Saturday, November 1, 2008

Now Linux is as simple as it gets for Windows - Using Wubi

Canonical is making Linux as simple as it can be for time Linux users and I think Wubi is the next step in that direction. Though USB based distro such as Fedora 9 can be used for occasional tryst with Linux on Windows system but for me it doesn't match the speed of an OS installed on the hard drive.

I was wondering how to test drive the new Ubuntu 8.10 without replacing my current Fedora 9 installation (without using Live CD) and I came across Wubi which is a windows installer for Ubuntu 8.10.

Wubi can be started from Windows and it will install itself from Windows (I used Vista). It will create an entry in the Windows Bootloader and once you restart your system it will be configured on your system. The whole installation is as simple as it can get. It is actually a one click installation and presumes common configuration by default.

The only issue I faced was that because I am using Core 2 Duo processor, it installed the x86_64 version of Ubuntu on my machine and 64 bit applications are still not so handy ;-) (such as Flash player and Sun JDK 6 .. but there are workarounds)

For a first time user, Ubuntu is an excellent option and for a person who wants to dabble in linux a bit more....Wubi

Some Useful links which I used for updating and upgrading some applications for Ubuntu 8.19 x86_64:
Upgrade to OpenOffice 3 from default Openffice 2.4
Install JDK 6 - $ sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk
Install Flash - $ sudo aptitude install flashplugin-nonfree

If you are wondering where are the directories of your Windows partition then they are under /host

To close this post, I must say that desktop Linux has improved tremendously in the past few years and is a viable alternate OS for non-geeks

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The best Olympics for India

The Olympics is over and now the hysteria of this mega sporting event will also subside for next four years till London 2012. Apart from the expected rise of the China to top of the tally with 51 gold medal, another major event was India's tally of 1 gold and 2 bronze (though it looks miniscule, but for the first time India has won 3 medals in Olympics and a gold after 28 years). 

I will list down some statistics about India's performance in the last few years at other major sporting events

Event Year Gold Silver Bronze Total Overall Rank
Olympics 2008 1 0 2 3 50
Asian Games 2006 10 17 26 53 8
Commonwealth Games 2006 22 17 11 50 4
SAF Games 2006 103 69 47 234 1

Let us see how India performs at the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Delicious MoneyControl

Last week both these sites were upgraded for better.

The Delicious upgrade was pending for a long time after they launched a private beta of the new interface. Now it looks more slick and provides fast search results. In old delicious, the tag showing how many times a link has been bookmared was an eyesore and a normal search on the tags took a while. Like many others, many times I go to delicious instead of google, after all social bookmarking ensures that I find relevant stuff.

MoneyControl is a financial portal in India (arguably claimed to be numero uno there). Despite the amount of information available, the ad laden interface forced many users to look for alternate options (such as Rediff finance or Yahoo finance). Even I was looking forward to much awaited launch of Google Finance in India, but with the new interface of the portfolio, I won't yearn for it for some more time

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Installation of Fedora 9 with Vista on Dell 1525

I was using Fedora 8 on my desktop, but recently I had bought a laptop which came pre installed with Vista (as is the case with most of them these days), so I was waiting for the latest version of Fedora to be released (evidently Fedora 9)

I had successfully installed it on my laptop and this is probably one of the smoothest installation (apart from partitions as dell ships after creating four primary partitions which is the maximum limit).

The following post helped a lot
There is support for USB drives in Fedora 9 and I used one to test my hardware first before installing on the disk. The USB drive can be created from windows

The steps for installation on a Dell laptop with Vista preinstalled are as follows:
  1. Free up some space from Windows Disk Resize program present in Control Panel (do a disk fragmentation before doing so). I freed up 25 GB.
  2. Download the DVD image of Fedora 9 and burn it on a disk
  3. Download a live image of GParted and install it on a CD or USB drive
  4. Restart the system and boot from CD or USB to start ( I remember initially I was linux boot was not working from VISTA but some patch was applied by liveusb-creater which fixed the problem
  5. Delete the dell media direct partition as maximum number of primary partitions allowed is 4 (I don't use it anyway). Once that partition is deleted you can create new partitions for linux. I created three partitions (SWAP - 2GB, /home - 15GB, / (root) - 15GB). Apply the changes to create the partition
  6. Install from Fedora 9 DVD and follow the steps. When fedora asks where to install linux, choose 'Custom Partition' and select the partitions created abouve
  7. Select the packages you want to install and proceed ahead
  8. Once the installation is over, you will see a dual boot screen with Feodra and Other option. Log in Fedora as the Other option will not work immediately.
  9. In fedodra, login and go to terminal. Do 'su' and then 'gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst'. In that change the last entry for 'Other' from 'rootnoverify(0,1)' to 'rootnoverify(0,2)'. You can also change the title 'Other' to 'Vista' or anything you like. Now on reboot you can login in Vista.
All the hardware was working fine after installation except sound and mic. For sound, I had to unmute the 'Surround' option in audio panel and for resolving microphone problem it took some time. The built in web camera works by default, so does rest of hardware

Enjoy Linux..

