Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ireland ..reloaded

Well I do not know why but it seems I have developed some kind of an addiction to Ireland, very interesting island. Rough country but kind people and a lot of friends. So while the "review money" were hot I bought a cheap flight to see them all. Leaving all "the stress" (no not really as I didn't have stress for a while) behind and went last Thursday right from the work to the airport. Two planes of Aer Lingus and ČSA were heading to Dublin, one flew on time, I was in the other one. Well Laďa and Michal were kind enough and both waited for me patiently, chewing their time in one of Dublin's casinos ;)

We got to Carlow and I tried to do my best and stayed up to 4 am. Time schedule was pretty tough and this was just really the start of it. My friends in Carlow are all croupiers, pretty good one. So there they were Poli, Gabča,Meggie, Michal and Laďa ... time to drink. I got up at nine and others around 4pm. The very same thing happened on Friday's night, tried to stay up as much as I could and managed to get to bed around 5. During the day I spent most of the time fixing Michals computer and talking that nice and crazy stuff about Global warming and so on and yes in the free afternoon I sent couple of CV's just to see my chances. And I even got one call and scheduled meeting on Monday, what a productive day.

On Saturday we had a trip to Dublin to buy Poli new computer, unfortunately one do not see any kind of DatArt or Electro World in Dublin's major shopping center DunDrum's. Well we still managed to get HP Pavilion with Core 2 Duo and Nvidia Go7400 chipset. Vista included. I have to say right now, VISTA IS SLOW and SLOW. We spent like at least 40 minutes in the shop before the "first time" process was over and I do not want to go through it again. But is has Aero, the real reason why Poli bought it. Later the night I felt really tired and yawned all the time. But Poli and about 6-to-8 vodkas (sometimes double) helped me to stay up through the night again.

Sunday I was bit clever and got up about 1 pm, my friends are even smarter and got up about 5pm. Except for Gabca, lovely girl, she got up quite early, she rules the house. House is still clean and everything is in its place. Without her I probable would ended up in a place where people and bugs (all kind of them) tries to live in a synergy, just like the old times from the college. During this day I started to feel a bit dizzy, likely all the sleep lag I acquired during last few days. All I ate the day was veggie soup, but good one. Finished setup of Vista (it does not come with DivX codecs preinstalled and is still far from ideal user experience, mixing things from Apple and previous versions of Windows, sometimes it is better, sometimes not) and now I really feel confident telling people to try Ubuntu as it provides user with nice, coherent and intuitive interface to work with.

Monday was quick, I got up, said goodbye and got on bus to Dublin. Bruno was there, managed me a place to put my bags. Met friend of him Katerina, which is great companion and was about to see what is on the market. But the day was cursed and about 1 pm I realized my CV contact is partially wrong. What the heck. After four there was another beer with other Czechs in Blue Goose. As far as I remember Bruno,Babu,Petr,Katerina,Tomas(perhaps twice) were all there and then another couple of drinks at Bruno's house. Battery depleted...completely.. for sure

Don't know how, but got up at 4:50, and then it was quick ride to home... 12:00 lunch with Eva.

Love you, glad to be home....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Positive review of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04

The latest reincarnation of popular distribution is out for a while and I decided to share my own experience here. Recently there were two machines available for testing. My Mums desktop which we have at home and is used mainly for surfing the web and is Linux powered already for some time and keeps its users happy. As the amount of data is minimal (photos, few documents, settings) complete re-installation is done and user usually wont notice new version of Ubuntu as long as the Firefox icon is at its place. The other machine is company provided new toy (ehm production laptop of course), small, light and beautiful Dell D420.

Installation on both machines went without any problems, wouldn't we have non-standard disk layout setup I believe everybody can install that on empty box. Just few clicks and there you go. Boot process is fast and nice and animated logo is presented. In about 30seconds I was logged into the desktop.

Networking part is done right, there is NetworkManager which works perfectly for both setups. I've managed to connect to several WPA protected networks without any hitch, wired connection is perfect as well. Only problem with NetworkManager I ran into so far is asking for gnome-keyring password to access stored WPA keys. There are few posts on the internet on how to change it, but simple check box to allow NetworkManager to access some parts of Gnome Keyring (password storage) without further user involvement is something that is missing at the moment.

Graphic drivers, for some reasons there is Nvidia graphics card installed on the dekstop machine. After install I was presented with restricted manager pop-up telling me that Nvidia didn't have open sourced its drivers yet (so far only Intel did which I'm so thankful for) and binary drivers might be necessary to install before I'm allowed to take full potential of the system. But the nice thing ends here. I clicked to use proprietary driver and ubuntu installed that and restart was required. After restart I still had open source implementation of the driver in use instead of Nvidia one. This means no 3D Desktop effects and likely show stopper for and unexperienced user. Well few searches on the Internet and manual change of used driver in configuration file and it is working now. I assume this is because the first incarnation of such a manager and things will likely get better with future versions. On laptop I had to install i915resultion to get 1280x800 working by default, another thing if detected automatically would boost the "Wow it really works" effect. In 7.04 there are now Desktop Effects available. By default it provides wobbly windows (really Wow... for few hours), nice Alt-Tab switcher between applications and and quite usable 3D cube with mapped workspaces to each side. Unfortunately after using it, metacity window manager is not used anymore and many of the keyboard shortcuts do not work, so I reverted back to 2D desktop.

Now few things I miss. Ubuntu doesn't come with some nice sets of predefined applications or any other content. There is Examples folder but that is. How about to preload some bookmarks, add more of quality wallpapers, more icons for users so we can have graphical login manager by default. Install some templates for OpenOffice by default (even simple ones like CD covers would make difference). Give users a bunch of internet radios right into the Rhythmbox (which in this version works very well by the way). And I miss Java, it has been open sourced recently so why we do not have it installed by default? Firefox didn't come with any Java plug-in on my machine, the very same for Flash. First thing users usually checks is connection to popular sites like YouTube. How about get democracy on our desktops by default?

Final verdict: Clean, fast and one of the best Linux distributions out there getting better with every release. I think Gutsy Gibon (the next incarnation of Ubuntu) can be a perfect choice for many end users. A I also should not forget about great forums that helps users with almost any problem there. Well done guys.