Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Wimbish Yeti

Reports are coming in of strange happenings in Wimbish, near Saffron Walden, Essex. Local residents are blaming recent sightings of a large creature stealing from gardens and emitting an annoying screeching from it's mouth, which apparently can go on for ages.
  This picture was taken by a local resident who was looking for a petrol can.

The local constabulary were alerted when the police station had it's toilet seat stolen in the night. A spokesman said "We have nothing to go on". Another resident reported that their chickens have been so traumatised that the eggs they have laid have actually gone back up. It is likely, however, that the creature had stolen them. "Whoever it is doing this is very eggsperienced", she said.
The search for the creature was stepped up after an alleged sighting a local Christmas fayre, along with the discovery of a broken fence and a very large hole nearby. Police are looking into it.

Friday, 11 November 2011

All change in the Linux world.

With the release of Ubuntu 11.10, we have Canonical's Unity desktop offered to us. Many Linux users are up in arms, some love the new look, and others have moved away from Ubuntu to pastures new, not happy at all with the direction the desktop is going. On the face of it, Unity on 11.10 is an improvement over 11.04 but for me, indifference and disappointment has relegated the live CD to the pile of 'Works, but not for me', of which there are a growing number. Kubuntu 11.04 on the other hand, is very polished, smooth and is working well on my i5 4Gb desktop, with only a few minor worries creeping in since I installed it on the day of release back in October.

I keep abreast of the new innovations that are to be found with the modern Linux desktop. Gnome 3, KDE 4.7 and now, today, a release candidate of Linux Mint 12 with a radical take on Gnome 3 (Clem and the LM team have chosen this over Unity) and have developed scripts to make the user feel more at ease with the new desktop. The 1Gb .iso file has just this minute finished downloading, so I'll be burning it and trying it out to get first impressions. At this point, I have only seen a screenshot on the Linux Mint blog, so I am a little apprehensive as to what I will find. Watch this space....

Linux Mint 12 (modified wallpaper)

The 1.0Gb DVD was still warm when I rebooted my faithful Kubuntu 11.10 and started Linux Mint 12. As with Mint 11, there is a splash screen, then this disappears giving way to worrying darkness as the DVD loads. Reassuringly, the mouse cursor is first to appear, then the Mint desktop, showing icons - just like the Gnome 2.32 desktop many know and love. Down at the bottom left of the screen, there is the familiar 'Menu' button. When pressed, this looks very different to Mint 11, with a dark background. Personally, I like this, and the font rendering is very good indeed (important for me) with anti-aliasing on by default. I don't like the grey/silver wallpaper, so this was changed to a blue from the default selection offered, and navigation was fast, even from the live DVD environment compared to my Kubuntu desktop. At the top left-hand side of the desktop, the user will find a button that looks like a figure 8 rotated 90 degrees. On pressing this, the desktop changes to Gnome 3. I found that opening an application reverts the desktop back to the Mint alternative Gnome 2 emulated (would emulated be an acceptable term?) environment, whether by design or flaw.

To sum up:

Frankly, I am very surprised, and very impressed indeed with the way Clem and the Mint development team have actually managed to pull this off. It will do a lot to pacify those that are resistant to change, while still using the new technologies available in the Gnome 3 desktop. It seems to be the very best of both worlds, and I predict Mint 12 will take the Linux world by storm, with the exception of those who do not like change at any cost - they will moan and groan by default.
Linux Mint is currently number one in the Distrowatch top 100, toppling Ubuntu off this spot which it has held for a very long time. On the strength of what I have seen and used today, this will not be changing any time soon. Some say Ubuntu deserves everything it gets by foisting Unity onto the user, but it is still important to remember that without Ubuntu, there would be no Mint. If I gaze into my crystal ball however, I think the future will hold something different for Mint:- Debian-based? Even an stand-alone? We will have to see - this is why I love Linux.   

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The best Linux operating system?

                  Kubuntu 11.04 KDE, 32bit with customised icons and wallpaper.

I can bore everyone endlessly with the number of Linux distributions I have tried to get here, but the criteria I have used is that it has to be to some degree user-friendly, solid and reliable with good support for when I get into trouble. Also, the system had to work from the offset, as I wanted minimal tinkering, and maximum working. The final list of contenders were Linux Mint 10 KDE, Simply Mepis, Pardus 2011, PC Linux OS 2011.6 and Ubuntu 11.04 (with the new Unity desktop).
I started with Ubuntu 64 bit, and although I had no major problems with the actual workings of it, I found it to be sluggish even with 4Gb of Ram installed and a Pentium i5 processor. My AMD graphics card (on-board) worked well to start with, but I soon found problems with Compiz crashing, requiring a hard reset, and as hard as I tried, the aesthetics and overall look were just not for me, so I moved on through trying other choices. I must admit that after reading Issue 413 of Distrowatch Weekly, I was looking forward to trying Kubuntu, and finally decided that 32bit was the better choice. The result is a stable, quick (after turning all effects off) system, which has worked out well. The runner-up was Pardus 2011.