martes, 30 de noviembre de 2010

A Mepis User Rooting for Mageia...WHY NOT?

Today I read something very good: Mageia Alpha 1 will be ready for January, 2011!!!

At this point some users of other distros may be thinking "so what? My distro is much better anyway!"

Others might be secretly grinning while thinking "Look! A Mepis user rooting for Mageia!" "It seems that this guy is coming from the moons of Coockoo-land or Mepis is not such a good distro after all!"

Neither is true. Well, maybe I'm a bit crazy indeed...some colleagues say it is a vital requirement for my job! :P

But that has nothing to do with my support to Mageia, or the fact that I am learning to use Mandriva, or that my main OS is Mepis.

To me, the crazy ones are those who push only to favor their distro. That "MY distro is THE distro" mentality, in conjunction with a constant mudding of all the other distros is, in my honest opinion, what keeps many away from Linux.

True, I have my favorite distros: Mepis, Mandriva, Pardus, Antix...

Also, some Linux flavors out there don't please me much. But the fact that I dislike them does not mean those distributions or their communities are useless. If there are 2 people following them, that means those distros have something to offer. Is that so hard to understand? Still, some Linux fans, or better said, Distro Trolls, don't seem to understand it.

True, something happened among the ranks of Mandriva and that led to the birth of Mageia. Should we then be forced to choose one or the other? Should we, users of other distros, throw mud at both of them so that our distro may have less competition?

I have a question. Who are we competing against? Are we competing against someone? So, is choosing free software the equivalent of entering a giant arena?

This is not right. I don't even see free software as the competition against Microsoft or Apple. Why? Because Open Source belongs to a different model. Open Source is about learning, sharing and improving. The greedy ideology of the traditional business model and its compulsive "kill or be killed" philosophy do not fit well in Open Source mentality.

Let Microsoft and Apple do the competition against each other. Also, let them keep directing lots of resources trying to kill Free Software. So far, they haven't been successful in spite of all their money. They are wasting money trying to kill an idea that grows slowly, but that keeps growing thanks--paradoxically--to their abusive business practices.

Instead of competing against them --or against ourselves-- let's invest our time more wisely: let's support each other...let's root together for Mageia!!!

domingo, 28 de noviembre de 2010

An Environment to Test Linux and OpenOffice? What about an Academic Dissertation?

Many say that Linux is good to play with but never to be used in a serious work environment. Also, Microsoft said in a video that OpenOffice is "unprofessional."

Is that true?

Of course, I made all my documents through my major with OpenOffice, but I decided to put both Linux and OpenOffice to a very serious test. Which one could be better than my academic dissertation for my Licenciate in Education?

Yes! If Linux does NOT work, I'll be put to shame not only in front of those who attended the public defense, but also in front of the examining tribunal. How about that? Does that sound serious enough?

My dissertation was today.

I was the only one who used Linux (Mepis Linux 8.5) and OpenOffice Impress while all the others used Windows XP (Why not Windows 7 Starter? Someone brought a netbook with it!) and MS Office 2007.

Interesting detail: XP refused to show the presentations on the wall and the netbook's screen at the same time. No function keys worked. The presenters had to read from the wall when changing the slides.

Interesting detail 2: One candidate who had made her presentation with an earlier version of PowerPoint had a problem: her titles and subtitles got somewhat garbled. What happened to the great compatibility of MS PowerPoint 2007 according to the video from Microsoft?

What happened to me? Could Linux do any better than that?

Well, I could use both the screen and the wall without pressing any special keys...Thank you, Linux!

Along with my presentation, I could even open 2 more programs and several different windows without my modest netbook getting stuck. Oh, and the audience was very impressed by Kwin and its desktop cube, which let me organize all my windows without cluttering.

What about Open Office? Both the audience and the academics judging my work showed me in their faces they were greatly impressed by this software and its OpenGL 3-D effects that PowerPoint cannot mimic.

The members of the tribunal were very satisfied...I ended my degree in Education successfully thanks to Open Source. THANK YOU, LINUX; THANK YOU, OPEN OFFICE!

Did I mention my topic? It was the inclusion of Open Source Software in language courses at the university. Yes, Linux is dead! :P

martes, 23 de noviembre de 2010

Se me pasó el cumpleaños de Windows! :P

Ayer se me pasó una fecha interesante: ¡el aniversario número 25 de Windows!

¿Y por qué estoy escribiendo esta entrada sobre Windows en un blog acerca del software libre? Después de todo, olvidé a Windows desde que empecé a usar Linux...

Cierto, como usuario de Linux, poseo mis razones para haber saltado del barco de Windows en busca de una nueva ruta. Los fanboys de Windows pueden querer disimularlas o ignorarlas, pero las mismas son sencillamente evidentes.

