To Ubuntu bashers: Stop sulking and get a life

Clarification: I mistakenly used the term “two and a half hours” instead of “two and a half years” in the post below. Sorry for my typo! Corrected it!

Looks as if Ubuntu bashing has become a fashion lately. After getting fed up with MS, Apple and Adobe now its chance for Ubuntu to face the wrath of the trolls. I have used Ubuntu for two and a half years and researched a lot. At this stage I can give a fitting reply to anyone who feels that Ubuntu does what it shouln’t.

Allegation: Ubuntu doesn’t contribute upstream

Is upstream contribution the only way to show your faith in development? Isnt distribution and making it available to the public a big work? Before Ubuntu there were many other distros including much famous Fedora and OpenSuse. Whenever a new version came out, users from one distro would shift to another. Did anyone try to bring people from windows world? Ubuntu made its own ground, it never brought as much people from other distros as expected. Most of the new started using Ubuntu. Ubuntu showed them that there is actually light at the end of a tunnel which they have always felt as “dark”.

Allegation: Ubuntu is spoiling the market by putting in money from Shuttleworth’s Foundation

So what’s wrong in doing so? Who doesn’t want money to come in the FOSS world? The biggest problem has always been that people consider free as free of cost even though it means differently. Actually *most* of the free software is free of cost. Companies come to think that developing apps for Linux isnt feasible since no one wants to buy software. So isn’t Shuttleworth’s attempt a bold move? He knows that Cannonical isnt reaping profits, still he is financing in a hope that the community becomes self supporting one fine day.

Allegation: Ubuntu doesn’t have bleeding edge packages to match with Fedora

If you think that bleeding edge is the only way to judge the  quality of distro then you are flawed! More bleeding edge package mean more chances of bugs and more instability. Ubunt strikes a fine balance between bleeding edge and stability. If Fedora provides 2.6.29 kernel in Fedora 11 and Ubuntu has 2.6.28 kernel, then by no means they are light years apart! Stop howling and get over it! I have personally noticed that Ubuntu uses even numbers like 22,24,26,28 etc. Well, its just my observation as far as I can recall.

Allegation: Ubuntu is for Kids

Reason? Just because everything works? Or just because it is simple? In such a case, Mac should also be tagged for being an OS for extreme n00bs and its is said to “always work” and not “just work”. It is a mature distros which focusses a lot on bringing out the best features to the public.

Allegation: Users don’t have much say in proposed features

One word left to say – WTF! Looks like you have no idea of UbuntuForums, Brainstorm, mailing lists and the IRC channels. Which other distro has such an organized brainstorm as Ubuntu? Not just they are looked after, but many of the  features of upcoming Jaunty Jackalope were listed down and demanded in brainstorm. Two of them being “Faster resume” and “Fix Suspend/Resume/Hibernate”.

Final summed up response

Earlier it was PCLOS community which started bashing Ubuntu to gain some press, now I find that Fedora community is leading it. No offence meant, but as day progresses Fedora community is starting to whine about Ubutu’s featues and all those nonsense. Even Fedora Ambassadors are talking shit about Ubuntu!!! I was never against Fedora(why should I be?) and have used it before.

I never see any such so called bashing from the side of Ubuntu community. They probably use that time improving the distro rather than talking nonsense. Every other damn day I find articles from Fedora fanboys comparing Ubuntu and Fedora and delivering flawed results based on some irrational logic to show Fedora as champion. Do they want to get noticed in the community? If yes, then better check out articles by Ubuntu fanboys – only promoting Ubuntu, no bashing. Sweet!

The better side is that Ubuntu and Fedora are giving each other a solid competition, the final winner is no other than the end-users. Constructive criticism is one thing, but being pessimist and hitting Ubuntu for every fact just showcases the lack of rationalism.

Working with libnotify

Usually when using GNOME, you must have come across notification boxes which show near the time area of the upper panel. Ever wondered how it works? It is handled by the library named as libnotify. It has many bindings to be used with various languages, two most prominent ones being C and Python.

The python binding is very very simple, the real problem is using it with C. I searched the whole internet in hope of finding a good tutorial or code example to give us at last. The only help i could get was the documentation at GNOME. After giving it random attempts, finally I managed to hit the eye 🙂

Here is the code which I have committed to my personal svn dump at Google Code. Have a look at the code,  the comments are enough to give you a basic idea how it works. I still recommend you to download the code from link I gave just now instead the one shown below.

