Ubuntu Linux should promote making backups #Prt. 1

June 19, 2008

What is a real backup? For a person it can mean burning a CD / DVD with files. For an other person it can mean buying a hard drive. So are there even more options. 

Ubuntu Linux has definitely grown in the last few years. It has become a solid distribution which is proving to be compatible and adaptable in this modern digital lifestyle. For a lot of people the content is beginning to mean a lot. Photographs are being stored, music is being purchased and movies are being edit. Not every person immediately realizes what the consequences might be when a hard drive fails!

Since the the personal computer market has transformed itself from 20mb hard drives to 1TB hard drives in a relatively short period the principals of making backup’s is only officially known in the enterprise market. For consumers and even small businesses buying an extra hard drive often means expanding the total size of their storage capacity! Nothing more.

In it’s own market Apple has accomplished something incredible. Their backup solutions targets all their existing and new CPU owners. Apple’s Time Machine made Mac owners suddenly know a lot more about what a backup means and provided a state of the art solution which requires almost no setup. In combination with Time Capsule the popularity and amazement of exciting and new customers is certainly there to taste. Except the revenues Apple is making… the rumor around the brand has seen a major uprise!

In my opinion that’s exactly what Ubuntu Linux is ready to take and should take on!

I remember the days when F-Spot wasn’t installed on Ubuntu Linux by default. I even remember the days when all kinds of media applications weren’t installed by default and were under major development. Today the day I see Ubuntu Linux gaining more and more recognition and progress in becoming adopted. More people have downloaded and installed Ubuntu Linux in the last two years than before.  I’ve read uncountable stories how people use Ubuntu Linux every day without being experienced in IT or UNIX / Linux. So this distribution is really growing fast. 
Even I use Ubuntu Linux for digital media now these days! So I even don’t want to think about the possibility of loosing my files. Working for years in sales and as technical service provider making backups is a habit for me. Also for more people it’s a habit.

But not for the largest group of users!

In my point of view Ubuntu Linux shouldn’t be responsible for providing a solution. Ubuntu Linux just could help a lot of not knowing users by making them realize what their files mean to them and by default implement a backup tool. With the right kind of marketing it will create a positive vibe and more rumor around the brand.

In #Prt. 2 I will write more about the present backup solutions available.

Don’t sell your PowerPC G4 yet!

November 9, 2007

With the introduction of Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 another series of Apple computers got pushed back. Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 feature fair system requirements compared to the economical lifespan of modern / current day computers.

Mac OS X 10.5 is already running on my Apple Mac Pro 2.0GHz (2x Intel Xeon Dual Core CPU). Since I’ve also acquired Adobe Creative Suite 3 I was more than thrilled to experience a speed bump. Unfortunately Adobe Creative Suit 3 can’t be run on 10.5 yet.

I find my Apple Powerbook G4 (1.25GHz PowerPC and 1,5Gb System Ram) running noticeably slower than with Mac OS X 10.4.10 (Tiger). While you might find Mac OS X 10.4.x fast enough and you have no shortcomings, you might want to play, explore and learn about Ubuntu Linux on a Mac.

Currently Ubuntu Linux 6.10 (Edgy Eft) can be downloaded also for PowerPC computers. While the PowerPC isn’t being considered a important architecture for Ubuntu they still have a community team safeguarding this release.

You can download Ubuntu Linux 6.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) for your PowerPC from these locations:

Ubuntu Linux 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

Kubuntu Linux 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

Upcoming period I will dedicate some time in order to write a user experience / review about this specific release on my Apple Powerbook G4.

Restoring your previous xorg.conf file

September 15, 2006

Resurrecting your xserver by restoring your previous xorg.confA few days ago I installed Cedega on my portable with Ubuntu Linux installed on it. After installation I customized the application options / preferences and ran the test utility. The test revealed that my 3D Acceleration wasn’t working. I found that a crucial part to have working so I started fixing it.After a while I made a mistake and my (already highly customized) xorg.conf got re-written by all kinds of default settings. Since the xserver uses the file in order to start-up correctly you can imagine that my xserver crashed.In Ubuntu Linux the xorg.conf file makes a backup of it’s current state before it accepts getting edited or rewritten. This does not apply when you edit xorg.conf yourself though (editing with Vi or Gedit). So I got an backup waiting to be restored, with all my setting related to resolution, drivers, AIXGL/Compiz and so on. I’ll use my own example in order to explain how you can restore the previous xorg.conf file.After I rebooted Ubuntu Linux started up correctly until it came across xserver section. There the xserver crashed and I was presented with a terminal screen which kindly asked for my username.I logged in with my normal account and entered:

