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Feb 032011
 

Using VirtualBox 4

The purpose of this article is to introduce the average PC user to VirtualBox. Terminology may be simplified to make it easier to understand for the non-Geek.
This article contains 3 sections and covers installing VirtualBox Hosts and Guests under Windows and openSUSE.
VirtualBox is virtualization software that runs under most modern operating systems. What this means in layman’s terms is that you set up an environment that pretends to be an actual computer, this is a “virtual machine” ( VM for short). With that virtual machine you can run another operating system in a window just like you would run another program. For instance, if you are using Windows 7 you could run Ubuntu in a window at the same time (see screenshots below for examples). To be clear, only the machine (computer) is virtual, you are actually running this other operating system.
The advantages of using virtual machines are many. For the home user these would include trying out new operating systems and the ability to run programs from different operating systems.
You can run many Windows games under Linux, or use Microsoft Office. You could try the latest Windows 7 SP beta, test new programs, tweaks, and configurations. You can try the latest Linux distros in an environment that is more realistic than a Live CD.
My favorite way to use VirtualBox is to run Windows under Linux. More specifically, I run Windows XP and 7 under openSUSE 11.3 (more on this later).
Security is also an advantage. The main operating system is separate from the one running on the virtual machine. For the most part viruses, malware, crashes, bugs, etc. are all contained inside the OS running in that VM. This of course does not relieve you of the responsibility of using safe computing habits. Lets say you download a file that contains a virus while under an Ubuntu VM and then run that file in Windows you could get infected.

Apr 292010
 

The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Long-Term Support). This release incorporates the Desktop Edition and the Server Edition. The Server Edition can be used on physical servers, on Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), and on Amazon’s EC2 public cloud. Codenamed “Lucid Lynx”, 10.04 LTS continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution.
We are also pleased to announce Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition, which is not a long-term support release.

Official news post.
Ubuntu Home Page
Kubuntu 10.4 is also out.
Short reviews: ARS Technica, Desktop Linux Reviews

Apr 222009
 

Ubuntu 9.04 will be released tomorrow. I’ve been trying out the Release Candidate a bit over the last few days. Here is a brief rundown of my experience:
- Downloaded the x86 Live CD and ran install from there.
- I swapped in a separate drive instead of dual booting. I used ext4 for the test. Ext4 is fast but I cannot recommend using it because as far as I know the only disk imaging program that can do ext4 right now is Clonezilla (live-cd) which I’ve not had time to test. I’m a little unsure about ext4 because from what I understand many seem to think it is just a interim step towards btrfs. It should be noted that Fedora 11 and openSuSE 11.2 will feature ext4 also.
- On first boot I installed the Nvidia 3d drivers, rebooted, and then installed updates and rebooted.
- Those who know me know that I do not like the Gnome desktop. Next I installed KDE desktop, Kubuntu. Why not just install Kubuntu? Because there are more tools and features available when you install KDE along with Gnome. To install Kubuntu, open a terminal and type, sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop , answer yes to any questions. At some point you will be asked which desktop you want to boot from, choose KDE. When finished reboot.
- Software – Enabled all sources in Synaptic then I installed: NTFS Config (to properly access my NTFS drives), Samba and KDE Samba tool (kdenetwork-filesharing), Thunderbird, a whole host of KDE apps. I uninstalled evolution, games, apparmor, IRC/messaging clients.
- Multimedia
Go here and follow the instructions:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Medibuntu

Next. Sorry but I don’t like Amarok 2, it just isn’t polished enough yet for me. Fortunately there are others who feel the same. If you want Amarok 1.4, go here and follow the instructions (note – you should uninstall Amarok 2 first):

https://edge.launchpad.net/~bogdanb/+archive/ppa

I’m pretty satisfied with Jaunty Jackalope. Everything seems to work well so far. I will post more in the next week or so, after I get time to install and configure the final version. I’m not sure If I will keep Ubuntu around or not, only time will tell. Fedora 11 looks very interesting and will be released May 26th. OpenSuSE 11.2 will be not be released until November unfortunately.

Feb 052009
 

A friend emailed me and asked if there was a CCleaner type app for Linux. Yep, there is:
BleachBit – The privacy and disk space cleaner for Linux
Many distros have this available within one of their repos (Packman for openSUSE) but you can also download the RPM’s / Deb’s from the BleachBit site.

BleachBit deletes unnecessary files to free valuable disk space, maintain privacy, and remove junk. Rid your system of old clutter including cache, Internet history, localizations, temporary files, cookies, and broken shortcuts. Designed for Linux systems, it wipes clean Adobe Reader, Bash, Beagle, Epiphany, Firefox, Flash, GIMP, Google Earth, Java, KDE, OpenOffice.org, Opera, RealPlayer, rpmbuild, Second Live viewer, VIM, XChat, and more.

Dec 182008
 

The openSUSE Project is proud to announce the release of openSUSE 11.1. The openSUSE 11.1 release includes more than 230 new features, improvements to YaST, major updates to GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice.org, and more freedom with a brand new license, Liberation fonts, and openJDK. This is also the first release built entirely in the openSUSE Build Service.

Release announcement.
Download it.
Linux.com – openSUSE 11.1 makes Christmas come early

Sep 062008
 

Just a quick How-To. I can’t stand the drop down menu in the Firefox address bar. Here are the 2 keys to change the behavior.

Type: about:config in the address bar and navigate down to:

- To go back to the old style of drop down that only showed where you had already been:
browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped change false to true by double-clicking on it.

- To change the number of items in the drop down: browser.urlbar.maxRichResults change to a number you want. 0=none (This looks like you’ve disabled the drop down but you really haven’t. I haven’t found an easy way to actually disable it.


Double-Bonus time:

I use Google as my home page and I hate the new “suggestions” in the search box. Want to get rid of it? Change your home page / bookmark / search page to this url:
http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=0

Apr 022008
 

April 2, 2008 (The INTERNET). The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of KDE 4.0.3, the third bugfix and maintenance release for the latest generation of the most advanced and powerful free desktop.

I haven’t even had time to try KDE 4. Most of what I’ve heard is “not ready for prime time”. Anyone out there using it? You like, or no?
I believe Ubuntu(April 24) and Fedora 9(April 29) will be the first big distros with an official release of KDE 4 with openSUSE 11 coming in June (someone school me if I’m wrong).
KDE 4.0.3 Release Announcement

Apr 022008
 

A reader wrote in to ask why I don’t do blog posts for updated software in Linux like I do for Windows.
Answer…
In Windows:
– For apps that have auto update, most Geeks have auto updates for the various apps turned off (I do too).
– This applies to Windows Update too.
– Not every app has auto update.
– There is no way to track driver updates for everything (without a 3rd party update tool).
– I do these posts for folks who (like myself) disable all the auto updates. This way they know when these are updated.
In Linux:
– Depending on your distribution, most Linux Geeks use Synaptic or Smart or the distros built-in package manager (like YaST Software Management).
– These can provide updates for the OS, all the software, and all your hardware.
– So, these sorts of posts aren’t really necessary (IMHO).