Category Archives: linux

LPI 101 – Linux Certifications

If you go on Monster.com or something comparable you may see jobs that are requesting you to have various certifications. Most certification requests are for Microsoft, but there are various server jobs that require substantial Linux expertise. If you are going to be managing a Unix server knowing how to use Linux will help alot. You can grab a free Linux distribution that will give you access to basically the same environment as Unix. IBM has AIX which is a Unix derivative; but your not going to get your hands on AIX from a free download on the Internet. The same goes for Open SCO.

Learning Linux is the next best thing. To show employers that you have Linux experience you want certifications from the Linux Professional Institute. LPI provides a standardized test that is representative of an excellent understanding of Linux environments, and an ability to manage them.

MythTV Frontend – So Many Choices

What to choose, what to use? I currently use a Mac mini using a Mythfrontend. It works fine, and it accepts inputs from the integrated remote. It does not utilize up to date features of the most recent compilation, but it does indeed work flawlessly with the server; particularly the grey bar, at the bottom of HD frame, is still present. It does not crash, although the themes do have occasional bugs.

I have tried Plex, and XBMC in the past. The versions that I used were relatively functional with the server. There was a problem with particular videos playing, which was somewhat alleviated with transcoding. There have been updates to both pieces of software. Plex, as of 12/12/09 does not work with the MythTV server in Ubuntu 9.10 repositories. The same is for XBMC. Although the Mythbox script for XBMC allows functionality with the networking schema of the version of MythTV trunk used in current Ubuntu repos. The same problem, that I experienced with previous versions of Plex and XBMC, still occurs.

I want it to work. I want Mythbox for XBMC to work. I am currently working on various ways to transcode videos to make them not freeze. Lossless transcoding does not work. Sometimes videos will completely loose audio, and sometimes they will work fine. If I use no transcoding videos will freeze when transitioning from a channel; meaning if the recording starts on channel 725, and changes to 749 it will freeze. This is probably a bug in the frambuffer, which I should and could investigate in the log files.

I currently deleted my entire video library. I have turned off losless transcoding and an effort to avoid loosing audio. I have also forced transcoding to occur before commercial flagging. Transcoding after commercial flagging results in a strange phenomena; the flag points are attached at particular times and since the commercials are cut by transcoding the flags become located at incorrect and entirely unnecessary positions. I hope that not using loslesss transcoding will allow videos to not freeze and retain audio.

Overall MythTV’s commercial flagging is not foolproof. Even with strict detection checked flagging is still iffy at best. I look forward to future revisions.

There is another option. I can connect a 25ft DVI cable, from my computer, to my TV. This will allow a Linux Mythfrontend to display perfectly. It will have all the up-do-date features of MythTV. The only thing is the remote. I can purchase a IR receiver, but LIRC is limited as compared to the functionality of the Mac mini remote. I really like how the remote works on Plex and XBMC, which is half the reason I want to use those apps in particular. LIRC is much more dry cut, with a button doing something in particular, throughout the program; I’m not quite sure how to get LIRC to do different functions on different MythTV menus.

I can also use XBMC on Linux, but I’m pretty sure I will encounter the same problems stated above; therefore switching from OSX to Linux to still use XBMC is a moot point. Using the 25ft DVI cable, and a Mythfrontend I can use an internet remote control. They are various internet based remotes for the iPod touch; particularly Mymote.

Your Netbook – Windows, Linux, or Other

There is a mountain of different operating systems available now. More than ever before in history. The main players are Microsoft Windows, Debian based operating systems, Red Hat’s OSs, Unixs, BSDs, and upcoming Google Chrome OS. What OS do you use? What OS is better? How does Windows compete with free?

While some netbooks are coming with Windows 7, and previous Windows Vista, some were and still are coming with Windows XP. The lower powered MIDs are coming with Windows XP, which is becoming outdated, but I prefer to the more recent versions of Windows. What is better than Windows, Linux!

Will the market accept another netbook with a non-Microsoft operating system? That’s the question some are asking in the wake of the release of the code behind Google’s Chrome OS, which is known as the open-source Chromium OS.[Source]

 It gets complicated sometimes. I have a Sony Vaio P and Linux is not great on it. The Poulsbo GMA 500 graphics drivers are not good at all. Even Itel’s Moblin Linux is not great at all. Ultimately I will be sticking with Windows XP on this particular machine. My opinion is that Windows XP will last until 2014, and by then Linux should be fine on the machine!

