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  1. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 6, 2006, 1:01 a.m.

    Ok, here's another one of my write-ups, this time it's on Ubuntu Linux. I have been using Ubuntu for almost a month now myself (I have previously used Fedora and Red Hat Linux, but only really on and off, and mainly on a server, not really as my main desktop). However Ubuntu Linux has changed all that now, please read on about my experiences with Ubuntu Linux, hopefully some of you may like it as much as I did, and consider giving it a test drive ;-).

    What is Linux?

    Linux is an open source computer operating system suitable for laptops, desktops, servers, and many appliances. Linux possesses legendary stability and thousands of applications. Linux and the applications it runs are, many times, superior to their Windows counter parts. They are also free. Because of the method in which Linux and its applications are developed, they advanced much faster than proprietary software. This rapid advancement has taken Linux from niche to main stream in 10 years. Previous drawbacks, such as usability, have melted away in the past two years. Linux, like Windows, is a productivity tool for everyone. It is not just limited to programmers and technical minds anymore. The primary difference is that it is free to the public.

    What is Open Source?

    Open Source Software includes applications that are developed and licensed with the source code publicly available. This means that anyone has access to and can improve the code that makes up the software. As a result Open Source applications and the Linux operating system are improved rapidly and security is higher due to the increased scrutiny of the Open Source Community.

    What is Source Code?

    The source code, is the original code (instructions) that a programmer has typed in, to make up a computer program. The source code is in a human readable form to a computer programmer. However, before a program can be run or executed by a computer, the source code must be compiled into a binary (also called executable file), which can be executed by the computer. However, the binary is then no longer in a human readable form to the programmer.

    An analogy for source code would be a recipe to bake a cake. The recipe would be the source code, and the final product (the cake) would be the binary or executable. In an open source model, the baker of the cake will freely give away the recipe, so others can either bake the same cake, or improve on it and make a better cake (they must still credit the original baker however). This is exactly the model under which the Linux software is released.

    What is Closed Source?

    The opposite of open source would be closed source software, where the baker creates a cake, but does not release the recipe, so nobody can make the same cake or improve on it. For example, KFC could be considered closed source, as they do not release their recipe. Microsoft Windows is released under a closed source license, not only do you have to buy a license to use the program (you don't actually really own the software), but also Microsoft do not want to release the recipe on how Windows was made, so nobody can better it or even fix bugs, except for Microsoft themselves.

    With operating systems like Windows, updates are very slow, By the time Windows Vista comes out, around 5 years will have passed between the initial release of Windows XP. Not only that, Windows users also have to pay for each new version that comes out, and if they don't decide to buy a new version, after a number of years, Microsoft stop supporting the older versions of Windows. This has already happened to Windows ME, 98 and 95. This can have devastating results, as hackers now know how to “break” into these older versions of Windows, and Microsoft won't fix that. So in other words, these older versions of Windows now have a permanent back door in.

    Linux on the other hand is updated all the time. Ubuntu do a major release every 6 months, these new releases are free and always will be free. Because of the way Linux is designed internally (based on the proven, rock solid Unix operating system model), it is virtually untouchable by hackers, spyware and viruses. No system can be 100% secure off course, but the chances of a modern updated Linux system (even without a firewall) getting hacked into are so slim, they are practically non existent. As for spyware and viruses, there aren't really any spyware or viruses for Linux at all, so when using Linux, you might as well forget spyware even exists, as it will be a thing of the past. You don't even need to run an antivirus on Linux, as Linux viruses are practically non existent. If you keep your Linux install up-to-date (and the update runs constantly anyway), you don't need an antivirus or firewall.

    How can Linux benefit you?

    Where to start? Stability, security, no more crappy spyware installing itself on your computer and wreaking havoc. There are so many reasons it's hard to decide. Most importantly, Linux provides you with the freedom to use the software you like, the way you like to use it. You are not locked into any formats that are controlled by monopolistic companies. You choose. Linux also has legendary stability. No more blue screens of death or check disk screens when you boot up. You don't even need to defragment your drive in Linux, as the file system keeps itself defragmented. Linux is also easy to use (forget the myths about having to use the command line in Linux, everything can be done with a mouse now, those days have since gone). The learning curve is short and worth while. Once you move, you'll never look back.

