History-of-Ubuntu

Ubuntu completes 9 Years

OMG Ubuntu released this beautiful infographic, which talks about the history of Ubuntu … I have literally grown (yes, even my waist) as a person when working with Ubuntu.

I have been using Ubuntu since 2004, when I only used to flirt with Linux. What tickled me back then was the Ubuntu was afrikaans for freedom.

2006 was the first time when I stopped using Windows altogether and worked for 2 straight years on Dapper Drake. Those were the days, when I was single, was in Hyderabad and spent consecutive new years eves drinking a single malt and installing a new version of Ubuntu.

As I look back and see how working on Ubuntu has impacted me, and my preferred style of working, I only appreciate that this distro has made such a huge impact on personal computing, that its being used by non-techies to do day to day work. It is because of such distros the Linux has been touted as the future of gaming.

Ubuntu completes 9 Years

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Outstanding Ocelot

I have completely switched to Ubuntu at my home. The operating system is so much superior in a number of ways. So when the upgrade from 11.04 (Narwhale) to 11.10 (Ocelot) came, I quickly upgraded. It took some 2 hours to download all the files and upgrade the system, but it was so worth it.

  • The Unity bar has improved a lot, with all the installed applications available at the press of a few keystrokes. 
  • The additional keys on the keyboard such as WinKey, Properties, etc are also auto-detected and integrated into the system
  • Volume control comes with the built in music library – Banshee
  • Add the Ubuntu Restricted apps, Wine and the system becomes a better Windows!
  • The top bar now behaves in ways similar to that such as a Mac
Here’s to an outstanding upgrade. 

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Microsoft Livechat on Ubuntu

If you are just starting out on Ubuntu, then the forums are a good place to search for your doubts. You are not the first person stuck with some problem or glitch. Millions of people out there have faced them, and overcome them. The forums are the intrepid user’s best friend.

I have completely shifted bases to Ubuntu for my home system, one of the teething problems I had was using a Microsoft Livechat headset with Ubuntu. The headset is USB based, and Ubuntu does require some tweaking to start using the headset.

This is what you need to do –

  1. Open a terminal, and type

    sudo vi /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

  2. At the bottom of the file, make an entry

    blacklist snd_hda_intel

That’s it! Now simply restart your machine so all the modules get reloaded, the headset will now work.

About the blacklist.conf file

The blacklist.conf file is used to indicate to the system of which modules to ignore. Sometimes, multiple modules are addressing the same device, and that ensures that the device will not work. So, the blacklist file is used to indicate which module to be ignored.

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WoW on Wine

No, I don’t drink and raid :)

I recently have taken a lot to playing World of Warcraft during my free time (I think this also reflects pretty well on the blog :-)). I also have bought a good powerhouse of a desktop, and had dual booted it with WinXP and Win7. The problem with Win7 is that I have the 64-bit trial distribution and it hangs a lot, it has driver issues. The problem with WinXP is that its WinXP :-)

I am not that much of an operating system nazi, but the machine slows, down, the wireless network card that I am using is not fully utilized (WinXP sucks when it comes to driving the wireless interface!!). All in all, when it comes to playing an Online RPG, the environment does not deliver it’s 100%. Thus, I tried to give Ubuntu a try.

  • I already had the 11.04 distro with me, so the first thing I did was update all the repositories, include the third party repositories, and install Wine. Wine stands for WINdows Emulator. You can read more about Wine here.
  • After Wine, I went for installing Winetricks, which is a third party software. It’s used to easily streamline commands via a wizard which otherwise I would have been forced to use the console.
  • Somehow the Wine commands that get integrated into the shell (the right click menu of your explorer) are a bit different from the wine that got installed. So at first the program refused to run giving some obscure access management errors.
  • So, refusing to be let down, I went and searched for third party alternatives. You can skip this step, and definitely do not install the Crossover Games application because its just a trial, however, the PlayOnLinux (POL) application is recommended here, since after installing that, at least the icons of the .exe files will be visible
  • However, when I ran the Launcher.exe of World of Warcraft via the custom command console (by right clicking on it and selecting Open with Other Application, and then simply typing wine in the command box)
  • That’s it. Now the World of Warcraft launcher will run, and the game runs seamlessly

Since the game does not use the latest DirectX drivers, instead it replaces them with its own set, the textures and the games will be slightly different. I noticed a different texture for the water in WoW for example. But otherwise, the game is perfect for running. The network card works better, so I get a faster ping rate.

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Technology and Faith

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It’s times like these when supporting a good cause gives you fulfillment. When you make a difference by adding to the cause … not monetarily, not through force but through faith.

A friend recently made the leap of faith from Windows to Ubuntu, you can read her first hand review here. It does include the slight apprehension, the initial teething problems … but the story also has elements which make it a good technology script … the need, the learning curve and the triumph!! Here’s an excerpt -

It’s been a month since I first grappled with the overly sensitive mouse pointer on my brand new OS. Having solved that and many other problems (whether by exploring the functionalities, or plain screaming murder at Prasad and Ankit – our IT-literate friends), I seem to have adjusted surprisingly well to it. Phantoms of Linux have turned out to be bigger than Linux itself. Its fast. Its intelligent (use it and you’ll see what I mean by that). It has multiple workspaces. Which means you can chat and browse on another workspace without those irritating colleagues, who have the habit of peering into your screen and shaking their judgmental heads, ever finding out! So far, so good!

The point I am trying to make is that often people will sit on the fence when their knowledge about a technical product is low, the goal then is not to push the product, but to give as much information as possible but wait for the user to make the leap of faith.

I see this happen at work almost every day … we call it creative faith. The technology involved may not be related to computers, but it can be as abstruse if not more. So, the next time you are involved in selling a complex solution, try some faith instead.

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apt-get so many files!

Yes. I am going to bitch about Linux for a change. Throw your brickbats at me, I dont mind, but for this one time, I will rant. The problem with having an open OS is that there are a lot of updates … a LOT!! Also considering the fact that I have taken my time to view all the UIs viz., KDE3, KDE4, Gnome, Ice et al, that means a lot of updates as well.

Everytime I do an apt-get-update and an apt-get-upgrade, half a GB of data is downloaded, the system is re-initialized, and there are more updates to download. Whoa! Thats a lot of packages.

What is one to do? I just finished downloading 600 megs, I start Gnome … no big change :-)

Yes, now I will tout the stability of linux ;-)

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Jet Airways runs Linux!

On my way back to Hyderabad this morning, as I was taking my seat bleary-eyed, I glanced at the Jet Screen. That’s the tiny entertainment TV for the passenger’s viewing pleasure. Could not help but notice that those monitors were running on a centralized system, and that system was booting. The techie inside me wanted to probe further, so I kept my eyes glued to the screen … and voila … it runs Linux!! All the peripherals attached to it were also being detected … credit card reader installed … awesome. Sadly, I could not determine which distro of linux, I think embedded linux though, because it was using RedBoot. The reason why I am so thrilled is because that just goes to show the trust in the operating system.

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