30 Oct 2012

Luninux - The Quest For Freedom


I downloaded Luninux a couple of weeks ago at the same time that I downloaded Fuduntu. I wrote a review about Fuduntu last week and I was really impressed.

When I booted Luninux for the first time I noticed that this operating system is using the Gnome 3.4.1 shell which basically makes it look like Gnome 2 as well. At a first glance you could be confused into thinking that there isn’t much difference between Luninux and Fuduntu except that Luninux is based on Ubuntu and Fuduntu is based on Fedora.

28 Oct 2012

ROSA Desktop 2012: Is It New?

In the hard time for the Mandriva as the company and as a distribution, which currently struggles with their internal structure and the definition of their future, some other teams continue development of their forks of Mandriva operating system.

Namely, these teams are Mageia, which currently works on Mageia 3, and ROSA, which prepares the Rosa Desktop 2012 release.

These distributions are at different stages now. While Mageia 3 is only at Alpha 2 stage, with Alpha 3 coming in November 2012, the ROSA Desktop 2012 release is already in Beta 2 stage.

Even though I am not that big fan of ROSA Desktop, and you can understand from my own review of it, I think this distribution still has a right to exist. I know it has some fans.

What is new in ROSA Desktop 2012? I believe there was a huge work for the "under the bonnet" stuff. But this is not so much visible to users. The interface changes are more likely to attract the attention. That’s why ROSA team created a short video where they explain the visual changes. Welcome to watch!

25 Oct 2012

Xtuple ERP - Free and Open Source Software

I recently published an article that looked at using GNUCash for personal budgeting on Linux. The comment thread made for a fascinating read – it seems that many people feel that personal Linux accounting is just too painful right now, and opt for Quicken (using Wine front-end PlayOnLinux). One product that was given honourable mention, however, was xTuple's PostBooks-based ERP system. What's it about?

'PostBooks' is pitched as being the 'next step' for small and medium businesses whose needs are no longer being met by Intuit's proprietary QuickBooks system. It includes ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and POS (Point of Sale) functionality - so it's ready to integrate across a whole host of your business' lines.

xTuple's PostBooks-based ERP tool is built using a client-server model, which means that there are few installation requirements on the part of the client – so low-cost machinery can be deployed from the word go, leaving your hardware investment options open. If the mobility-cum-power afforded by notebook computers suits your business, that's possible. If you need to go completely mobile, you can investigate tablet PCs or other mobile avenues. It even supports multiple currencies.

So what is it like to use? It's not a surprise to find that – despite the commercial support from xTuple, whose other lines are not open-source – the interface is a step up in complexity from QuickBooks. It follows the GNUCash model of offering grim functionality with little flair to spare - but that may be welcome to Linux users. After all, there's nothing stopping you going in and editing the source a little to prettify your user interface.

Functionality is top-notch. As a free alternative to QuickBooks, it may be worth investing training time to get your employees up to scratch. QuickBooks charges $2,100 for a five-user license, and hosting fees are accrued annually. There is also no free trial version.

If you're serious about deploying xTuple's PostBooks-based ERP tool – and you'll be joining tens of thousands of similarly-minded folk around the world – you'll need to invest in a server and brush up on your database skills. Otherwise, getting the system running is relatively painless. Documentation for APIs supporting common functions like invoicing and retrieving client information is lengthy but covers all bases, and the C++ (built on Nokia's Qt) code is flexible enough that you – or a skillfully-selected contractor – can tweak parts to your enterprise requirements.

The final thing to speak of here is the company support. Understandably, xTuple do not offer anything beyond some initial video tutorials – which are relatively perfunctory, leaving a steep learning curve – along with the official documentation. However, the PostBooks community is rapidly building on its already-sizable user-base. xTuple offers forums and a blog, and there are many other routes to finding information (including unofficial fora and IRC channels).

In conclusion, xTuple's PostBooks-based ERP tool is a hefty piece of kit with a not-insignificant initial time investment required. Being able to use it on relatively mobile computing units such as notebooks and tablets provide an extra layer of financial flexibility. However, if you're capable of getting off the ground – or willing to outsource to a team that can – you leave yourself free of licensing and proprietary trappings. You also get to feel the warm fuzzy glow of supporting the growth of the Free Software movement.

Joanna Stevenson studied mechanical engineering in London, and currently works for an energy research and consulting firm. She enjoys writing tech and business articles in her free time. She aspires to be an intrepid tech and gaming enthusiast with the exploratory spirit and witty prose of her favourite author of Robert Louis Stevenson. Treasure Island for the tech world.

18 Oct 2012

3 days, 3 news: part 3

Last 2 days I wrote about 2 good events happened to this blog recently.

It is time now to tell you not that good news. This is the last part of the "3 days, 3 news" trilogy.

Due to different reasons, I need to put this blog on hold. This means there will be less updates from now on. It does not mean there will be no updates, but the frequency of them will be much lower.

Thanks to everyone who supported me in these last 2 years. They were interesting and challenging.

I know I managed to a create small, but very warm community around this blog: the people who liked to read, to comment, to support, to help me on all the phases of the blog lifecycle. I'd like to thank them separately:

  • Rob
  • Guillermo
  • Martik
  • Darrel
  • Emery
  • Riccardo
  • Gary
  • Vijay
  • and others

Of course, I am still planning to write here from time to time. Please, don't unsubscribe, stay tuned!

Also, if you want to suggest any guest articles, feel free to contact me. Moreover, if you want to pick up the relay baton and become the blog author or even administrator, feel free to write to me.

Sincerely yours,
DarkDuck (Dmitry)

17 Oct 2012

3 days, 3 news: part 2

Yesterday I brought you some news about the popularity of my blog Linux notes from DarkDuck on Facebook.

