /etc/network/interfaces we could not get Ubuntu to alter its perception that the wireless connection was a wired one and gave up on a known working PCI wireless card, inserted another one, which used the exact same driver, but again the not working persisted. After much editing of various files finally the wireless connection was coaxed into action.

Before we coaxed the wireless connection into action we added several files to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist that were the root cause f it not working and others added to /etc/modules and to ensure the wireless card came up at boot we added the network details to /etc/network/interfaces. Once all that was done a quick run of /etc/init.d/dbus restart and /etc/init.d/networking restart finally kicked the wireless card into life with all the correct details for our wireless network.

All that above should not have been necessary and would most certainly trip up any new users to our beloved OS. It seemed to me that the reason the card refused to work was that the auto-detection process loaded the wrong driver files. Much hair tugging later these drivers were removed and added to the blacklist and the right driver to load added to /etc/modules.

Sometimes auto-detection can cause more hassle than it is worth and it is that that sucks not the distribution itself though I suppose because the OS uses auto-detection it can be said to the cause of the problem.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


So Microsoft have claimed Linux infringes on 235 of their patents but they will not say what they are due to paperwork.

What is all that about then? It is crap of course and stating paperwork as an excuse not to tell anyone what the patents are is even more crap.

The world plus dog knows how patent battles are done and they are not done by shouting "infringement" and then not saying what is infringed.

More FUD by Microsoft. That is all it is. FUD.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Which Distribution?

This is going to be a long blog post.

When I build a machine for someone, or get the job of setting up small to medium sized office I often get asked a few questions about the OS that they will have installed. Some outright request an MS Windows install and some more enlightened managers ask about Linux. Below I have complied a short Q&A.

1) Which Linux Distribution is right for me?

2) There are many hundreds of Linux Distributions and finding the right one for me without the need to install each and every one is a royal pain in the arse.

3) Is Linux like MS Windows?

4) I have been told that Linux costs more than MS Windows.

5) Won't I/we have problems if we use a Linux Distribution when other use something else?

6) What is the differences between the various Linux Distributions?

7) I have been told Linux is hard to use.

Some of those questions do not have a quick and easy answer but they can all be answered in a fashion that can be understood by everyone.

Answer 1) The right Distribution for you is the one you and whoever it is that will be using it feel comfortable with. Myself I would recommend one of the Ubuntu distributions. Of those I recommend Xubuntu or Kubuntu.

Answer 2) See answer 1. Of all the distributions available very few will actually fit the vast majority of users and potential users. X and Kubuntu are excellent at hardware detection. They are easily monitored from remote and are easy to update and add extra packages.

Answer 3) Yes and No. Yes in that an OS operates the same way at the very base level. They allow for copy files, they allow editing of files etc etc. No because if all OS's where the same what would be the point of all the various OS's out there?

Answer 4) Cost or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) comes up all the time with offices with more than 4 computers and is a massive subject and I don't have the time nor space here to cover every facet of it. The truth is that you can get a Linux distribution for nothing but getting someone to maintain the whole network can be expensive. However, weighed together a Linux distribution is cheaper as the cost of the OS itself is nothing. However, there is a lot more to TCO than I cover here.

Answer 5) A Linux distribution comes with or can be added later, lots of applications that can handle 99% of all formats out there. Be they document formats, video formats or music formats. So, the short answer is a no you will not have interpolarity issues.

Answer 6) The main differences between all the various distribution are: package management (some have it, some do not). Some have a GUI to work in, others do not. In short the differences can be huge.

Answer 7) If you can use a muse and keyboard you can use a modern Linux distribution.

I have been short in my answers and have not gone in depth on any given subject so if you would like more information on a Linux distribution then feel free to email me at mr.jeepster at gmail dot com (replace at with @ and dot with .) the email address is obscured in an attempt to squash spammers. If you do email me then I will answer any questions you have and will if requested send an information pack which I compiled myself. I can also offer my services as a Remote Administrator and installer of Linux Networks.

I hope that some of the information given here was and is useful to you.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh dear what can the matter be.

Slackware has always been something for those of us who like stability over bleeding edge crash every few minutes type Linux distributions. Slackware has always been looked down on by those requiring a clue and never has this been more apparent when one sees rubbish such as this link below.

Slackware, and by extension Bluewhite64 and SlamD64, have included Gaim, now called pidgin, since for as long as I can rmember. Not once has Slackware or its included Gaim been broken, it has always worked with AIM, MSN, Yahoo etc etc. Where these guys get off on saying such rubbish about Slackware is  something only they know.

Slackware's lack of dependency tracking is one major reason for its stability. Just because these guys cannot setup Slackware does not by any stretch of the imagination mean the distribution itself is in any lacking. No, it is they who are lacking and by posting such rubbish for all to read they have admitted their own limitations.