#include<libnotify/notify.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv)
{
// initialize gtk
gtk_init(&argc,&argv);

char name[40] = “Sample Notification”;

// initiate notify
notify_init(name);

// create a new notification
NotifyNotification *example;
example = notify_notification_new(name,“Checking it out”,NULL,NULL);

/*  Status Icon is not working properly */
// create an icon for the notification

GtkStatusIcon *icon = gtk_status_icon_new_from_stock (GTK_STOCK_YES);
gtk_status_icon_set_visible(icon,TRUE);
// attach that icon to the notification
notify_notification_attach_to_status_icon (example,icon);

// set the timeout of the notification to 3 secs
notify_notification_set_timeout(example,3000);

// set the category so as to tell what kind it is
char category[30] = “Testing Notifications”;
notify_notification_set_category(example,category);

// set the urgency level of the notification
notify_notification_set_urgency (example,NOTIFY_URGENCY_CRITICAL);

GError *error = NULL;
notify_notification_show(example,&error);
}

I am still not able to make the icons show up properly. I need to work again on it, reading the documentation once more. Frankly, GNOME needs to improve its documentation. Just bringing forward the fact that they are volunteers, doesn’t suffice. 😦

Yeah, for compiling the above, you need to have the GTK+ development headers installed on your system. It’s called as libgtk2.0-dev on Ubuntu, somewhat similar for other distos. Use this command to compile your program assuming that your program is saved in a file named notify.c

$ gcc `pkg-config –cflags –libs gtk+-2.0` notify.c -o notify -l notify

Make sure that the quote encircling pkg-config is back-ticks not simple quotes. Now run the program,

$ ./notify

and you can see a notification box coming on the right top corner.

Another news is that Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope 9.04 is going to have new notification system, which is obviously less obstructive and looks better with transparency.

Finally thanks to #pygtk on irc.freenode.net 🙂 IRC FTW!

Sound problems on Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

Ubuntu 8.04 users have been facing lots of problems related to sound. This happens when you try to play an embedded flash video inside the browser. This application somewhat locks and doesn’t allow other applications like VLC, Amarok to play anything. Syslog shows

pulseaudio[5903]: module-alsa-sink.c: Error opening PCM device front:0: Device or resource busy

The bug has been reported on Launchpad, many other duplicates exist, one of which is here

A workaround is to kill the daemon and restart it again and again. Once I did these steps, it never locks again. The whole thing is still a mystery.

Kill the daemon:

pulseaudio -k

Restart the daemon

pulseaudio -D -vv

You can even try out installing libflashsupport package, but it didn’t do any magic on my system though people claim that it works. Don’t forget to restart the browser and restart the pulseaudio daemon after installing this package.

This whole killing, restarting the daemon is just a workaround. We hope that it gets fixed. This problem is faced the most in Hardy, though even if you are planning to upgrade to Intrepid, be ready to face this bug. I faced this on the desktop at my home.

Ubuntu Experiences

I have been using Ubuntu for quite a long time and seen lots of its releases. Some of them were really groundbreaking in features. Many of them showed a new route for other distro developers. Indeed Ubuntu enjoys a strong community ahead of Fedora. Apart from Ubuntu, other most famous distros are Fedora and OpenSuse, but none of them have such a strong, dedicated and friendly community. The community factor is the place where Ubuntu is miles ahead of any other Operating System.

I first saw Ubuntu in Nov, 2006 when one of my friend Swaroop Hegde, installed it on his system. It was really amazing to see an OS running Live without even touching the Hard Disk. Most of the features like Graphics, Wireless, Wired Network worked out of the box without any additional drivers. Firefox was the default browser which made me especially happy.

Even though all these advancements, each Ubuntu release has a habit of breaking down the installation except one release – Feisty Fawn 7.04. The first one which I tried was Dapper Drake 6.06, which ran very smoothly on my system and had great hardware support for all the devices I used. The next release Edgy Eft 6.10 broke my PPPoE internet connection which I have at home provided by BSNL. Edgy was one of the worst release I ever tried out till now. Next came out Feisty Fawn 7.04 which gave a new direction to the Ubuntu community. It had exceptionally good user experiences, didnt crash all of a sudden or any hardware glicthes we expected due to last release. Its the best release I consider till now.

Next in the line was Gutsy Gibbon which did a daring move to incorporate a lot of new features like Compiz Fusion and NTFS-3g. People started facing problems especially due to the fact that their graphics card didn’t have proper drivers for Desktop Effects to be enabled. For many the LiveCD didnt even boot up. Hundred people, hundred problems. The ubuntu devs slowly fixed up all such problems with automatic updates. The problem didn’t stop till this line. Another ghastly problem which was knocking at the doorsteps was Flash Problem Update which gave nightmares to all YouTube users. I was still shocked how the devs took such a long time fixing up this problem. The Forums were flooded with help requests on Flash on Gutsy.

