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Friday, December 29, 2006

Displaying Resolution Correctly on WideScreen Laptop

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Displaying Resolution Correctly on WideScreen Laptop

Recently I made a switch from a IBM based 14” laptop to Compaq 15.1” Widescreen laptop. I had never experienced any type of difficulty in running fedora on my old laptop right up to Fedora Core 5. But Fixing screen Resolution on my WideScreen laptop turned out to be a very tiring effort. I wanted to set my screen resolution to 1280x800 which was the highest resolution that was supported but even after setting numerous times from the Graphical Display tool that came preinstalled I was unable to change the resolution it always reverted back to 1024x768 resolution . I tried changing the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file manually but even this did not work so after quiet a bit of googling around I found a solution to my problem and here it is.

First i changed the Display to a Generic LCD Panel 1280x800 after changing this is what my xorg.conf file looked like

# Xorg configuration created by system-config-display

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "single head configuration"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
InputDevice "Synaptics" "CorePointer"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Keyboard0"
Driver "kbd"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "yes"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"

### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
Identifier "Monitor0"
ModelName "LCD Panel 1280x800"
### Comment all HorizSync and VertSync values to use DDC:
HorizSync 31.5 - 67.0
VertRefresh 50.0 - 75.0
Option "dpms"
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "i810"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes "1280x800" "1152x864" "1152x768" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Then the main part I downloaded a tool called 915resolution that modifies the Video Bios of 800 and 900 series intel video-chipsets making temporary changes to include a number of video modes not supported

Here is the link to 915resolution tool :- http://www.geocities.com/stomljen/915resolution-0.5.2.tar.gz

After downloading it I extracted the tool into the /usr/bin directory after becoming the superuser though it can be extracted to any other directory you wish.

First I Displayed a list of available video modes :-

915resolution –l

There was no 1280x800 mode in the list hence I had to insert it .
So what I did was issue command

915resolution 38 1280 800 24

here 38 is the mode number i want to override 24 is the color bits I want. An important thing to note here is that this change is temporary hence will be forgotten by computer once computer is switched off/ Restarted hence I add the following command to /etc/rc.local

/usr/bin/915resolution 38 1280 800 24

This is how my /etc/rc.local file looked like

#!/bin/sh
#
# This script will be executed *after* all the other init scripts.
# You can put your own initialization stuff in here if you don't
# want to do the full Sys V style init stuff.

touch /var/lock/subsys/local
/usr/bin/915resolution 38 1280 800 24

and restarted the computer and voila I was thrown into my new 1280x800 video mode .

Monday, August 21, 2006

Installing Applications Under Linux

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INSTALLING APPLICATIONS UNDER LINUX(Fedora,RedHat,Debian )

Installing applications under Linux has been a major stumbling block for Linux newbies , even though the situation has improved with automatic installers (Like yum,aptitude,autopackage etc) but still applications installation under Linux is a tricky affair . So i decided to share whatever i know about installing applications under Linux with the Linux Newbies via my blog.


Installing rpm packages on Redhat,Fedora Based Systems : - For Fedora based systems rpm is the standard format for packages , it stands for RedHat Package Manager .The files have ".rpm" extension . The rpm format's major advantage is it is easier to maintain applications installed using rpm than compiling from different sources.Also various dependencies for applications are previously determined before installing the applications hence it ensures error free running of application after installing the application.

To install a rpm package use command:
rpm -i PackageName

TO uninstall rpm package use :
rpm -e PackageName
PackageName is different from filename You used to install the package . This is actually the name of software that is installed.

If you have some file on your system and you dont recognize to which package it belongs use the command : -
rpm -qf filename with path
this would return the name of package the file belongs to.

