30 Sep 2011

Birthday is coming! Time to announce another contest... or two!

UPDATE: Competitions are over and winners are notified.


Even more prizes! See updated list




Do you like birthdays? Do you?
I do!
So I like the idea that this blog will be celebrating its first year birthday soon, on the 14th of October.

We all like birthdays because it is a good reason for presents.
Of course, any presents for this blog are welcome.
But I'd like also to announce that some presents will be given away. All you need to do is to take part in competition.
There will be 2 competitions this time.
Both will end up on the 15th of October and results will be announced soon after.

Let's start...

Competition number one requires your artistic skills.
This blog lacks a logo, as you can notice. So, please use your drawing skills, GIMP, Inkscape, LibreOffice Draw or any other editor to create a logo.
To take part in competition, please send your variants to linuxblog-competition@darkduck.com
Your work should be licensed under Creative Commons license and not copyrighted by you in any way. It means I should be able to use image by any method I like.
The logo will be used for branding the blog (title and favicon), Twitter account, Facebook page. So, you can suggest different sizes and resolutions if you want to. But one image will also do, because I can resize image myself when needed.
There will be only one winner, although I may publish several images when I end up the competition and announce results.
What is the prize? Winner will get:
  • Winner will get book from Linux Blog Book Shelf - see it in the left column. Book should be priced at 20 GBP or below.
  • 1GB USB stick branded with logo of famous magazine. Not Linux-related though...
  • CD or DVD with Linux distribution from the Buy Linux CDs site or any of your choice.
  • Acknowledgement of image author on this blog.

Competition number two simply engages your social activity.
You need to have Facebook or Twitter account to take part in this competition.

  • Facebook user: simply like this blog using the button on your right. If you have already done this, you automatically qualify, even though you could let your friends know one more time by some method that you like this blog.

Final draw will include both Facebook and Twitter users and who completed the task. You can have 2 entries into the draw if you have Facebook and Twitter accounts both. Winners will be selected by random choice between all contestants.
What will be the prizes?
  • Winner will get 8Gb USB stick and CD or DVD with Linux distribution from the Buy Linux CDs site or any of your choice.
  • Runner-up will get 1Gb USB stick branded with logo of famous magazine (non-Linux) and CD or DVD with Linux distribution.

So, Ready... Steady... Go!
Competitions are now open!

28 Sep 2011

Meeting the KDesktop from Alt Linux

What do you know about Russia?
Vodka? Bears on the streets? Siberia?
Any more stereotypes?
Let me give you another one: Linux.
Yes, Linux!
There are people in Russia, there are computers in Russia, and of course there is Linux!
I have written about at least 3 Russian Linux distributions already: Simply Linux, Alt Linux and Agilia Linux all were born in Russia. To be honest, Simply Linux was born as part-time project of Alt Linux team member and since then moved fully onto Alt Linux team.
But Simply is not our today's topic. I have already written about it recently.
Instead, let's again look at Alt Linux. Why? They have released new version of their system recently, and it is very interesting to know what it has to offer.
ISO Image of Alt Linux 6.0 KDesktop (that is official name of the version) weights more than 4Gb and available for both 32- and 64-bit platforms.
Because of the size of the image, I went for DVD-RW route to start it.
So, disk is ready and is in the drive of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from optical drive. Let's go!

27 Sep 2011

Do you think that this blog needs a forum?

26 Sep 2011

Re-settling Mageia and Debian

Those who closely follow my blog already know: I have recently changed my lapop. It was due to unresolvable hardware issue: hinge on the old one became broken.
Old laptop had 4 inhabitants on its hard disk: Windows XP, Mageia 1 KDE, Linux Mint XFCE and Debian Squeeze GNOME.
I wrote about my experience how old installed systems behaved themselves in their new house.
Next task for me was to re-install all Linux systems which I had. I did not plan to re-install Windows XP for two reasons:
  • it behaved itself pretty well and did not show any glitches
  • I use it too rare to bother.
Another part of the plan was to replace one of inhabitants: Linux Mint XFCE left the league and new Salix 13.37 XFCE joined quadro-boot landscape.
So, I left with 2 more systems to tell you about: Mageia and Debian.
Follow the link to read how they felt during and after re-installation.

22 Sep 2011

Pardus 2011.2: new version or service pack?