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Welcome back Linux

Linux came back to my life after three years when I purchased a new desktop. I wanted to try some latest distributions of Linux and the experience is

Ubuntu 7.04
When I searched for the most popular distribution of Linux for installation on my system, I was surprised to find out that a new distribution called Ubuntu had gained immense popularity. I downloaded the latest version 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) and installed it without any problems. The installation was very simple and fast. I was impressed when the it auto detected iPod and started playing music on RhythmBox Music player. I would like to list down some key features:
  • Debian based distribution (Gnome
  • Single CD installation (unlike 3 CD installation I used to do for Red Hat 9)
  • Simple Installation
  • Good hardware support
  • Out of the box support for MP3 etc
Ubuntu gave me a a feeling that Linux is now ready for Desktop use.
The only problem I faced was configuration of my 19" LCD to its native resolution of 1440*900. I found information on Ubuntu Forums. Installation of 915resolution resolved my resolution problem and my desktop looked much better.

Fedora Core 6
As my linux experience started with Redhat 7.2, I wanted to give Fedora(community distribution backed by Redhat) a try. Fedora 7 was not released then, so I installed Fedora Core 6. One strange thing I noticed was that once you install some basic set of packages, you can add more packages from the DVD later on. Anyway, here to my LCD did not work on the native resolution and I was unable to find a simple way to do so (was unable to devote enough time)
In the meantime, Fedora 7 was released and I thought of giving it a try

Fedora 7
I started the ambitious download of Fedora 7(nicknamed Moonshine) with my modest broadband connection. The torrent completed in 120 hours. This time, I had bought a NVIDIA graphics card which replaced my onboard graphics by Intel (so both Fedora 6 and Ubuntu were not booting up as they were unable to recognize the new card).

The installation was simple (more of a norm now :)). Few steps I took to get my linux box in shape are listed below:
  • Screen Resolution - This time too, the LCD was not detected at its native resolution. I compiled the driver provided by NVIDIA for linux. When i restarted the XManager, I was able to find the native resolution of my screen in the configuration.
  • MP3 and Windows Media Support - Got help from here and the single line command is :
    • yum -y install gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-ugly xine-lib-extras-nonfree
  • Fonts - Somehow the fonts look ugly on the LCD. I found this post which made my linux desktop fonts much better.
  • Desktop Effects - Again, this worked great on Ubuntu but gave me an error message in Fedora. Now I wouldn't let it go and so started searching again and I found something better - Beryl (at least in terms of eye-candy). Check out this video.
Now Fedora 7 is going to be my primary Linux distribution and I will most of my time on it. Still Eclipse (my fav. Java IDE) looks ugly in Linux, so I installed Netbeans which inherits Gnome fonts and looks better.

It feels nostalgic to do all these minor discoveries in Linux all over again after such a long time :-)

Some links for Fedora 7:
Fedora 7 howto
Linux Post Installation

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fedora 7 Released

As promised, Fedora 7 (code named moonshine) was released today Some noticeable things are:
  1. Look and feel of Fedora website is changed. Check it out
  2. The word Core has been removed from this released onwards, so its just Fedora 7 (analogous to Sun changing Java release names from J2SE 1.4 to Java 5.. another example of KISS principle)
I have installed both Ubuntu and Fedora on my computer and I found former more user friendly. A simple search on google trends illustrates the rising popularity of Ubuntu. I hope through this release Fedora salvage some pride against Ubuntu.

Long live open source :-)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Coincidences in Life

This post is guided by a one minute past observation.

Today I downloaded the latest version of the popular linux flavour Ubuntu.(v 7.04) and I have exactly the same balance in my google adsense account(which i checked after a long time)

So many times such small coincidences occur in our life which we usually ignore. I will blog them here from now on... afterall its only a mesh of thougts ;-)

Another coincidence happened recently when I logged into one of my bank account exactly after one year.. (the difference was only of 1 minute).