domingo, 30 de enero de 2011

How to Get a Canon Pixma ip1800 Working on Mepis 8.0

Canon used to be my favorite printer manufacturer...until I migrated to Linux and realized the unfriendly policies Canon America has for Linux. I had abandoned all hope of printing on Mepis using my Canon Pixma ip1800.

However, I stumbled upon Tuxgamez!, a blog by obedlink, an Ubuntu user who happened to be in the same situation but found a solution. He published the solution and the drivers here.

True, the blog and the directions are in Spanish, but you just have to click on "descargar archivo" (download file) at the end of the page. The .tar file has directions in English.

You just follow the directions and select the Canon printer driver ip1900 to get your Canon ip1800 working on Mepis.

miércoles, 26 de enero de 2011

My Triple-boot Netbook...No More

In July last year, I wrote about my little netbook Toshiba NB-100. Even though it originally came with Windows XP preinstalled, I forced Redmond's OS to make room for SimplyMepis 8.0. That's how my dual-boot computer was born.

Sometime later, encouraged by the stability of Mepis and the flexibility of Linux, I went for a bolder move and installed Mepis 8.5 as well. I then had a triple-boot computer!! Oh, I was so proud of it!

Back in those days, I was happy to experiment with Linux. In fact, I seldom booted XP. Little by Little, XP moved away from the center and became more like a storeroom on my netbook. I didn't wipe that system out because of nostalgic reasons. Besides, the thought "if something goes wrong with Linux, you can boot Windows" was still present in my mind.

Bullseye! At least in part. Something went wrong with Linux! This was something that both Mepis 8.0 and Mepis 8.5 brought about...

My hard drive broke. But it didn't break broke itself apart!

Let me clarify. My hard drive split into a new partition and Mandriva Linux took over it. It was interesting because Mandriva handles things a bit differently. Thanks to Linux, my tiny netbook became a four-headed monster!!

As if that weren't bad enough, the process repeated itself a couple of weeks ago. My neetbook grew one more head and this time it was called Pardus 2011 RC!

A very sensible question: Why do I have so many systems on my resource-limited netbook?

The answer is very simple: Because I have the freedom to do it. I am not tied to what OEMs want to give me. I am a free person and I want to experience technology freedom as well.

Second question: Do I use all those Linux systems? You bet! My favorite is Mepis 8.0, but I regularly boot Mandriva, and I used Pardus in class just today. Oh, Mepis 8.5 was the one in charge of my dissertation for my education degree. The only one I don't use is XP. Windows XP is still there, but I hadn't used it in ages. I don't need to. However, as far as I don't need its space, I think it will stay.

I didn't see this problem come. I never expected Linux to be so addictive...I had no idea that in a year it would encourage me to experiment and do things that all my previous Windows training didn't teach me.

My netbook is not a triple-boot computer anymore. Nowadays, it is a five-headed monster and I am so proud of it because it makes me feel free. I am still an amateur, but I feel I have taken customization to a level I had never imagined possible! Besides, my netbook works perfectly: four of its heads are always ready for work although one of them (its original one) is asleep...maybe forever.

viernes, 21 de enero de 2011

Linux CDs Vs. Linux DVDs...

I downloaded and installed the final version of Pardus 2011 I awaited so much. It didn't let me down.

My only complaints are that it is 1.1 Gb. and that Pardus repository is not as varied as those of Debian-based distros or Mandriva are. However, I can do without some packages...they are not vital...just minor things I like. In exchange, Pardus does have its unique features.

Now, concerning this distro's size...I've seen some Linux fans upset because distros are becoming bigger and bigger...some of these distributions no longer fit into a CD (my favorite one took that path already! T__T). I am with CD advocates in part; I don't know why, but I favor CDs over DVDs.

For example, my Pardus download took about 4-5 hours...I'm not sure. According to CD advocates, how can Linux developers expect that a Windows-only individual will stay for several hours downloading a distro to test it? We might add here that for Windows people, Linux is kind of a "shady, unknown, and unreliable" OS, too. Seriously, they don't test a distro even if you give them the CDs away!

