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Ubuntu 10.4 “Lucid Lynx” Review

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

This post is been migrated to INITCRON.org

Asthetics

This is a huge improvement over past versions of Ubuntu.  Gone is the dreadful orange/brown theme of yesteryear.  In is the new, super smooth dark look and feel. The new look of Ubuntu is classy.  Elegant. Refined. I would call it far more pleasing to the eye (in an “ahhh, that’s soothing” sort of way) than Windows 7 or MacOS X 10.6.  Of course that is a purely subjective thing, but that’s my take after sitting in front of all of these operating systems every day.  Ubuntu 10.04 is just plain easier on the eye.  Almost… calming. There have, of course, been some controversy around the new look.  Specifically the fact that the window buttons (close, minimize, etc.) have now been moved to the left side of the windows.  This… has made some people cranky. I, myself, was one of those people.  I disliked the change.  But I am now used to it and consider it not a big deal.  It certainly isn’t a deal breaker.  In fact there are already tutorials for how to move those buttons back to the right hand side.

Nixie Pixel\’s Ubuntu 10.4 Review

Performance

But what about beyond the desktop? How does Ubuntu 10.04 actually run? First and foremost, boot time is astounding.  I was surprised to see the winning result  for ubuntu boot time on a poll to be  30-59 seconds. Most Linux distributions are striving for that magical 10 second number and Ubuntu 10.4 is incredibly close. My recent installation of Ubuntu 10.04 was coming in at around 15 seconds. The addition of Samba pushed that number to a whopping 23 seconds. Now that is time from bios post to actually having a usable desktop – not just seeing the desktop and waiting for everything to finish loading so I can use it.

And just how is it once it is up and running? It is  Fast. Stable. In fact, I would be willing to say this is the most stable Ubuntu I have used. I have yet to witness a single glitch, hiccup, or crash. And I have been beating the heck out of this installation. I guess the best thing to say about Ubuntu 10.04 under the hood is that it is about as solid a desktop Linux release you will see. There have been some changes made including the switch from starting daemons from /etc/init.d/ to DAEMON start/stop/restart where DAEMON is the name of the daemon you are wanting to start. But all of those changes were made in the name of making Linux even easier.

Integrated Social Networking and Media

Lets talk for a moment about the new “Me Menu”.By default it sits in the upper right hand side of your screen.  And, from there, you have quick access to your instant messaging accounts (via Empathy, my favorite little IM client). That, by itself, is nice.  Not earth shattering.  But handy enough to be worth while.But you’ll also notice a “Broadcast Account” option there.  From this one spot you can post updates (simultaneously) to Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and more. WOW !!

Once set up you will also receive message alerts from these services in the form of nice looking system notifications.  Plus, with the pre-loaded Gwibber, you can directly interact with all of these services. This takes Ubuntu from being a totally acceptable platform for interacting with social media  to become the platform for interacting with social media.  The other platforms don’t even come close.

It is simple, elegant and very well designed.

Ubuntu Software Center

I’ve often lamented  about the lack of a good, easy to use software store application for modern Linux distributions.  This is, I feel, one of the biggest things that can be done to further Linux as a desktop platform.  And with Ubuntu 10.4   it’s not here yet. But it’s getting closer.  With this release, the ubuntu software center  has become my favorite way to find and install new software.  It’s fast.  The user interface is clean and easy to navigate.  Finding new applications is incredibly easy.  Certainly a huge improvement over solutions such as synaptic and cli based apt.

The public plan was that the ability to purchase commercial (non-Free) software via the Ubuntu Software Center with the Ubuntu 10.10 release later this year.  And, if their progress with 10.04 is any indication, they seem to be right on track.

Revamped Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One,  Canonical’s online file storage service (similar in many ways to services such as DropBox) has been integrated far more tightly in this new release. It now auto-magically syncs your contacts, Tomboy notes and bookmarks across all of your Ubuntu powered machines. And, of course, it still provides 2gb of free storage for every Ubuntu user.  (For $10 per month you can upgrade  to 50gb of storage, syncing with mobile phones and Windows/Mac desktop applications). In my testing (using the free version of Ubuntu One) this worked astoundingly well.  Syncing of data was incredibly fast and getting setup was a snap. Will I be switching away from DropBox (which I have been a loyal customer of for some time)?  It’s looking that way.