    And then there is cost. Ubuntu Linux is free and all the software is free. Your email client, word processing, spreadsheets, drawing, presentations, and just about anything else you can think of is included or easily available for free. Every six months you receive a free upgrade to the latest Ubuntu operating system. In fact, all of the software installed on your computer is updated through one easy to use application. You don't have to update Windows, Office, and all of those other applications separately. It's all done for you using one automatic update program that keeps all the software up to date, not just the operating system itself, which is all that Windows update does. You'll never have to invest in software or software upgrades.

    What software comes with Ubuntu by default?

    Here is a list of some of the software that comes preloaded with Ubuntu, for a detailed list and screenshots (remember, pictures can tell a thousand words), please checkout the screenshots I created for you to look at in the gallery.

    • Open Office 2.0 office suite (Compatible with MS Office)
    • Totem movie player (*)
    • Rhythmbox music player (*)
    • CD ripping and burning software
    • Games
    • GIMP image manipulation
    • GAIM instant messenger
    • Firefox web browser
    • And many more high quality, free, open source, software packages


    I have placed lengthy descriptions for each screenshot, just open each screenshot and you can read the description in full below it.

    (*) Note, by default Rhythmbox music player and Totem movie player are setup to only play open formats such as OGG audio and video. MP3 is actually a closed format, support for these formats is not installed by default, but they can be installed very easily, simply by installing a few extra packages. You may want to consider checking out the OGG format anyway, since OGG is a far superior format to MP3, it procures cleaner, crisper sound and is a royalty free format, which MP3 is not. However, if you do need MP3 support, it is easily installed.

    Why choose Ubuntu Linux?

    The people at Ubuntu have an excellent philosophy behind their operating system and what they are doing. From the Ubuntu website:

    “Ubuntu” is an ancient African word, meaning “humanity to others”. Ubuntu also means “I am what I am because of who we all are”. The Ubuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

    Ubuntu is a high quality, stable, easy to use, easy to update Linux distribution. The operating system doesn't over clutter you with unnecessary applications and widgets and at the same time thousands of applications are easily available at the click of a button. Ubuntu is based on the Debian source (another very stable Linux distribution), and uses the very powerful and highly proven Debian package system for delivering and updating software without trouble, the big difference between Ubuntu and Debian, is that Ubuntu is aimed more towards users from all walks of life, wheter Debian is aimed more towards technical users.

    Ubuntu comes with a “Live CD”. Insert the CD into your CD-ROM drive (configure the BIOS to boot from CD first off course), and start your PC. Ubuntu will start directly from the CD, so you can test it out, it won't actually install onto your PC unless you tell it to. This allows you to see if your hardware will work properly with Linux (I will talk more about hardware compatibility later). The great thing is that Ubuntu comes only on a single CD. The default installation is very clean, it only installs one desktop environment (Gnome), one web browser (Firefox), and one email client (Evolution). Just the stuff you only really need for a base install. I have previously used Fedora Core 5, and comparing Ubuntu to Fedora, Fedora Core came on 5 CD's and installed far too much unnecessary software, including many double-ups such as multiple web browsers, email clients and two desktop environments. Ubuntu on the other hand has a very clean base load and installs just what you need. If you do decide to install Linux, Ubuntu only takes 10-15 minutes to install (depending on system speed), which is actually shorter than Windows XP. Fedora Core 5 however, easily took up to 1-2 hours to install for me.

    You can run both Windows and Linux on the same PC, Ubuntu will install a boot menu, so you can choose to either start Windows or Linux when your computer starts. This can make the transition much easier, or you can just run Linux as a second operating system to learn from. However, if you need to alter your partition layout to install Linux, backup your data first, be warned I have heard of some situations when resizing Windows NTFS partitions it can occasionally go wrong and lose your data. The best way I have found is to use something like Partition Magic to resize your Windows partition and free some room at the end of the drive, then start the Ubuntu install and tell it to install into the “Remaining Free Space”, that has always worked for me anyway.

    Obtaining the CD's

    You can either download the CD's directly from the Ubuntu Website, they will be in ISO format, so you need something like Nero to burn them in Windows. Ubuntu will even ship free (yes, completely free!) pressed CD's from the US, however this does take around 6-8 weeks. I opted for that option myself when Ubuntu 6.06 was just released, as I wanted originals. I have all the originals here, that is the 32-bit and 64-bit PC editions, as well as the Mac edition should anyone need it. If anyone wants a copy, I can burn them off for a small fee. This is just to cover the price of the CD and the time taken, the software is completely free. If you don't want to pay a small fee to get the CD's burnt while you wait, remember you can always download them from the Ubuntu website yourself, I am only giving an option.

