Sunday, May 25, 2008

12:54 AM

KDE Ubuntu 8.04

This is a continuation to my earlier post on WinXP SP3 and Ubuntu 8.04.

I guess I am too addicted to the K Desktop Environment (KDE) that I have to switch back to gain some peace of mind. So I manually selected all the KDE base and add-on packages one by one for download. Talk about painful fingers... Lucky got my trusty and durable Razer Diamondback and Logitech G15 (original).

So here is the result...

KDE 4 on this (Gnome-based) Ubuntu distro

Generally speaking, if one wishes to have the KDE interface for the Ubuntu installation, he should download the Kubuntu variant. But I was too lazy to redownload and reinstall it. So I just ran the KDE interface atop the Ubuntu base installation. Abit sluggish I have to admit but usable.

This newest version of KDE 4 seems so advanced compared to the last time I used it in Kubuntu 7.10! Almost everything is customisable via the widgets feature. The taskbar, system menu, system tray and clock are treated as individual widgets to be moved around or removed in its entirety. For Windows users, imagine the ability to place/remove your Start Menu beside the clock or on the desktop? The possibilities are endless!

Contrary to my expectations, Mozilla Firefox ran without any hitches. To answer Ajani Mgo's question (I typed a short reply there too) in that earlier post, the Firefox installation refused to initiate in my previous 7.10 version. Maybe it was because I did not install the GTK toolkit as part of the dependency.

You are right in a sense that there is a toolkit mismatch in both desktop environments, however Gnome/Firefox uses GTK+ and KDE uses QT, not vice-versa as you have claimed. Firefox is inherently sluggish on KDE to begin with because of the additional GTK+ libraries which are not loaded during the KDE startup. These libraries also tend to cause performance and system stability problems which were the "issues" I was referring to for Kubuntu 7.10. In the earlier distros I used, there was no problem.

This is my 9th Linux distro installation, I started off with Red Hat Linux 9 in Sec 2, followed by a purchase of Suse Linux 9.2, then Fedora Core (FC) 4 through 6, OpenSuse 10.2 followed by Kbuntu 7.10, Ubuntu 7.10 then this current version of Ubuntu 8.04. Not to mention the countless Live-CDs I used such as Knoppix, Slax and Damn Small Linux.

My OpenSuse 10.2's last screenshot before I switched to Ubuntu 7.04.

Linux has certainly come a long way since I first started using it. Its progress seems to be so much faster then its proprietary opponents. Its huge plethora of features and customisablity options have always appealed to me since I touched it. I'm addicted to this OS. But due to the fact that it cannot utilise my wireless adapter and a lack of applications/games/support for it, I am forced to go back to dual-boot Windows more often then not.

I did pose a question about my wireless adapter in a computer forum (I used to contribute regularly) but got no satisfactory answer. Anyone help me?

Finally, I have decided to download the latest Fedora Core 9 OS despite just installing Ubuntu the day before. I just find that Ubuntu does not suit me. The only innovation I seem to admire is its inherent locking of the root user account. Fedora Core always seem to appeal to me for an unknown reason. Maybe because of its roots in Red Hat Linux which I bonded with in my first experience?

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8 Comment(s)

Oops, haha, my bad!

I have not switched to KDE 4 at the moment, after most reviewers I have read described it as fantastic but buggy. Following the Mandriva roadmap, I should join the KDE 4 wave when KDE 4.1 gets released - the bugs are anticipated to be smoothened out by 4.1 to make it a really cutting-edge mature technology.

By Blogger Ajani Mgo, at 25 May 2008 at 11:52 AM 

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As to the bugginess, I think this is part and parcel for most just-released Open Source software. From my 2-day personal experience with KDE4 so far, I have not run into any major bugs although there are indeed many minor ones.

The strange is that there is that its difficult to create desktop icons. Dragging from the K menu does not work. Dragging from Konquerer or Dolphin seems to be the only option.

Changing resolutions requires a restart as my entire desktop and taskbar went blank leaving only the open applications.

The widgets are confusing to handle. The desktop and taskbar are treated as separate entities that support the same widgets. Yet the application in charge of managing them does not distinguish between the two. So its time consuming to verify each widget as its being used. And widget positions for the taskbar are fixed upon selection, much to my chagrin.

