October 28, 2010

Ubuntu splits from GNOME GUI

By Larry Dignan
Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic.

Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth on Monday detailed how Ubuntu will split from the GNOME user interface for Unity, which is its netbook approach. Simply put, Ubuntu will have a custom user interface.

The reaction to various press reports from Computerworld, Ars Technica and others has gone to extremes:

  • First, Canonical could be portrayed as evil because it’s flipping its middle finger to the open source community.
  • Others say that GNOME was hard to work with.
  • And then you get your Unity sniping.

Don’t expect much unity in the open source community over Ubuntu’s very significant change.

The reality: If Ubuntu really wants to be a player on the desktop it will have to have more control over its user interface. Meanwhile, it makes no sense to have a UI for netbooks and PCs. In fact, the UI is everything. And as Apple has shown you can’t really do interface by committee.

Now Shuttleworth acknowledged Ubuntu has a lot of work to do. Ubuntu OS needs to rethink everything from windows management to what the interface should look like. Ubuntu’s decision to go to a UI over GNOME (GNU Network Object Modeling Environment) is risky. However, if you can take a shot at broader adoption you do it. The Ubuntu interface (right) isn’t going to get the masses excited.

In other words, this split from GNOME looks like a solid decision to me. Dell is selling Ubuntu laptops and if Ubuntu wants other PC makers to follow it needs a hot interface. Let’s face it: If the best thing Ubuntu can do is mimic the interface of Windows it will never get beyond the enthusiasts. Show us something innovative via the Unity pragmatism and maybe you’ll sway others to Ubuntu.

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October 26, 2010

Update To Broken Raid

IMG_3452Image by Jemimus via FlickrBy The Computer Doctor

So I took a couple of weeks to go over the problem of my RAID disks being offline or half online or ready but no logical discs ect.

My Failure In Understandings:
  • I thought that all 6 drives were the same size, but there were three 9 Gb drives and three 25 Gb drives so I will not be able to have more than three discs in my logical drive
  • I thought that I should be able to configure these RAID arrays from the BIOS or from inside Server 2003 which would be software RAID instead of Hardware RAID
My Confusion In Research:
I had three items that came up during boot time and I didn't know which one I needed to learn about to fix my problem.
  • CH B, SCSI ID: 6 COMPAQ SDT-10000 this was a SCSI zip drive. Irrelevant!
  • Adaptec AIC-7896 this is the card that the hot swap drives plug into. Still not helpful
  • IBM ServeRaid 3h this is the huge almst 20 inches long card that actually controlled all the SCSI items. I needed a live cd from IBM to set this up and now I finally found the component that fixed my problem.
I can't stress enough that Google is your best friend, or as my friend Fred commonly mis-quotes me "Everyone likes Google".

My next problem is I am commonly getting a server management controller error. I'm not that worried though because this is the server that gave the school so many fits to start with, it was free to me and I know that it can probably be fixed given enough research.
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October 13, 2010

Broken RAID

By The Computer Doctor

Finally, the moment I've been waiting for, I have my first server.

As many of you who have followed me over the past year know, I inherited five servers from a school who just closed and have been storing them at my friend Fred's house ( see Holy Man Or Hallucinating Ham for the incredible story of Fred laying on of hands ). So I finally picked up the first of those servers to set up at my house and promptly ran into problems.

We started out with a three disc RAID5 logical disc with 17.8 usable GB. I installed sever 2003 and got all the updates. When I got home I did some investigating and found another logical disc with 69.3 GB offline that was available so I promptly brought it online. Finally I decided to try to merge the two logical discs for one combined 6 disc raid array which would probably have given me roughly a 92 GB logical drive.

Now the first 17 GB logical drive is offline and one of the other disc's read critical and I am having to re-install Server 2003. Now it dawns on me that this might be the same server that kept giving the school all the problems in the first place.

So in addition to finishing up preparations for the studio I am having to learn all about this RAID controller to try to repair it.