    Remember that the Ubuntu CD is a Live CD and it runs directly from the CD, so you do not have to install it straight away, you can just boot from the CD and test it out a bit, see if you like it first, but take in mind that it does run a little slow directly from the CD, it runs much better when properly installed and configured.

    If you really want to try out Ubuntu but don't feel 100% confident installing it yourself, or are a little worried about possibly damaging your Windows partition, we can do it for you. This will be at our usual hourly rate, and I expect it should take no longer than 2 hours, or $90. In reality, it will take much longer, but since we don't charge for the time the computer is processing and we are not actually present behind it, we do not charge for that. We will backup your data, resize your Windows partition, setup Ubuntu, properly configure the drivers and software and fully update Linux, so it will be easy for you to begin learning Linux when you get your PC back, this investment may be well worth it if you want to get into Linux.

    Who is Linux for?

    I believe that Linux is not only for computer savvy people anymore at all, Linux is actually easier to learn for a new computer user, than it is learning Windows, plus you don't get the trouble of spyware, making it perfect for new users. For an existing user of Windows, there will be a learning curve off course, but the learning curve is fun and in my opinion well worth it.

    I believe Linux is perfect for people that use the Internet, chat, do some word processing, play some basic card games, etc, but just want their PC to work. They do not want to go through the hassle of getting viruses and spyware, or a computer that constantly crashes.

    Some sacrifices have to be made, Linux is NOT Windows, so you can't just run all your Windows programs on it, such as MS Office or Windows Live Messenger. However there are many free alternatives, such as Open Office and GAIM Messenger (which can do ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo). Should you really need to run Windows software, there is a free emulation program available called “Wine”, which can run most Windows software on Linux through emulation, should you really have to.

    Who is Linux not for?

    I would have to say, probably people who want to run the latest games. Although some games have already been ported to Linux, such as Quake 3 and Neverwinter Nights (which I got running successfully), not every game has a Linux version, some games may run through Wine, but not every game will. More and more games are being written for Linux lately, so this may change over time.

    As a gamer myself, I have moved away from Windows XP for general use, however I keep it on my machine just to play games, sounds crazy, but that is just the way things still are with the status of games in Linux. In time Linux will become more and more popular, and most games will be written for Linux as well, then one day I could fully remove Windows.

    Hardware support

    Hardware support is always the big question when installing Linux, although hardware support in Linux has vastly improved over the years and 99% of devices should work in Linux now, not every single device may be supported. The reason for a device not being supported in Linux often lies at fault with the manufacturer of the device, some hardware manufacturers do not put any effort into creating Linux drivers, as they do not (yet) see it as an important enough market. To make things worse, some manufacturers do not want to release technical details (i.e. keep it closed source), to how the hardware device works, so the open source community cannot build a driver for the device instead.

    The biggest problem in my experience are dialup modems, especially “Conexant” modems. Conexant actually charge $15 USD for the modem drivers in Linux, yet release the Windows drivers for free, this has not been taken very well by the Linux community, as it goes completely against what Linux is all about. If you want to install Linux, it may be better to move to broadband anyway, as the updates can sometimes be fairly big downloads, which can be quite painful to download over dialup. But if you must really use a dialup modem, the best supported modems for Linux are often external modems, which are actually still “true” hardware modems, not “software” controlled modems, which most modern PCI modems are. I have heard that Lucent soft modems do work in Linux however, but I have not yet tested them.

    Video cards would be the next question, the general rule tends to be, if you have a modern NVidia or ATI card, then Linux should work quite well, as both companies write good drivers, although the NVidia Linux drivers tend to be slightly better than the ATI's. If you have an older NVidia card such as a TNT you need to run the “legacy” drivers, and although these do work, 3D support is very slow and videos sometimes do not play correctly. Intel onboard video cards are also supported, but S3 and SiS onboard cards tend to be a bit patchy, some may work and some not. The best thing really is to run on a modern NVidia or ATI card.

    Sound cards seem to pretty much work, I have not found a sound card that was not detected by Linux yet.

