End users

End users

Asus Eee PC (Part Two): Setting up the full KDE GNU/Linux Experience

In Part One of my Eee PC series I looked at the hardware specifications of this miniature marvel. In such a small space Asus have managed to cram in a lot and at a price that is so low that it ought be illegal. However, it is a cliche to recall that hardware without software is junk--unless you have a fetish for silicon. In this post I will look at the software on the Eee PC. It will not be an explicit HOWTO, but it will include lots of links to enable you to get the best out of this two-pound wonder.

Getting the login right: moving from xdm to gdm or kdm

For years now, I have been clinging to xdm as my display manager; years ago, I spent several days tweaking the configuration files of xbanner and xdm to get it to look "just so", and I didn't want to change it. But no more! After my last upgrade predictably broke my xdm and xbanner configuration, I decided to spend a little time trying to get each display manager to look "right" with my original login screen design. Pleasantly, both gdm and kdm are much easier to customize, and I had something tolerable with each in less than an hour. I found that kdm was more flexible and gave me much closer to what I was looking for, while gdm was quite obstinate about appearances, though it may be slightly more capable technically.

gedit: a powerful, underrated text editor for everybody

Most computer users spend their entire life looking for the Holy Grail. In other words, they spend all their life searching for the perfect editor that supports all their languages, is free as in speech, has spelling, has highlighting... you get the picture. Obviously, there isn't a perfect editor out there. However, some come pretty close. Ironically, one of them is one that any Ubuntu (or in fact, any Gnome) user has installed, though they may not know it. It's called gedit (also known as Text Editor).

gedit: not as simple as it looks

Pimp your desktop: automate desktop wallpaper with Webilder

They say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and if you want to make a good impression with computer lovers with artistic pretensions, a fancy wallpaper is a pretty good place to start. It can be a real ice breaker. Why stop there? Why spend fruitless hours dredging through the art galleries of cyberspace to retrieve a few hard-won digital morsels to decorate your miserable desktop? Just automate the tedious process with Webilder and free up some valuable time to hone your other more valuable Unix skills. Webilder won't make you rich, improve your productivity or make you irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex (much) but it's clever, fun and cool. What more reason do you need to use it? Enough already with the slick sales talk. Let's pimp that desktop!

The Asus Eee PC: An Ultra-portable laptop PC with GNU/Linux pre-installed

I don't know when I was last so excited about a Christmas present, but when this little laptop arrived on my doorstep on Christmas Eve I was drooling with anticipation--even if I had bought it myself.

Four days of intense Googling to locate a UK website with one in stock nearly melted down the Google server farms but in the end I managed to locate (a white) one on a Friday and by Monday morning I was tearing at the wrapping with the intensity of an excited five year old and, as I hope you will agree, with good reason.

How to Install the latest (and last?) Netscape Navigator

Before you start shouting at me, I know. Nestcape Navigator will soon be no more. After many years of faithful service, and before Firefox and Flock were a mere twinkle in a web developer's glinting eye, AOL has announced that the browser will be retired at the beginning of February and put out to pasture in its nonage. You might be thinking that installing a browser with a death sentence hanging over its head is about as sensible as a portable defibrillator in a funeral parlour, but read on.

How to make Jabber calls using Jabbin

Jabber is the only mainstream free (as in speech) instant messaging protocol. Unfortunately, most Jabber clients for GNU/Linux only provide options for messaging and group chats, overlooking the audio chatting portion of Jabber (powered by the Google-funded libjingle). Enter Jabbin, the free Qt-based Jabber VoIP client.

Hotwire: a combined terminal/GUI for GNU/Linux

There is nothing more guaranteed to ignite a bad tempered, incandescent flame war that an outbreak of hostilities between the rival Gnome and KDE camps. Well, except perhaps a slanging match between the champions of the GUI and the command line. Enter stage left the compromise candidate which might just unite the warring factions: Hotwire.

Creating web pages, the right way

Have you ever felt that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that your code is error-free and complies with the latest standards? In terms of programming skill, web authors are too-often seen as the bottom of the barrel (you will notice I didn't call them 'web programmers') due to the apparent forgiveness and limitations of the platform. However, they are required to cover a large array of programming expertise and, even worse, they must ensure that their code runs the same on various platforms–something "real" programmers consider a challenge.

The "bottom of the barrel" indeed!

How to edit your GRUB settings with QGRUBEditor

Anyone who runs more than one operating system has had to deal with GNU GRUB (the GRand Unified Bootloader). Grub is the tool that allows you to pick which operating system to book when you turn your computer on. But you can do a ton more than that by configuring it and derailing from the standard configuration. Unfortunately, until recently users were forced to open up cryptic config files in text editors and try and figure out what to do based on the comments (or, more diligently, by reading man pages).

How to gear up your desktop for the Christmas holidays

I just saw my first Christmas lights a few days ago. Do you know what that means? I’m scrambling on my steep roof and putting up those “wonderful” icicles and decorating our ten foot high trees with lights up to the top. Not to mention those dang candles in the windows (which means putting out the lights on the upstairs windows and closing the shades). But Christmas time isn’t all doom and gloom. It brings a very special time: decorating your GNU/Linux-based PC.

Wallpapers

Making KDE look good

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" goes the old saying. What looks great to me, might not be very appealing to you.

Most GNU/Linux distributions pick default images that are bland, inoffensive, and boring, all of which have their place, but we can do better. This article will look at making your GNU/Linux machine look beautiful.

Note: this article only covers KDE.

Mandriva 2008 VS Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon

For those of you that follow my blog, you must have noticed that I’m a Mandriva user. Recently though, I took an interest in Ubuntu: I installed version 7.04 on a laptop, and it did look interesting, enough to make me doubt my commitment to Mandriva’s products.

Thus, when 7.10 came out with a bang in the media, and I got another laptop to de-borgify, I downloaded the Ubuntu 7.10 ISO along with the install CD for Mandriva 2008.0 Free.

Free software is cheaper: case study while creating a podcast

I have a podcast—The Beer Crate, since you asked—which is written and produced using free software, and released under the CC by-nc-nd license. It's a fun little hobby that keeps me off the street, and gives me an excuse to drink and review beer. But had free software not existed, how much would it cost to produce and host a show using proprietary software? I set out to investigate...

Free software Easter eggs

It is grey a dull, overcast day here in downtown Amsterdam. The weather is rather oppressive, summer’s smile long gone and my wine cellar miraculously has grown to quiet emptiness. However, I know a not too-well guarded secret. Hidden in the cracks, just at the edge of your eyesight, is extra humorous functionality in your favourite free software applications. Silent professional Easter eggs are waiting stealthily to make you smile.

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