OK...let's consider a couple of details that speak in favor of these "monster-sized Linux distros":

1. The DVDs contain office, multimedia, and other utilities.
Some, probably thinking that Linux is suffering the same mutations that the most widespread OS has suffered over the years, believe that including lots of software with a distro is highly negative. "Linux is a penguin, not a turkey to be stuffed for thanksgiving," they seem to say. They think that a good distro should be nothing but the core because "users will then download what they need." Well, I'm not sure about that. Actually, I came to Linux because it had everything I needed and I could test it right off the CD. Had I downloaded a distro lacking office or multimedia utilities, I'm pretty sure I'd have stayed where I least for longer.

2. Many people actually download pirated copies of another OS.
Let's compare a Linux DVD download with one of an illegal copy of Redmond's warhorse. How big is the latter? Not 1.1 Gbs, I'm sure. I think it is around 3 Gb. What does that one have? Motherboard drivers? No. Video/audio codecs? No. Multimedia tools? No. Office tools? Not in this life! That means people who are not willing to pay for an OS are willing to wait days and weeks to get an illegal copy that can send their PC to LimboLand plus they are willing to start more downloads to get that illegal OS functional.
Sure. This does not mean they will come running to download Linux, but it does mean they have the means--and the patience--to start a long download. Linux DVDs are then not so outrageous as others might think.

3. Where there is no connectivity, minimalistic distros do little for the user.
Again, there are different social and economic contexts. Countries vary, so judging everything according to our narrow perspective (thinking globally, all of us will end up having narrow perspectives, however open-minded we think we are) is not a good idea. Give someone a Linux version with no office suite, no multimedia tools, no games (yes! there are people who still think a computer is just for playing! I talked to one of them last week) and tell them how great that distro is. How can they believe you? You are not showing anything new to them, you know? Tell them then that they can download whatever is needed afterwards...Oh, but they don't have access to the Web. What did you give them? A pretty useless CD. Add several points more under the "pretty useless" label if the CD only speaks one language. Yes! Not everyone speaks English and the ones who cannot pay for English classes cannot pay for Windows, either. They could benefit greatly from Linux...if only they could understand its menus!

Oh, but how come a person who has a DVD drive won't have access to the Web? Check again...DVD drives are not so expensive about a fast Internet connection? That then proves that minimalistic CDs are the solution, right? If there's no access to the Web, DVD downloads are impossible. Think again. How much time will they need to spend on a telephone connection to download a word processor or their localization package? They'd rather have a DVD with everything included given to them by someone who does have a fast connection: YOU! :P

Of course, the greatest idea would be to keep Linux distros so small that they may fit into a CD, but if you want to add localization, an office suite, and a video player, the task becomes a bit hard to achieve, especially if you want this distro to look somewhat modern, too. Please, understand that some people would rather have a DVD that will give them all that and will speak their language than a CD that will tell them to download a language they cannot understand!

martes, 18 de enero de 2011

Poseen una PC vieja y no les gusta Puppy? ¡Prueben a MiniNO!

Cuando se habla sobre computadoras viejas y una distro de Linux para hacerlas útiles de nuevo, la mayoría de la gente piensa en "Puppy Linux".

¡Puppy es de hecho increíble! Se ejecuta totalmente desde la memoria RAM, por lo que es posible usar la unidad de CD. También viene con aplicaciones seleccionadas cuidadosamente para el trabajo. De acuerdo con su desarrollador, "funciona en PCs con muy poca RAM, probablemente tan poca como 32M." ¡Eso es sin duda interesante!

Me gusta el consejo que el desarrollador de Puppy le brinda a aquellos que desean probar esta pequeña distro:

"Por lo tanto, se debe preguntar ¿Por qué usted se encuentra ejecutando Windows para copiar los archivos del CD de Puppy? Usted debe desacostrumbrarse a esa dependencia de Windows. ¡Inicie el "live-CD" y se encontrará ejecutando Puppy!"

