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).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why google talk does not have conference?

If you started reading this post expecting the answer then sorry this is the wrong place. Since the day Google Talk was launched, this is the feature which i missed the most (there were hardly any friends on Gtalk then but i convinced some of my close friends to install it). After its integration with Orkut lots of my friends are on Gtalk but the irony is that I cant chat with a group.

As a matter of fact, you can use spreadsheets in Google Docs to chat will all the collaborators, so there is a workaround but its not so elegant. I hope they come out with this feature soon.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Few days back I read the famous book titled Fish. This book is all about enjoying your work life (which I do :-)) and the author explains it effectively through a story. The story is about a manager called Many Jane who goes to a fish market and realizes how people their enjoy their routine work which might be sound very boring to others. This helps her in transforming her whole department.

The four ideas expressed by the author are :
  1. Choose your attitude - You can decide our response
  2. Play - Have fun at work and make it enjoyable for others too.
  3. Make their day - Do something for people in your team which they will cherish
  4. Be Present - Give 100% focus to your audience (friends, family, colleagues etc.)
If it sounds interesting you can read the book or go here

When I came to office one day, I was pleasantly surprised to see my desk decorated with balloons, paper frills and my desk white board had lots of wishes (it was my first birthday as an employee). My friends (more than colleagues they are friends) made my day and it still remains the best day in office.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cricket World Cup Tragedy

Usually this title will mean the ouster of a favorite team from the World Cup, but in this world cup the death of Bob Woolmer is a big loss to cricketing fraternity. Whatever might be the cause of his sudden demise, people will associate it with the loss of Pakistan to minnows Ireland.

As the popularity of cricket is sky high in the India and Pakistan (where no other sport comes even a close second) the expectations are also similar. The same fans who cheer like mad, burst crackers and dance on the streets when their team wins a match do a volte-face and burn effigies of the same players, lapidate their houses in case of losing a match. I will not give any opinion on this but one thing is certain, the fans are very emotional about their game and react in extremes.

Even the Indian team is like their fans, after losing to Bangladesh they scored the highest runs in World Cup history again Bermuda and won the match (also take into account that Bermuda is playing their first world cup and are very low on experience and skill).

May the best team win the world cup [will it be Australia again ;-)]

Monday, March 19, 2007

Suggestion for Indian Railway

When lots of travel sites such as TravelGuru, Yatra, MakeMyTrip etc offer big discounts on online purchases, our very own Indian Railyway online booking site still charges customers extra money for booking online tickets. I can understand the extra money required to book 'i-tickets' where the ticket is couriered but in case of 'e-ticket' why do they need extra money when the person will take a print out of the ticket and travel with it.

So instead of giving discount to passengers who book tickets online and thus help our already strained railway infrastructure, they charge them more (Rs 30-70).

Hope God Gives some common sense to Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav (our very own railway minister) and he correct this anamoly in online ticket booking system.