Tag Archives: Linux

Eee PC: Linux or XP?

Jim was decided to buy a netbook. One friend recommended him the Asus Eee PC. Jim does not know much about computers, but his brother-in-law Greg is one of these geeks that knows everything about the latest toys.

Jim: Which Eee should I buy? Linux or XP?

Greg: First, among the Eee models, I would recommend you go for the Eee PC 901, with a solid-state disk (SSD). You have less storage than with a hard-drive but the SSD is lighter, faster and has no mechanical parts, so it is shock-proven. The Linux version brings 20GB (split into 4GB+16GB) SSD and the Windows XP version 12GB (4GB+8GB) at the same price. In both cases the 4GB drive is faster and stores the OS. The second drive, although double the size in the Linux version, should not be a key deciding factor. If 8GB is not enough you can add a 16GB SD card today, and next year 32GB SD cards will be available. So in the long run the storage is not the key factor in the decision. The key is, what do you want to do with your Eee PC?

Jim: Well, I guess typical stuff: email, web browsing, deal with documents, communicate with Skype…

Greg: For that both Linux and XP will do. Both have a browser, both come with OpenOffice and access to Google Docs and Skype. Anything more sophisticated you want to do?

Jim: Let me think… well… yes, multimedia. I want to see pictures, music and video.

Greg: For video, download VLC player.  It plays any format in the world, including YouTube flash. You can download it free and install it easily in XP or in the Xandros Linux distribution that comes with the Eee. Just be aware that if you want to add a VLC icon to Xandros you will need to edit a few configuration files.

Jim: What about adding an USB TV Tuner? I think that would be cool to watch TV while on the go…

Greg: Most tuners come only with Windows drivers, but you can make Windows drivers run on Linux with ndiswrapper. You might need to recompile the Kernel, but it should work.

Jim: One more thing, I want to access my desktop PC from the netbook to watch all movies stored in its 500GB hard-drive. You know, I want to use the desktop PC as a server.

Greg: That is easy with XP. With Linux you just need a program called Samba. It is then straight forward, but just note that if your server/desktop is Vista, there are some flaws in Vista implementation of Samba protocol and you will need some workaround to connect from Linux.

Jim:  I almost forgot, but being so portable I want to connect to the 3G wireless network using my Nokia phone as a modem connected via bluetooth.

Greg: I do not think Nokia will provide you their phone suite in other than Windows, but if you investigate in Linux forums there might be a way to do it.

Jim: And what about the access to my company VPN. I currently access from XP, will that work in Linux?

Greg: With a little investigation you might find the way … hopefully.

Jim: Mm, Greg, all these things about editing config files, installing ndiswrapper, and all the investigations to connect to Vista, to a phone built-in 3G modem and to the VPN… are not a bit too much for someone like me who does not have a clue about Linux or any Unix?

Greg: Look Jim,  if you want to learn Linux, and you want to use your computer for Internet in Wifi hotspots, go for the Linux/Xandros version. If you must connect to your company VPN, use 3G through your phone, connect easily to Vista computers and add TV tuners and other USB toys, go for Windows XP. It is not so cool as Linux, but you are more likely to get sophisticated things working without spending hours in Linux forums getting deep into it.

Jim: But Greg… weren’t you a fanatic of Linux?

Greg: And I am Jim. Linux is great for servers, for embedded systems and soon for mobile handsets. But today we still live in a Windows world for the desktop. Pragmatics still choose Windows. If you want to be part of those changing the wold to make the desktop free from Windows, go and buy the Linux netbook and enjoy making it work and helping others get a free OS.

And by the way, if anybody has a hint on how to easily fix these issues for Xandros, please post a comment below and share your experience.

Vista sucks. Ubuntu or Mac OS X?

Just google “Vista sucks” and you get 2.5 million results. It is now unanimous: Vista is slow, unstable and annoying. Apart from my Commodore 64 and the OS/2 Warp of my days in IBM I have always used Windows: 3.11, 95, 98, 2000, XP and now Vista. So if I divorce now from Microsoft, where can I go? and will I be able to survive without Windows?

For consumers that use the computer for Internet browsing, email, watching movies, listening to music (and Sync iPod), video-conference with the family, store and slide-show pictures, and produce video clips of the kids, is there a reason not to switch to Mac? A Mac can do all that, and probably far better than Windows. On top of that, a Mac is stylish. Whether an iMac or Mac mini in the living room, or a Macbook at Starbucks, you will be the envy of your friends (specially of those do not dare to get free from Windows).

Ubuntu is the other option. Open Source. You belong to a community with a cause: freedom and putting innovation at the service of the society. Let others build on top of what you have done. If you are a developer, master Unix, and love the share philosophy, there is no other option than Linux. Less fashion than Mac, but higher ideals. If you are not a geek but can not afford a Mac,  probably you can survive with Ubuntu for a basic use: Web, email, movies, music and pictures. For a more advanced use, you will need some Unix training first. Matt Assay’s post, Ubuntu, it’s time now, might convince you though.

The best defense is attack: Goobuntu or Google Linux

GoogleLinux

Microsoft has openly declared that its bid to acquire Yahoo aims at improving their position in advertisement and fight the dominant position of Google. Do not expect Google to remain quiet.

What are Google options to defend from Microsoft, apart from sending missives? Counter bidding for Yahoo, is not an option as it would not be approved by authorities. Getting a deal to post Google ads on Yahoo search, would give Yahoo some air to look for alternatives to Microsoft bid, but still Google would be helping a direct competitor, not to be underestimated.