Yo lo intenté con mi computadora anterior y me gustó.

No obstante, puede haber personas que no se sientan cómodas con Puppy. Recuerdo que esta distro experimentó problemas para "atrapar" mi ratón. Asimismo, Puppy aparentemente no es multilingüe...pregunta por la localización, pero al final obtuve un escritorio en inglés.

Por lo tanto, para aquellos que desear revivir una PC vieja, no se sienten cómodos con Puppy o no hablan inglés, existe una alternativa...GALPon MiniNO Linux. Como MiniNO es una palabra en español para "gato", fue capaz de "atrapar mi ratón"! :P

GALPon MiniNo es una distro hecha en España. Se puede iniciar en español, gallego e inglés. Según sus desarrolladores, "se ha probado en equipos Pentium 117MHz con 32Mb de memoria RAM y solo 1Mb de memoria de video reproduciendo vídeos, en multiples formatos, sin problemas".

Citando a sus desarrolladores, "El proyecto Minino comenzó como un intento de construir una distro medianamente actualizada para ordenadores bien hechos, es decir, máquinas que aguantan como ninguna el peso de los años, el polvo, las temperaturas extremas, los golpes, las subidas de tensión y a los numerosos manazas que aporrearon sus teclados y cacharrearon con sus tripas". ¿Se puede decir algo más?

MiniNO es mucho más pesado que Puppy; la versión 1.2 "Alguadaira" mide 435 Mb. Por supuesto, incluye un procesador de palabras(Abiword), una hoja de cálculo (GNUmeric), juegos (¡me gustó mucho Circus Linux!) una herramienta de copiado de CDs (que incluso pudo manejar mis problemáticas unidades de DVD) y muchas otras aplicaciones. Su manejador de escritorios es IceWM, por lo que resulta un poco más familiar a los usuarios de Windows que el de Puppy (JWM). Como MiniNo se basa en Debian, posee muchos paquetes disponibles.

MiniNO levantó mi red de cable sin esfuerzo alguno. También viene con varios navegadores livianos (¡hasta tienen su navegador MiniNO!), pero por si acaso, incluye un "ícono mágico" para instalar Firefox.

Las siguientes son unas vistas de pantalla:

La vista de pantalla oficial de Distrowatch:

Una vista de pantalla de mi computadora:

En conclusión, si no se siente feliz con el perrito, ¡pruebe con el gatito! :p

Own an Old Computer and Dislike Puppy? Meet MiniNo:

When talking about old computers and a Linux distro to make them usable again, most people think "Puppy Linux."

Puppy is indeed amazing! It loads totally on RAM, so you may use the CD drive. It also comes with applications selected carefully for working. According to its developer, it "works on PCs with very little RAM, probably as little as 32M." That is indeed something!

I like the piece of advice that Puppy's developer gives to those wanting to try this little distro:

"So, the question must be raised, why are you running Windows to copy the files off the Puppy CD? You need to wean yourself off this dependence on Windows. Boot the live-CD, then you have a running Puppy!"

I tried it on my old computer and I liked it.

However, there might be people who might not be comfortable with Puppy. I remember Puppy had problems "catching" my mouse. Also, Puppy seems not to be asks for your locale, but at the end, I got an English desktop.

So, for those who want to revive an old PC, don't feel comfortable with Puppy or don't speak English, there is an alternative...GALPon MiniNO Linux. MiniNO is a Spanish word for "cat"; it even "caught my mouse"! :P

GALPon MiniNo is a distro made in Spain. It boots in Spanish, English, and Galician. According to its developers, "it has been tested on systems Pentium 117MHz with 32Mb of RAM and only 1Mb of video memory and has played different video formats without problems."

Citing its developers, "the project Minino started as an approach to build a distro somewhat updated for computers well-built, that is, systems that stand like no others the weight of the years, dust, extreme temperatures, hits, tension rises and the many clumsy-handed who beat up their keyboards and trashed their guts". Any question?