djons@tosh-empire:/$ cd /

This command brings you to the root of your system. If you enter:

djons@tosh-empire:/$ dir

You will see you are at the beginning point of the system.We need to proceed towards the xorg.conf location. Hit the following path in order to get there:

djons@tosh-empire:/$ cd /etc/X11

Note that X11 is with a capital X. All Linux distributions, UNIX variations and thus also Mac OS X feature this.When you are in the X11 directory you will see a file structure similar to this:

djons@tosh-empire:/etc/X11$ dirapp-defaults gdm xorg.conf Xsession.dapplnk rgb.txt xorg.conf~ Xsession.optionsconfig susewm xorg.conf.20060807011320 Xwrapper.configcursors X Xresourcesdefault-display-manager xinit xserverfonts xkb Xsession

You should pinpoint two files, they are the files with which we are going work:


The question marks represents year, month, day and some more info. But the date is the most important since you can easily pick the most current back-upped version of xorg.conf before things went sour. So now it’s time to replace our corrupt xorg.conf with a previous working version.First of all we have to delete the current corrupted xorg file. To make this happen do the following terminal work:

djons@tosh-empire:/etc/X11$ sudo rm xorg.conf

Now we have to rename the back-upped version in order to get our installation working with icons and mouse. Do the following terminal work:

djons@tosh-empire:/etc/X11$ sudo mv xorg.conf.????????????? xorg.conf

We’re done. The only thing you have to do is restart your machine and wait till it’s done booting up the installation. In order to get your machine rebooting hit the on/off switch once or use the following command:

djons@tosh-empire:/etc/X11$ sudo shutdown -r now

Flash Player 9 for Linux expected in early 2007

August 31, 2006

Yesterday the following information was released by the people over at Penguin.SWF (developers of Flash Player 9 for Linux):

Our current schedule for releasing the final version of Flash Player 9 for Linux is early 2007. Many readers have understandably requested a beta version before that time.alpha-beta.pngYes, we do plan to release a beta version in advance of the final version. However, it will be a beta in the classical software engineering sense– i.e., a version that we believe to be largely bug-free and submitted to the users in the hopes that the last of the bugs will be found and reported.Why are we stubbornly refusing to release, say, an alpha version now? Primarily because there are known bugs in the Linux Flash Player, and because we know what the bugs are, and we are on track to fix these known bugs. If we were to release an alpha now, we would likely be inundated with reports about bugs we already know about. We think that processing such redundant reports would not necessarily be the most industrious use of our time.So, the beta will come. Watch this space.

Source: Penguin.SWF

Should I try (ai)xgl/compiz

August 25, 2006

It has been weeks since I’ve installed Compiz on my portable. Should you use (AI)XGL/Compiz on your normal working machine?Not in my case. I’ve been experiencing some rendering issues. In order to solve the problem I have to restart Compiz every time it happens. Is that bad?Since the whole XGL/Compiz thing is alpha I don’t expect an all feature working release. I even don’t expect it to be stable. But for an absolute beginner who doesn’t knows his way around the wole matter will make it even worse. Textboxes with no content will be appearing. Option won’t be visible. If an absolute beginner edits settings out of curiosity he won’t be able to just quickly apply the default values. A nice example is starting an application which requires a system password. I know when to expect this box. While an absolute beginner will be presented with simply an vague opacity screen.If you have a system or partition available which isn’t of importance for you, trying out XGL/Compiz will only be fun.

Ubuntu has a new community manager

August 22, 2006

Quoted from markshuttleworth.com

A short while ago I blogged about what I think is one of the most interesting and challenging positions at Canonical – the Ubuntu community manager. We had several fantastic folks in the shortlist and I’m pleased to say that Jono Bacon (a.k.a. jono on IRC.freenode.net, pictured here playing his own interpretation of Hamlet) will be stepping up to the plate.Jono – welcome aboard!We have one of the world’s best technology communities in Ubuntu – from the UbuntuForums to the MOTU with LoCo teams, Art, Doc, Marketing, and specialist interest groups all collaborating to make Ubuntu rock. I’m excited to have someone working across the project to help them all rock even harder!

