understandable linux tips, tricks and tutorials

review: opensuse 12.2


I’m going to put my conclusion to this review right up front – OpenSuse 12.2 is a solid desktop and server operating system built on the incremental improvements that have been made across the linux ecosystem in the last 10 months. Whilst that sounds rather like damning with faint praise, in the current operating system ecosystem, there will be many who will find such an unspectacular and solid release, reason for wild celebration. OpenSuse is not trying to shoe-horn a tablet UI onto a desktop machine, ala OSX 10.8, Windows 8, and Ubuntu. OpenSuse is putting out a solid OS that provides its users with a system that they understand and meets their needs, is stable and performant, which in this day and age, is rather refreshing. Installation I won’t bore you with a long drawn out explanation of the installation, other than to say, it was straight-forward and uneventful. The installer is straight forward and simple, but also provides enough options to satisfy the advanced user. New Features bowels A huge number of the new features are found deep in the bowels of the system: It uses the 3.4 linux kernel, which introduces improvements to the btrfs file system,

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Apple’s Siri Makes The Command-Line Cool


As a Linux user, I’ve listened to my fair share of derision from users of other desktop operating systems, about the need to use the command-line on Linux. When confronted with such silliness, I’ve never been a Linux user who insists that you no longer need to use the command-line to use a Linux desktop. I’ve always been a user and supporter of the command-line. To me, the command-line interface has a solid home on the desktop. For many tasks it is far more efficient than the gui. To me, the command-line embodies the very purpose of computers – it allows you to do repetitive tasks very efficiently. The command-line excels at these and a GUI generally sucks at doing them. This view may be a product of the time at which I adopted Linux. In the late 90′s there were a lot of things that could only be done in Linux on the command-line. I agree that things have changed and many functions that were command-line only, are now happily served by a GUI interface. However, I’ve never subscribed to the view that no matter what, the GUI > the command-line. A common criticism of the command-line is that

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editing HD video: linux vs imovie

tux vs imovie

Yesterday, my kids were making a home movie to send to my mother in law. They’d made up some songs, which I’d recorded and were shooting the video to go with them. I suggested that they should edit the video in iMovie on my macbook pro. I figured that they should be able to cope fine with it – they’ve used macs at school to edit video and together with the “legendary” ease of use and “just works” approach of Apple software, it should be no problem. Sadly, they never got to try. The camera I use is a Canon HG20. It has an inbuilt hard drive and records video in the AVCHD format. This is an HD video format for consumer grade cameras and is used widely in mainstream cameras by the main camera makers. I have the latest version of iMovie ’11, which claims to have support for the AVCHD format. However, apparently, this support is limited and selective. Unfortunately, I have a camera that produces unsupported files. After trying to import the files into iMovie, iMovie simply says there has been an error importing the files, and would I like to make an archive of the files

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KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – An INTELligent Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the beta release of KDE SC 4.6. I lamented the regression that seemed to have occurred with kwin performance on my intel based graphics chip, whilst the performance on my NVIDIA based box had improved markedly. I have now had a chance to update my intel based machine to KDE SC 4.6 RC1 and wanted to post a quick update. I’m very pleased to report that kwin performance is as good as it is on the NVIDIA machine. Windows wobble with no tearing or jerking. Window resizing is fast and much much smoother than in 4.5. Other animations feel snappier and smoother. So whilst KDE SC 4.6 does not have a huge number of new features, it is definitely worth the upgrade for the performance improvements in kwin.

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KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – Another Look

A few weeks ago, I put up a post about the first beta release of KDE SC 4.6. Unfortunately, due to a number of bugs, I’ve had to revert back to 4.5 on a couple of machines. One because there seemed to be a regression in graphics performance on the Intel based chipset I had on one machine. The other, because I decided to move from openSuse back to Kubuntu, which I might say was a pleasant surprise in terms of polish and stability. Anyway, back to the story at hand … Having now installed KDE SC 4.6 RC1 on my main desktop machine, running Kubuntu, it seems to be playing quite nicely. Here are my impressions of this latest pre-release of KDE SC 4.6. kdepim and akonadi As I have stated in my previous post, the only really earth shattering thing in this release is (was) the porting of the KDEPIM suite of applications to Akonadi. This was left out of the 4.5 release due to too many bugs. Well, it seems that it will be left out of the 4.6 release as well, due to migration issues with large data sets. This is interesting, as I had a