Next in the series was Hardy Heron 8.04 which did live up to its expectations to break some of the left out features. As opposed to Gutsy, this was an LTS which is supposed to be a Long Term Release being supported upto three years. The initial problem which was out there in wild was the fsync problem concerning Firefox, which made this excellent browser freeze for around 20-30 seconds occasionally. Apart from that, I faced some problems with gdm which was not starting after 4-5 restarts. The major update 8.04.1 fixed many many of the problems and at this stage am not even facing a single problem, everything is working fine. SWEET!

The next release Interpid Ibex used 2.6.27 kernel, due to which people reported a lot of problems. For many systems the LiveCD booting is as slow as sloth. The problems lies somewhere in ACPI being turned on , even on unsupported motherboards. I didnt upgrade fearing some problems which affected the Intel 3945ABG Wireless Drivers which suffered from some weird bugs, and half of the bug report was completely greek to me.

After using Ubuntu for around two years, the only thing which comes to my mind is that it rocks. APT fares better than YUM, dependency resolution is better in any case when compared to RPM based distros. Leaving everything, the best thing which comes to my mind is SHIP IT!

Choosing a Linux distro

As all of you might be knowing that distro is a short name for Linux Distributions, here I list many distros which have gained a lot ground of late and can be truly called desktop OS. Some information are also appended along with them so that you can make a nice decision. All comments,suggestion and feedback are welcome.

Ubuntu: This is the best and the most usable Linux distro when it comes to general use. A Linux distribution should not just work properly, it should have a strong community, nice documentation, large number of HOWTOs and TIPS/TRICKS. This is the place where ubuntu beats all distros hands down. If you have problems downloading from the site or have slow connection, you can order its CD for free! Order Now

UbuntuForums: This is one of the most busiest forums and too exhaustive for any one to follow. In light mood its so vast that one needs to be unemployed to keep track of all the threads 😀 Its claims over 6,00,000 users on the community. Even if you post a n00b question, you should expect to get multiple instant replies. One thing special is the patience in community members. The same n00b question is asked again and again by different members and all of them are answered by the people in polite tone. Its a non-geek hangout

Ubuntu Wiki: This is one of the best documentation I have ever seen, one stop destination for all problems and tweaks. The wiki consists of two parts official and community. Official one is a bid narrow thing and to the point explanation whereas community section is highly exhaustive.

Download Now

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Play with CompizFusion on Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10

One of the most awaited feature of Ubuntu Gutsy was its eye candy. CompizFusion is bundled by default which requires only some hardware acceleration and is best suited for people who have graphics card. One of the major problems which people are facing is that they are unable to find a front-end to configure Compiz. This frontend is called CompizConfig Settings Manager. You only need some tweaks and your system is ready. Get the package named compizconfig-settings-manager using apt or Synaptics

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

You need to have some packages installed. These are bundled by default but if you dont have you need to install them before you can use compiz. These are compiz-fusion-plugins-main , compiz-core , compiz-gnome , compiz-plugins .

Some of the famous effects are cube effect,rotate cube,wobbly windows, water effect and shift switcher. Some of the useful shortcut keys are as follows, just try them out and see

Ctrl+Alt+ <down>

Ctrl+Alt+Tab

Win+Tab

Ctrl+Alt+<right>

Ctrl+Alt+<left>

Ctrl+Alt+<mouse button 1>

Dealing with MP3 problem while playing Amarok on Ubuntu?

here’s probably little choice for Linux users for listening to music on Amarok. No other music player has gained so much reputation. Amarok really rocks! Its bundled with Kubuntu by default. It lacks in Ubuntu, but available in the repositories. Just downloading and installing doesnt work always.The most common problem which people face is that their Amarok does not play MP3’s. Amarok does not have support for playing MP3 by default in ubuntu. It asks you to enable MP3 support but probably that method is broken. Usually KNotify comes up and complains that crash has occurred. All these problems can be fixed very easily. You only need to follow some steps properly.

1) Install libxine1-ffmpeg package through apt. You can install it through terminal or Synaptics Package Manager. Type in terminal:

sudo apt-get install libxine1-ffmpeg

2) Now install Amarok through Synaptic Package Manager. You can install through Terminal (apt-get) also, but the former is better suited as there are probably many dependencies.

Still if you are unable to play MP3’s in Amarok try installing libxine-extracodec instead of libxine1-ffmpeg, but the former should surely work. No guarantee with the extracodec package.