Category: Software

Ubuntu on Dell

As Gerry points out, it’s looking very likely that Dell will shortly start selling PC’s with Ubuntu instead of Windows. I’m delighted but suprised, as although Ubuntu is without a shadow of a doubt the most usable Linux distro available today, it’s also the least “connected”. Connected, of course, but not to the level as Red Hat or SuSE, one would have thought.

Whether or which, I look forward to the day when I can take on my first employee and sit them down in front of a fully-supported rig running Ubuntu!

Offline AJAX with Zimbra

There’s been a lot of talk about offline AJAX recently, but one of my favourite OSS developers has spent more time writing code than they have talking, and today released the fruits of their labour, Zimbra Desktop. It’s alpha, it’s an evalution, but it’s ready for download and that’s what it’s all about.

Zimbra Desktop

The lads in Google would want to spend more time delivering and less time embracing and extending if they want to keep up, because Gmail is looking increasingly dated these days. Less hiring and more firing Eric. Lose the marketroid dross.


I hadn’t heard of this Ubuntu-based alternative to media center applications like Windows MCE and PVRs like Sky+. The feature set is incredible, with PVR functions provided via the well-respected MythTV, telephony via the venerable Asterisk, plus home automation and home networking features I have to admit even I hadn’t thought of. I’m still a year or two away from owning my own home, but I can tell you right here and now that this’ll be going on a rig in a cupboard somewhere. I’d highly recommend viewing the demo video, if just for the bizarre commentary and mid-video end. :)


Feisty Fawn Refusal

Ubuntu’s Feisty Fawn beta fell at the first for me, wouldn’t start X and hung there so I couldn’t get at the error log and submit it as a bug. I’ve always had problems getting Linux up and running but I’ve nearly always suceeded in the end, despite a succession of somewhat kooky hardware. This time it’s a high-end-but-nothing-mad Dimension 9200 that surely ships to quite a few Ubuntu users, and if anything it’s a step back since the last version of Ubuntu worked on it, albeit with some tweaking. Shame really, I’ve been looking forward to playing with it; hopefully it’ll be fixed in the final release.


The article is good, but I’m actually more interested in the video embedded at the end. “Web-two-dot-oh” programmer? Hello? I’ve been calling it two-point-oh, have I been making a terrible social(-networking) faux pas? What do you call it?

Nameless, faceless Google

Is it just me or is Google becoming more Microsoft-like by the day. I was very keen on Google at the outset and I still think they have brilliant services, but the way the run them is looking more and more at odds with their “don’t be evil” mantra.

When you contact them, for example, you get a nameless, faceless response from a section representative, very much like you’re talking to a machine. That’s if you get a response, of course, and it isn’t a form letter.

I really dislike this kind of “customer service”. How hard is it to sign your name to the email? If you’re not allowed, why? Who is going to get hurt if I talk to a real human being?

Windows Vista in Meatspace

So Beautiful, So Disturbing

I wake. For a moment, I stare at the ceiling trying to remember something. Something important. Something important happened last night, but the details escape me. Something fascinating yet sinister, like touring the CIA offices. Something exotic yet somehow familiar, like putting hot sauce on meatloaf. I wonder if I have a hangover. I wonder why I am thinking about the CIA and meatloaf. I roll onto my side.

There is a strange woman in bed with me.

A lot of things happen at once. First, I realize that this is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I am a lucky, lucky man. Second, I realize that this is not my wife, and I panic. Third, I realize that she’s awake, has been watching me sleep. Fourth, before I can really react to thoughts 1 and 2, she smiles at me and speaks with a lovely accent I can’t quite place: “So. You like new wife, yes? Yes. Up now, I make breakfast.”

She gets out of bed and stretches, perfect curves sliding under silky lingerie and momentarily making me forget about breakfast, meatloaf, and whoever it was I was married to before last night. She seems to know this, and smiles at me again, but apparently she’s serious about making breakfast. She turns and strides confidently from the room. As she does, I see for the first time the large Microsoft logo splayed across her back. My stomach lurches as I suddenly remember everything.

Windows Vista Upgrade Decision Flowchart

Despite the fact that it comes from BBspot*, it’s pretty accurate. Upshot:

  1. If you’re not running 2K or XP, don’t bother, your computer won’t be up to it anyway.
  2. If you’re using it for business, wait for SP1.
  3. If you’re a home user with the brains to support yourself and lots of money, go ahead.

I’m usually a first mover when it comes to these things, and having tried a late beta I was tempted to go for it, but I’ve decided to be sensible and stick with XP.

The upsides (the main one being Explorer navigation) just don’t outweight the downsides (compatibility, possible stability issues, etc).

* BBspot is a humour site. You’d be surprised how many people don’tget this. Even more than The Onion.

Samba dev quits Novell over patent agreement

And joins Google apparently.

Mary Jo Foley: The word is out: Lead Samba developer Jeremy Allison has quit Novell in protest over the Microsoft-Novell alliance, unveiled on November 1. What isn’t widely known, at least so far, is that Allison is joining Microsoft rival Google.