No obstante, también guardo recuerdos gratos asociados a Windows. Después de todo, lo usé desde la versión 3.11 hasta XP. Además, como he dicho varias veces, mi edición favorita de Windows fue Windows ME. ¡Aún la extraño, en serio! ¡¡Esto NO es sarcasmo!! En verdad disfrutaba usar WinME. No encontré una razón práctica para cambiarlo por XP, pero terminé haciéndolo cuando descontinuaron mi antivirus.

Tal vez en la actualidad me hallo muy alejado de la escena de Windows, pero parece que me perdí toda la celebración de Redmond, a menos que haya ocurrido muy silenciosamente.

De todos modos, usuarios de Windows, ¡no olviden darle algo especial a su Windows! :)

Oops! Missed Windows Birthday! :P

Yesterday, I missed an interesting date: Windows 25th Anniversary!

And why am I writing this post about Windows on a free software blog? After all, I forgot about Windows since I started using Linux...

True, as a Linux user, I have my reasons for jumping off the Windows boat in search of a new route. Windows fanboys may want to cover them up or ignore them, but they are just evident.

However, I have good memories tied to Windows as well. After all, I used it from version 3.11 to XP. And, as I said it several times, my favorite Windows edition was Windows ME. I still miss it, for real! This is NOT sarcasm!! I truly enjoyed using WinME. I saw no practical reason to move from it to XP, but ended doing it anyway when my A/V was discontinued.

Maybe nowadays I'm too detached from the Windows scene, but it seems I missed all the Redmond celebration unless it went by very silently.

Anyway, Windows users, don't forget to give your Windows a special treat! :)

domingo, 21 de noviembre de 2010

¡Feliz cumpleaños, MEPIS LINUX!

¡Mepis está celebrando su octavo aniversario hoy!

Los miembros de la comunidad se encuentran muy felices y agradecidos con Warren Woodford, el creador de Mepis.

A pesar de que soy bastante nuevo en Linux y en Mepis (Me volví parte de ambos mundos a la vez), pude sentir la cálida bienvenida que me dieron en la comunidad de Mepis.

Para aquellos que lo desconozcan, aunque Mepis introdujo grandes innovaciones a Linux en el pasado, es una distro poco famosa en la actualidad. ¡Incluso, en sus días pasados enfrentó las críticas de que "volvía a Linux demasiado fácil" por parte de usuarios de Ubuntu!

Mepis no alcanza mucho eco en la prensa. Sin embargo, personalmente encuentro esta distro muy estable y fácil de usar. En realidad, esos fueron mis motivos para escogerla en el momento de mi migración.

Ahora estoy probando el Alfa 2 de Mepis 11...¡Es una buena forma de celebrar el cumpleaños de mi distro favorita!


EDICIÓN: ¡No he terminado de jugar con el Alfa 2 y el Alfa 3 ya se halla disponible! Tengo que descargar ese entonces...

Happy Birthday, MEPIS LINUX!

Today, Mepis is celebrating its 8th anniversary!

The members of the community are very happy and thankful to Warren Woodford, the developer of Mepis.

Even though I am quite new to Linux and to Mepis (I entered both worlds at the same time), I could feel the warm welcome that they gave me at Mepis community.

For those who don't know, although Mepis made great innovations to Linux in the past, it is a little known distro nowadays. It even faced criticism in the past "for making Linux too simple" coming from UBUNTU users!

Although Mepis doesn't get much press, I personally find it very stable and easy to use. Actually, that's why I chose it for my migration.

Now I am testing Mepis 11 Alpha 2...a nice way to celebrate the birthday of my favorite distro!


EDIT: I haven't finished playing with Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 is already available! Gotta download that one, then...

viernes, 19 de noviembre de 2010

¿¿Dónde están Mepis 9 y 10??

El Alfa 2 de Mepis 11 estará listo para descargarse bastante pronto. Yo lo pienso descargar para probarlo tan pronto como pueda.

Por cierto, algunos se han preguntado si se han perdido versiones porque Mepis salta de pronto desde la 8.5 a la 11.

¿¿Dónde están Mepis 9 y 10 entonces??

Aquellos interesados en descargarlas tendrán que visitar la Dimensión Desconocida porque dichas versiones simplemente no existen. La nomenclatura de Mepis parece basarse en el año de lanzamiento (algo así).

Personalmente, no me parece que dicha cuestión sea molesta. Después de todo, a mí me preocupa más la estabilidad y eficiencia de esta distro, que no me ha decepcionado. Ni siquiera me preocupan el impacto visual o la innovación. Algunos amigos, no obstante, parecen encontrarse en medio de una crisis existencial por causa de los números faltantes.