    Printers, some will work and some will not, the best would be to find out on the internet if your printer is supported by Linux. My old Deskjet 660c worked no problem, however if you are going to purchase a printer and want to run Linux, you should really check first if the printer is supported

    Scanners, are pretty much the same as what goes for printers, some will work and some won't, it highly depends on the scanner

    USB memory sticks and digital cameras, as far as I am aware, most (if not all) USB memory sticks should work under Linux, but I am not too sure about digital cameras. If the digital camera has a USB connector, chances are that it may actually work as it will be seen as a USB disk anyway. If your camera is not supported by Linux however, you could always purchase a USB card reader that is supported by Linux, and just use the card reader to get the photos on your PC.

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  2. Author: Winston
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 9, 2006, 10:23 p.m.

    Hmmmm, I've been thinking of putting some form of Linux onto a older Win2K laptop I have at home. You may have just convinced me on Ubuntu!

    You could also buy a Mac and get many of those benefits… though you would need a few thousand $$$ burning a hole in ya pocket to pay the already very rich Steve Jobs. Bah… im starting to sound like a zealot. ;-)

    Whats your thoughts on speed on older machines? I was thinking Ubuntu would fly compared to a clogged up Windows system… plus I can use some of the same tools I use on my main computer, like vi and command line tools like grep… so handy once you start to learn them.

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  3. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 10, 2006, 1:28 a.m.

    It really depends how old I suppose, you will need at least 128Mb of RAM these days however, Linux is not like the old days anymore, when you could stick a cut back version on a floppy, the main reason for this is because they have to support so many different hardware devices and this makes the kernel get bigger and bigger :-(

    I would have to say one of the main downsides of Linux to date still would be that the GUI is a little slower than Windows, and this would be quite noticeable if your graphics card isn't quite the fastest in the world. An NVidia graphics card (GeForce 2 and up) seems to improve this a lot however. You can also speed the GUI up by selecting a really plain theme, that is flat without pixmaps, kind of like the Win98/ME/2K theme, plain and grey.

    I think one of the reasons why the GUI is a little slow in Gnome currently, might be because Gnome still runs on top of X.Org, but Linux has been like that for years and this isn't likely to change. However, Mac OS X also runs on top of X11 and that doesn't seem to suffer from GUI speed issues, so I don't know what the real reason is here, maybe it's driver related. I do know that Mac OS X uses OpenGL for it's GUI however, this is also scheduled to be fully built into the next Ubuntu, and this is not through XGL, which is quite experimental, but apparently it will be built directly into the next X.Org, so fingers crossed. I have been talking to some people on the Ubuntu forums regarding this, and some people seem to think the GUI speed is already fixed in the alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 6.10, codename “Edgy Eft”, this is based on cutting edge versions of X.Org and Gnome, I can't wait for this ;-)

    Other than the GUI speed, Linux itself is miles faster than Windows, it multi-tasks beautifully on my P4 2.8 HT. 3D is very fast too, the Linux version of Quake 3, which has been optimised for multiple CPU's runs much faster than the Windows version, it seems to make good use of the HT (Hyper Threading) in my P4, which Windows doesn't really, I can see a big difference.

    To sum it up, Linux multi-tasks real well, 3D Games (if they are written for Linux), perform better than their Windows counterparts, however the only let down is still the 2D GUI in Gnome, which could be quite noticeable on older machines, but once that is resolved, Linux will be faster than Windows in every area.

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  4. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 10, 2006, 1:46 a.m.

    You use vi (or vim? I don't actually really know the difference between them myself), man I tried vim and couldn't quite get a hold of all the shortcut keys it has, so many keys to learn. :oops: For command line, vim is installed by default, so you should feel at home there. It also installs nano, which is the command line editor of my choice (as it shows the shortcut keys at the bottom of the editor window, lol). If you use grep, you must be quite confident with the command line and regular expressions I must say. ;-)

    You can also install a program called “gvim” from the Ubuntu repository, it's sort of like vim, but the Gnome version of it, it has a toolbar and menus, so a slightly modernised version of vim.

    Oh, and you can also make Ubuntu look like OS X 8-)

    http://www.taimila.com/ubuntuosx.php

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  5. Author: Winston
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 10, 2006, 4:06 p.m.

    Well, im starting to use Vim, but for relatively simple stuff. I tend to keep track of everything work related like job numbers and hours, login details, serial numbers, reference texts in plain text files (I have one big work.txt and a todo.txt).

    Yeah theres hundreds of commands, its complete overload!! So I tend to just use a few that work for me.