Well, FC 9's biannual schedule was up two weeks ago, I simply cannot wait till November for FC 10 to contain KDE 4.1. I dun mind being an early adopter for free software (never hardware). I can always wait for the automatic update at early August. By then, I hope the earlier problems should have been resolved.

By Blogger yeokm1, at 25 May 2008 at 5:07 PM 

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Fedora is one Linux I haven't tried before - on most Linux platforms, I find wireless adapters' compatibility to be a key problem with the distros. In fact, my first impressions of any Linux distro is always to look at the wireless capabilities by default and then look at the rest e.g. performance etc.

Many times it is a simple matter of fetching the right drivers from the repositories, but I'd suppose this Windows trait of user-friendliness (theoretically) got stuck with me as I migrated to Linux since last year, ever since I decided I had it with my Vista. My priority is a distro that is ready-to-go.

KDE 4.1 gets released late July. If you are excited enough, you probably can fish it out of the repos by then.

Sometimes I find myself waiting for minutes in front of the library computers for a simple printing job to be done while the CPU just hangs there - wonder if I should recommend the admins to switch to Linux... Haha! I suppose if we customize the look of the distro well-enough using existing Windows-like KDE themes and stuff no one should suspect that they are even NOT on Windows! (I'm about a Linux advocate now.)

By Blogger Ajani Mgo, at 26 May 2008 at 9:20 PM 

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Hmm. What wireless adapter do you use then? Mandriva can succcessfully utilise it?

I think the problem with my wireless adapter is that it uses a different chipset then the one on the market even with the same model number. Saw on some websites that Linksys tends to do this even with the same revision. So even if a distor claims it can work with the adapter, mine may be using some odd chipset and cannot.

As to KDE 4.1, thats why I said I will wait for the yum repository (update repository for FC) to contain it in early August. The update shouldn't mess my system much.

For lab computers, a suggestion from me would be to use the Lenovo computers at the centre aisle. Their specs are much better than the rest and run much faster.

Linux conversion by MOE? Wait long long haha. Its much more expensive to administer Linux computers as there are few specialised Linux-trained system administrators in Singapore . Most tend to have MSCEs. Few have RHCEs or similar. Then plus all the current investment on Windows-based software plus the possible retraining of students and teachers, I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

If you really want to use Linux on a school computer, you can always bring your own Live-CDs or USB boot drives!

Linux rocks! But I would not consider myself as an advocate as the time is still not "right".

By Blogger yeokm1, at 28 May 2008 at 2:11 PM 

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Mine is an Atheros laptop chipset, which is pretty well-supported by some distros natively; requires some 'madwifi' drivers with others; and completely sucks with the rest.

Mandriva One can use it out-of-the-box, but I am not too sure about Mandriva Free. The difference between the two is that One comes with some proprietary drivers and software, but Free is really the pro-open-source version. Perhaps it's a matter of finding the right drivers for your case; I wouldn't be as confident of my chipset working as well in Mandriva Free even, with its limited pool of drivers which might not happen to contain mine.

Some government statutory boards have moved to open-source some time ago already with their adoption of OpenOffice - haha, perhaps it shouldn't be too long until Linux gets into their consciousness as well. Again though, the Windows virtual monopoly effectively renders most from a young age Microsoft-only psychologically. Many would not try Linux, unless for a very good practical reason - in my case, because I was just fed up with Windows (which isn't exceptionally usual for a generation fed on Windows inefficiency).

I think however bringing the Apples from the AEP room up to the library would bring a much more appreciative audience - so much for advertising!

I had previously used my USB as a live distro (luckily for the USB-first boot order), but pretty much gave up after a while for a more less-attention-grabbing option. Now I just use Portable Firefox that still avoids the frequent hangs of IE, after I endure the 5-minute login hang. :)

By Blogger Ajani Mgo, at 29 May 2008 at 5:36 PM 

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Your adapter can work, toast for your rare luck with Linux! I have tried finding a driver/configuring ndiswrapper for almost a year before I posted on a forum. One year on, there is still no answer. Sometimes, I just have to accept the fact that it really cannot work.

Right now, I lack the cash to purchase the next generation of Windows OS, Vista. Upgrading through Linux is partly the most cost effective way of having access to newer OS security functions and next-gen capabilities.

