If you’ve followed my dents on identi.ca, you may have noticed that I asked people for their recommendations for a good KDE4 Linux distribution. Well after a bit of thought I decided that I would move away from Kubuntu to openSUSE. Why the change?
KDE4 is the desktop environment that gets all the attention and polish. Kubuntu is great and valiant effort by the community to bring the Ubuntu experience to KDE4. However, there is a lot of polish and integration missing that openSUSE provides.
A system that supports my hardware. From some weird reason, the Ubuntu kernel maintainers removed a flag that cause my DVD burner not to see CDs. This is not the case in openSUSE. I actually tried to burn something off a LiveUSB before installing openSUSE. Yes, I could of recompiled my kernel with the right flags. But if I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t have moved off Gentoo to Kubuntu.
A system with lots of packages and community repositories. This is why I didn’t choose some of the lesser known distributions. openSUSE (and Fedora) do a good job at this.
A stable system. Fedora does not do that. The upcoming release of Kubuntu LTS et al, seems to break things. openSUSE is extremely conservative in this manner.
Something I am familiar with. This was not a hyper-important point, but I do like the fact that I’ve used SuSE in the past. So installing openSUSE is a bit like going back to an old and comfortable place.
And so far I am pleased. The desktop looks polished, quick and a great KDE4 experience. All that said there are somethings I don’t like:
Configuration is weird. I am not a huge fan of YaST. It is good, but somehow my brain has gotten used to thinking either configuration files or KDE’s System Settings.
Leaving Upstart. Upstart is really, really neat way of dealing with services. Now I’m forced to think in terms of rc.d runlevels and I’m not a happy bodkin.
NXServer installation breaks things. Oh yes it does. I fought for quite a while with getting my OpenSSH server starting at boot. It looks like the bootscript for nxsensor (nxserver’s statistics gathering engine) screws up runlevels. Never ever had this issue in Ubuntu.
No DEBs. I miss DEBs, aptitude and various DEB tool. I’m hoping that zypper and yast manage RPM dependencies in a saner manner than what I remember from 2004-2006ish.
Somethings I look forward to trying out:
How easy updates work. openSUSE 11.3 is in the works, and I can hardly wait until it comes out in July. I got a taste of KDE 4.4 via a backport PPA in Kubuntu. And I want that that goodness, without my system acting weirdish after the update.
Easy to do backups. I could not for the life of me setup a decent backup scheme under Kubuntu. openSUSE provides a backup module right into YaST.
Better performance. So far openSUSE feels snappier than Kubuntu. We’ll see what will happen once I restore all data from a backup.
Developing and distributing KDE and Qt with ease. This is a huge one. I want to get into programming in Qt and enhancing the KDE experience. I’m hoping that the tools and build system in openSUSE makes this braindead easy.
Rumours on the world wild web point to the possibility of Canonical building an iTunes-like music store. Works for U thinks such a move would add another viable revenue stream for Canonical, even if it seems to stretch the resources of the firm. If this music store comes to Ubuntu, I’m sure many users will enjoy using it. And it will help Canonical start a community of artists, musicians and software firms to using Canonical and Ubuntu as a platform for selling content and applications.
The Linux Hater Tries Karmic Koala
No one knows who hides behind the LH mask. Is he an enlightened but disgruntle Linux programmer? Or is the king of all trolls? Who cares! Read up his (or her) review of the “fail” that is Ubuntu’s Karmic Koala. You’ll get a kick out of it.
One of the great opportunities and threats for commercial open source is the emerging cloud computing landscape. However Matthew Asslett (451 Group) points out the Affero GPL doesn’t negate the threat of no monetary contributions from cloud providers to commercial open source vendors. Yes it doesn’t. But the licenses were designed to get source code contributions from developers. Business models need to focus on selling value (some scarce resource based on real scarcity not an artificial one) to clients, and some clients will not see the value. There will always be those that get away. The Affero GPL does help “guide” most cloud providers contribute back. If anything the GPL will give more freedom and opportunities for many more smaller players than a few large ones. And that solves many more economic and social problems than anything else.
I apologize for the silence of in the last few days. Things really picked up at work, to the point of insanity. Fortunately yesterday I managed to get the component I was working on out the door. Still a good amount of overtime was required by the entire team to get our part done. Hopefully the client will be pleased with my initial contribution. I’m sure they’ll be satisfied with my latest work as I’m adding the final touches to that component. Another reason for my silence, is that I’m transitioning to using my cellphone as my main computing platform. It can feel cramped at times, but the portability is amazing. I’m sure it will be even better if I get a nicer device like the N900.
Ok, well all I have time for today is a quick update. I still have a good amount of work ahead of me, and very little time to do it in.
By the way, the new beta release of Kubuntu is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Definitely worth the upgrade.