    Actually anything that I can I put in plain text files. After crashing machines and upgrading, losing data, its great having that stuff all in the one place, easily searchable. No problems transferring to other machines, very small in size, and simple to backup. No differing apps and formats.

    And I can use grep to find whatever I need almost instantly. This 43folders article and this one got me onto it.

    I dont know too much on the command line… never compiled or installed anything. First and last time was trying to install the WCC Validator locally. It didn't work and I gave up! ;-)

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  6. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 11, 2006, 12:23 a.m.

    Hehe, I like it. I store all my phone numbers in one big text file too. I've been meaning to import them into my email client, Evolution, but never get around to it. Plain text seems to serve me right too still.

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  7. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 11, 2006, 2:44 p.m.

    Compiling programs from source isn't as hard as it sounds actually, it's usually a 3 step process. These instructions are for Ubuntu Linux, they will probably differ a little in Mac OS X, but hopefully not too much. Before you begin, make sure you have the build tools installed, that is GCC, MAKE, etc. On Ubuntu Linux, you can install these with:

    sudo apt-get install build-essential

    Once the build essential tools are installed, you can usually compile most programs using the following 3 steps. First, untar the source code somewhere in a folder, open a shell and change to that folder, then type:

    ./configure

    This will basically check your build environment, if everything is ok to build the program and if so, generate a “Makefile” custom to your machine. The configure tool will let you know if you need any development libraries, if there are any you don't have, you will need to install these using the “synaptic package manager” tool (but getting the development version, not the binaries of these libraries), then try running ./configure again. Continue this process until the configure program goes through successfully without any missing libraries. Then simply type:

    make

    This will compile the program, and most likely scroll through pages and pages of text :mrgreen:. Build time depends on the size of the program, but this can easily take 15 minutes or more for a fairly large program. Once successfully compiled, simply type:

    sudo make install

    This will copy the compiled program into the correct folder(s) on your computer, and/or create icons, and symbolic links, basically the same as installing a program, except it's the program you just compiled. Once installed, you can delete the source code directory you used to build the program from.

    I've successfully compiled 4 Ubuntu programs like this, I hope it will help anyway.

    Edit: The W3C Validator package is already in the Ubuntu repository, simply type the following in Ubuntu to install it:

    sudo apt-get install w3c-markup-validator

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  8. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 12, 2006, 3:01 p.m.

    I have just finished updating the Ynui site, to look better on Ubuntu Linux, by changing the font substitution in the CSS, to use OSS (Open Source Software) fonts first, then use Windows fonts. Since the Ynui site was designed on a Windows box, and most visitors will be using Windows, it would only make sense to use Windows fonts at the time of design.

    However, the fonts didn't look very good in Ubuntu Linux by default, unless you install the Microsoft fonts package (msttcorefonts). However, since some Linux users may not like to install this package and keep their system pure OSS, I have changed the Ynui site to run on Linux using only OSS fonts. I have changed the font substitution to use “Bitstream Vera Sans”, before it will use “Verdana” or “Arial”. The other substituted fonts I used were “DejaVu Sans Condensed” and “Nimbus Sans L”, where the Bitstream fonts didn't look quite right.

    The Bitstream fonts are a very nice set of open source fonts that usually come installed by default on most Linux distributions. They are designed for readability. I believe they may also install with Open Office on Windows, because our Windows box also has the fonts installed, and I never put them on myself. This is a good thing however, because the Bitstream fonts also make the site look better in Windows, not just in Linux.

    I am not sure how this affects Mac OS X, Winston? I hope Mac OS X comes with the Bitstream fonts installed, or maybe they can be installed. I hope this change makes the site look better on the Mac, not worse I hope. Personally I prefer the Bitstream fonts on Windows over Arial or Verdana when making websites, because on Windows, the Arial font is only antialiased once it gets over a certain size, however the Bitstream fonts are also antialiased at smaller sizes on Windows. In Linux all fonts are antialiased by default, regardless of their size. Substituting the Bitstream fonts makes the site penguin friendly, but without affecting Windows users. :-P

    Update:

    According to this web page, Mac OS X does not seem to come with the Bitstream, DejaVu, or Nimbus open source fonts installed by default, however all the MS fonts are there, so the site will work as it always has on the Mac, it shouldn't look any different with this change.

