One of the most asked questions is which Linux distribution should I use. Every time it is asked, we explain that there is no one correct answer. That is, what is best for one type of computer, one type of user, one set of uses and such is not necessarily the right answer for another.
The obvious questions are:
- Which desktop environment do you want to use?
- What type of computer do you have?
A while back I asked a question here about software to manage logins and passwords (http://www.tuxmagazine.com/node/1000240). I appreciate all the answers and pretty much tried everything that was offered. Well, I now have a very different solution than I expected. Mainly, it taught me to better define the problem before looking for the solution.
This is not Linux unique but here is one way to get a free telephone complete with a free US phone number, and even personally answered voice mail. For those who want more, let me toss in free conference calls. If I was writing this for monthly TUX this would be a real how-to. Here, this is more like a "what-to".
- A Gizmo account (which gets you a SIP number)
- Gizmo Project software for your Linux desktop
A little while ago, I decided that I would never, ever have a desk ever again. If my cat managed to change her favourite spot several times a day, what was tying me to a desk?
I bought a laptop, and after a week I promised I would never, ever buy anything but a laptop and would change my working area in my house.
So far, 7 years later, the plan seems to have worked, and I don't even need a long network cable lying around anymore.
I just read an article about this in ComputerWorld Australia. The article is an interview and talks about some of what will be new in KDE 4. Having used KDE for close to 10 years now, I am clearly a fan but I am not sure KDE 2, 3, 4 or 27 is the answer.
More accurately, I am not sure KDE, Gnome or whatever is the answer to getting everyone using Linux systems. Yes, KDE today is very nice from a user point of view and KDE 4 will be better. Also, each version of KDE "does more" for the developer so there is less work to do. I think there are two problems:
In business I have been told many times that if you have a good idea and you wait a bit, someone else will run with it. Sometimes I have had the good idea (Linux Journal, for example) and did run with it. I even hope TUX is another one of those good ideas.
Today, I just helped prove the "someone else will run with it" part. What makes it interesting is that I was going to build some software to give away but someone else did the same. Thus, it clearly was just the "good idea" part and has nothing to do with profit. If this is too much suspense, take a look at Campcaster.
I felt a little uninspired today. Moving house, fighting with my laptop's wireless card, and the heat are all factors which didn't help my mood.
In the midst of my uninspired state, while looking for software to install and talk about, I stumbled upon a game called "Armagetron", available in Ubuntu's repositories.
Armagetron is a 3D version of the "popular" (depending on your age) game Tron.
I used to play Tron on a portable gaming machine when I was 8. I was about to have yet more surgery on my right hand (the joys of children and domestic accidents...) and my cousin gave me this tiny box which did one thing, and did it well: allowed you to play Tron. Don't expect fancy graphics - we are talking about 1985 or 1986 here! The screen resolution wasn't there - the screen was a grid of squares, similar to a calculator's screen with multiple lines. That was enough to make you see your car, and the trace you left behind. You could only play against the computer.
Kubuntu Edgy by default gives you something that Apple users are well accustomed to. I am talking about the placement of the application menu bar.
By "application menu bar " I mean the menu that contains items such as "File Edit View" and so on.
It's pretty obvious that a user can only use a specific program's application menu at the time. So, why waste precious screen estate by showing the application menu for every single application open?
Basically, Edgy's default (if you're using Kubuntu) is to have the application menu right at the top of the screen. The menu will change according to which application has the current "focus".
Ubuntu people won't have this luxury. Ubuntu is based on Gnome, which is based on GTK2. GTK people are very, very strongly against the idea of having the application menu at the top. I can see some points of their argument: what if you have two monitors? What if you're using a multi-window application with different menus in each window? However, I can also see a lot of screen real estate wasted, and a lot of users who want such a functionality - those people, luckily, will be able to use KDE!
After I wrote my blog entry about the Feisty first alpha being available I decided to give it a try. I think the reason I do these crazy things is that it now takes virtually no time to try a Kubuntu Linux distribution. The process is down to:
- Download the image (Konqueror does that)
- Burn the CD (a job for K3b)
- Boot (on anything as it comes up live off the CD)
- If I like it, seven steps to install
Well, that is what I did with the boot (and install) happening on my T23 ThinkPad. It booted fine and the KDE desktop came up. I went to K->Internet->Wireless Assistant. It showed me my wireless network. I told it to use DHCP (it's default). I'm connected. After a bit of playing, I decided it was worth installing. The sequence is becoming very familiar but here are the specifics after clicking the Install icon on the desktop.
For a number of reasons, I was recently "forced" to work on an Apple machine for longer than I would have liked. Don't get me wrong: I like OS X, and I think there is a great deal the open source community can learn from it. However, it doesn't seem to be geared up for people like me: 11000 emails literally kill Apple Mail, for example; or, spotlight can be fine for a small home-user folder, but try it on my home directory...
What have I learned from my Apple experience? I learned the power of integration. It's clear that there is very, very little "code duplication" in OS X. For example, the text editor you get in pretty much every Apple program (Apple Mail, TextEditor, and pretty much everything else with an editor in it) is clearly always the same one. This could be considered an implementation detail, but I can tell you that users notice it, because everything is so consistent.