Today I want to let you know yet another achievent.

16 Oct 2012

3 days, 3 news: part 1

I have 3 news to tell you, my dear readers.

Because I don't overwhelm you with all of them at one day, I'd better split the flow into three chunks.

So, today is the part 1 of the "trilogy".

15 Oct 2012

Solus OS: Debian on steroids

Are you tired of all the new interfaces being pushed to you by Unity, GNOME Shell and, soon, Windows Metro? Do you want to stick to "good old" GNOME 2? Do you want to have a rock solid base for your operating system?

If your answers are "Yes", then I have something interesting for you, my readers, today.

Solus OS is a distribution for those who want to stick to the rock-solid stability of Debian and the classical GNOME desktop, without the blurb of Unity and GNOME Shell.

The distribution is relatively new. Their first official release happened on the 9th of May 2012. The latest release has version number 1.2 and codename Eveline. It was published mid-August 2012.

There are several variants of the Solus OS 1.2 distribution: with and without PAE, with legacy support and for 64-bit processors. You can get the ISO files with the distribution from one of several mirrors located in Ireland, Germany and USA, or from torrent. I downloaded the "standard" PAE-enabled version using the torrent link.

The ISO file size is 1 Gb, which means you can't get it onto the usual CD. Instead, you either need a DVD or a USB stick. The latter was my option. Of course, command dd did not work, for the BIOS of my laptop does not work with hybrid ISOs. I used Unetbootin to "burn" the ISO file onto my USB stick.

So, the preparations are finished. The USB stick is plugged into the port of my laptop, a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

14 Oct 2012

2 years!

Today is 14th of October 2012.
Two years ago today, the very first English post on this blog was published. It was abour SLAX, my first love in the world of Tux.

Today my blog celebrates the second anniversary. No posh celebrations this time. No prizes. Just a small and a chamber event.

Although, all the congratulations are welcome!

11 Oct 2012

Best Free Linux Cad Software & Their Features

Forget about Windows, the Linux OS provides amazing opportunities for creativity when it comes to computer aided designs applications and implementations. But, as a designer trying to experiment with ideas or striving to come out with a unique result, you are tempted to try out free CAD software which you can easily download and start making use of. But there are many of this software all over the places, many of which are not very easy to understand. To make things easier for you, here are some of the very best free CAD programs that are Linux based.

7 Oct 2012

Solus Eveline 1.2: good for newbies

I am new to Linux and about 3 months ago tried Zorin 5.2 Core. I was very impressed with a Linux based operating system and decided to make my laptop a dual boot with Win7. I wanted a very stable Debian distro. I found Solus OS which seemed to have what I was looking for in a distro.

Solus comes in 32 bit and 64 bit editions and also in PAE and non-PAE, for those who want to use more memory. There are also Legacy editions.

The chief developer is Ikey Doherty. He was one of the original developers of LMDE.

I first tried the 32 bit install to my HP G60-549DX Notebook with a DVD as it is 1 gig.

4 Oct 2012

Compare different cloud-oriented Linux-based Operating Systems

Cloud as Platform

The new form of personal computing sits in the cloud. As computer users rely more and more on Internet services, and spend most of their computing time working online, it makes sense that operating systems would begin to focus usability around the Internet browser. We see that this exactly the case with Chrome OS as they have built an entire operating system platform and corresponding hardware systems around the Google’s Chrome browser. The XPUD operating system is actually designed to run completely within the browser. The Peppermint distro is a sleek, streamlined system that relies completely on cloud based apps and web services while maintaining something of a traditional desktop look and feel.

In this article, we will take a look at three of the major cloud based Linux operating systems that seem to point the way forward in new OS design.

2 Oct 2012

(Pre-)order your own disk with Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu or Lubuntu 12.10 NOW!!!

With the coming release of next version of Ubuntu 12.10 just few weeks away, many of you already looking for downloading of your own ISO image of the system.

But many of you are not so lucky, and will need to wait longer, because you can not or do not want to create their own CDs with operating system images.

Here we are to help!

You can pre-order your own copy of Ubuntu 12.10 (or Xubuntu, or Lubuntu, or Kubuntu) right now. It means that CD with your favourite OS will be burnt to you as early as possible, and dispatched on the 18th of October, or soon after. Dispatched to anywhere in the world.
How you can get the CD? Go to http://buylinuxcds.co.uk site, purchase the Ubuntu CD from there, and in the PayPal comments state that you want version 12.10. If you want K-, L- or Xubuntu, state it also in the same comment. That's easy.

To help you even further, here is a mini-shop which you can use straight away. It supports PayPal checkout, similar to Buy Linux CDs site.

UK (2.00 GBP):
Ubuntu 12.10 pre-order (UK)
USA (6.50 USD):
Ubuntu 12.10 pre-order (USA)

--> Other countries (4.50 GBP):
Ubuntu 12.10 pre-order (Other countries)


1 Oct 2012

The shocking OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE, plus an unexpected surprise

I have already written my opinion about OpenSuSE 12.2 GNOME.

Even if it was not perfect, I liked that OS. There was definitely an improvement, in my eyes, since the previous releases.

After that, a member of OpenSuSE community Cyberorg contacted me and suggested to use his script for creation of a Live USB with OpenSuSE or Ubuntu for the BIOS of my laptop, which does not accept hybrid ISOs on a Live USB that was created with the command dd. The script worked well for me, and I wrote a separate blog post about this.

The guinea pig for the brand new method of Live USB creation was an ISO of OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE. Even though I did not intend to review this operating system initially, I now had no choice but to do this. Here we go.

The size of an ISO image of OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE is 671 Mb and can be downloaded either from one of many mirrors, or from torrent.

So, the USB stick is in the port of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!