    P.S. I know how Mac's have some very nice fonts too, and Mac designers often like to use fonts that look nice on their system, Helvetica being one of these Mac fonts. I have read about this on Veerle's Blog, a very talented CSS designer who also uses Mac's. However, I do not own a Mac, so can't really play around with the site and getting an optimal font also for the Mac, so for now the Mac version will most likely default to Arial and Verdana as it did before.

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  9. Author: Winston
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 14, 2006, 12:03 a.m.

    Yep, OS X comes with the default MS fonts installed. However I have the Bitstream fonts after downloading NeoOffice/Open Office.

    Man that veerle chick has got some talent… I'll add that to my blog list.

    Im at a PC right now, but Lucida Grande (the default OS X system font) is a nice substitute for Verdana.

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  10. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 14, 2006, 1:34 p.m.

    Cool, I thought that it was Open Office that installed the Bitstream fonts, it's good to know that for sure now.

    I have heard of the Lucida Grande font before through Veerle's site (I agree she is very good at design), and I could possibly substitute it where I used Verdana, but the thing is I wouldn't really know how it would look in real life, so I would be doing it blindly.

    I could possibly use an online screenshot tool (man that looks spot-on on the Mac already!), and I may still do that some time later, the only problem with those is that you sometimes have to wait upto 15 minutes between every time you re-test the site, which is a little time consuming.

    Also, I have to be quite careful with the white font on the sub headings with the abstract background, I have found certain fonts have completely different Y alignments, and didn't quite fit between the faded lines on that background (I am very picky when it comes to design). I had to play around quite a bit with different fonts in Linux, until I got it right between both operating systems (Windows and Linux). I may still see if I can get an optimal font setup on the Mac too, sometime later using that screenshot tool, just not right at this point, it still looks very good as is anyway, and I don't want to break it just yet ;-).

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  11. Author: Winston
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 14, 2006, 2:50 p.m.

    Being picky is a good thing… I didn't even realise your heading wasn't an image until i increased the text size! :-D

    Being back on my Mac, there is a bit of weirdness happening with the Bitstream fonts. Any other Mac looks great though. I can post a screenshot later, although Im thinking it might be my own problem.

    Fonts have been a constant pain for the last couple of years, I have something like 1,500 of them. Thank god for FontExplorer X. I think they are planning a Win version too.

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  12. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 14, 2006, 5:15 p.m.

    That's a lot of fonts, on Windows (prior to XP) you couldn't even install that amount of fonts, for years Windows has had a limit on the amount of fonts you can install, because it would keep track of the fonts installed in the registry, which had a limit on it. As far as I know, this restriction is now removed in Windows XP.

    Talking about fonts, here's 9800 free fonts!

    That font program looks nice, hope they port it to Linux too, preferably Gnome/GTK+.

    Here's a screenshot, what the font folder looks like in Ubuntu. Notice how many fonts there are, all of these are the default fonts installed, with only about 10 additional ones added, so Ubuntu comes with quite a decent amount of fonts. The lock on the font icons means that only the administrator (root) can install and delete fonts, Linux has many safety features like that, to prevent standard users from accidentally doing damage to system files.

    And to those that may be following this thread, and may be interested in what else there is available in Ubuntu Linux, I have uploaded a few more screenshots of some of the games you can install in Ubuntu, they're all free off course, as are all the programs that come with Linux. Compared to a few years ago, the Linux gaming scene is looking better than ever, I think Linux has some potential, especially since the release of Ubuntu, making Linux more widely available to all kinds of people.

    Some other neat Linux programs I have bookmarked, but do not yet have screenshots of:

    • Banshee Music Player (Great new music player, supports iPod)
    • Glom (An easy to use database tool, good for contacts, etc)
    • Jokosher (A fairly new audio production tool)
    • Blender (A top of the line 3D modelling tool, see screenshots what it can do)
    • Stellarium (Really cool 3D map of the stars)
    • Celestia (Allows you to explore the solar system in 3D)
    • Kino (Digital video editor)
    • Audacity (Audio editor)
    • F-Spot (Photo management software)
    • EasyTag (ID3 Tag Editor for MP3 files)
    • Liferea (Linux Feed/RSS Reader)
    • NVU (Wysiwyg webpage editor)
    • Screem (Source based HTML/CSS editor)
    • OpenOffice.org (Free office package, similar to MS Office)
    • Scribus (Free desktop publishing tool, similar to MS Publisher)
    • Inkscape (Free SVG vector drawing program)
    • The Gimp (Free professional paint program, in the likes of Photoshop)
    • Evolution (Excellent email client, with calendar, supports MS Exchange 2003)
    • Planner (Project management tool, similar to MS Project)
    • GnuCash (Free accounting program)
    • GAIM (Can talk to MSN messenger, ICQ, Yahoo messenger all in one program)