MiniNO is much bigger than Puppy; version 1.2 "Alguadaira" is 435 Mb. Of course, it includes a word processor (Abiword), a spreadsheet (GNUmeric), games (I liked Circus Linux!) a burning tool (it actually could manage my problematic DVD burners) and many other tools. Its desktop manager is IceWM, so it is a bit more familiar to Windows users than Puppy's JWM. Since MiniNo is based on Debian, it has lots of packages available, too.

MiniNO caught my wired connection effortlessly. It comes with different light browsers (it has MiniNO browser, too!), but just in case, it includes a magic icon for you to install Firefox. Here are a few screenshots:

The official screenshot from Distrowatch:

A screenshot on my computer:

So, if you are not happy with the little dog, try the little cat! :p

sábado, 15 de enero de 2011

Choose Your Distro according to the Zodiac! (PART II)

This is the second and final part of my list of Linux distros chosen "according to the stars." (remember, this is just for fun! :P)

7. Cancer: July 20 – Aug. 10 (The Crab): Cancer people are sensitive and emotional individuals. If you are born under the sign of Cancer, your distro is without a doubt Kwort Linux. This Slackware-based distribution made in Argentina will give you everything you need. Its desktop wallpaper will capture your heart with its mixture of peace, sadness, loneliness, and mystery. Don't forget to check kpkg, this distro's unique package manager.

8. Leo: Aug. 10 – Sept. 16 (the Lion): Leo is power, luxury, and pride. For you, the King of the jungle, the stars picked Pardus Linux. Pardus is solid, stable and boasts the luxurious details you care so much for. True, this Turkish distro is a leopard and not a lion, but hey! Linux is a community, so there are no kings!

9. Virgo: Sept. 16 – Oct. 30 (the Maiden): You are analytical, you love to think and communication is vital to you. Thus, your best distro is Mangaka Linux, based on Debian and Ubuntu and developed in Austria. It gives you plenty of multimedia tools plus interesting manga-style games that will challenge your analytical side.

10. Libra: Oct. 30 – Nov. 23 (the Scales): Libra is balance, beauty, flirt. Libra is highly visual, so the stars picked Yoper Linux for you. Yoper, made in New Zealand, comes with the best features of major distros, measuring up to the demanding proliferation of network communications and more intensive digital multimedia, graphics and audio capabilities which are ushering in a new era of business productivity enabled by a new generation of sophisticated microprocessors, and business application tools. Bull's eye, right?

11. Scorpio: Nov. 23 – Nov. 29 (the Scorpion): Scorpions are full of passion, intensity and persistence. They like mystery and are said to be violent sometimes. For you, the bleeding edge is your home. Thus, your distro is the German, debian-based Aptosid and no other. You wouldn't accept anything else for you would live happily where others just run away in fear.

12. Ophiuchus /Serpentarius *The new guy in the Zodiac* Nov. 29 – Dec. 17 (the Serpent Bearer): If you are one of the new Serpent Bearers, you must first do away with all you believed you were before. That fits perfectly your current sign, for Sphiuchus people want to escape the routine, dull, and ordinary aspects of their lives. You try to find new things that will make your life more exciting and stimulating. But with every effort of this kind, circumstances, duties, and obligations seem to hold you back and keep you stuck in an oppressive situation. Your Linux distro? It's the Italian OpenMamba, definitely! See? The stars do know you!

13. Sagittarius: Dec. 17 – Jan. 20 (the Centaur/Archer): What's the best OS for you? You are cheerful, optimistic, and motivate others around you. You have an amazing sense of humor and jokes are your everyday bread. You love freedom and are outgoing. You are the "devil" when others try to behave. For you, the stars chose FreeBSD! FreeBSD is not a Linux distro, but the stars think it is your best OS because, just as you do, this OS made in the USA has its own way! Go for it!

This ends my list of Linux distros and BSD operating systems chosen according to the zodiac. I took the info on each OS from Distrowatch and the info on the zodiac signs from different sources online. So, next time you hear of a friend having trouble picking a distro, tell him/her to look at the stars! ^__^

viernes, 14 de enero de 2011

Choose Your Distro according to the Zodiac! (PART I)

Some people try Linux and experience frustration because they just pick any distribution, mainly that one with releases named after African fauna, without any kind of previous consultation.

