Tag Archives: Linux


I’m currently at an internship, living away from home, and enjoying it! It’s an interesting experience to be completely self-supported for a change. There’s no going back now, so I better enjoy it. 🙂

Unfortunately, I’m back in Windows right now. For whatever reason, I felt that I wasn’t able to do the work I needed to do in Linux. Probably my fault, I know. I wasn’t a big fan of KDE4 in Kubuntu 8.04. Just felt incomplete. Last, Linux desperately needs good Windows Mobile support; I tried using the app that’s available (forget what it was called now), and it was extremely difficult to setup and not very easy to use.

I’m in the market for a laptop right now, I’ll need to get a fairly powerful one to replace my desktop while I’m in Korea next semester. People keep recommending that I get a MacBook Pro, but it would pain me to buy the hardware from Apple that I can buy from Dell for $600 less. Even if you claim that the $600 gets “the best OS out there”, $600 is a whole lot of money for an OS.

I stumbled across ASciencePad today. Amazing application! I’ll definitely want to use it from school.

As far as my car in my last post, I got the window and the taillight fixed. The rest of the damage will just have to stay. I’ll be in Tornado alley in three years anyways for the foreseeable future, so probably best I don’t have a perfect car to get ruined there. 😛

10 days in linux

I’m finally able to use Kubuntu for an extended time! I told myself that I’d stay for as long as I could if linux started supporting my dual screen display (I spent hours previously with little to no luck on getting dual screen to work) and supported GMod above 800×600 resolution. It now does both! I have now used Kubuntu without booting into Windows once for 10 days. In order to share my joy with whoever may read this blog entry, I’ll share some tips I learned along my travels. 🙂

  1. Always use envy to install your drivers. For whatever reason, the default restricted installer doesn’t install a very good driver.
  2. Use “sudo apt-get build-dep wine” to get the dependencies for building wine. I like to compile wine from scratch, so this has come in handy.
  3. Use “uname -a” to get your current kernel version
  4. Did you display configuration go bonkers and now you can’t do anything? Use “dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg” to reset the config.
  5. Do you get a black screen on startup? Install package “startupmanager”, run it under sudo, change the resolution to something lower. You probably also want to enable text display in there,  comes in handy.

Last, not included on the list because it’s pretty random, you can output to sound using /dev/dsp. Ex, file > /dev/dsp will “play” a file through your soundcard. Pointless but cool.

Linux and site

I got home for the holidays last Friday (Dec 15th). I decided to force myself to use Kubuntu 7.10 on my laptop, since I have time now to overcome any problems it throws at me. So far I’ve been pretty successful, the only thing I haven’t been able to get working is compiz/emerald, but that wouldn’t work on my desktop either so I’ve just given up now.

Samba threw me into a loop for a while, I was trying to setup shares similar to windows, read-only and no password required. I thought I had it setup great, but it kept giving me “path cannot be found” when accessing the share from another machine. I eventually found the samba logs, saw that it said access was denied. I played around with permissions for a while, never getting the user “nobody” to be able to read from that folder. Finally I realized the external hard drive the folder was on was mounted with umask=007, meaning that other users and groups could never have permission to read from it. I removed the umask, set the permissions on the folder, and now it works great. This might be one of those things that I want to punch myself in the face for later down the road when I learn more about this type of stuff, but for now I’m the only user on this laptop so changing that can’t be too terrible.

The new website is coming along. I have a general design idea and I’m playing around with the CSS right now. I’m going with a dark theme, lighter text on a darker background. Not sure what I’ll do with the blog on there… guess I’ll find out when it’s done!

Sojourn into Kubuntu

Linux is something that’s been gnawing at me for a long time now. I know so little about it, I barely manage to bumble things into working order on my servers. Using linux as a full-time desktop OS has always been a dream of mine, so I finally decided to make the dream reality last Friday. I gotta say it was a source of pride knowing that nearly everything I was using, I could take a look at the source if I really wanted to.

The first problem I ran into was my RAID. Apparently Kubuntu doesn’t play nicely with hardware RAIDs. So, I had to break it apart and reinstall Windows (Have to install Windows first so you don’t have mess around with GRUB afterwards).

The second problem I ran into was my GPU driver and my dual monitor setup. Initially I tried using the nvidia-glx-new package off apt-get, but that ended up breaking X completely. Then, I used a neat little program called envy (after installing a dozen or so dependencies for it, by hand) to install the drivers for me. That worked great! Definite thanks to the author of that one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my dual monitor set up how I wanted it. I was hoping for something similar to the way Windows does it, but neither of the options offered was suitable to me.

The next problem I ran into was my external hard drive. I was hoping to be able to just plug it in and be able to access it, but Kubuntu wouldn’t hear of it. It took me a long time to figure out how to get it mounted the way I needed it to be.

I tried using the native TeamSpeak client, but it wouldn’t let me speak or hear others. Apparently there’s a tutorial on how to make TeamSpeak use ALSA instead of OSS which might have fixed my problem, but it looked like it had been directly translated from another language (horrible grammar) and it would have taken a large chunk of time to figure out.

Having Firefox in Kubuntu was of course nice, it made things quite a bit easier on me. Unfortunately, I never did figure out how to get web divx movies to play. I hear it’s possible with a bit of work though.

I found that Linux, while people might tote it as extremely stable, was not very stable for me. It totally froze on me three time (Had to use REISUB to get out) and KDE froze countless times. This might be just because I was doing so much emulation crap though. Also Amarok would randomly crash and leave a repeating sound of what it was playing for the last second until I could kill it.

Now, to talk about some niceties. I used Beryl for a while. It’s very much like Windows Blinds. I found Beryl to be fun to play around with for about 2 hours, then it just became annoying. Beryl also broke what use I had of my dual display. Setup for me was a breeze, but for my friend who has an ATI card, it took the better part of the day.

I had a chance to test out the seamless windows virtualization over remote desktop. Very cool! It gave me jitters to have a start menu right there by the KDE kicker and popping up windows apps like they were native in linux. Two things you should remember using this though: Don’t use it for any type of graphical program or anything that uses sound. I tried playing a simple board game with it and it was too much for it. The graphics were horrible and it gave me a pop-up error for every sound it tried to play.

I also had the opportunity to try out World of Warcraft and Steam on both wine and cedega. Cedega couldn’t run Steam at all (crashed at login page), but wine handled it beautifully. I tried playing Geometry Wars on Steam via Wine, but unfortunately no enemies ever spawn in the game… thus unplayable. Wine did a terrific job with garrysmod (a HL2 mod). It was a little rough around the edges because I couldn’t enable AF or AA, but really entirely bearable. Two things to note about garrysmod is that it would crash if I went to a higher resolution than 1024×768 and even though it claimed to be dx9, I’m pretty sure it was dx8. World of Warcraft ran fine on both cedega and wine (didn’t care enough to benchmark) in both dx and opengl. The only issue with World of Warcraft that I could see was that I couldn’t enable AF and I couldn’t see my portrait.

As far as performance, I was very impressed. Kubuntu started up within seconds (had it set to profile) and I never noticed a slow down while running any applications, even wine/cedega. I changed swappiness to 10, but never really noticed a difference.

Overall, it’s the little things like not having my dual monitor, not being able to play divx web movies, and not having AF in games that made me reluctantly boot back to Windows. Hopefully in another year or so, I’ll be able to go back to linux and stay there!