Some more information quoted from jonobacon.org

Well, after an awesome time working with my good friends at OpenAdvantage, I am moving on and recently handed in my notice to move to a new role at Canonical. On September 4th I start as the Ubuntu Community Manager, and I am raring to go.

I have had a wonderful time at OpenAdvantage, and the team there are fantastic to work with, incredibly supportive and great fun. I will miss each and every one of them, and particularly enjoyed the impromptu discussions, debates and demos in and around all manner of subjects. At OpenAdvantage we have made huge strides in developing the West Midlands as a hotbed of activity for Open Source, and it has been great to be part of the ride. As the project nears its completion, I really hope OpenAdvantage can continue to do such sterling work across the West Midlands and hopefully across the UK. My departure from OpenAdvantage is entirely amicable and I look forward to staying in touch with all my friends there.So, onto the Ubuntu role. Some of you may have seen Mark’s blog post about the position. It is an interesting and challenging role, and one I am ready for. For the last eight years I have worked in a number of different communities, developing community relations and working to understand, rationalise and manage the different aspects of community effectively. Most recently I have been doing this with the Jokosher project, and we have an awesome community with a strong culture and direction.As Ubuntu Community Manager, my energy will be focused in a number of different areas, each a foundation for a strong Ubuntu community. This includes:

  • Ensuring the wheels of the community are well oiled, and the different teams (Documentation, Art, LoCo, Marketing, Press, Accessibility etc.) can effectively work together, resolve conflict, source resources and more.
  • Refine and explore methods to make the Ubuntu community as approachable as possible. I want to ensure potential contributors can get started quickly and know when, where and how to get involved easily.
  • Develop processes and practises to ensure we get the most out of contributor time. Many contributors only have limited time they can dedicate to a project – we want to make sure they get the most out of that time and there are as few obstacles and red tape in the way. Happy contributors get things done and achieve doable goals – lets make this rock even more.
  • To foster innovation at every level. We have so much potential to think outside the box, develop better ways of working together and new ways of delivering in each of the different teams.
  • Making the Ubuntu community as inclusive as possible. The ever-growing Ubuntu community spreads across many countries, cultures and communication mediums – lets make sure that we always retain community feel and spirit.
  • Measure and explore patterns in the community so we can understand it better and ensure all aspects of the community get the attention they need.

This is just a small subset of the work I will be doing as part of the Ubuntu project, and the job will bend, twist and move in the same direction that the community moves. Importantly, I am here to be a point of contact for the Ubuntu community. If you want to discuss something, have a concern, are unsure about something, do get in touch.So, where now? Well, in the meantime I need to get the usual new-job related things set up, wrap up a book and finish up some OpenAdvantage projects. This should take me up till the end of the month and then I get started.While I am doing this I want to know what you think about how the Ubuntu community could be improved, where is excels, what you would like to see happen and where you see the Ubuntu community in two years. I will be asking the same question to the different Ubuntu teams when my company email is set up, but I am interested in readers of jonobacon.org’s comments too. So, share with me your thoughts…

Absolute Beginner Guide: 915resolution

August 20, 2006

For those who own Intel graphical chipset it might happen that the maximum resolution can’t be set. Why this problem still isn’t solved I don’t know. It might have something to do with Ubuntu Linux or Intel drivers.Earlier in my blog I wrote how to install drivers for a Intel Graphical card. I took my own graphical card as an example. You can read the guide here.But even I have to apply an application to patch or set the resolution to the maximum. In my case that is 1400 x 1050. The application to achieve that is called 915resolution. So let’s get started then.

  • Know your max. resolution

This is really important. In case 915resolution displays resolutions your monitor / LCD can’t bear. Otherwise you will risk xserver-xorg failures and in the worst case damage your monitor / LCD. In my case the max. resolution is 1400 x 1050.

  • Download and install 915resolution

This is also very simple to do. 915resolution is an application which is located in your package manager. But first you must add the ‘universe’ and ‘multiverse’ repositories since it’s located there.System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager -> Settings -> Repositories.After you have added them you’ll be asked to reload your Package Manager information. If not, click the reload button on the left. After that’s done it’s just selecting 915resolution and hitting the apply button which will install the application on your hard drive.