Who are they supposed to consult with anyway?

The answer is simple...consult with the stars! Use the zodiac to choose the distro that best fits your sign!

Oh...but there's a problem: zodiac signs have moved a month already, so we need to update our horoscopes first!

Unfortunately, updating the horoscope won't be as simple as opening a terminal and running a few commands or doing it through a GUI like Synaptic. An individual will take much longer to accept, for example, that if he or she was born on July 24, his/her current sign is not Leo but Cancer. Running "apt-get upgrade" won't help this time.

In this light, here's a chart of the updated zodiac signs with a list of Linux distributions (mostly...there's also BSD) matching them for us to check if our Distro fits our sign.

What were the criteria for choosing those distros and not mainstream ones? Why not Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, and so on?

You know, stars don't lie...if this works for little-known distributions, it will be clear that it also does for more popular ones!

Well--not really. Since I had some free time today (you know, no A/V scans, no defrags, no codec or driver hunts, no rebooting on Linux), I just decided to pick distros that for the most part get very little press. Also, instead of looking at the stars to pick them, I just chose them according to their logo! (I know...I'm a fraud as a mentalist!:P)

So, here we go! Remember, this is the updated version of the zodiac:

1. Capricorn: Jan. 20 – Feb. 16 ("Goat-horned" The Sea-Goat): Your Linux distro is Poseidon. This Brazilian distro, based on Debian and Ubuntu will fit your academic and scientific needs.

2.Aquarius: Feb. 16 – March 11 (The Water Bearer):
The stars think the best distro for you is Mageia. Unfortunately, Mageia is not out yet, so you'll have to wait a little bit to have your own Linux. In the meantime, you may use any other distribution or shut down your PC until your distro is released. But don't worry! You won't have to wait much longer...Mageia is almost here!

3. Pisces: March 11– April 18 (Fish):. The stars say you don't quite use Linux, so your best OS is OpenBSD. This Canadian multi-platform OS will cater for all your needs: portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography. Just for you, right? Do you believe the stars now?

4. Aries: April 18 – May 13 (The ram): For you, the best distro is without a doubt ConnochaetOS. Yes, you know information that others ignore ("Connochaet" is the scientific name for GNU, for example). You like tradition and do not find wasting resources fun, so you try to use your old computers until they literally die. This Arch-based distro made in Germany will restore that old Pentium you have and will turn it into a new PC! Go for it and you won't be sorry!

5.Taurus: May 13 – June 21 (The bull): Some people call you stubborn; others call you hard-headed...but that's actually your proactive nature and your strong will. The stars chose Kongoni for you. This Slackware-based Linux distro from South Africa even compiles and installs programs from source code on your system. Can't beat that, huh?

6. Gemini: June 21 – July 20 (the twins): They say you experience drastic mood changes and even become like a different individual. That's part of your intense flexibility actually. The best Linux distribution for you is KNOPPIX of course! This distro has support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a Linux demo, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos...who said "changes"? You WILL give them changes then!

For next time: From Cancer to Sagittarius

viernes, 7 de enero de 2011

Waiting (im)patiently

OK, this is the list of final releases I'm waiting for (im)patiently during this year:

1. Mepis 11:
Currently in Beta 1 stage, Mepis 11 is the first one on my list. I've tested it and have gotten both pleasant and unpleasant surprises...I hope it may be ready soon, but more than that, I hope Mepis 11 may unleash the full potential of my computer.

2. Mageia:
Being an occasional Mandriva user (and now more often as my new DVD units only work on Mandriva), I've come to feel more at ease with the French/Brazilian yellow star. Likewise, I can't help but wait for Mageia to be released. What will Mageia be like? I don't know, but I want to be there when it sees the light.

