Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

28 Mar 2007

Linux is Not Windows II

Last year I read an interesting article pointing out the blindingly obvious that Linux is Not Windows. This month I spotted another similar blog article pointing out in a similar manner the same thing, No, really! Ubuntu is not Linux!

Penguin Pete states the obvious, Linux is a Unix clone and has nothing to do with Windows at all. Windows users don't switch to or help with a free version of Windows (ReactOS), they switch to Ubuntu. Because Ubuntu isn't a Windows clone in anything other than a superficial manner the Windows users are unhappy, therefore they and others should turn Ubuntu into something other than Linux.

It's a bit provocative and there are lots of flames, but he does make a point, Linux != Windows...

24 Mar 2007

LCD versus CRT

This week a colleague at work replaced a SD CRT television with a HD LCD television. After one night, even with a digital HD feed and much messing he wasn't happy. After the second night where watching a SD feed from DVD was unwatchable he took the television back to the show for a refund. The retailer said that most people don't like LCD it's not as good as CRT and wasn't keen to refund his money as there wasn't anything wrong with it. Eventually the retailer gave in and gave him the money back, my colleague is now happy* with his SD CRT television now.

I knew that LCD and plasma wasn't as good as CRT last time I looked but I had thought that in the last 12-18 months that LCD had overtaken CRT technology, evidently I was mistaken.

* Actually he isn't but that's another story.

20 Mar 2007

Sun GNU/Debian...?

Debian Open Logo

The originator of Debian, Ian Murdock, has recently accepted a senior position at Sun Microsoystems. I've long felt that Solaris could gain a lot from being Debianised, and Debian could and should produce a distribution based on the Solaris Kernel.

Ian Murdock's Weblog: Joining Sun

17 Mar 2007


Firebug - Web Development Evolved

At yesterday's OPALS meeting someone demonstrated the latest version of Joe Hewitt's Firebug, a Firefox extension/add-on that allows you to interactively debug all aspects of a web page. I've used the tool on and off in the past - it's great - but I hadn't seen all the new and really cool features that have crept in since I last really looked at it.

There is even a nice video you can download of Joe giving a talk explaining how it all works. You can find the talk on the Yahoo! User Interface Blog site: YUI Theater: Joe Hewitt, Welcome to Firebug 1.0.

The Glass Ceiling

It may be a humours post but Penguin Pete's The Glass Ceiling Over Linux has some valid points that are worth noting...

14 Mar 2007

Is Linux Easy To Install?

A semi-technical friend asked earlier this week if Linux is easy to install? He is getting a new computer and is considering trying Linux out on the old one. For a living he "touches" Linux systems now and then via PuTTY and S-FTP but doesn't really use them much.

It made me think, "Is Linux easy to install?". I've not seen him to answer his question yet but here are my thoughts...

Anyone can use a computer if it's been set-up properly, but to install any operating system properly onto a random box takes some skill that most users do not have.

I've installed Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT4, and 2K, Red Hat Linux 5.x, 6.x, and 7.x, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, Debian GNU/Linux 3.0, 3.1 and 4.0 and IBM's AIX 5.3L. I've installed all of them at least once, some of them many times. I feel I am entitled to an opinion on at least these.

Of them I can with all honesty say that Windows took the longest in general with the endless rebooting, I've not tried XP or Vista, so I can't comment if it's better in these versions.

The older operating systems did have driver problems, Windows NT4 I remember being particularly unstable and temperamental if the hardware was not on it's very limited approved list. I gather from the press that Windows Vista also suffers from a very restricted selection of supported hardware.

For simplicity IBM's AIX was perhaps the least involved, you put the CD in press go and other than a few very basic questions it installs, that's not to say it's well configured but it is installed.

The old Debian 3.0 "Woody" installer was basic like AIX installer but was not as simple. The later Debian installer used in 3.1 and 4.0 is very easy to use and certainly much easier to use than Windows NT4 for example.

Red Hat has long had one of the slickest installers in the Linux community. The text version is quite nice and simple and the GUI version is visually quite attractive. It does require some thought, possible more than the current Debian installer but it is not impossibly complex.

All the Windows installers are quite similar, in that they start in text mode, offer a few options, reboot and then carry on in graphics mode. They are fairly straight forward but can be awkward to use if you don't want to do a vanilla install, or have exotic or new hardware. They are slow, much slower than any of the Linux installs - even when Linux installs off the Internet!

I suppose my answer is: If you can install Windows correctly (most people can not) then you should be able to install Linux - it's slightly easier. If you can configure Windows correctly (most people can't do that either) then you should be able to configure Linux too - that is much easier.

12 Mar 2007

Windows Under QEMU

After much pain and suffering I got both Win98 and Win2K running happily under QEMU. Both have been upgraded to IE6 which was the purpose of the exercise. Win98 wouldn't use a PCI NE2000 card so I had to change it to a ISA card, and Win2K insisted on the PCI version!

Interesting it was particularly hard to upgrade them, as their shipped web browser (IE4/IE5) struggled with the Microsoft upgrade web site. Win98 was easiest to patch, Win2K refused to upgrade to SP4 at all, and the upgrad to SP3 prevented it from being able to run the login dialog box.

It would have probably been easier to install IE6 under WINE but that would have not reminded me how miserable installing and configuring Windows is - I've not done it for a few years since upgrading to Linux.

10 Mar 2007

Installing Windows

I've been installing Microsoft Windows today. I'd forgotten how painful and miserable it is to do. Nothing works properly and you end up rebooting for ever. The next person to say that Windows is easy to install I'll club them to death with the damn installation media!

I only need to provide a Microsoft IE environment, I don't need or want the rest of the bloat. I could fiddle and try and get IE to work under WINE but WINE isn't that stable under AMD64 Linux.

07 Mar 2007

Old Code...

This week I've been working on an old SAP R/3 ABAP script at work. The original script is quite old, being written over 5 years ago - before our current SAP system was deployed - and it's not very idiomatic.

The changes required removing several functions of the report, fixing some features that didn't work properly and adding some new functions. Most of the time I've spent refactoring the code to make it shorter, simpler and cleaner. Only when I figured out what the spaghetti was supposed to do have I been able to extend the report as requested.

It's fun to do for a few days but I don't like wading through old messy code forever, I'll be happy to do something new next week. As Ovid recently said: you know when you are coding too much when you are embarrassed about having old legacy code visible on your computer to the contradictory gender...

06 Mar 2007

Möbius Born

We set up another Linux box at work today, yet another Windows PC evolves into a Debian GNU/Linux box. Following our mathematical naming convention this one is called Möbius.

04 Mar 2007

Lunar Eclipse

Last night there was a very nice total lunar eclipse. I watched some weak TV and every half an hour or so had a look at the moon. It was a nice clear night with very good visibility and only the light pollution from the pub across the road spoilt the effect.

02 Mar 2007

What Is The Value of Learning Easily Accessible Facts?

Many exams, certifications and interviews expect you to memorise and then regurgitate random facts. In the real world you know some of the data but when you must use the right incantation to get something done you look it up to make sure.

There are lots of things I do happen to know but an awful lot more that I can never remember. Once upon a time I could memorise enormous amounts of stuff with near photographic recall, now I struggle to remember shopping lists without writing them down! I'm still able to do my job perfectly well because what I don't know I know how to find out.