Back to gnome (Unbuntu 8.04)

Gnome vs KDE

I decided to go back to Ubuntu at home. I was having a tough time deciding which version of Ubuntu I wanted to use when I realized I can just use Ubuntu at home and Kubuntu at work. I had originally installed Ubuntu with Windows and have done quite a bit of work on Ubuntu experimenting and installing from source, so I felt like I needed a clean system.


Fortune and xscreensavers

One of the coolest commands in Linux is fortune. =)

$ fortune

If you don't have fortune installed:

$ sudo apt-get install fortune-mod fortunes

The above command will output a random fortune, quote or saying. This command has been around forever and it's one of my favourites. The better email clients will allow you to use the command to append a random quote at the end of your emails.

Check and repair a file system using Linux

I ran into a situation recently where an external hard drive I have, a USB drive I use for backing up my data, continuously became read only after a period of time.

Any seasoned Linux user can tell you this isn't a good thing. If the kernel detects error in the file system, rather than letting you continue to write to the drive and risk further corruption, Linux will disallow writing to the drive.


One of the many things I love about Linux, and Ubuntu in particular is the ability to install pretty much everything you need from the package repositories, including all the development tools you could ever need.

With other operating systems, you have to purchase or download the software, then install it. Updates are made easy as the updater checks for updates for all software installed via the repositories, vs other operating systems who only update their own. Do you ever need to go outside the repositories? I rarely do (maybe once or twice out of hundreds of installs).

Linux conversion: Vicky

Vicky brought her Petri dish, I mean Windows XP box to my place because it had been running very, very slow, she had notifications telling her to buy anti-spyware software, and she couldn't do anything on the internet.

She had one of the worst virus and spyware infestations I had seen in a very long time. It was really indescribably bad.

Linux conversion: Michelle

Michelle had come to me a while back complaining about her *gulp* Windows 98 machine. Both the operating system, and the machine itself, were very slow. But she didn't see why she had to buy a whole new machine, and/or upgrade Windows just to use the computer for what she used it for.

Michelle used the computer for surfing the internet, playing simple games like solitaire and instant messaging.

I suggested that, rather than spending $500+ on a new virus box, she let me install Ubuntu Linux instead.

Linux tip: Getting disk information

A good way to get local disk information is using the fdisk command. Under Ubuntu, it goes a little something like this.

$ sudo fdisk -l

Don't forget the sudo, or you will only get the devices you plugged in (like USB hard drives).

The output of the command looks like this:

Operating on a subset of files

One of the many powerful features of the GNU/Linux command line is the pipe character. The pipe character, or | is used to pipe the output of one command to the input of another command. For example, if you wanted to view all of the lines in a log file that have the number 500 in them (as I did on today on an Windows box), you could use this:

$ grep ' 500 ' file.log | less

Linux and open source software advantages

GNU Linux, and open source software as a whole, have great advantages to the community of people that use it when compared to closed source, proprietary software. Two of these advantages are the ability to communicate directly with the developers to request features and report bugs, and the ability of the project to live on because the development is not dependent on a company.

Sound not synchronized when creating a DVD using tovid

When creating a DVD using tovid/todisc, I have found that on one .avi movie I tried to convert, the sound was out of sync by more than a few seconds.

To fix this, I used the -ffmpeg switch when converting using tovid, which uses a different method of encoding. Strange that it's not the default as it was much faster and seemed to produce a better outcome.


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