  • Setting up 915resolution

The application is a CLI (Command Line Interface) one. But don’t worry it’s really easy to use. Let’s discuss how 915resolution works.915resolution has the ability to recognize Intel Graphical Chips and determine their max. resolutions and bit depth. But except recognizing 915resolution is able to patch the system so that the real maximum resolution can be used. The user has to run the application with a parameter. Then when choosing a mode from the output, the user has to edit a config file. This file will be addressed to every time the user logs in. After editing the file 915resolution has to be used one more time to set / activate the mode. So it’s quite simple.

  • Determine the Intel graphical chipset

In order to apply the correct resolution and bit depth 915resolution first has to know with what kind of Intel Chipset it has to deal. Perform the following terminal work to find out:

$sudo 915resolution -l

The output displays mode for you to choose from. I will stick to my own chipset in order to make the example as easy as possible.

Intel 800/900 Series VBIOS Hack : version 0.5.2Chipset: 855GMBIOS: TYPE 2Mode Table Offset: $C0000 + $36fMode Table Entries: 21Mode 30 : 640×480, 8 bits/pixelMode 32 : 800×600, 8 bits/pixelMode 34 : 1024×768, 8 bits/pixelMode 38 : 1280×1024, 8 bits/pixelMode 3a : 1600×1200, 8 bits/pixelMode 3c : 1400×1050, 8 bits/pixelMode 41 : 640×480, 16 bits/pixelMode 43 : 800×600, 16 bits/pixelMode 45 : 1024×768, 16 bits/pixelMode 49 : 1280×1024, 16 bits/pixelMode 4b : 1600×1200, 16 bits/pixelMode 4d : 1400×1050, 16 bits/pixelMode 50 : 640×480, 32 bits/pixelMode 52 : 800×600, 32 bits/pixelMode 54 : 1024×768, 32 bits/pixelMode 58 : 1280×1024, 32 bits/pixelMode 5a : 1600×1200, 32 bits/pixelMode 5c : 1400×1050, 32 bits/pixelMode 7c : 1024×600, 8 bits/pixelMode 7d : 1024×600, 16 bits/pixelMode 7e : 1024×600, 32 bits/pixeldjons@tosh-empire:~$

Note that I have found my max. resolution and bit depth (Mode 5c). Also note that my output has another max. resolution of 1600 x 1200 (Mode 4b and Mode 5a). I know for sure my LCD does not support that. Remember not to choose resolutions which are higher than your max. since it can or will damage your xserver-xorg or monitor / LCD.

  • Editing the 915resolution file

The configuration file of 915resolution makes sure your setup won’t be lost the next time you reboot the system. Editing the configuration file is also a breeze. It asks you to specify the Mode, bit depth and max. resolution. That’s it!Do the following terminal work to open the 915resolution for editing:

$sudo gedit /etc/default/915resolution

Below here I’ve copy / pasted the content of the file with the options I had to write down for my Intel Graphical Card and type of LCD.

## 915resolution default## find free modes by /usr/sbin/915resolution -l# and set it to MODE or set to ‘MODE=auto’## With ‘auto’ detection, the panel-size will be fetched from the VBE# BIOS if possible and the highest-numbered mode in each bit-depth# will be overwritten with the detected panel-size.MODE=5c## and set resolutions for the mode.#XRESO=1400YRESO=1050## We can also set the pixel mode.# Please note that this is optional,# you can also leave this value blank.BIT=32

It is possible to let the 915resolution file alone keeping it on auto. But in my case every time I rebooted the system it switched back to 1280 x 1024. Also this way you ensure 915resolution by accident or whatever does not select a resolution which will wreck.

  • Applying / Patching / Setting the Mode

After you have saved the configuration file and closed it there is one last thing we have to do with the terminal. We have sought for modes, we have specified one and now we have to let 915resolution know what our choice will be. Do the following terminal work to apply the Mode.

$sudo 915resolution 5c 1400 1050

Note that the mode 5c and the resolution 1400 x 1050 are part of my own Intel Graphical Chipset in combination with my own type of LCD Panel. If everything goes well you should receive a message which looks like this:

Intel 800/900 Series VBIOS Hack : version 0.5.2Chipset: 855GMBIOS: TYPE 2Mode Table Offset: $C0000 + $36fMode Table Entries: 21Patch mode 5c to resolution 1400×1050 complete

You are done! The only thing rest to do is restart the xserver (ctrl + alt + backspace) or restart the system. When you login it should be the maximum resolution. You can always open:System -> Preferences -> Screen ResolutionIn order to check if the application works.