If you have a rpm package but you are unsure about the package that is it's name ,description etc use this command to get information about the package: -
rpm -qpi package name

If you want to know what files and where the rpm installs for a specific package use the following command : -
rpm -qpl packagename

If you want to upgrade an existing package on your system use :-
rpm -Uvh packagename
this command uninstalls the old version of the package and installs the new version of the package.This commands works even when there are no existing version of application installed hence this can be effectively used for Installing new packages.

However freshen(-Fvh) option dosent install new package if it dosent exist and only upgrades existing package on the system.This can be particularly useful if you have a number of packages and only want to upgrade the packages and don't want to install new packages.

You can use the command
rpm -Fvh *
For the above purpose


rpm -qa | less
Views list of installed applications , one screen at a time.

rpm -qa
List all applications installed on the system

rpm -qa | grep -i
To search if a particular package with is installed on the system.



Installing packages under Debian GNU/LINUX based distributions : - Debian Linux based distributions like Ubuntu,Kubuntu ,Debian etc come with an excellent package management system (apt-get) which allow for installation of software with relative ease. Debian has been traditionally easier of Linux distributions in view of software installation.Debian Linux uses the deb package format for packaging software similar to the rpm package on Redhat and fedora based systems.

However before one starts using apt-get software repositories have to be set-up correctly on the local machine. Repositories are a collection of software's stored on the Internet which could be used for installation of software using apt-get. The location of repositories is stored in the machine in the file /etc/apt/sources.list and could be modified for removing or adding additional repositories locations. A comprehensive list of available repositories could be found at www.apt-get.org .

After completing setting up of repositories one has to make local database on the machine storing information about software's in sync with the repositories making the information about package available on the net locally available and could be done with command .

apt-get update


Now once the package information is cached locally one can Install applications or search for available package using command. However one has to be connected to Internet for installing software though software could be searched without the Internet.

apt-get install packagename

One important feature of apt-get is that user is shielded from the trouble of dependency . If a application needs additional libraries,package etc to be installed they are automatically searched from the repositories and installed before installing the application . This is one of the most important feature of installing application through apt-get.

To search for a particular package in the database stored locally.

apt-cache search packagename


To upgrade all the software's on the system

apt-get upgrade

To remove a particular package

apt-get remove packagename


apt-get autoclean

Above option cleans packages in cache that are found useless or partially complete and deletes them.

Installing Debian(.deb) Packages :-
Debian Linux distribution unlike other is not maintained by any particular organization but maintained by volunteers . The Package used by Debian and all distributions based on it is deb . dpkg is the tool that is used for installing applications on Debian based systems.

dpkg --install
To install a package or upgrade on the system.The name is the complete name of package file ending with .deb extension . If all the packages and libraries needed by the package your are installing is found on the system the installation proceeds and package is installed. However if some library is missing or files needed by package is not found on the system appropriate error would be shown and dpkg would exit showing error.


dpkg --remove
To Remove already installed application from the system. However this command does not remove the configuration file that may be needed for re installation of package however if you want to remove the configuration file also . Following command could be used :-
dpkg --purge

dpkg --status
Above command displays the status of package specified.

dpkg --listfiles
Above command lists the name of all the files installed by package specified as

dpkg -l '*' | grep '^i' | more

Above command displays all the installed application on the system page wise.


dpkg -l 'gtk*' | grep '^i' | more

Above command displays all the installed applications on the system beginning with name gtk.

However one can also use dselect to install or remove applications on the system. dselect is a menu driven application

for installing and removing application.


Installing applications using yum : -

Similar to apt-get on debian based system . Redhat and Fedora ships with yum for installation of applications from repositories.

