Hmmm … OO.o differences, Fedora, and Ubuntu

In my post I may just have that reason to get rid of Ubuntu … I whined about minor differences between “stock” OpenOffice.org appearances and functions and those I used straight off the OO.o website as well as what ships with Fedora.

This blog (here’s my archive) explains a bit why: It says “Many Linux distributions ship ooo-build. … Fedora ships a modified OpenOffice.org, but Fedora does not use ooo-build.” Which means that in keeping with Fedora’s usual policy, it ships upstream versions of software with only reasonably required modifications to make it work under Fedora. When I was using CentOS, I was using the vanilla version directly from OO.o.

That explains a few things. It doesn’t necessarily justify my whining — nor all the changes Ubuntu or other distros (or even Fedora) make, but … Why mess with a good thing? 🙂

Blog spam

I’ve been both annoyed and had my curiosity piqued over the past couple of years regarding my blog: While I’ve been having to hit the “Spam it!” button quite a bit for responses to my posts — not so much over the past 6 months, mind you — but apparently not a single comment came from a real person.

Interestingly, most of the spam posts are generic posts that are along the lines of “interesting post, keep it coming” “I don’t agree with everything you wrote but you make interesting points” and the like, and the give-away is the link (rolexes, youtube, etc.)

It appears that my posts are all drivel, and no one real is really interested in what I have to say.. 🙂

Actually, the self-deprecation is sincere, I read my posts sometimes weeks later and poke holes it them on their technical merit.

Hmmmm … maybe it’s the X.org, not the vino-server

Last week my Fedora 10 setup was grinding to an unusable halt. My brother set up an hourly cron job to kill the Vino-server, and in the whole process of having done this things were back to their peppy selves.

Slight problem. Last couple of days, the computer started slowing down again. A top command seemed to reveal a potential culprit: The X.org server. I think that it’s important at this point to mention that my computer is normally left on 24/7, so of course I saw relatively long uptimes for the server (relatively being important, it’s probably been only a few days. 🙂 )

I did a manual kill of the server, and either because Red Hat systems are set up to do this automatically or somewhere in my particular setup, including the auto-login, it automatically reboots and within a minute or so I’m back in my desktop.

And my computer is peppy again.

I guess that earlier in the week, included in the whole process was a reboot somewhere, that reset any bogging down in the X.org server.

Vino-server appears to have struck again!

Back a couple of years ago, my CentOS-4.6 system was slowing down to near unuseability. Using the Top command at a command line, there seemed to be this service listed at the top called Vino taking up a good amount of resources. My brother looked at it, researched it, and set up an hourly cron job to kill the vino-server every hour, and the problem was solved.

Back last fall, I was getting this notion, while running Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, that the system had slowed down a bit much the same way that Windows 2000 is a little slower than Win98. When I switched back to Fedora 10, I noticed the same thing. However, I never noticed a return of the infamous vino-server.

Then last week I figure it’s time to get more memory and decided to pull out my 512meg memory stick and go with it, for comparative purposes to make sure I get the right thing, to the store to get a twin for it, or a 1gig stick, in the hopes that either a gig or a 1.5 gigs would improve performance. I’m cheap and was pleased to pick up what appeared to be a nearly-new, opened box of 1gig of SDR2 667mhz for $5.

Well, I guess those of you who actually know what to do around an open computer are chuckling by now and know that my new purchase doesn’t fit in my DDR slots, the little slot in the DDR2 stick being about a millimetre or two over from the same slot in DDR memory sticks.

In the meantime I of course put my original memory stick back and notice over the past week that my computer is becoming increasingly bogged down to unuseability. During the week I found a website that seemed to make my computer freeze, but others didn’t. Today I mention the general slowness that the computer has bogged down to to my brother who looks at things and he has a flash of memory. A quick hourly cron job is set up to kill vino-server, and my computer works fine again.

Linux *is* breaking into the mainstream

Back in October I saw a billboard along the highway where (probably) hundreds of thousands of people see it every day. It advertised a French-language spell-checker that I’d never heard of, despite living in a French city — in fact, the second-largest French-speaking city after Paris — and being fluent in French; I’m a native-English speaker. Go figure, chalk it up to the two solitudes.