The Ubuntu One Music Store

Continuing on the theme of expanded Ubuntu O ne services, Canonical has introduced the Ubuntu One Music Store. The prices are reasonable (typically seeming a little cheaper than iTunes), and the files are all provided in DRM-free MP3 format. In an interesting twist, when you purchase songs from the Ubuntu Music Store, those songs are download directly into your Ubuntu One online storage.  Which makes all of your music available on all of your Ubuntu-powered PC’s without needing to manually re-download or copy over your music. Which is, I must say, fairly awesome.  Plus, the store seems to work great.  Good speed.  Good sound quality.

Long Term Support (LTS)

10.4  is a LTS version, which means Ubuntu will officially support it for 3 years, untill April 2013 and release updates , pataches and security fixes. This is specially useful from the enterprise deployments.

Canonical has done a wonderful job as always with  ubuntu 10.4 LTS aka Lucid Lynx .

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Compress & Extract Files

October 14, 2008 2 comments

This post is been migrated to  –    INITCRON.org

PeaZip & 7-Zip…Both are open source file and archive manager. Both are cross platform, available as portable and can be used to compress or extract files of various types.

PeaZip
1. a) Packing : 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, PAQ/LPAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, ZIP;
b) Unpacking only: ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF and many more archive types (79 file extensions supported, see full list)
2. Split/join files
3. AE256 encryption
4. Generate random passwords
5. Secure file deletion
6. Checksum and hash files
And more. Find out more from the official website.

7-Zip Main Features:
1. High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
2. Supported formats:
a. Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
b. Unpacking only: RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, MSI, WIM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS
3. For ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides a compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than the ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
4. Strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats
5. Self-extracting capability for 7z format
6. Integration with Windows Shell
7. Powerful File Manager
8. Powerful command line version
9. Plugin for FAR Manager
10. Localizations for 69 languages

Find out more from their official website.
7-zip
is smaller compared to Peazip but Peazip is more beautiful looking. If you would like to change how 7-zip looks and you are willing to learn by searching on google, that’s good but if you’re the kind that likes to use after installing without any configuration and you like beauty, go for Peazip. 7-zip would be good on old computers and slow computers.

Ubuntu Studio: A Multimedia Professional’s Dream Distro: Pictorial Walkthrough

August 31, 2008 Leave a comment

This post is been migrated to INITCRON.org

Ubuntu Studio is a tailor made  multimedia creation flavor of Ubuntu aimed at audio/video, graphic editors, both enthusiasts and professionals. One could setup a decent studio, and connect midi devices, synthesizers, audio/video recording devices, additional sound cards and installing ubuntu studio on the system. Look and feel of ubuntu studio is very attractive. Folks who are not much interested in studio tools, but like the look and feel of it, can  stillinstall and use ubuntu studio theme on top of their existing ubuntu system ( sudo apt-get install -yq ubuntustudio-look ).

Ubuntu Studio comes with a kernel which is been  tweaked to allow higher priority to graphics, audio  and video applications which should give effectively better performance for these applications and reduce latency, jitter etc. Ubuntu Studio comes with Some of the tools that come with ubuntu studio are,

Graphics: Blender 3D Modeler, GIMP, InkScape, Synfig Studio, Agave, Scribus
Audio Production
: Audacity, Ardour, Mixx, Muse, RoseGarden, QSynth etc. etc…
Video Production
: Kino, Open Movie Editor, Stop Motion

For more information on Ubuntu Studio please visit their homepage at http://ubuntustudio.org and also have a look at the wiki article on ubuntu studio at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Studio.

Linux on slow computers Episode 2

August 20, 2008 4 comments

This post is been migrated to  – INITCRON.org

The 2nd experiment that I did was install Xubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron on my Pentium 3 256MB Ram. Comparatively to Vector Linux Standard Edition(XFCE), I liked Xubuntu better as to add/install softwares were easier and spiced up with graphics compared to Vector Linux which looked plain and old.

Speed was almost the same at first, but after I’ve downloaded and installed the softwares I needed to run on the computer (eg. Open Office, Mplayer and so on), it was slightly slower compared to Vector Linux. That’s the price we pay for graphics I guess. Overall, I would choose Vector Linux as it was faster but wait…. when I installed Vector Linux on my computer, I logged in using a different desktop environment which was Fluxbox. It was way faster and not bad looking. It will be hard at first to get used to it, but I do enjoy the speed and the graphics are ok. It has the AWN kind of dock or a dock like MAC, not exactly the same but almost and it is fast not slow like AWN.

I guess the nest would be Linux Mint(fluxbox) and Fluxbuntu. Why? It’s because it is based on Ubuntu so that means it would be easier to handle compared to Slackware and others which most people don’t want to learn. If you’re more into technology then you should try out something harder like downloading debian, gentoo, slackware or any other major distros and start from the basics.