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5 Things I Miss From Linux When Using OSX

I have been a Linux user for over 10 years. I have used it exclusively on my home systems since that time and although it was a struggle at the beginning, I haven’t had any desire to use any other operating system … until now. Recently I purchased a MacBook Pro. Principally because I like the hardware, and can put Linux on it. However, it has also given me the opportunity to use OSX. In fact I’ve been using OSX quite a lot – given I’ve paid for it, I want to really see how it works. However, in the course of using it, I’ve come across a number of features of Linux and the KDE desktop that I greatly miss. If you think I’m wrong on any of the items below, please let me know – I’d love to be able to fill in some of the gaps I’ve found. This is my list: 1. A Package Manager Package management is a central feature of most Linux distributions. Whether it be apt, rpm, emerge, packman or the myriad of other package managers, the basic premise is the same – the ability to update every piece of software on your

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KDE SC 4.5 – Desktop Activities Exposed

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KDE SC 4.5 RC1- The (well) hidden features


This is the third in a series of posts about the pre-releases of KDE SC 4.5. This one is about the first release candidate. In the previous posts about beta 1 and beta 2 I went over the new features in 4.5 – few as they are. I also pointed out that one of the focuses of this release is stability. Obviously RC 1 adds no new features, so what is there to talk about? Well, there’s more stability – since beta 2 was released, 1233 bugs have been reported and 1165 have been closed – pretty impressive. Despite there being no new features in the RC, there is one new feature that overlooked in my previous posts. The new configuration dialog for the oxygen style. In KDE SC 4.4, this was hidden. When you set the oxygen style in the appearance configuration module, there were a few configuration options, but possibly not enough for the die-hard KDE users who like to configure every aspect of their desktop to within an inch of its life. So in this release of KDE SC, you have the ability to tweak a whole bunch of aspect of the oxygen style: So what are

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Microsoft’s Got Nothin’ – The Patent “War” Against Linux

In the last three years, Microsoft claims to have entered into over 600 licensing agreements with companies small and large over alleged patent violations in "Linux". One consistent feature of all these agreements is that their contents are unknown. No one, other than Microsoft and the relevant "licensee", knows which parts of "Linux" violate which patents. Another consistent feature is that most of the "licensees" are small companies without the resources to take on Microsoft in a patent claim. However, there are a number of larger or more high profile companies that have also entered into such agreements, including Amazon, Novell, Xandros, Turbolinux, TomTom and most recently HTC. The whole situation is clouded in mystery under a veil of PR speak and mumbo jumbo. So what the hell is going on? What can we deduce from what we know so far? The Who The identity of the companies that have entered into these arrangements is an important factor to consider. Most of the companies involved are small, and presumably have small, or non-existent patent portfolios; basically companies vulnerable to attack by a company with the financial power, and massive patent portfolio, of Microsoft. These are companies that, when faced with

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Ubuntu Makes Another Poor Technology Choice – Battle of the Movie Editors

Yet again, with Lucid Lynx, Ubuntu has shunned a much better technology for no good reason other than what appears to be NIH syndrome. Ubuntu 10.04 came out last week, and included a movie editor in the default install for the first time. The movie editor they chose: PiTiVi. Now PiTiVi has been around for a long time, but has progressed very little. It can do very basic video manipulation. It can cut and split files, and move them round on a time line. That’s pretty much it. Furthermore, as far as I’m aware, it currently does not support the most popular HD video format used in cameras today – AVCHD. It lacks any video or audio filters, does not do transitions, nor titling. I know that Ubuntu tries to provide basic tools that will appeal to the average user – hence the replacement of GIMP with F-Spot in the default install, but in my view support for HD video formats, filters and transitions are the bare minimum features anyone looking to do video editing in the current environment would require. Furthermore, these features are provided by kdenlive in an interface which is just as simple as PiTiVi. But under

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Site last updated October 20, 2012 @ 12:53 pm