¿Debería Mepis cambiar su sistema de nomenclatura para evitar estos problemas? ¡No sé!

¡Había una discusión interesante sobre ello en el foro de Mepis, jeje!

Where are Mepis 9 and 10??

Mepis 11 Alpha 2 will be ready for download pretty soon. I'll try to download it and test it ASAP.

By the way, several people have wondered if they missed two releases because Mepis suddenly jumps from 8.5 to 11.

So, where are Mepis 9 and 10??

People interested in downloading them will have to go to the Twilight Zone because those releases simply don't exist. Mepis nomenclature seems to be based on the year of release (sort of).

I personally don't find that disturbing. After all, I'm more concerned over this distro's stability and usability, which hasn't let me down. I'm not even concerned about eye candy or innovation. Some fellows, however, are apparently facing an existential crisis because of the missing numbers.

Should Mepis change its nomenclature to avoid such problems? I don't know!

There was a nice thread about that on the Mepis forum, hehe!

miércoles, 17 de noviembre de 2010

Busy Times and Maximized Productivity

I've been away from the blogsphere for some time.

As the end of this semester approaches, my workload as a teacher increases exponentially and my free time shrinks at the same rate, if not faster.

Some may say that my job is keeping me away from the world of time to recompile my kernel, no time to enter into Linux forums asking for help desperately, no time to read obtuse manuals nor to tinker with my crashed Linux system trying to get it to work again...In other words, since I need to meet the demands of my job, I must be refraining from using Linux for the sake of real productivity. After all, one cannot afford silly playing when important work needs to get done...

Actually, my experience is totally the opposite: I've never been as immerse in the world of Linux as I am nowadays. Linux has made me work faster than my colleagues at my office. While some of them wait for their computer to load the OS, I am working already. When they are checking if their USB drives are infected, I am opening the documents on mine. While they patiently wait for their A/V scan to finish, I am finishing some of my work and starting with a new task. Oh, did I mention that I am doing all this on my netbook Toshiba NB-100 which, by the way, is not the fastest nor the most comfortable to use?

I've realized that my productivity has not dropped since I migrated to Linux. Actually, I am able to get more things done and have almost forgotten about the daily rituals that kept me busy in the past: downloading A/V updates, looking for and installing stronger anti-malware tools...running scans. Now I employ that time doing something!

How many crashes have I experienced? Zero. What about the fearful kernel panics anti-linux generals always mention? Zero. Computer freezes? Zero. Restarts? Zero. Is this for real? All that on my modest netbook? Well, as a teacher, I also have to work home and my desktop box has the same figures. The computer at the office, conversely, has crashed three times and has frozen another four. No, it does not run Linux.

When I finish my job at the office, I read, talk with my colleagues, and often clean the viruses that their A/V technologies swear they don't have on their USB pendrives.

And what do I do now at home when I get my job done? Recompile my kernel as all Linux geeks do? I've no idea how to do that. Lately, I play with the kitten my wife brought home, which by the way loves keyboards. Maybe the little furry critter will teach me some kernel-compiling tricks in the future...

miércoles, 10 de noviembre de 2010

Mepis 11.0 Alpha Is Out!!!

Yay!!! Mepis 11.0 Alpha is OUT! Gotta download it and try it while it's hot! ^__^

martes, 9 de noviembre de 2010

Happy Birthday, FIREFOX!!

Happy Birthday, Firefox!! ^__^

Six years ago, the Internet saw the birth of Firefox, IE's nightmare, even though Microsoft will never acknowledge it and will keep saying that IE is always growing. Well, it's true: it's always growing in size and copied features! (seriously...20 Mb. just for browsing the Web? Oh, and you don't have the right to download that mammoth unless you use either Vista or Vista/7)

Firefox, even being a six-year-old child is pretty amazing. One of its most amazing deeds was sending a strong message to Microsoft, to the end users, and to developers: Internet Explorer is neither the only browser nor the best one. IE may have killed Netscape's Navigator, but now it has to prove to the 41% of users that chose other browsers why they should prefer it. Good for Firefox!

Thanks to Firefox, many eyes were opened and even Windows users happily browse the Web with Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and other alternatives, to Microsoft's dismay. It is, as the article Happy Birthday, Firefox! called it, "the little browser that could!

lunes, 8 de noviembre de 2010

A Proud Pirate...and an Unnecessary Risk

According to what I've read online, a woman was sued for pirating about 20 songs and now she has to pay around $2 million.

Wow! That's big money...and big trouble, for sure.

Now, that made me remember the day I spoke with a young pirate, some time ago, before my migration to Linux.