The installation of software gets very easy with the help of yum.

yum stores the repositories address in the file /etc/yum.conf . Initially it has only few repositories and should be expanded to

include more for example i added the following :

[livna-stable]

name=Livna.org Fedora Compatible Packages (stable)

baseurl=http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/$releasever/$basearch/yum/stable

gpgcheck=1

[FedoraUS]

name=Fedora US $releasever - $basearch - Latest Packages

baseurl=http://download.fedora.us/fedora/fedora/2/i386/SRPMS.os/

[newrpms.sunsite.dk]

name=Fedora Core 2 NewRPMS.sunsite.dk

baseurl=http://newrpms.sunsite.dk/apt/redhat/en/i386/fc2

[dag]

name=Dag RPM Repository for Fedora Core 2

baseurl=http://apt.sw.be/fedora/$releasever/en/$basearch/dag

[dries]

name=Extra Fedora rpms dries - $releasever - $basearch

baseurl=http://dries.studentenweb.org/yum/fedora/linux/$releasever/$basearch/dries

After completing above one should run

yum -y check-update

This command downloads header , information about all the new software available and stores it locally.

yum -y list

Above command displays the list of all the packages available for installation.

yum -y list installed

Above command displays the list of all the packages installed on the system.

yum -y install packagename

Above command downloads and installs the package after searching it in the repositories. This also downloads all the dependencies

and installs it ,before installing the package.

yum update

Above command updates all the upgradable packages on the system.

yum remove

Above command removes the package specified as

yum list recent

Above command displays the list of all the applications recently installed or updated.

yum provides filename

above command displays the package the filename belongs to.

Installing from sources : Most of the Open-Source application available under Linux is available as Source Code which needs to be compiled at the users end. This approach though is time consuming since compiling an application takes a descent amount of time depending on the complexity of the application, Also installing from sources is a bit more complex than installing from binaries. But still it does have it's benefits , The applications compiled can be significantly faster than the binaries downloaded since they are optimized for your system also there are many situations when binaries are not available for your Processor or Distribution and hence compiling application from the source is the only option.

Step 1: Download the source file from the Internet usually the source files are tar archives. Extract it into a directory using the tar command.
Example if you download the file : examples-0.1.2.tar.gz

Extract with: tar -xzvf examples-0.1.2.tar.gz

-x extract the file
-z unzip it (required for .gz files)
-v verbose, print the names of the files as they are extracted
For archives starting with .tar.bz2 use bunzip2 filename for extracting the file.

after extracting the file go into the directory of the created file and execute the configure script which configures the packages source file according to your system and checks if all the needed libraries are present ,This tells how software must be compiled.If an error is shown during the execution of configre script look for the missing library and install it and then rerun the configure script. After completion of the configure script's execution "Makefile" is created which is then used to compile the package .

./configure
make

make: - This command starts compiling the application after reading the Makefile on how to install the applications binaries. This process takes the most of the time .

After doing this login to superuser mode and execute the following command to install the applications to a suitable location.

make install

make install : - This command installs the package usually in /usr/local folder.
However if for some reason the compilation does not take place successfully try reading README,INSTALL text files in the projects directory. Usually most of the projects include documentation about installing the applications in these files.


Autopackage : Autopackage is also one of the simpler ways of installing application . More can be read about it here :

www.autopackage.org

Article (C) 2006 Ambuj Varshney

For Linux On Desktop Blog




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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Installing Firefox on Kubuntu 6.06

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I installed Kubuntu 6.06 today after receiving my free CD's from Shipit. The installation went pretty smoothly though I did notice that as opposed to previous release this time around one had to start Kubuntu to Install there was no option at the boot screen to only start installer.After installing when i tried browsing the internet , i was surprised that mature distribution like Kubuntu did not have Firefox preinstalled it came as shock to me as i never expected this,even though Konqueror is a nice browser but still it dosen't have all the features or is as mature as Firefox.

Also MP3 support was missing as was for someother popular formats used on Windows, however i did expect this as these are proprietary formats but firefox was something which is free and could have easily been included. So i decided to write an article explaining Linux Newbies how to install these and make ubuntu a better Linux Desktop replacement.

Setting some default " root " password for Kubuntu : -
At the Console type


Adding more sites to Kubuntu's Repositories : -

sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list_backup

Making backup of existing Repositories incase something goes wrong.

sudo kwrite /etc/apt/sources.list

Making Actual changes to repositories.