There was a marketing pic, and four words. In large, bold type, “ANTIDOTE” (the name of the spell checker.)

And, in smaller, grey type, “Windows Mac Linux”

I’m impressed. And it made all the more an impression since I’d never heard of the product and had to look it up.

It’s a small step, of course, but to me it underlines that there is appears to be enough desktop penetration for them to not only make Linux version, but to actually bother to mention that they have a linux version in their marketing as an apparent equal alongside Windows and Mac.

Let me tell you about my angst regarding Ubuntu

I suppose I’m trying to make my peace.

I’m enjoying my new Fedora 10 setup on my desktop. Not because it’s the latest and greatest. The fact that it works is good enough for me … aside from it not being Ubuntu. And frankly, I’m not 100% sanguine with the reformat-every-time-somebody-sneezes mill; at least Ubuntu 8.06 is LTS, lasting about 3 years if I were to want to wait that long.

What gets me is purely subjective, the only thing vaguely rational about it is thinking about the time I went to a LUG meeting while still a relative newbie and announced that I used CentOS. Those who’d been around a while were extolling the virtues of linux and its diversity, and how you can pick and choose. Funny, of the dozen or so there there, as I recall, there were probably at least 10 Ubuntu boxes. I recall feeling a bit of pressure to change. So much for diversity, score one for the fanboys.

As for my part, I guess if you grow up on one side of the fence the other side seems strange no matter what.

When I use my computers with some form of Red Hat (be it Fedora or CentOS) I truly enjoy using it, even when what I’m doing has nothing to do with the underlying OS. On the other hand, when I was using Ubuntu, the experience was quite joyless. Sure, it did what I wanted. Sure it met two important criteria for me (the immediate criterion of supporting my printer, and the general criterion of not having to reformat every time someone sneezes.) Sure, from a technical perspective, the user experience was identical other than a few minor administrative differences. But the joy seemed to have been sucked right out of things.

Hmmm … my F10 disk 2 was corrupted

Funny, when I was downloading F10 I had to get the disks from 3 canadian sources … IWEB.ca (they offer Ubuntu server … 🙁 ) and the downloads for disks 1-4 kept on stalling mid way through. Then I tried the NRC … and could only get disk 1 before I got challenged for passwords. Finally, the LUG at the University of Sherbrooke gave me the last disks. Problem is that the disk 2 I ended up getting was corrupt. Fortunately this morning I managed to get disk 2 from the NRC before being asked for a password, and the installation is now complete!

Ubuntu Free!

James Brown was right … I feel good!

I’m installing Fedora 10 on my desktop right now as I type.

Last week I updated months’ worth of blogs. One of the big themes that came out was my long-standing dislike for Ubuntu. Admittedly, unfounded beyond being a bit old (Red Hat) school, slow to adjust to change, and generally distrusting anything attached to big marketing and fanboyism.

The thing that did it involved the admittedly trivial differences with the tool bars under OpenOffice.org (why change them?) and the behaviour of the notes for commenting in Writer.

Hmm, my disk 2 is not good, if I have time tomorrow I’ll have to download another .iso, otherwise the computer will just be in standby for a couple of days, I have to go on a business trip tomorrow afternoon …

to be continued …

I may just have that reason to get rid of Ubuntu …

I may just have that reason to get rid of Ubuntu …

Firstly, a while back I said that Ubuntu came across to me as the Linux Playskool version. One of the funny things that Ubuntu does is that it seems to use different icons for OpenOffice.org (OO.o from now on) in the gnome quicklaunch bar up top that are round and admittedly OO.o themed with the seagull theme in it. As well, the buttons for new document, save, print, print preview, etc., in OO.o are different from what is available under the Fedora factory install, and the factory installs of OO.o downloaded directly off of the openoffice.org website and installed under CentOS. Or for that matter, the OO.o factory install under Windows. This last point — that even though one might say I’m comparing the results from two Red Hat systems to a Debian/Ubuntu system, I’m also comparing what’s distributed by a distro vs. the original deal under essentially the same system — is what clinches it for me. (I hope that I’m not making a fool of myself, unwittingly not realizing that OO.o doesn’t come with these things but rather is drawing from some library of icons, Ubuntu choosing one set, Red Hat choosing another …. But hey: That would happen to be the point of this post: why the difference?)

