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Hey Linux system administrator types,

Anyone know whether 'apt-cron' can safely update 'cron' itself? A simple invocation of 'apt-get update' by a cron job fails in that case. Then you have a half-complete package update and various daemons stopped, not to be started again until somebody notices. Ow.

'apt-cron' is intended for the purpose of running 'apt-get' stuff on a scheduled basis, but that doesn't mean it addresses this issue, and I haven't found any indication yet that it does.

Thanks!
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Dear extremely amazing Apache geeks,

I don't ask much. I just want PHP to run in one process pool WITH a shared APC cache, and Apache to be in its own process pool as a front end so it can serve static stuff really, really fast, and not pin down a huge Apache process with mod_php in it when it's just serving something statically. Better yet I'd like to use the worker MPM so it's threaded and even more ridiculously fast.
fastcgi is supposed to be the way... clicky if you think you might be able to help. )
Thanks for your advice!

Mac: Day 2

Oct. 28th, 2008 03:46 pm
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Y'all told me that (a) the MAMP all-in-one "Apache plus MySQL plus PHP plus everything" GUI works fine and is easy-peasy to set up, (b) Fink is yesterday's cheez-wiz, and (c) MacPorts is where it's at if you really want to install more command line Unixy goodness in your MacOS environment than is strictly necessary. MacPorts is, well, a port of the FreeBSD "port" package system. MacOS X and the BSD operating systems are related beasts, and it all plays together nicely.

Because I am a command-line, Unix kinda guy whose needs tend to exceed the capabilities of canned solutions in a hurry, I chose to skip MAMP and simply install Apache and MySQL via MacPorts. Which went well.

I did once bump into an issue where Apache refused to compile, complaining that I didn't have awk on my system. A quick search revealed that this is an occasional problem that goes away when you try the command again. That didn't fill me with confidence, but sure enough it worked fine.

I also had to deal with the hassle of figuring out what optional components I'd need in the php5 package:

port install php5 +apache2 +mysql4 +pear +gd

... And how to install a different combination of options once you have a previous attempt in there already (port deactivate etc., followed by port activate etc., or just trying the install again after deactivating your first attempt).

I could have avoided all of that, of course, by going with MAMP. And I would recommend that to most web developers who just want a halfway decent test environment on their Mac.

I'm now up and running and productively hacking on multiple Symfony projects.

I did have some trouble migrating my Firefox web browser profile (my custom buttons and so on). At first indications were that I'd be able to keep everything just by moving the profile folder, but a variety of things in the user interface just refused to work with my Linux profile installed. In the end I realized it would only take me five minutes to recreate the important bits of my profile and this was not an important battle.

I'm aware that there are many MacOS X productivity tools out there I'm not using, among them the Quicksilver application launcher and the TextMate text editor. And lots of awesome toys, most notably GarageBand which I can't wait to sink my teeth into.

But for the moment I'm treating my new Mac as a rock-solid, non-overheating, non-bulky version of my Dell. And I'm appreciating it on that level. A lot.
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I got a Mac! Yay. It's last year's black Macbook, courtesy of work. I inherited this machine from a coworker who got a shiny new Macbook Pro. This is as things should be, because he is a designer who needs (even more) serious grunt for Adobe CS, and I'm a developer who just wants a machine that isn't failing in seriously scary and mechanical ways with each passing day... and igniting my lap.

This Mac is a substantial step up in power from my old Dell, though, and the fact that GarageBand is included fills me with warm fuzzy anticipation.

But back to practical matters:

Ubuntu Linux on my Dell has been a great work environment for me, because it's so close to the environment on the production systems. MacOS X is Unix, but it ain't your momma's Unix, so I'm still getting used to some things.

One of the big questions: which of the various web servers should I use for my development work?

Options I'm aware of:

1. Use the Apache and PHP that come with Leopard. It's my understanding that this won't cut it because PHP was compiled without gd (d'oh) and there's no way to fix that.

2. Use MAMP. MAMP is a pretty handy "MySQL, PHP and all that jazz with a simple GUI and no security to speak of" environment, I gather. My coworkers are pretty happy with it. I got the impression that upgrades were somewhat annoying but Alex tells me this is not so much the case if you know what you're doing.

3. Use Fink, which is essentially a port of many, many Linux tools and the Linux command line package management tools. I really, really like this idea, because it would allow me to treat my MacOS X box like a Linux box and not mess with GUIs that mostly get in my way. Unfortunately, on my machine Fink insists that the apache2 package does not exist. And 'sudo fink list' does not list any plausible alternatives. I think this may be because, for Leopard, Fink's apache build is currently available only from source code. But the 'fink' tool is supposed to happily install packages from source code. So I don't understand why the 'sudo fink install apache2' command recommended in so many posts around the Internet just mocks me and points out that no such package exists.

4. Toss Linux in a virtual machine, perhaps under vmware, perhaps under virtualbox (which is free, and yet apparently professional in quality, courtesy of Sun). Let the Mac be a PC, let Linux be a server. I could run CentOS just like our production machines do. I like this option too, but I wonder if I'm giving up too easily on Fink and its potential to do pretty much the same thing without the overhead of virtualization.

Your thoughts, O developers?

Thanks!
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I'm using the F-Spot photo manager to cope with my photos on my Ubuntu Linux desktop. I like it, for the most part. It copes fine with large numbers of images, the tagging works well, etc.