Now replace evrything in the file with this : -

## Uncomment the following two lines to fetch updated software from the network
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper main restricted
## Uncomment the following two lines to fetch major bug fix updates produced
## after the final release of the distribution.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-updates main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-updates main restricted
## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'universe'
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## universe WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security
## team.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper universe
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper universe
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security main restricted
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security main restricted
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security universe
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security universe
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper multiverse
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu dapper-commercial main
deb http://packages.freecontrib.org/plf/ dapper free non-free
deb-src http://packages.freecontrib.org/plf/ dapper free non-free

After doing this type at the console : -

sudo aptitude update


Now installing FireFox : -

sudo aptitude install mozilla-firefox

After this a series of messages would be shown and mozilla package and all other packages it needs will be downloaded and installed .If everything goes well at the end of installation you should be able to launch firefox by typing : -
firefox at the console.

Installing MP3 and other Plugins Support

type : -

sudo aptitude libxine-extracodecs
sudo aptitude libarts1-mpeglib
sudo aptitude libakode2-mpeg

After Doing this you should be able to run mp3 and other Multimedia files on your kubuntu system.

To add mp3 support in K3b :

sudo aptitude libk3b2-mp3






Thursday, July 20, 2006

NTFS , Adobe Acrobat Reader,Real Player Fedora Core 5

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1. Installing NTFS Support : -

1. Log in to linux in Super User mode or do so by typing "su" command at the console

2. Type "uname -rm" at the console to know the kernel version and processor type.

3. Go to the website "http://www.linux-ntfs.org/content/view/187/" and download the RPM package for NTFS driver relevant to your Linux kernel .

4. After downloading the driver go to the directory where you have downloaded the RPM directory and type "rpm -ivh kernel-module-ntfs-2.6.XX-XXXXXXXX.rpm" to install the driver.

5. Make a directory where you would like to have NTFS partition mounted Ex:- if you would like to have it mounted at /windows "mkdir /windows" .

6. type "/sbin/fdisk -l" to view available partitions and NTFS partion drive number

7. now edit /etc/fstab file using gedit and add line "/dev/hda1 /windows ntfs ro,defaults,umask=0222 0 0" at the end of the file replace /dev/hda1 with your ntfs partition as displayed by fdisk and /windows with your directory which you would like to mount ntfs volume onto.

8. Restart the linux to see change


2. Installing Real Player 10 and Adobe Acrobat Reader

1. Fedora Core 5 uses GCC 4.1 , Now many applications including Real player 10 and Adobe Acrobat 7.0 requires GCC 3.2 as they were compiled on these libraries hence for compatibility installation of this library is necessary.

GCC 3.2 Can be found on CD-3 of Fedora Core 5 , DVD or online

2. These Files are
compat-libstdc -33
compat-libstdc -296

3. To Install it using automatic yum package manager type" yum install compat-libstdc -33 compat-libstdc -296" after logging in Super User mode or after "su " at console

4. The library can also be downloaded as rpm from "http://rpmfind.net//linux/RPM/fedora/5/i386/compat-libstdc -33-3.2.3-55.fc5.i386.html" After downloading it can be installed as "rpm -ivh compatXXXXXX.rpm" after logging in super user mode.


5. After installing GCC 3.2 Library. Go to "http://www.real.com/linux" Download real player package and install it using "rpm -ivh RealXXXX.rpm" after logging inSuper User mode


6. Similarly install Adobe Acrobat Reader by downloading rpm package from "http://ardownload.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/unix/7x/7.0.8/enu/AdobeReader_enu-7.0.8-1.i386.rpm" and using rpm to install the package


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Running Windows Applications Under Linux

3 comments
Rnning Windows Applications in Linux

Running Windows Applications in Linux

Running Windows Applications Under Linux

(Part 1: Introduction to Wine )

Over the past few years there has been an increasing transition of users from Microsoft Windows operating system to Linux, both on desktop and server space. However the transition has been slow on desktop side primarily because of lack of quality application available on linux (though the condition has been improving with OpenOffice, Firefox, Evolution etc ) also a users find it difficult to start working on entirely new software . Because of all this there has been slow transition of users to linux .It is exactly this problem which Wine tries to solve this problem allowing users to run some of their favorite software to run seamlessly on Linux .