Pardus is very interesting distribution.
  • It is developed in the country not very famous on the IT frontline - Turkey.
  • It is supported by government organisation, and at the same time remains unbiased and free.
  • It uses its own package management tools.
Even having these oddities, this distribution gains popularity. As per recent voting, Pardus got just below 5% of votes for best KDE-based distribution. More than monstrous Mandriva or newborn Mageia. Not bad, isn't it?
Interesting enough, Pardus team makes new releases even more often than Canonical with its Ubuntu. We have seen version 2011 released in spring, than 2011.1 released in summer time. Just 2 months passed away and here it goes! Please meet: Pardus 2011.2.
To be fair, Pardus 2011.2 is not major release, but rather a bugfix update. Release notes tell you about this.
As before, Pardus is distributed as ISO image which "weights" about 1.3Gb. Official Pardus Wiki recommends using either Mandriva seed or dd command to create Live USB. Unfortunately both methods failed for me. After some attempts I dropped an idea of Live USB and burnt DVD-RW.
So, disk is in the optical drive of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

21 Sep 2011

Users voted for best KDE-based Linux distribution... again!

Was it a clever step for me to start voting for the best KDE-based Linux distribution?
I don't know...
Anyway, a month ago I announced voting results. You can review that post here.
Strange enough, announcement did not stop votes. Other way round, number of votes almost doubled during last month!
Is it a good reason to make another announcement of voting results? Yes, it is.
So, what is the best favourite KDE-based Linux distribution, voted by visitors of blog Linux notes from DarkDuck?

19 Sep 2011

Is Salix XFCE 13.37 better than 13.1.2?

Nobody can argue there are 2 major Desktop Environments now in Linux world: GNOME and KDE take lion part in installed Linux desktop systems. Most Linux distributions are released with at least one of them available.
But since system requirements for resources of KDE and GNOME are rather high and growing, there is more and more space for lighter desktop environments like LXDE and XFCE.
I have written a review of Salix XFCE 13.1.2 not long ago. It was a chance for me to get closer to this wonderful Slackware-based distribution. That time I promised to try installed version of this distribution once I have new laptop to fiddle with. The time has come!
Salix XFCE has 2 versions available for download now: 13.1.2 is the only with Live mode, that's why I tried it in my previous article. But newer version 13.37 is also available for installation. This version was released in mid-May 2011. It weights less than 700Mb, so I downloaded it and burnt onto CD-RW.
Let's see how Salix XFCE 13.37 behaves itself on my new laptop Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505.
Reboot. Choose to boot from optical drive. Let's go!

15 Sep 2011

Does Tux Like to Move House?

I wrote about a week ago that my laptop which served me for almost 5 years got broken. These were bad news for me.
That laptop hosted all of my quadro-boot systems. Of course, none of inhabitants suffered during the breakage, but they could not live their full-bodied life without window to external world which is laptop's screen.
Recent days brought me some good news. I managed to get the replacement.
This means all inhabitants had to move house.
I previously had similar experience when I tried to replace motherboard and processor in the desktop computer keeping same disk with Windows. It was somewhere in late 1990s. I don't remember whether it was Win95 or WinNT, but result of the move was disastrous. I had to reinstall the system from scratch.
Did things change since that time? Let's see...

13 Sep 2011

15 Most popular posts (of this blog)

There are about 140 posts in this blog now.
You know that some of those posts are interesting, some are just boring. I admit it, not every post was a great success.
So, what is the most successful post? I was also interested in this question. That's why I made a little analysis.
What was methodology?
  1. I extracted all the information from statistics page of Blogger.
  2. I excluded posts published less than 30 days ago. This is to exclude seasonal wave brought by publishing of posts on resources like LinuxToday, LXer and Tuxmachines.
  3. I divided number of visits to number of days since post was published.
As a result, I got table with average number of visits per day. Obviously, most visited post is the most popular.
So, now let me introduce you the top 15!

12 Sep 2011

Russian Linux: Simply Works!