5 Ways to Save Businesses Big Bucks, Enhance Security and Evolve

Lightning

Electricity is one of the biggest expenditures in the business world. Surpassed only by procurement, and human resources; reducing the amount of power consumed by electrical appliances can save a company millions. The first thing to do is configure your computers as thin clients. A computer can consume 30 or more watts each. If a Corporation has thousands of computers, and a thin client uses 50-75% less energy, then that translates directly to a 50-75% reduction in the utility bill. There might be a setup cost associated with 10,000 new thin client terminal, but that will be made back within the first year of use.

1) To implement a thin client setup the Corporation can use a Microsoft Windows product, which would cost money and be counter productive. The economical choice is to use Linux, and an out of the box setup can be achieved using Ubuntu. Talk about killing two birds with one stone; using Linux will eliminate the costly expenditure of anti virus subscriptions that all corporations have.

Server

2) By implementing Linux the cost of maintenance will be dramatically reduced. You can have Linux machine running for years without serious security problems, and the entire update process can be completely automated and centralized to the thin client server. A corporation can significantly cut their maintenance costs with a thin client setup.

Most database applications nowadays are browser based therefore Linux is perfectly compatible with most existing systems. Firefox works on all Linux systems.

3) After switching to a Linux thin client server, all those pesky Windows license keys can be resold to needy customers. Theoretically the corporation can recoup several thousands of dollars, if not 10’s.

Ubuntu

4) Then the old energy inefficient hardware can be resold, or donated to a organization of good will. Either an economical or philanthropic plus.

5) Then security can be enhanced by enforcing an outbound firewall to block all but the needed ports. Theoretically only several ports, clearly port 80, port 25, and several others need to be open. This will dramatically reduce the risks even if a computer becomes infected with a virus. Bye bye Norton, or Symantec. Save that 10-50k per year subscription fee.

Overall there are many reason to convert to Linux and some of the reasons are priceless. You really cannot put a cost savings on potential security risks, which is one of the biggest selling points of Linux. Ubuntu is free, how can that be beaten?

So all you tech savvy, under appreciated employees out there start dreaming up ways to approach the right people in your company with a way to save them million. If thousands of you draft presentations and attempt to talk to higher ups, at least one of you will hit a jackpot. Why not let that one person be you.

Ubuntu Bugs in Release Candidate – Hating

There are several posts going around about a bug in the Ubuntu Karmic release candidate. One post details the lack of the 64 bit installer being able to detect multiple sata hard drives.

“The 9.10RC Karmic Koala ubiquity disk partitioning steps (#4, #5 in the installation screens) seem to have regressions when booting the AMD64 ubuntu live desktop CD on systems with multiple disks.

This is a shame of a bug to be exploited by haters. Once Ubuntu is up and running it cannot be compared to Windows. It is much more stable, will run for months without needing to be shutdown. There is no worry of viruses, and spyware, and 99% of applications have a version that will run. The only two applications, that I can think of, that will not run on Linux is iTunes, and Quicken. THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES THOUGH, and always a way to do what you want to do.

The only reason Windows is liked more than Linux is because the majority of humanity is NOT TECH SAVVY. If a problem is encountered in Linux, Google is your friend. There is always a solution! It is worthwhile to find the solution, to get Ubuntu working, because of the benifits.

Virus

1) No more viruses or spyware. There are very few bad things that can happen when using Linux.

2) Stability, and no need to defragment. Your machine will run for months or years without needing to reboot.

One of the only reason to use Windows is for games. Drivers for top end video cards, and the games themselves, are generally only supported on Windows.

Intel Taking on Microsoft – Competition is a Good Thing

Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer

Intel has a Linux distribution called Moblin. I have used initial releases and was not impressed. This is not to say that there is excellent potential for the OS. The main tout that I have with the most recent release is that there is no support for the Intel GMA 500 series chipsets. This chipset is a popular chipset in Netbooks and MID devices. Since Mobilin targets these particular devices, why would they not support the very hardware that they sell? It simply does not make sense. Although there is little to no support for the hardware right now, I have no doubt that there will be excellent support for the hardware in future releases. I have seen Moblin make impressive progress, which is seen in comparing releases. I look forward to a future release that will effectively support the GMA 500 chipset. I want to use Moblin on my Sony Vaio P. Now with Intel wanting to bring Moblin to the desktop world they definitely have enough backing to take on the almighty Microsoft. Reports say that

Intel has expanded the scope of Linux-based Moblin by porting the OS from netbooks to mobile devices and desktops, where it could compete with Microsoft’s Windows OS.

Quite interesting :)