What is Wine?

Wine was started in 1993 with aim of running Windows 3.1 Application by Bob Amstadt and later turned it on to Alexandre Julliard who has maintained it since. Wine though stands for “Wine Is Not an Emulator “. It consists of a program loader that loads windows applications on Linux, and a translation layer or a compatibility layer that implements windows API (application programming interface). It converts Windows API calls to native X/Linux equivalent calls. Because of this since no emulation takes place the program running through wine are comparatively faster than using an emulator. It also means that not all program works through wine but most significant of them do. The wine project is 100 % free of Microsoft code and uses publicly available API documentation. Besides Windows wine can also run some DOS applications though obsolete now. Another Interesting use of Wine is Running windows based games on Linux with continuously improving support for Direct X interface many popular games run with little problem and with commercially developed products like Cedega(program based on Wine) Games Support has been Improving.

Running Windows Applications in Linux

Different Flavors of Wine


Codeweavers Crossover Office : It is the commercial edition of Wine and includes graphical interface for installing different applications under wine . It supports a large number of Applications including

  1. Microsoft Office XP,97,2003,2000

  2. Microsoft Outlook

  3. Internet Explorer

  4. Itunes

  5. Dreamweaver MX

  6. Flash MX

  7. Adobe Photoshop 6,7

  8. and a number of plugins(including Quicktime,Shockwave,Flash) and applications.



Crossover Office Has friendly interface for handling installed software
LinkA List of Installable applications through Codeweavers

Though it is commercial software available for something like. Codeweavers does offer a Trial version of their software. There is no notable speed difference and applications behave and function very much like windows.





Running Microsoft Word XP under Crossover Office


More Information could be obtained from : www.codeweavers.com


Transgaming Cedega: - This is commercial version of Wine specifically for Games and some of the bestselling titles could be run easily using this tool. Also cedega is available for Mac OS allowing some of the popular games to run under MacOS. Transgaming works with leading game companies to allow them run their games under Linux , providing their copy protection and other closed source part of their games to run under Linux.

Some of the popular game supported are: -

Civiliazation 4

Simcity 4

Warcraft III

Madden 2006

World Of Warcraft

FIFA 06

etc


More Information and trial version of cedega is available at : www.transgaming.com

Plain Open Source Orignal Wine : - This is the free open source version of the wine which is easily available and free to download though installation is little difficult than the commercial products ,nevertheless it runs a large number of applications like : -


World of Warcraft (With some tweaking)

Corel Draw 7.0

Winamp

Frontpage 2002/XP

Dreamweaver 4.0

Microsoft Money

Microsoft Office 97/95/2000

Etc .

Here is the complete List of supported application

On the linux.

Here is instruction regarding running some of the popular applications under linux using free version of Wine.

Running Windows Applications in Linux

Here is instruction for installing wine under Fedora : -

  1. Download rpm package

  2. Install it using rpm –ivh wineXXXXX.rpm

  3. Also on Fedora Based system one can use "yum -y install wine" command to install wine
  4. After installing wine download winetools utility which greatly simplifies installation of windows applications ,also it allows easy configuring of wine .Get it here

  5. rpm –ivh winetoolsXXXX.rpm

  6. Launch winetools by logging out of superuser(root) mode and from a regular user mode by typing winetools

  7. On the opening screen chose prepare base system

  8. Create Fake Windows Drive
  9. Install everything relevant (TruType Fonts,DCOM98,Internet Explorer ,MFC classes) in the menu as it helps in installing other applications.