So in the event the acquisition succeeds, what should Google do?

I would recommend: Hit them where it hurts

Microsoft gets a big chunk of their revenue, and more importantly of the profits, from Windows and Office software licenses. These profits are to finance the online services of a merged Yahoo-Microsoft Live.

What can Google do about that? Goobuntu. The same way Google is bringing Linux to mobile devices with Android, Google is the only company that could make Linux conquer the desktop and hurt Windows and Office.

People love Google, and many people hate Microsoft. Hit them now. Millions of users would thank you, Google.

Note: Meantime, the bid already had its effects and Yahoo is stopping its online music service.

Linux on PS3?

PS3
A game console is in essence a computer with a “gaming operating system”. Sony PS3 specs outshine most of our PCs at home, and not only in Graphics power:

CPU: Cell Processor PowerPC-base Core @3.2GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 218 GFLOPS

GPU: RSX @550MHz – 1.8 TFLOPS floating point performance

Sound: Dolby 5.1ch, DTS, LPCM, etc.

Memory: 256MB XDR Main RAM @3.2GHz, 256MB GDDR3 VRAM @700MHz

Storage: Detachable 2.5” HDD slot x 1 I/O: 6 USB, Card reader (CompactFlash, SD, Memory Stick)

Networking: Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T), Wifi IEEE 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 (EDR)

AV Output: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p

  • HDMI: HDMI out x 2
  • Analog: AV MULTI OUT x 1
  • Digital audio: DIGITAL OUT (OPTICAL) x 1

Blu-ray / DVD (read only)

With such an outstanding machine, our friends of Sony had the brilliant idea to include the option of installing a new OS. And more, Sony made the hard drive storage user replaceable, so you can easily upgrade with a 2.5″ laptop hard drive.

There are many distros that work on PS3, but the most popular is Yellow Dog Linux from Terrasoft, a company specialized in Linux for PowerPC processors.

You can watch other interesting videos in Terrasoft site.

Install the VLC player for Linux on top, and you will be able to watch your Divx, Xvid, WMV and many more formats videos on your TV. As well as YouTube videos, web browsing, email, Skype and more

Will it be Google the one bringing Linux to the desktop?

Googlex o Goobuntu? Let’s think about it…

Google enters the Mobile Phones market by building an open Operating System (OS) for mobiles, built around Linux (Kernel 2.6).

Android main competitors, apart from Nokia, are iPhone and Windows Mobile. Both Apple and Microsoft come from computer OS to smartphones OS. What is a smartphone but a down-scale computer? Following Convergence trend in the IT/Telecom industry, we could foresee convergent OS across devices.

Nokia, established #1 in mobile phones, should be worried about new entrants such as Apple and Google, as convergence is unstoppable. In the long run I would bet on iPhone, Windows Mobile and Android to be market leaders as mobile operators move to IMS and all-IP networks, and need Open devices to install IMS software clients.

Once Google brings Linux to the mobile phone, wouldn’t be Google the one to bring Linux to the desktop too? Many would see with good eyes Google to “organize the information in the world” in what regards to Linux desktop distros. Linux is getting better for the desktop, but still not there. Imagine what a GLinux, Googlex or a Goobuntu distro could do to definitively drive Linux to the masses.

Eric, Larry, Sergei, please think about it.

Meantime some reports anticipate an Android debut in Barcelona 3GSM congress in february. I bet there will be a lot of Android handsets announcements in Barcelona, and very few prototypes. Unless phone vendors have been working hard in advance of the Android announcement, it is unlikely to see any Android phone before late next year.

Video: Linux MCE vs Microsoft MCE and other alternatives

Two more impressive videos to enjoy with the possibilities of Linux MCE.

Many people will be reluctant to move to linux because of lack of official support. Yet you can get tons of support from the many Linux Forums.

On the other side, other options fighting to be the center of home entertainment have significant flaws:
– apart from the infamous red circle of death, the Xbox 360 does not support Xvid and Divx, so a big part of my media library in my PC can not be accessed from the Xbox 360 in the living room – unless trancoded, with loss of quality.
PS3. No support either from Xvid and DivX. The interesting alternative is to install Linux on the PS3, and use VLC to watch your media
Wii is not really an option as a Media Extender. You can only receive streamed video by installing ORB on your streaming PC, set videos to transcode to flash, and access them from the Opera browser in the Wii. Low quality video and no convenient access to library
KiSS Players. Not a bad option, but until recently the SW to install on your PC was not Vista compatible
Apple TV. No Xvid, nor DivX, and no games…Nice design but not open. Not taken seriously by Apple.

Linux MCE will let you easily record TV shows, rip your music and DVD to your media storage with no DRM issues, and on top it will integrate with Home Automation systems and Voice over IP providers (e.g. FWD) among other possibilities.

Linux MCE Video Demo: Impressive!

You can download this video in high-def with the text sharp and readable: http://wiki.linuxmce.com/index.php/Video

Running on Kubuntu, Linux MCE is probably the most advance Media center in the market, and probably the best option for your digital home… if you are a Linux savvy.
I must admit that installation for the Linux MCE is straight-forward. Now, the configuration of many of the features in the video, including simply to discover media in other PCs in your network, might take some more time and IT skills.

Nonetheless if I get it to do what it promises, this is really the Media Center and Home Automation system of my dreams.

There is a more simple option that installing yourself:  Fiire builds HW with Linux MCE pre-installed. Fiire is the vendor of the gyro and the thin media extenders in the demo video.

Although somehow overpriced, I must admit that the product definition from the Fiire guys is outstanding.