New blog

July 24, 2007

This blog is no more, and it’s only still here because I can’t find a way to delete a blog. is where it’s at.


Help for a new Ubuntu user

August 19, 2006

My brother-in-law emailed me to inform me that he’s finally started using Ubuntu, albeit in a virtual machine, and wanted some help in getting things up and running. Here’s what I sent him. My apologies for any inside references I may make in this:
1) I'd download Dapper (6.06) if you haven't already. Many improvements
in it over previous releases.

#note to blog readers, this one is basically only for people wishing to run Ubuntu in a VM:
2) VMWare or VMWare Player will work better with Linux, at least in my
experience. VMWare Player is free, and you can download. They call the
Player images "appliances" and you can get a bunch of them free from
VMWare Server is free, but I don't think it will install on XP, I think
you need server 2000 or 2003. VMWare Workstation costs money. The player can only run
vmware images that others have built, but there are ways around that.
That said, if Virtual PC works for you, then don't worry about it 🙂

3) glad you've figured out sudo and apt-get, you'll use those a lot! You
can also use Synaptic (graphical front end to apt). I prefer command
line apt, but synaptic is sometimes easier if you don't know the name of
the package you need.

4) there are other repositories that you can add if you need other
things that aren't present in the ubuntu repositories. Be careful with
that, though. You can sometimes break things.

5) I'd suggest registering an account at (I'm a mod
there, so I have to plug them I guess). Nearly every question gets
answered in under 30 minutes. Nearly every question that gets asked
there has already been answered, so try out the search first. There are
also mailing lists you can join, a load of IRC channles on (#ubuntu, #ubuntuforums, etc).

6) I would strongly suggest not using scripts like Automatix and
EasyUbuntu. Automatix tends to break things, and EasyUbuntu is somewhat
buggy if you try to install some things with it, though I've never seen
it actually break things. Seems like every couple of hours there's
someone in #ubuntu with problems stemming from something Automatix did.
I've experienced these myself. I still try them out whenever there's a
new release to see what they have. Plus, with doing things on your own
instead of using a script to install things, you learn more of what's
going on and how to do things. I'm considering making a massive howto on
how to do everything that Automatix and EasyUbuntu do, and safely.

7) has a load of information on how to set up things in
Ubuntu, and I'm sure you'll find at least some of that info useful. The
official ubuntu wiki, is full of searchable info as
well, and was started by one of my friends on the forums as
a way to take the useful info from the forums and put it into one big
wiki, so it's also a great source of info.

8) I'll go ahead and tell you, you're going to have trouble with some
things. Patent encumbered technology, such as mp3, dvd, etc. You'll have
to violate the law a little bit to get those things working, but it's
pretty easy. Adobe has decided that Linux might as well not exist, so
there hasn't been a new flash player since version 7. Supposedly 9 is
coming out later this year though. If you need higher flash versions,
you can install IE or the Windows Firefox through wine and install the
flash player for windows through wine and it works well.

9) RTFM! Yeah, I was joking in the first email I sent you, but
seriously, reading documentation and following tutorials and such will
get you ahead in the game faster than almost anything.

Let me know if you have any problems with anything and I'll try to help
you out. Hopefully you won't run into anything bad. You shouldn't have
hardware issues since you're not using real hardware 🙂

A Call to Arms

July 22, 2006

I’m starting a new project, Collage Linux (the name is subject to change). Essentially, it’s a GNU/Linux distribution based on and compatible with Ubuntu. I want to have an installer package to add everything from Collage into an Ubuntu Linux installation, and also liveCD/install CD iso images.

If you have any experience in packaging debs or in customizing distributions, I would greatly appreciate some advice. I’d also like some free webspace, but I know that’s hard to come by 🙂