  10. DCOM 98 Installing Using WineTools
  11. After completing this u can use option in the Winetools menu to install supported applications or install unsupported manually using command line interface.


Using Winetools it is fairly easy to install the supported application using it's graphical interface and is fairly self explainable. However if you want to install application manually you can do it using

Wine applicationname.exe

after going to the directory


Installing Quick Time 6.5.2 : -

  1. Download this script file (courtesy The simple Experience website ) http://tsx.nl/files/qt4linux-1.0.tgz

  2. Extract the File in a temporary directory and launch ./qt6.inst

  3. This will install the Quick Time after downloading from the internet . Quick Time Can be launched by running ./qt6 in ~/bin directory.


Quick Time Installing Under Wine

Quick Time PLayer Running Under WINE

Installing Windows Media Player 6.4:-

  1. Download this script file (courtesy The simple Experience website ) http://tsx.nl/files/wmp64.tgz

  2. Install cabextract from here : - http://www.kyz.uklinux.net/cabextract.php taking relevant file for your distribution.

  3. Extract the File in a temporary directory and launch ./wmp.inst it will download Windows Media player and install it.

  4. After installing go to ~/bin and type ./wmp

Running Windows Applications in Linux

Installing Microsoft Viewers : -

Excel : -

  1. Download this script http://tsx.nl/files/xlviewer.tgz

  2. Extract file in temporary directory and run sh xlviewerinst.sh

  3. Install it and lauch it by typing ./xlviewer.sh in ~/bin directory.


Word : -


  1. Download this script http://tsx.nl/files/wdviewer.tgz?

  2. Extract file in temporary directory and run sh wdviewerinst.sh

  3. Install it by typing ./wdviewer.sh in ~/bin directory.


PowerPoint : -

  1. Download this script http://tsx.nl/files/ppviewer.tgz

  2. Extract file in temporary directory and run sh ppviewerinst.sh

  3. Install it by typing ./ppviewer.sh in ~/bin directory.


Installing Microsoft Office 97:-
1. Install DCOM 95 preferably through WINETOOLS if you haven’t done so.

2. Launch winecfg tool by typing “ winecfg “ in the console and change windows version to “Windows 95 “
3. In the console type WINEDLLOVERRIDES="odccp32=n" wine /pathtocdrom/setup.exe to install Office.
4. Go to the Installation directory (The C drive of wine is located at $HOME/.wine/c) and type
wine WINWORD.EXE for launching Microsoft Word

wine POWERPNT.EXE for Launching Microsoft Power Point
wine EXCEL.EXE for Launching Microsoft Excel

Microsoft PowerPoint running under WineMicrosoft Word 97 Running under wine


In The Second part of the series we look at installing some other common application under Wine.
(c) 2006 Ambuj Varshney
<blogambuj@gmail.com>
Link


Sunday, May 14, 2006

FireFox: A Refreshing Change

1 comments
Mozilla Firefox - A Refreshing Alternative to IE
Part - I (Introduction)
Microsoft Internet Explorer have been the dominant web browser for past few years. Initially it had competition from Netscape Navigator but the scene quickly changed with Microsoft's marketing and bundling of IE with Windows operating system and soon it became dominant web browser on desktop with Netscape Navigator having negligible share . But with dominance the past few years have seen little new innovative features in the IE with Microsoft trying to fix leaky IE instead. Bugs and security fixes have become way too common and spywares and adwares have been trying all hard to make IE a miserable experience,making people scream for alternatives. Mozilla Firefox Provides them with a perfect alternative to their IE woes and Providing features that makes browsing a truly pleasureful experience. Further it works seamlessly on Linux,Macs and number of other operating system.