He was very happy. He told me "I got Windows for free" with a bright smile on his face.

I asked him "But what about the serial number?"

He said "No problem. I got a loader and activated my Windows already."

Then I asked him what he'd do if Microsoft got wise and found out.

He replied proudly "No problem. I also got a special loader that changes my serial number every week or so, so I won't get caught easily." this the new set of values young people uphold?

Now that I'm into free software, several questions come to my head. For example, if this proud pirate was willing to go such lengths to have an OS for free, why not giving Free Software a try? At least he wouldn't be breaking the law... Had I known about Free Software back then, I'd have asked him. I didn't know, so I just told him to be careful because he was playing with fire and I was sure Microsoft would do something about it.

Microsoft is indeed getting wiser. Windows 7 SP-1 does not bring many changes to the OS, Microsoft says. So, what does it bring? Let's guess. It must benefit someone...if not the end user, who gets the benefit?

Some may think that this little pirate wanted Windows and no other OS because he thought it was indeed superior...

"If you believe Microsoft's products are indeed superior, why don't you pay for them?", I'd like to ask him now.

Yes. Maybe I'm old-fashioned or maybe I'm just plain old. I moved away from Windows when I could find no longer a strong reason to pay for it. I no longer perceived a balance between price and security/efficiency in Redmond's OS. Sorry, Mr.Ballmer...I didn't fall for your words.

I guess I could still get Windows "for free." However, the idea of living on the edge, changing the plate of my car any time I ride it does not seem too comfortable nor it looks appealing to me. Depending on a loader and a serial changer to use my computer doesn't seem anything to be proud of, either. I see that as a totally unnecessary risk, especially after I found legal alternatives that do not compromise my ethical stand.

Now that I embraced Free Software, I realized that whenever I change anything in my car, I do it for curiosity and for the fun of doing it, not to hide myself from anyone. If I'm tired of KDE, I jump to Gnome or to E-16 and even combine them. I have experienced no explosions yet, in spite of what Linux detractors may say...and I am no programmer AND barely know 3 commands for my console.

I wonder how this proud pirate is doing nowadays. Will his loader still be working or will he be the next headline-maker?

I don't know...

martes, 2 de noviembre de 2010

Multimedia, Education, and Free Software

I was surprised today. A colleague showed me a CD that someone gave her in a course related to the Ministry of Education of my country. According to her, the CD contained "software for audio activities."

I took the CD. I expected to find a bunch of windows-only demos with a limited functionality or designed to expire in a month but my eyes read a familiar name: Audacity

Maybe Audacity doesn't mean much in the world of Windows but this name identifies the most famous audio tool in the world of Linux. Audacity is a multi-platform, open source audio editor, as the educational software should be.

Another of the programs included was new to me. Its name is JClic. JClic is an interesting set of educational activities that students can use.

However, it goes beyond that. It also lets teachers create their own activities...

What surprised me most wasn't the software, but the fact that the Ministry of Education is promoting the use of free software. Well, it actually shouldn't puzzle me: in a context of an economic crisis, schools must save costs and at the same time maximize their efficiency.

Moreover, open source applications tend to be inclusive since they frequently run on different systems instead of requiring their users to acquire licenses of OSs that such users can't even call legally their own.

Multimedios, Educación y Software Libre

Hoy me llevé una sorpresa. Una colega me prestó un CD que le habían regalado en un curso relacionado con el Ministerio de Educación de mi país. Según me había dicho ella, el disco contenía "software para actividades de audio".

Tomé el disco. Esperaba encontrar un montón de "demos" sólo para Windows con funcionalidad limitada o diseñados para expirar en un mes, pero mis ojos detectaron un nombre conocido: Audacity

Tal vez en el mundo de Windows Audacity no signifique mucho, pero ese nombre identifica a la herramienta de audio más famosa en el de Linux. Audacity es un editor de audio de código abierto y multiplataforma, como el software para la educación debería ser.

Otro de los programas en el CD era nuevo para mí. Su nombre es JClic. JClic es un interesante entorno de actividades educativas que los estudiantes pueden realizar.

Sin embargo, va más allá. También permite al docente crear sus propias actividades...

Lo que más me sorprendió no fue tanto el software, sino el hecho de que el Ministerio de Educación esté promoviendo el uso del software libre. Bueno, en realidad no debería sorprenderme: en un contexto de crisis económica, las instituciones educativas deben ahorrar costos y a la vez maximizar su eficiencia.

Asimismo, las aplicaciones de código abierto tienden a ser inclusivas ya que con frecuencia funcionan en diversos equipos en lugar de exigir a los usuarios adquirir licencias de sistemas operativos que éstos ni siquiera pueden llamar suyos legalmente.