Screenshot of Xubuntu:

Thunar

Xubuntu File Management : Thunar

Miro : Watching YouTube Videos Made Offline and Simple

July 29, 2008 1 comment

This post is been migrated to INITCRON.org

Are you tired of waiting till your favorite yououtube video stream is being buffered to avoid jitters?  Are you looking for an application to save youtube videos offline and watch them at your convenience
later? Do you want to save multiple parts of a video and watch it as a whole in one go? …. Try Miro.

Miro is an application which turns your computer into an internet TV video player. It has a concept of channels whereas viewers could browse through thousands of channels available and subscripbe to them and receive regular feeds downloaded at your desktop, some of the most popular being ‘National Geographic Video Shorts’, Discovery Channels Video Podcasts, Cartoons, Spanish Learning Channel etc.

Here are few interesting features available with Miro:

1. Watch YouTube Videos: One can search, download and watch YouTube videos and videos from maany more video streaming sites such as Google Videos, Yahoo Videos, Blogdigger, Blip.tv, DailyMotion. The application actually downloads the videos to harddisk, making it available to be watched offline. By default the video expires in 5 days, which can be changed with option to store it permanently on the drive.

2. Video Player: Miro also acts as a video player for the internet videos. It uses embedded player such as gstreamer, xine in linux and vlc on windows, and quicktime on Mac to play the videos. One could
actually watch videos in fullscreen mode, which apparently looks better than that watching it on youtube. And users could play videos, which generally come in the parts, as if it is a single video.

3. Cross Platform: Miro is a Open Source Software, released under GPL License, and is avaialble on Linux, Windows, and Mac Operating Systems.

4. Widely Supported Formats: Miro supports a wide range of video formats including MPEG, Quicktime, AVI, H,264, Divx, Windows Media, Flash Video(Youtube Videos) and many more.

5. Channels and Automatic Video Downloads: Miro comes with an in built channel guide, which users can brows through and select thier favourite channels. Once added, users can configure miro to download videos automatically as and when added.

6. Podcasts Compatible: You could add your podcasts that you have been downloading automatically with itunes so far, to Miro as a channel. Once added, all new podcasts can be downloaded automatically.

7. Share: Users could search videos, watch them and share with friends using social sites such as del.icio, digg, reddit etc.

Even though its released as a beta, overall, Miro is a wonderful app to have on your desktop.

Linux on slow computer Episode 1

July 12, 2008 1 comment

This post is been migrated to INITCRON.org

Well, I’m back at home now and I’m on holidays so I’m too free and decided to look out for old computers to try out linux and I found a Pentium III 800 MHZ 256MB Ram with 10GB hard disk (IDE).

I tried out Vector Linux (STD) on it. For those who don’t have a clue about vector linux, you can visit http://www.vectorlinux.com, it is based on Slackware, installation is in text mode and it is not that easy for a beginner (let me remind you to read the manual 1st before you try installing), XFCE interface, uses XMMS to play music, MPlayer and Xine to play videos and I must say they changed the skins and made it as default which is pretty impressive as they definately look better than downloading it yoursef with very ugly skin as default for MPlayer. I’ve never liked MPlayer because of the looks. I don’t need a very good looking player but at least lookable.

As for internet browsers, it comes with Firefox, Opera and Seamonkey. Well I sticked with Opera as it was the fastest loadin, Pidgin to connect to MSN, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, GoogleTalk and so on. They did a good job in creating VASM (Vector Linux’s Administration and System Menu) – a graphical tool which helps configure systems and network adminitrations. K3B, Xfburn is the burning tools, ripperX and X264 is the audio and video ripper. It comes with Adobe Reader 8, Abiword(replacement for MS Word), Gnumeric Spreadsheet, Scribus and a calculator.

It comes with one of my favourite games as well, Mega Mario. It was quite good. It was running fast, graphical boot (I didn’t get that with Ubuntu), it had the basic need mostly I would say. You could even make the panels and windows transparent(like Vista effect) and it didn’t become slow. I rather install this than have any Windows installed in it. Thanks to people that created it. There are few versions on Vector Linux, but I used the standard edition as it was the fastest available for my computer because I like speed. I could have installed the KDE version but I’m not a fan of KDE so i decided to install the XFCE instead. Thank you. Next I’ll try Xubuntu. Till then.

Vector Linux Std 5.9

Vector Linux Std 5.9