Now to set the stage:

Way back about 10-12 years ago I was flirting with Star Trek story writing in alt.startrek.creative, mostly Wussley stories (two varieties for those who are interested: Serious, dark, look-over-yer shoulder, mild paranoia-filled stories about him being the victim of all sorts of pranks, that would pretty much fit within the ST:TNG universe, or some semblance of it in which the Wuss is pretty much as presented in the series, with the above-mentionned personality traits; and, stories in a different ST:TNG universe in which he’s a pimply, geeky, socially-ill-at-ease, hormone-driven teenager everyone hates and takes pleasure in torturing, exploding, etc. The first involves storylines, pranks, characterizations and so on that are almost believable within the ST:TNG universe; the other, caricature stories that obviously would never occur.) I put my name up on a website that offers to read over stories from other Star Trek writers and provide feedback.

Fast forward to December 2008 and funny enough, I get my first request to read over a story. “If MS Word format is no good, I can give you another format …” I giggle and respond, “Oh, don’t worry, OpenOffice.org has no trouble at all with it …”

Under the Insert menu there is the “note” function. I don’t know what the function is called under MS Word, but there is a direct equivalent and have used it at the office. The idea is that a pointer and dotted line lead from a point in the text to a balloon in the right margin in which you can write comments.

Under the OO.o 2.4 factory setup under Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 LTS, a funny thing occurs: Wherever you insert one of these notes, there is an inconspicuous yellow square, and you get to see the text when you pass the pointer over it. Should you notice it at all. I get so annoyed with it that I start using footnootes instead.

Then another funny thing occured: I went to the cottage with my laptop. No, that’s not the funny part. 🙂 I load up the doc in the OO.o 2.4 factory setup under Fedora 9, and whaddya know, the notes appear in the margin where they should.

The appearance of the notes in the margin is not a recent occurrence in OO.o, at least in the 2.0 series: back in August 2006 under CentOS 4.4 — OK, this is still the Red Hat family — I received a document with the notes visible in the margin (being a work contract I declined the document and asked that they resend the proper version, please.) I was using the standard OO.o 2.whatever downloaded and installed directly from openoffice.org (since the CentOS 4 series originally came wih OO.o 1.5.something series; I’d been using the OO.o 2.0 series for close to a year at that point under Windows before I’d made the switch to linux.)

I’m thinking that I should download Fedora 10 CDs to install on my desktop. A silly litmus test must be performed first, of course: I should do a print test off of my F9 laptop with my printer. Of course I’m confidant that F9 has the latest HPLIP drivers, which was the killer for CentOS back in June, but …

It’s an Ubuntu World After All …

So last night I went to a Linux Meetup up here in the Wonderful City of Montreal, my hometown. I have my laptop up and running. Another participant walks up to it, notices the stylized “F” in the upper left-hand corner of my gnome desktop beside the “Applications” pull-down menu, and says “Ooooo, that’s different …”

The person using my laptop matter-of-factly responds, “Well sure, it’s Fedora” and continues with what he’s doing. I enjoyed that.

(Curiously, at the same time, I wonder what was going through his head as he switched the default keyboard over to US-English. Montreal is a predominantly French-speaking city, the second-largest French speaking city after Paris, in fact; I’m a native-English speaker, operating my computer in English, using a Canadian-French keyboard; he, a native-French speaker, obviously preferring the US-English layout.)

At a previous such meeting, I found it refreshing to observe two people on opposite sides of an heated discussion: One, annoyed that “When people think of Linux they think of Ubuntu” and argues how the wonderful thing about Linux is the diversity and choice, how everyone can drive the colour of car they wish, and it doesn’t have to be black. The other is arguing not so much in favour of Ubuntu per se, but the notion that if one distro is strong enough and helps move the Linux cause forward, so be it, it’s a good thing.