    And just one non-free program, well worth mentioning:

    Pixel, this program is not quite complete and is $30 USD on preorder now, or $100 USD when complete. The closest and by far the cheapest replacement to Photoshop for Linux, Mac, and Windows (The official Photoshop is only for Mac and Windows and costs $1300 NZD). Pixel is only a fraction of the price of Photoshop. The guy that wrote it spent 9 years of hard work of his life to make an affordable Photoshop clone, so in my mind well worth supporting that. You can try out the near complete demo version now to see what it is like, personally I was very impressed with it.

    And there's still heaps more, I am discovering new open source programs every day on Linux, these were a few of the better ones I have mentioned. Plus there are Linux versions available for a lot of Windows programs we are familiar with too such as:

    • Skype
    • Google Earth
    • Picasa
    • Java
    • Macromedia Flash Player
    • Adobe Reader
    • Real Player 10
    • Wine (allows you to “emulate” most other windows programs, not yet ported to Linux)

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  13. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: Aug. 16, 2006, 12:49 a.m.

    I've got yet another site to add to that :-D

    www.gfiles.org

    This is a newly started up site, it's actually the official repository for open source Linux apps, especially written for Gnome/GTK+, according to the Planet Ubuntu blog. Personally I prefer the look of Gnome/GTK+ apps to the KDE look anyway, so this site was a welcoming discovery. There are well over a 1000 Gnome apps to browse through here.

    Hehe, just one more, couldn't help it. Winston, you might like this one too, if you're going to try Ubuntu on your laptop:

    http://www.gfiles.org/gtk/download/cssed/73/ (neat CSS editor)

    The cssed program is actually in the Ubuntu repository, just install it with:

    sudo apt-get install cssed

    Or for non-command line users, just tick “cssed” in Synaptic Package Manager and click install. I think I've mentioned about enough free Linux software sites for now, lol. :lol:

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  14. Author: dalmab
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: June 4, 2007, 12:18 a.m.

    Xbuntu would most likely suit the Win2k laptop. Xbuntu is designed for slower and older PC's.

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  15. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: June 4, 2007, 11:34 p.m.

    Yes, Xubuntu is designed to run better on older machines, it's Ubuntu using the Xfce window manager, instead of Gnome. I have tried Xubuntu 6.06 about a year ago, I wasn't all that impressed with it I must say, but I didn't dig too deeply into Xfce, so it's probably just me.

    I was given an older laptop not long ago, Pentium 3 650Mhz. Upgraded the RAM to 256Mb and swapped the 6Gb drive with a 20Gb one. It runs Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn), and seems to run quite well for what it is, but then it does run on 256Mb of RAM now.

    The absolute lowest I have put Ubuntu on has been a Pentium 2 400Mhz, however it doesn't perform all that great if the RAM is less than 256Mb, but the same went with some machines around the 1Ghz mark. They performed much better when using the recommended 256Mb of RAM or more.

    My point being, I think Ubuntu can run on just about any machine > Pentium 2, so long the RAM is at least 256Mb. I should really compare those same machines running Xfce though, to get a feel what difference it makes to Gnome.

    Another release of Ubuntu is Kubuntu, it's Ubuntu based on the KDE interface. The great thing with Linux off course, is that it's all about choice. You can still run KDE programs on Gnome/Ubuntu, and likewise run Gnome programs on KDE/Kubuntu.

    Some people prefer KDE, some prefer Gnome. Personally, I am a devoted Gnome fan, to me, Gnome seems clean, simple, and easy to use. Although some may disagree off course :lol:, but hey! Linux is all about choice, right?

    I think it really depends on the vintage of the laptop, if it's at least as fast as my Pentium 3 650Mhz and has at least 256Mb of RAM, Ubuntu should be fine, should it have less RAM or be a little older than that, maybe try out Xubuntu.

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  16. Author: douglas
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: March 3, 2009, 5:23 p.m.

    :-D
    my brother told me about ubuntu, and said i should get it. so i did!
    but… it wiped over windows xp + all of my files because i didnt know how to partition my hard drive… i do now though lol.

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