3. Pardus 2011:
I like Pardus and I think that if I had found it before, maybe I wouldn't be using Mepis now. Probably that's the reason why I haven't installed it yet. Well, my former computer was quite old and I didn't have enough room for the Turkish cat then. That problem is currently gone with my new computer. I have just tested the live Pardus 2011 Release Candidate and I must say it is impressive (it can also use my new hardware with no hassle!) Definitely, I will install it as soon as the final release arrives. Please go here for a more detailed review.

4. Libreoffice:

I tested the second alpha and it was good in spite of the crashes I experienced. Pardus 2011 has it, so I think Libreoffice will become more popular with the time.

5. Firefox 4:
Why Firefox if savvy individuals seem to prefer other browsers such as Chrome or Opera? Well, I don't know how to answer myself, but I trust the red panda because it was the browser that made Redmond realize IE was pure talk and that open standards were important. Both Pardus 2011 and Mepis 11 bring Firefox 4 Beta...Will Mageia choose it as well?

5. antiX M11:
I gave antiX M11 Test Release a spin and found it amazing. Also, its developer surprised me literally by offering me unexpected and incredibly prompt advice on how to solve a problem I encountered. Hopefully, antiX M11 will be ready quite soon, too. I will recommend it to those who want a rolling distro.

So, this is my list. Still, I get the feeling that I'm missing something...could that be the first Service Pack of Windows 7? No...I don't think so. :P

jueves, 6 de enero de 2011

Pardus Life!

Bueno...¡Esta es toda una sorpresa: encontré un blog de Pardus Linux en español!

Este blog se llama Pardus Life y está dirigido a todos aquellos amantes del linux turco del leopardo...¡me alegro mucho!

En Pardus Life se pueden encontrar recursos como wallpapers y banners.

Ah, Pardus Life también me llevó al foro de la comunidad hispana de Pardus: Pardus-es

Bueno, tanto Pardus Life como Pardus-es le serán de gran ayuda a mi mamá, quien tiene Pardus instalado en su computadora y quien recientemente saltó al ciber espacio. De hecho, hoy me entretuve en su casa con PiSi, el gatito encargado de los paquetes en Pardus...

sábado, 1 de enero de 2011

Video Configuration for My New Monitor

My new computer seems to be too new for Mepis 8.0 to handle. I'll hang in there until Mepis 11 comes out.

One small problem I got had to do with my Samsung SyncMaster B1930 flat monitor. Although Mepis could use it, I kept getting a "Current display settings are not optimal. 1366 x 768 60 Hz is recommended" notice at my login screen.

That led me to a new quest: how to configure my display settings.

The Way of Changing the Display Settings

Once I logged in and was at mepis desktop, I followed this procedure:

1- Pressed Ctrl+Alt+F1 This opens a console login. (The hideous black screen that many other newbies fear so much!)

2. Logged in as root. I achieved this by typing "root" when prompted and then the root password.

3. Got into Runlevel 3 by typing "telinit 3". Wow! This reminds me of my first RPG game: a very old, amateurish game called Dark Ages I: The Continents, by Brothersoft. All I remember of that game was that a drunkard advised the hero "to get 'lefels'." I don't know why I still remember that.
Anyway, This is a short description of the different runlevels (I took it from the Mepis Manual):

0 Halt (power down)
1 Single-user mode: provides a root console without logon. Useful if you lose your root password
2 Multiuser with no network
3 Console logon, no X (i.e. no GUI)
4 Not used/custom
5 Default GUI logon
6 Reboot

As it can be seen, Lefel 3, I mean, runlevel 3 means no graphic the GOOD OL' TIMES!

4. Reconfigured Xorg. I typed "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg" Here I got problems because I added extra spaces. Once I realized my mistake and typed the commands correctly, I could go on.

5. Followed the instructions on screen. The system asked me questions about the keyboard and such. I must confess that most of the times I just let the system choose or opted for the choice "if you are unsure, leave the option blank."

6. Booted up my system. I braced myself for a black screen and a kernel panic, but got my login screen much bigger and the "Current display settings are not optimal" notice was gone. It was a total success at the first time! :P