CALLING ALL GEEKS AND HACKERS: If anyone knows anything about a Adaptec AIC-7896 RAID controller, send me a comment or use the contact us page at the top. I will be researching this on my own until someone helps me, I find the answer or I get tired and move on to a different server.
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October 08, 2010

Net Nutrailty

by The Computer Doctor

When the Internet was first invented or rather became available to the general public it was a new medium of information exchange that should be open to anyone that was able to connect.
Now we are on the verge of the Internet Service Providers making special privileges that will enable faster connections to special members which could make connecting to Giant Computer Companies website run faster than perhaps The Computer Doctor, or may even cause search engines to redirect traffic to preferred members or even block traffic to sites that haven't paid the special membership dues.
See this video for an ultra simplistic explanation by the Ninja.

This video is an advertisement for SaveTheInternet.com which also gives you constructive measures to help try to keep net neutrality for us and future generations.

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October 06, 2010

No Audio?

By The Computer Doctor

So this week I get a call from one of our sales reps and they have a customer that just doesn't understand the new annotation function in the grading part of one of our keyboarding products. The sales rep tells me "it's too bad you can't just make a video to show this instructor how this works..."

Of course I didn't need anything more than a stray comment like that to get me to make a video.
So I crank out a nice video in about 20 minutes and publish it and send it out to the sales rep and the instructor.

Fast forward 24 hours and the instructor sends me an e-mail stating "I tried watching the video at work and couldn't hear the audio so I went home and tried it and I still can't hear the audio"

That's because there is no audio you crazy old bat! If you had any sense I wouldn't have to make a video for you in the first place!

Word to the wise, I guess, is always have audio just in case. Now Crank up your speakers and rock out to my revised video.

October 05, 2010

LibreOffice isn't an OpenOffice fork... yet

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Many people are assuming the Document Foundation's LibreOffice is an OpenOffice fork. It's not. Not yet anyway.

I agree with almost everyone that it's highly unlikely that Oracle will join up, although it is possible. Oracle has very little interest in anything that doesn't contribute to the price of fuel for one of Larry Ellison's jets. That means that Oracle's main focus will be its server software stack.

Ellison does have some interest in OpenOffice. Back in June 2009, not long after Oracle purchased Sun, Ellison proposed that OpenOffice developers quit using C++ for OpenOffice and switch to using JavaFX. That idea went over like a lead balloon.

Even before Ellison proposed that developers dump their ten-plus years work for an unpopular language, OpenOffice programmers weren't happy. Getting new features or just bug-fixes through the OpenOffice organization was a long and painful process, whether it was controlled by Sun or by Oracle.

In general, Sun's top developers haven't been happy with Oracle anyway. James Gosling, Java's creator, left saying that Oracle had been low-balling key employees and cutting projects off at the knees. A who's who of top programmers could be made from former Sun employees alone. For example, besides Gosling, Jeff Bonwick, creator of ZFS, the popular high-end file system and logical volume manager, has just left Oracle.

The long and short of it is that Oracle is not a place where the best developers want to work. Many of the software projects Oracle inherited from Sun still have their devoted programmer fans. OpenSolaris, which has been left to die by Oracle, now lives on in Illumos. I see the Document Foundation as a preemptive strike to keep OpenOffice alive in its current form as a standalone desktop application.

What's happening now is that LibreOffice will come out in a final version by year's end (it's already available in beta). Its developers tell me that first version will consist mostly of long-delayed bug fixes and a few new features that are already available in Novell's version of OpenOffice, such as the ability to read and write Microsoft OpenXML formatted documents.

After that, what happens with LibreOffice will all depend on what the developers and end-users want -- not what Oracle wants. If Oracle doesn't like it, then we'll see a fork.

What I mean by a fork, by the by, is an actual split in the code. For example, Ubuntu can be seen as a fork of Debian. No one doubts that Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux, but it's also clearly a Linux distribution in its own right. Simply changing out some trademarks and product names, which, for example, is what Oracle did with Red Hat Enterprise Linux when it created Oracle Linux, isn't the same thing. At this early point, that's all the Document Foundation has done with OpenOffice.

My expectation is that Oracle will quietly let OpenOffice gather dust, and LibreOffice will become the new open-source office suite of choice. What do you think?

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