Friday, May 11, 2007

How Far Has Wine Come ?

Sorry Jeep, your title was just waiting for another drop in *phrase* =) Warning: Wine in and of itself causes much debate, public drunkenness & heated discussions on the Internet and around newsgroups in general but it doesn't always have to be the case. There are emulators for many OS's OS's OS's ... I can understand both sides of the Wine Pros and Cons Long Living Debate and the affect ( negative or positive ) on the Linux World. That is not the point here. This is simply a POST concerning success running some apps on an emulator. period. It ( Wine ) has it's times of need and just plain ol fun when the most original looking and feeling software remake of your favorite game ( mine is good ol "Galaga" and "Asteroids" =) is windows only. Let's face it, Linux does not have three rows of software available at your local Computer Store. Check Jeeps post here which explains many angles on the Linux Desktop vs Windows that would also have an extreme affect as to why so much software is still only available for the Windows & Apple/Mac Platforms. I have been intending on posting this since the success I had running wine in the recent days. I am very impressed with the latest "wine" and would like to say a few words about it and keep in mind we can also post as comments to this post of course any apps we find that are running on wine IF and when we need to. Possibly to submit them to the wine database which is very handy for a quick look/see if a particular application you want to run is in the list or not and if so, possibly save you the heartache of a pointless effort OR a give you the information you need for a successful fast solution. I will start by saying in all honesty, I have tried wine in the past, lost faith and frankly, did not have the need to run any windows applications. Years ago, and when the project first started up I was always disappointed. Although many apps were and may have been supported at the time it always seemed that the one I wanted to run was either not supported at all or very limited. I gave them a thumbs up for trying so hard nonetheless. It has been probably 3 years since I have had a need or reason to run a windows application. Moving forward... I decided to give it another go earlier this year and was very pleased and surprised. I am happy to report that the all three different times I have had the need or want to run a windows application this year it has been a success. The original application can sometimes make life much easier. NEWS FLASH - All three apps I tried so far worked prefectly! *nod* to wine developers for "keeping on keeping on" as we say. 1) Wine & Wine-Tools installed perfectly on Slackware-11.0 ( plus updates ) 2) Each and every application worked almost perfectly. The only thing that did not work in two out of the three apps I have run succesfully on/under wine was window resizing. 3) Even this, amazingly, one the applications even went through it's "auto-upgrade!" This touches on another comment I need to post here The Windows Software I am running using Wine:
  • PokerStars Free (Play) Money Tables for me! - for this site
NOTES: This one was an executable installation and went through the familar windows "setup" installtion windows perfectly and set it up in my ~/.wine/ directory as needed by wine. No root was needed at all. Although I did install wine as root system wide. PokerStars even went through a normal "auto-update version upgrade" with no problem at all right before I made this post tonight. hmm .. Interesting =) I think I should post a comment here to this affect as it could be possibly an answer to one of many issues concerning the Linux Desktop for the average Home user which is simply installing commonly used apps in in your ~ ( home ) directory ( FOLDER for windows users ) like for one of may examples and auto-update is np. Windows re-sizing does not work.
  • Picasa for Windows
NOTES: Yes I also have Picasa for Linux which, by the way, is distributed with it's own wine server and depends on wine , not system wide but included, to run. I wanted to try both ways so I did and both work fine. NOTES: Window resizing does not work. It sees the Roland BR-600 through which Linux sees as a standard usb-storage device with no problem and no special hand config was needed for it to read and write to the device. Thanks to Roland for making the device spec to UMS also. Wine has come a long way. Whether you agree or disagree with wine's "affect" or what it may do to the Linux community is not the issue. That is a long and heavily debated topic. The point I want to make is that it is working for more and more applications and it works well. I may have the need for a few more apps running under wine who knows? =) Anyone know of a original "look & feel" Galaga for Linux or Windows to download? =) Later people.

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How far have we come?

How far have we come? What am I referring to? I am referring to Linux on the Desktop. How far have we come in this area in the last 4 or 5 years? I reckon the linux desktop has come on leaps and bounds, however, i do not thing the desktop experience is ready for rpime time. Intel and Redhat have teamed up to spread the word but when I first heard about that venture my first thought was "Oh no, here we go again." That venture is doomed to failure. I am sure both parties will put heart and soul into their efforts but I cannot help but think it is doomed to failure. Linux on the Desktop whilst being very very good compared to a few years ago may be ready for the masses but it is the engine that drives it all that is not. While we Linux users pride ourselves on how robust the basic OS is it is held back from mass consumption by the fact that there is no really good way to install updates and extra applications. As is often seen in the MS Windows world people do not want to be editing text files to configure something. people do not want to be putting in the root (administrator in the MS world) password every time they wish to install something or change some system setting. Until that mentality is removed Linux on the Desktop will never propagate. The various methods of various distributions are all well and good and should be heartily commended for their efforts in this area but there are many differing ways and until such a time as those differing ways all follow the same path this Linux on the Desktop thing will go nowhere fast. Redhat is not Linux. Redhat will not succeed in the desktop market. Who will? I haven't a clue but whoever comes out on top of the pile they have a long way to go before they are accepted and until they are accepted Linux on the Desktop for the mass market is doomed to failure.

