ubuntu

Learning with TuxMath

Rote learning of "math facts" is one of the really dull aspects of grade-school mathematics. But if you can't recall them quickly, it can really hold you back even in higher mathematical disciplines, because it just slows you down. Luckily, you can find an algebra tutor or other resources to help with comprehension. My son's been struggling with this for some time now, with traditional solutions like flash cards just not working very well. With "Tux of Math Command", otherwise known as "TuxMath", though, he's making considerable progress at overcoming his "wall" with math. Homework times are getting shorter because his recall speed is getting much better with just one or two games a day -- an easy goal to reach because the games are actually fun (Seriously. I play it myself now and then).

Ubuntu embraces Unity and Wayland. Or, GNU/Linux is exciting again

After installing Ubuntu 10.10, I had a strange feeling I was seeing something that was already old. Yes, Ubuntu is a fantastic desktop system, and yes it's better than Windows. But today, in 2010, that's almost a given. And that's not enough. The IT world is changing, and PCs themselves as a whole are getting old. The mass is moving towards tablets, mobiles machines, and netbooks. Ubuntu, the way it is today, might be the best choice in a dinosaur world. I can't read Mark Shuttleworth's mind, but I can only guess this is exactly what he felt when he decided to switch to Unity (for the UI) and Wayland (for the graphics architecture). Let me explain what all of this means.

An Easy and Inexpensive Quad-Core System for Debian or Ubuntu GNU/Linux

My son's hand-me-down motherboard recently gave up the ghost, and I decided that was a good excuse for an upgrade. Shopping around, I found that multi-core CPUs were finally in my price range, so I decided to build him a quad-core system. This build worked out extremely well, with almost no configuration problems, not even for accelerated 3D graphics or ALSA sound -- all using the latest Debian GNU/Linux (which means it'll also work with Ubuntu or other derivatives). This one has that "classic" feel -- everything just clicked into place. So I wanted to document it here. This also serves as a technology update to my earlier article on selecting hardware for a free-software-friendly system.

Open messaging for the Open Web: Installing and configuring Mozilla Raindrop on Ubuntu 9.10

By the time you read this Karmic Koala will have been released to a waiting world, but I couldn't wait. A felicitous combination of a desire to do a distribution upgrade to the release candidate and a Twitter arriving on my laptop giving me a link to Raindrop kept me busy for the day. I was intrigued by Raindrop and having used other Mozilla lab experimental software I was determined to see what all the hype was about. If you like the idea of combining a tool for aggregating Twitter, e-mail, RSS and other social Web 2.0 stuff with free and open standards then read on.

Debian: contempt for "end user" values has to stop!

Three recent problems with packages in the last stable release of Debian GNU/Linux ("Lenny"), brought me face-to-face with what is still a major obstacle for acceptance of free software on the desktop: contempt for the values of the people who use it. Despite all the accusations of unfair trade practices or other excuses, this remains as one solid reason why free software is still perceived as "geeks only" territory. If we want to progress further, we've got to improve our attitudes.

Howto: Share mobile broadband in Ubuntu using only the GUI

Like many people who aren't able to get DSL, I use mobile broadband. Typically, at least in Ireland and the UK, you are forced to purchase a modem with your contract. What if you want other devices in your house to use this broadband and you don't want to fork out several hundred wing wangs for a mobile broadband router like the Novatel MiFi when you have a perfectly good modem and wireless router already? In Ubuntu you can setup the modem-connected machine as a robust router/firewall using the in-built Network Manager, Firestarter, and optionally, Gadmin DHCPD.

Shutter on Ubuntu: is this the mother of all free software Screenshot Utilities?

Like anyone else who writes about software I subscribe to the maxim that a picture paints a thousand words. In short, I like to illustrate my text with timely and relevant screenshots; so I'm always on the lookout for good, free software to get the job done. Back in the mists of time I looked at a command-line utility called Scrot. It's immensely powerful and configurable but it does take some setting up.

Ubuntu 8.10 upmc for the Asus EeePC? Don't bother, just install the full distro

I discovered recently the truth of the old saying that necessity is the mother of invention. Yes, I finally did it. I bricked my beloved EeePc. I had just installed the Smart package manager and a subsequent reboot saw me stuck in, well, an eternal boot loop. Impulsive mixing of repositories always ends in tears--but not being able to boot? Argh! To rub salt into the wound I had mislaid the Xandros DVD to do a reinstall and I didn't even have an external CD/DVD drive anyway. Organised or what?

Do we have a "Vista for Dummies" yet?

Ryan Cartwright wrote an excellent article, Don't compare GNU/Linux with Windows or MacOS – they are not in the same game.

I ran across the same blog he is referring to, while gathering potential stories for FSD and my reaction was very similar.

Ryan questions, “I mean how can you tell how many Ubuntu installs came of a single CD?”

Ubuntu Netbook Remix: a detailed explanation

Lately, there has been a lot of noise about Ubuntu's Netbook Remix. In an unrelated (and definitely lucky) interview with The Guardian, Mark Shuttleworth hinted that Canonical were about to announce a version of Ubuntu for a new class of devices created by accident by Asus with the EeePc (talk about corporate luck...). Th buzz about this was monumental. But... what is Ubuntu Netbook Remix? Here is the answer...

Book Review: Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux by Mark G. Sobell

Mainstream Linux distributions such as the ever-popular Ubuntu have the potential to contain thousands or tens of thousands of packages and have a wealth of supporting services activated on computer boot ups. Mark G. Sobell’s book A practical guide to Ubuntu Linux, published by Prentice Hall, describes the details of maintaining these complex structures on your own machine.

A quick look at the spring GNU/Linux distributions: Mandriva, Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE

It's really the most wonderful time of the year. Out of the top 6 GNU/Linux distributions (according to DistroWatch.com), four are releasing or have released builds between April and June. What's new in them?

Social inclusion with Xubuntu: A tale of free software changing lives

M6-IT, a Community Interest Community in the UK, are part way through a project to equip socially excluded families with computers running Xubuntu. I was recently able to interview Richard Rothwell of M6-IT about this project and its progress.

The Ubuntu Applications book

Why don't people switch to GNU/Linux? It's not the difficulty (GNU/Linux has evolved far past its Bash days, although it still stays true to its roots). It's not the stability (GNU/Linux' stability is far superior to Windows'). It's not the security (ditto the stability). It's the applications. People feel like they can't do things in Windows that they can in GNU/Linux. They can. But they don't know it. This book was written to correct that illogical thinking.

--Andrew Min

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