Mozilla Firefox began with an effort to create a strip down version of the bloaty Mozilla Web Browser ( Mozilla was Open Source version of Netscape navigator Web Browser) by Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross. Firefox started to become immensely popular with it registering 100 million download within year of launch of it's version 1.0 . The popularity continued to increase with 1.5 Version Registering 2 Million Download within first 36 Hours of release. Firefox in short has been a phenomenon both on Windows and Linux . It has been one of the biggest success story of the open source movement. Now it occupies close to 10 % of Web Browser market quiet a achievement considering it turned mature just few years back. Let's examine some of the features that make firefox so immensely popularIn Internet explorer every now and then we have been frustrated with the popup advertising windows but firefox comes with a unique tool that enables one to block popup ads when it is enabled.




Also one of the most popular feature of the firefox has been tabbed browsing allowing one to quickly open different webpages in the same window allowing to quickly move back and forth on the open webpages.Also an extension of tabbed browsing is ability to set multiple webpages as home page each opening in it's different tab so that when you click home button all the webpages open .







Opened tabs can be easily dragged and dropped to sort in order you want










Also one nice feature is Built in Search bar that allows one to quickly search different web search engines with ease.One feature that may impress people who search a lot is ability to drag selected text ,word in webpage directly toBuilt in Search Bar's searchbox to search for it instantly,without firing your searchengine and typing he text thus saving time.






There is provision for easy and quick removal of all your history and your secret information with one click .














LinkAlso not a mojor difference but searching text in webpage is much easier with search tool bar at bottom of screen rather than a dialog box in IE.









Firefox can be easily upgraded via it's update system and with version 1.5 you dont need to download entire firefox for updated version but instead it could be patched to include latest changes ,a nother nice feature considering how new flaws are being discovered in software .Also mozilla organization is much faster to correct flaws found in the browser as compared to internet explorer. Also they offer 500 $ and Mozilla T-Shirt to anyone who discover bugs in the mozilla source code under it's Bugs Bounty Program.

But one of the most powerfull and popular feature of firefox is it's ability to extend firefox functionality via the use of extension which can be installed with quiet ease and there are extensions available for a variety of purposes. Installing firefox extensions is as easy as clicking their link using firefox.

Here I demonstrate installing of popular extension (DownthemAll (https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/201/))which is a kinda Download Manager.

1. You first go to the webpage using firefox : https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/201/



2. There Click on the Install Button a Wizard appears follow the instruction and install it accordingly.

3, After Installation the nasty part restarting Firefox for extension to become active


Though standard firefox installation dosen't come with plugins installed but they can be installed quiet easily.
Firefox is extremely small in size as compared to IE . It is just 4.9 MB as compared to IE 6 which is over 75 MB in size. Small size dosent mean it has any less feature than IE but it dosent come preinstalled with JVM , Shockwave,Flash etc plugins which have to be installed externally.

Further Firefox supports a large number of Spoken languages thus making it truly international and helping it to reach a large non-english speaking public .



RSS feeds popularly used by News websites and Webblogs to provide summary of content of website with links ,it is also used by software like aggregator to allow users to track changes and updated news items . Firefox comes with built in support for RSS . All Websites that support RSS a Orange Icon is Show in the addressbar's right end clicking it one can add the RSS feed to bookmark.


In short I would say Firefox is a perfect getaway for users of Internet Explorer who have been frustrated by bugs,viruses,adwares,popups and for those who just want to stand out of the crowd of IE using people.

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Article (C) 2006 Ambuj Varshney
For: - http://linuxondesktop.blogspot.com




Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Review of XFCE

6 comments
First Impression:- XFCE


My experience of using Linux on my Desktop goes back 6 years with kde v 1.0 at that time it was considered quiet revolutionary because it was a mojor upgrade to the FVWM or other window managers that were usually shipped with Linux distro's at that time. Though it was still lacking some of the usefull features of kde as in today's KDE 3.5 but it was at least usable and quiet zippy even at those days 166 Mhz 32 Mb ram Pentium computers. But with releases as KDE has matured it's functionality has increased ,it's User Interface has become more trendy and a lot of features have been added but all this has made it quiet slow ,sluggish at times even on descent quality hardware it takes upto 30 seconds to start the older hardware arequiet out of the equation.
So my search begain for a good Window Manager for my old Celeron 1.4 Ghz 256 MB RAM IBM laptop,running on fedora core 4 . One of my friends recommended the XFCE window manager. I visited the site www.Xfce.org what i found was a very good neatly organized page there was a option for graphical installer , I had not seen a lot of graphical installer for Linux applications so i was quiet eager to try it as installing applications on linux have always been a problem for linux newbies.The installer was about 18 megabytes in size ,I fired the console and executed the installer ,the installers bin file's attributs werent set to executable so i changed it's attribute to executable with chmod command,executed the installer to my pleasant
surprise the installer worked quiet flawlessly showing welcome screen . On pressing next button the installation started the entire installation took about 40 minutes to complete . The installer probably did not ship with precompiled binaries but instead compiled it for the system on the spot , a pretty good approach indeed from normal make,confiure install routine.



After completeing the installation i started the XFCE . As soon as XFCE started thing that struck me was absence of any desktop icons and a relatively clean and uncluttered desktop it looked quiet similar to old CDE desktop though quiet nippy , and supporting anti-aliasing and other fine visual effects. There was a small panel at bottom which housed all the installed applications.The menu was relatively clean. The best feature about the panel was that it's functionality could be extended by using myriad of plugins available for a variety of purpose. Also the panel could be oriented in diffrernt parts of the screen. There was another bar at top which kept all the instances of running applications and different workspaces ,and a nice little button at the top edge to show,hide all the windows and desktop.

Two screen shot showing the XFCE desktop

Plugin Adding tool to the Panel
Clicking the right mouse button anywhere on the desktop opens the menu ,whereby any application can be launched,all my applications were housed in the menu.The XFCE included a number of it's own application the most important of which was the File Manager(Thunar),which was a relatively clean and compact file manager . I had used nautilus,konqueror earlier i found thunar equally good and quiet fast though it lacked HTML viewing abilities of the Konqueror but was equally usefull.Thunar's main strike point was it's compactness and clean interface with all the basic functionalities that one need in a file manager.


A Screen shot of Thunar A Screen Shot of Mousepad

The XFCE has a basic text editor Mousepad which is quiet similar to notepad found in Windows.Plain and Simple Also since XFCE works on GTK 2 it supports a large number of themes available for Gnome.So visually it might not as good looking as kde or gnome but is is pretty descent. Also all GTK based apps of gnome work quiet flawlessly with same speed on XFCE being both based on GTK+.

Orage ( Basic Calendar Tool)

The XFCE settings manager is also a relatively good configuration tool to tweak your systems settings. It houses all the common applets for configuring different system settings.It is equivalent to control panel of windows.
From the Control panel one can change Themes,Icon Themese from User Interface,Even the opening Splash screen can be changed quiet easily
XFCE Settings Manager (Control panel) XFCETheme preference Box XFCE manager to change splash screen

XFCE at last besides being very fast and occupying very small memory is quiet usable and I see no reason why XFCE cannot be used as only windows manager in place of KDE or GNOME.
Some Distributions like
XUBUNTU ( A 3rd Party Derivative of Popular Ubuntu Linux)
MiniSlack(Now i think called ZenWalk)
are already using XFCE as default Window Manager and i can for see a lot of distribution using XFCE as their default window manager.

At last i would say XFCE is a perfectly suited Window Manager for Old aging systems and is quiet usable on latest hardware's also . With releases as it matures further i can see it competing with likes of gnome and Kde for desktop space on desktop Linux.


Usefull Link: XFCE Homepage
Article: Author: Ambuj Varshney
blogambuj@gmail.com
(C) 2006 Ambuj Varshney
http://linuxondesktop.blogspot.com