Ubuntu developers will be releasing the beta of the next major version of Ubuntu Linux: 9.10 sometime in the next two weeks. Yours truly, plans on upgrading my main home system to help with the beta test. With every release I’m expecting a rather incremental improvement. However the real interest feature (which I doubt will show up in the Kubuntu side of things just yet), is the new Ubuntu App Centre. On the face of things, it will be an improvement over the “over-techy” Synaptic and friends, that most Ubuntu users are used to. Also it will look and feel more polished, so that will be a very welcome change.
The potential game changer comes into play with the possibility of buying software, for Ubuntu. This buying does not imply that a deluge of proprietary software will sweep into Ubuntu. But rather buying can also mean donating money to upstream projects, and that will help resolve the long standing issue of how to fund open source/libre software projects. An option to buy software, would also create incentives for the software industry to create professional software for Linux. What really excites me is this: I envision that the Ubuntu App Centre, doing for Linux gaming what Valve’sSteam has done for Windows gaming; providing a convenient platform for digital distribution and marketing which will be HUGE for independent gaming studios and small software houses.
I get into the office really early in the morning. These past fews I normally got greeted with a dark sky and street lights. Each day the sunrise earlier. But each day the sun would rise, brilliant lines of yellow, orange, red and pink would form across the skyline. In the distance the CN tower, banking towers and skyscraper condominiums would cut dark silhouettes into the brilliant sunrise.
Today I see the dark grey dramatic underbelly of clouds stretching across the sky. The morning greyness feels even greyier under this ceiling of cloud.
Today I am in a cheerful mood. Two more days until my work project changes. A few more tasks and I’ll be able to write my novel without interruption. I also finished reading the book I wanted to finish before the end of Lent. Kubuntu Linux has infested my work laptop. The new upcoming release of Jaunty (9.04) feels and looks amazing. Everything works out of the box, even the webcam and the Bluetooth mouse. Finally I’ll be able to catch up on correspondences. And start working on learning Qt and maybe a natural language (French or Italian?).
I wanted to get involved with an interesting existing FOSS project related to Kubuntu. Adept the deb package manager caught my eye. Now anyone who used the old 2.x version of adept_manager, will probably point out how the busy the user interface is. Its not the easiest tool to use. Then again you could pretty much say that about any KDE 3 programs (k3b and d3lphin) being the notable exceptions.
Adept Manager version 2.x
Adept Manager version 3.x
The newer version looks much cleaner and feels like a true KDE4 app. Very, very nice. Now while my C++ skills are not fantastic and my QT4 knowledge is non-existent, I would very much want to contribute to this app. I guess I will start off with filling bug reports, and slowly make my way into spelunking around the source code.
P.S. This post was written using KDE 3 & KDE 4 and Firefox 2.x & 3.0!
Decided that I want to get more involved with the Kubuntu project. Filling bug reports and answering forum questions is one thing. Being involved with the desktop you will be using is another. Besides I want to get my hands dirty in some KDE coding. Maybe gleen off a few tricks on how to create an environment where developers, and the community in general contribute.
I am a firm believer that developers should eat their own dog food. So for starters, I am making room to install the new KDE 4 version on Hardy Heron. After that I guess I will try to become a Kubuntu developer. Any tips on how I should get started?
You know those commercials for productivity suites/PDAs/etc. where the protagonist wants to go to an event… and then finds out it happened last week. Well that happened to me today. Just going through my “TODO” list, and wanting to check out when that expected event was gonna happen. And it already did.
The moral of the story, if you don’t want to look silly, check your todo list on a regular basis. And use a calendar. Sigh.
On a better note, KDE 4.0.1 came out yesterday. Upgraded today, works like a charm. Applications don’t crash and burn so far. But HAL is still kinda wierd. And not everything integrates as smoothly as one would expect of a Kubuntu release. I guess I will just have to wait until the Kubuntu 8.04 release. Just a few more days.
The year 2007 has been quite a dynamic year for me. Instead of writing a long article about each thing… cause that might take me an year to write and edit, I will just present a list of lists of things that happened.
Completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto at Mississauga.
Picked my diploma for Bachelor of Science.
Traveled to Italy and Poland.
Walked down Unter der Linden in Berlin, Germany.
Checked out the Tower of London, National Gallery and Museum of Natural History in London, England.
Saw the sights of Florence, Rome, Assisi, and bunch of the Umbria region of Italy.
Walked around Gdańsk, Szczecin, Poznan, Gdynia and Malbork in Poland.
Increased my knowledge of information security.
Restarted my involvement with the justCheckers project.
Deepened my understanding on software libre and open source.
Joined the Ubuntu Toronto Users group.
Led a mock-up startup for a course.
Learned how to read and understand businesses.
Discovered the many aspects of open source businesses.
Read My Job Went to India, or how to stay in IT.
Wrote six articles on quantum computing.
Wrote seven personal essays that form my Hacker, Gamer, Lover book.
Wrote and voiced in an audio documentary, Casanova.
Started writing a science fiction novel.
Learned of the open access movement.
Learned the basic ethical theories: utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, and Rousseau’s social contract.
Debated for network neutrality.
Read Stallman’s Free Software, Free Society.
Read about the anti-software patent efforts in the EU.