Heard it was MINDEF that started the local Openoffice wave in government departments. I started using Linux even before I began to use Windows XP at home. Then, I wanted to try out something new as a mere computer enthusiast. Installation then was already GUI-based, but not too user-friendly. Despite being a DOS guru, I was still almost turned off by the huge terminal commands one has to type to accomplish a basic Windows task like installing a driver or software.

As for school, maybe you can petition for it? I would be among the first to try. Never used Apple much as my schools lack them and parents see it as a waste of money to get one. I try to get my experience whenever I'm in Apple Centre in Funan or IT Shows!

By Blogger yeokm1, at 29 May 2008 at 11:05 PM 

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Haha! Petition for it? Guess it ain't one of my things listed in my short-term meaning of life for me to do so.

It's not 100% compatibility with hardware I have though - I haven't found a distro that works for my integrated webcam, though it's not really much-used by me. My previous attempts at most distros that didn't work with my adapter was to use madwifi and do it the power-user way. After connecting step-by-step, eventually there would be a failure and the problem always turned up to be an inability to get an IP address from my router, probably a DHCP problem. However with my diagnosis still, I was never able to get a solution. It is reported in buglists that even as some adapters are claimed to be supported natively, it is not possible completely (especially for laptops and some CPUs) because of the specific way they are programmed and set by the manufacturers assembling the components e.g. I assume that on my laptop, the chipset was fine-tuned for Vista usage, making it inaccessible to some other OSes. I'm speculating and filling in the gaps here because when it comes to hardware, I'm a n00b.

Have you ever heard of the BSD family of distros? They are the original UNIX before *nix. Still in development today, it is claimed that they have the most stable kernel around, while updates are almost-daily (to the CVS, so if you really wanna keep updated security-wise, you have it, though you may compromise some stability before the updates become official). I tried a fork of it once i.e. PC-BSD for about three weeks - I found that while there wasn't much noticeable improvement in speed (I couldn't tell anyway, I wasn't running a high-workload server.), my impression of it was that it was a more-stable kernel, though I cannot back it up with solid evidence - more like because I really didn't get any crashes or freezes totally (although if I have that in Mandriva it's usually because of a program run with Wine). I however gave the BSD up in the end when I thought that while even as I wasn't using Windows, Linux seemed a li'l more 'common' for software support and there would be a higher chance to use Linux in the future somewhere else than BSD. Besides, the BSD system of using 'ports' and 'packages' for PC-BSD was a far cry away from the user-friendliness of the Linux repos (sadly second to perhaps Windows graphical installers).

By Blogger Ajani Mgo, at 30 May 2008 at 5:30 PM 

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Wah! This post has set the record for the most number of comments!

My wireless adapter suffers from the exact same problem! Most tutorials on the net only focus on getting the adapter detected by Linux. Few go beyond to talk about the actual connection after the detection. Although mine is a desktop, I think the problem is still the same. I think many adapter drivers/chipsets contain many proprietary performance-enhancing technology that is designed for Windows services. Due to the infancy of the Linux wireless adapter reverse-engineers, its unlike the actual workings of most adapters can be derived anytime soon.

I heard of BSD. But due its lack of support (Linux's support is not much in the first place), I did not dare to try it for fear of it crashing my sole computer at home then.

Now that you mentioned and with the existence of the VMware virtual OS program, I think I will try out a virtual version of it within Windows XP and see how it goes. Thanks for bringing it to my attention once more!

If you have not heard of it, VMware is really a safe way to run alternative OSes in a safe and virtualised environment. The only drawback is that it may tax your computer's resources to its limit as you have two OSes and their programs running simultaneously. This is provided the OS creater has created an image of it.

A similar one to this is Microsoft Virtual PC. This is more powerful as you can install whole OSes from scratch as if it were the only OS running on the computer. Tried for the first time installing Windows Vista RC1 to get an early feel. Subsequently, I installed DOS 6.22/Win 3.1 and Win 98SE to get back my old memories for fun!

Although MS did not say whether VPC can run on Windows XP Home, I have tried it without any problems.

By Blogger yeokm1, at 31 May 2008 at 2:56 PM 

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