Word of The Day - I am bored -> Pantheon

Pantheon of the Day Archive/pantheon

pantheon \PAN-thee-on; -uhn\, noun:

1. A temple dedicated to all the gods; especially (capitalized), the building so called at Rome.

2. The collective gods of a people; as, a goddess of the Greek pantheon.

3. A public building commemorating and dedicated to the famous dead of a nation.

4. A group of highly esteemed persons.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Geeks Like Music too =)

Discogs - Music Information Discography database

This site kicks ass. Best site I have ever seen as far as Discography database for all genres of music. Perfect for those mp3's or ogg's laying around that you want to complete the TAG info.


Welcome to Discogs

a community-built database of music information. Imagine a site with discographies of all labels, all artists, all cross-referenced. It's getting closer every day.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Get your own 128-bit number

00 2B 9C 5A A5 15 3B 72 F9 84 0F 46 A9 19 FA 65
I hereby own all the Intellectual Property in relation to the 128-bit integer number given above. And there is nothing you can do about it! See here and get your very own 128-bit integer that you can claim is your own Intellectual Property. First noticed on the inquirer (

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New kids on the block

There are many places on the Internet one can find build scripts for Slackware. many are good, some are poor. Take you pick and don't moan at other peoples work that you are taking. Be thankful abd give credit where credit is due.

Now here is what bugs me regarding these new slackware build script web sites. They have clearly taken other peoples work and replaced it with their own very slightly different way of building the packages. Some of these build scripts have been available on the Internet for years and yet these new web sites claim them to be their own. It would not harm these new sites to give a nod to the web sites where they got them from or indeed to give credit to the original author. But no. Not these new web site owners. Oh no.

Good practice it is not. Sadly, in todays world of give give give it is not surprising they go round doing this sort of thing.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Minor annoyance.

There is something that is growing in usage and is quite frankly a minor annoyance. Minor to those newish to a Linux distribution but a major annoyance to old timers. This phenomenon can be seen on various Usenet groups, many forums (fora?) and many other places around the Internet.

What is this annoyance?

The annoyance is when people call a distribution Linux 11 or Linux 8 etc etc.

There is no such distribution called Linux alone let alone one called Linux 11 or Linux any number! By using such a phrase you are showing you are the ultimate newbie!

When you ask a question, such as:

"I am using linux 12 and my wireless card does not work."

You are stating something, well two things, that make the question itself very very hard to 1) Understand and 2) to answer. Seeing as it was an answer you wanted it was pointless sending it phrased like that. So, before you post think a little before you hit send. 1) What is the actual distribution you are using? 2) what is the chipset ON the wireless card or perhaps the actual name of the card or usb dongle? Those two things determines the question can now be written as:

"I am using Slackware 11 and my D-Link DWL-G122 does not work"

And then go on to explain what you have already tried and maybe what links you have attempted to follow.

It really is not hard to understand that by saying Linux 8 you are not helping yourself nor those who may want to help you.

Please, stop saying it! It drives me and many others up the wall.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Life Insurance Journey - REGISTERing on sites that want all your personal information when not needed & RANT TOO !

Why is Life Insurance in the topic on THIS blog ? Read on my friends ... I did not originally intend on blogging this until I was in the middle of saving a personal note and it struck a nerve. This site ( Linked Below ) has Easy, online, instant approval and quotes without giving SSN, Credit Cards or bank accounts. At least you can get an "estimated" quote fast and easy without giving out that so important Personal Information that these thieves are using for ID theft. You know the drill, Phishing for Info and all that. At least some sites are easing up on the "registered user FIRST" to get any thing other than worthless Information concept. This is the next "advertising ploy" but it is just a tool that advertisers are using for sites to get more traffic, however, it is actually something useful. IE: Sites not asking for any Information than can be used for ID theft to get simple things such as a quote or details of services for the public to view. How smart you say. Well, the public "John Doe" has been waiting for sites to smarten up ( RANTING NOW =) and STOP the nonsense of having you give your first born to "REGISTER - SIGN UP" for simple viewing. That all started with the PHP-NUKE ( and other CMS applications ) era IMHO. So, there ya go. My opinion on what started as a simple personal link as I was checking on Life Insurance premiums out of curiosity that I may want to add to my additional. ramble ... ramble ... ramble ... Term Life Insurance from American Life Direct

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