Different Linux distributions get their names different ways. Debian was named after its founder and his wife. Ubuntu got its name from African language. Fedora is a type of hat, which gives us a clue to its link to RedHat.
Developers of distribution which I will talk about today did not want to make the name of their product difficult to remember or something unusual. They called it... Simply Linux.
What is Simply Linux? This is distribution which is based on the core of Alt Linux. I wrote about Alt Linux couple of times, so you may wish to have a look at those posts. Alt Linux is commercial product which is marketed in Russia for use in schools and government organisation.
On another hand, Simply Linux is not commercial, but community project, which is also supported by the team of Alt Linux.
I honestly tried to write a review of Simply Linux earlier. But unfortunately up until recent version this operating system was not released in Live mode. Latest release of version 4.0, which happened on the 29th of August 2011, changed the situation. There is Live mode now.
There are 2 options available for download: 32-bit CD and 64-bit DVD. They are not much different in size actually, but 64-bit version weights more than 700 Mb. I decided to go for CD version.
As you may be aware, I currently don't have proper Linux-running laptop for my tests, and use Toshiba L500-19X which has Windows 7 installed. It means I could not test all the options for Live USB creation from the iso image. The only one which I tried was Unetbootin, but it did not help. That's why I decided to go via well known way of burning CD-RW.
So, image is burnt to the disk. Optical drive is ready. Reboot. Choose to boot from CD. Let's go!

9 Sep 2011

Does Linux Community Need Corruption?

There is no secret that Mandriva as a company was on a brink of bankruptcy not so long ago.
It was good time for some external investors to take over the company. And there were such investors. Investment fund NGI bought a stake in Mandriva. Since then, things have changed in the company.
Let's look what is NGI. This is Russian-owned investment fund where Mr.Leonid Reiman has control. Same fund, by the way, controls another Russian company PingWin, but we'll come back to that later.
First, let's look at Mr.Reiman himself. Who is he?
Leonid Reiman was Russian Minister of Telecommunications (later Minister of Transport and Communications) and then Presidential Counsellor. During that time he was several times accused in bribery, holding a stakes in Russian telecom companies and other illegal affairs. Some of those affairs leaked as far as Wall Street Journal. During reign of Mr.Reiman relatively small company North-West GSM transformed into Russian market leader currently known as Megafon. It is the company from the "big three" of Russian GSM operators. Mr.Reiman, of course unofficially, held own interest in NW GSW / Megafon.
There is no secret either that Russian government is very corrupted. There are very few decisions which are made with clear concious. Most of the decisions are made for someone's lobbied interest. But actions of Mr.Leonid Reiman were too much even for Russian government. That's why he was moved from Government to Presidential Counsellor position, and later abruptly resigned.
So, ex-Minister invested his money into Mandriva. At the same time he started new Russian company ROSA Laboratories. And same fund NGI also acquired another Russian company PingWin.
If you look at sites of ROSA Labs (English version using Google Translate) and PingWin (English), it is easy to notice, they are located at the same address in Moscow: number 14 at Presnensky Val. Do you need any more proofs of their affiliation?
Now let's come back to Mandriva. Recent release of this Operating System, called Mandriva 2011 Hydrogen, was very revolutionary, if not say more. Mandriva dumped all the Desktop Environments, except for KDE. Distribution itself grew in size more than twice. And even KDE itself was reworked significantly with help of... surprise-surprise: ROSA Labs. As a result, we got monster operating system with oversized distribution, slow performance and very arguable interface. Reading all the reviews of Mandriva 2011, I have found no one where reviewer would be absolutely happy with new release.
But was happiness of users the task of Mandriva and ROSA Labs? Maybe answer is in another area? Let's look at another asset of NGI fund: PingWin. What does this company do? It promotes Free Open Source software, and one of the targets is... Russian public sector (English version): ministries, municipal and federal organisations and so on! Who can promote company among public sector better than ex-minister, especially if we talk about Russia?
And Russian is not alone in the scope of NGI-owned companies. Another target is Brazil. Mandriva was chosen as a vendor for Classmate PC project.
Having governments of these two countries in the pipeline for the projects, who would bother with rest of Mandriva user base? Definitely not the person who took his own interests above the public (remember the Megafon story).
And now it is time to ask a question to you, Linux users: does Linux community need this type of distribution? The one which is led by people with doubtful reputation? The one which puts its own interests above the community?

8 Sep 2011

New format of guest post

Приветствую всех читателей журнала User and Linux, зашедших на мой блог. Буду рад видеть вас здесь многократно. Для этих целей можете воспользоваться одним из многих вариантов подписки на обновления - все они перечислены в правом столбце.
Тем, кто недостаточно владеет английским языком для чтения блога в оригинале, рекомендую пользоваться функцией автопереводчика все в том же правом столбце.

Have you ever seen my guest posts? Looks like I made quite a few already and one of them very recently.
But this time I made my guest post in quite different manner. This is publication in real magazine.
Unfortunately for most of you, this magazine is not published in English. It is User and Linux magazine and it is published in Ukraine in Russian language. If you understand Russian, you can get paper copy of this magazine or read electronic version of it. If not, don’t despair and read on, I still have something for you.
I have 2 articles published in #13.
September is traditionally a start of school year in ex-USSR countries, and lots of press puts school-related articles in September. User and Linux is not an exception.
Articles which I published there are about school theme too. They are about Alt Linux which is widely used in Russian schools. Actually, they are not “brand new” articles. Both of them have been previously published on this blog.

  • Give me 5!” (page 26 in electronic copy of magazine) was my own review of Alt Linux KDE Desktop.
  • Fate of second article is more interesting. Low-spec computer: Alt Linux vs Windows 7 Ultimate was initially guest post by Sergey Trenin in my blog based on Sergey’s post in Alt Linux forum. I adapted that forum post again for paper publication for the User and Linux (page 28 in electronic copy).

So, my dear readers, you’re welcome to read Russian version of my articles, as well as re-read existing English posts. Choice is yours!

6 Sep 2011

Some bad news

Dear readers...
Unfortunately, there are some bad news I would like to share with you.

You might be aware that lots of my reviews were written on the basis of my own experience of running different Linux distributions.
I used laptop Compaq C300 as guinea pig for most of those experiments. This laptop is almost 5 years old now. At the same time, I have mentioned several times that changes are coming to my hardware. There was a reason for that.
Left hand side hinge was broken and periodically caused screen image to be unstable. This hinge has fully gone today. It means that I can't use laptop any more: screen is covered with lots of noise above the normal image.
What does it mean for you? That I can't get as many reviews now as I would like.
This blog will not stop. I still have something to tell you about. I will also try to use different hardware for my reviews.
But... in the meantime I will try to sort out my "guinea pig" laptop, in other words buy another one. If anyone in the UK has an option to donate or sell for reasonable price a laptop with decent hardware (close to the one of Compaq C300: Celeron M 1600 MHz, 1 Gb RAM, DVD-RW, 15.4" screen, WiFi enabled), I would appreciate your help. My contacts can be found on the "About me" page, or you can leave a comment here.
I don't tell you "Good bye!"
I tell you "I will see you soon!"

5 Sep 2011

Was it my DreamLinux?

How many Linux distributions are there in the world? Hundreds? Thousands? If you look at the list at Distrowatch.com, you'll be impressed. And those are not all the distributions. Because some of them are very specialized and only used by certain group of people or organization.
But how many "core" systems are there? Not so many... Slackware, Debian, Gentoo, Arch, RedHat... Did I forget anything?
Other distributions were either forked from those listed at some point, or are actually "spins" based on current version of "core" Linux system.
If we start talking about portable, true "pocket" Live linux distributions, then Slackware comes to first place. SLAX, Porteus, Nimblex, Kongoni - all of them are based on Slackware. Second place, of course, is with Debian: Knoppix, Puppy are very famous.
This time round I have tried another Linux operating system based on Debian. It is also intended for "pocket" usage, though it is not truly pocket-size. So, please meet: DreamLinux.
This Linux distribution is available in 2 options: CD with XFCE version and DVD with GNOME . As far as I understood from their web site, XFCE is preferred option. That's why my choice was for Dreamlinux XFCE.
Latest version of Dreamlinux XFCE was released in March 2009 and has version 3.5. From this you can see that Dreamlinux is not the most dynamically growing system. Since that time, Debian has changed its stable version. But anyway... let's have a look at what Dreamlinux has to offer.
ISO image of it weights just below 700 Mb, which means it can be burnt into CD. But I decided not to use CD-RW in this case, but to try USB options.
There are not much information on the official site how to create Live USB from ISO image. Yes, there are tutorials how to install Dreamlinux onto USB, but that requires this operating system to run already. That's why my approach was to hit and miss.
My first try was to Linux standard dd command. Unfortunately, it did not work. USB was not recognised as bootable at all.
Second run was for Unetbootin, famous graphical tool to create Live USB. And this time I was more lucky...

1 Sep 2011

Purple Bird of Guest Post

I like visits. I have always admitted it.
And I like make visits. That's why I also like to do guest posts.
Today I made another visit. DarkDuck went to see Linuxaria and left some notes there. This time they are about Pidgin, your favourite Internet Messenger.
What? Pidgin is not your favourite? You can still read it, because you will also learn the power of plugin.
By the way, if you speak Italian, you can read same article in this language too.
Please enjoy reading!