You can edit an image by right-clicking it and then choosing one of a short list of image editors and viewers, such as The Gimp. Right-clicking an image on the desktop offers exactly the same list of applications, so I gather this is standard gnome stuff.

Now: how the heck do I add something to that list? Preferably on a per-user basis rather than in some system-wide file Ubuntu is likely to update, smooshing my changes? I've written a few scripts that are handy tools for trimming certain photos in certain ways, etc. and I could get sooooo much more done if I could run those from that menu.

Thanks.

Twhirl

Jul. 29th, 2008 05:57 pm
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Do you use the Twhirl Twitter client?

Does it remember passwords for you (when asked to do so)?

Mine never remembers them. However, I'm running it on Linux, and Adobe AIR (a cross-platform environment for which Twhirl ws written) is in beta on Linux. So I'm not sure where the fault might lie. Twhirl does remember other information, though.
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I needed salsa tracks in a hurry for my new MP3 player and I haven't had time to sort out how I'm going to export my old DRMed iTunes tracks.

DJ Jay Rockwell has a great "hard salsa remix" podcast which I've listened to many times.

It's not that hard to pull down the full podcast as an MP3 file— just pull up the properties and copy and paste the URL. But that gives me one continuous 80-minute MP3... tough to skip around if you come across a track that's not working for you.

How to split it up neatly? I could pull it into an audio editor like Audacity, but that would first decode the MP3, then reencode the pieces— making a low-bitrate MP3 even worse by discarding yet more information. Not a good plan.

mp3splt to the rescue! mp3splt is a Linux command line utility that can split any MP3 file into smaller pieces, like so:

# Split at 3-minute intervals
mp3splt -t 3.0 dj_jay_rockwell.mp3


mp3splt also offers silence detection for more graceful splitting, but Jay Rockwell's megamix has no convenient pauses between songs. People might sit down if he did that.

mp3splt does the job nicely and my player devours the resulting MP3s without complaint. The filenames are a bit long, though, and that makes them less than useful for navigation on my little MP3 player. For example:

dj_jay_rockwell_033.00_036.00.mp3

What to do? Rename them all by hand? Of course not. A quick and dirty PHP script to the rescue:

<?php
  $files = glob("*");
  $count = 1;
  foreach ($files as $file) {
    if (preg_match("/^dj_jay_rockwell_/", $file)) {
      rename($file, "djjr_$count.mp3");
      $count++;
    }
  }
?>

Of course, if I find myself doing this often, I'll turn the beginning of the original and replacement filenames into parameters.

"PHP? What's WRONG with you, boy?" Yes, yes, go ahead, be appalled. But I do most of my professional work in PHP right now, and while it was obviously built with the web in mind, PHP is perfectly capable of "swiss army knife" command line work. Using it for that work keeps me in the groove of solving problems with PHP.

I must admit I also find it difficult to hold PHP and Perl in my head simultaneously because they are so nearly the same, yet so completely different.

You may also find it is best to rename the original file first so that the old, long filename doesn't wind up in a "helpful" ID3 tag in each of the new MP3 files, cluttering your player's display.

Ubuntu users should not, of course, run off to SourceForge and start compiling things. Always try the command first; you may have it already, or you may get a message telling you how to get it from Ubuntu's package manager without any further effort:

boutell@tombuntu:~/Music$ mp3splt
The program 'mp3splt' is currently not installed.  You can install it by typing:
sudo apt-get install mp3splt
bash: mp3splt: command not found
boutell@tombuntu:~/Music$ sudo apt-get install mp3splt


The momentary pauses between the tracks are a little bit bothersome, or maybe just amusing. If I had more time I'd look into setting up mp3splt-gtk, a GUI that might make it easy to pick my own split points for the tracks. But this is a good example of the 80-20 rule: 80% of the benefit for the first 20% of the effort.

Edited to add: !!! The player has a tempo adjustment feature that doesn't alter pitch! That could come in very handy were I looking for a slower track in a hurry.
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I am in receipt of the MP3 player, the external speakers, the AAA charger and batteries and yet another 2GB SD chip.

I first ordered my phone's new SD chip from Meritline, which tried to tell me they were indefinitely out of them while simultaneously continuing to advertise them on Google. The notice (which was written in the HTML equivalent of smudged brown crayon) had an option to "cancel this part of your order." This being the entirety of my order, I clicked that button. I wound up receiving email telling me that I would have to call to cancel. Calling got me a "tech support" mailbox. I emailed back and told them this was not acceptable, meanwhile ordering the chip from an Amazon vendor who seemed more likely to actually send me one.

Naturally, Meritline somehow managed to ship me the SD chip while all of this was going on. They offered to refund my payment if I refused delivery, which is nice, but refusing delivery of first class mail is an interesting proposition, even if I hadn't been at work when it arrived.

So now I have two $10 2GB MicroSD chips. One is happily installed in my phone. I'm not sure what I'll do with the second one yet.

The more or less completely brandless "MP4 WAV Digital Player" turns out to be awesome. It shows up as a USB drive, as all such things ought, and Ubuntu Linux immediately offered to sync it with my MP3 player software, etc.

I knew that working with the video feature might be a long shot, but I did the research anyway. It uses ".amv" files; what the heck are .amv files? Turns out it's a commonly supported video format on so-called MP4 players, which don't actually play MPEG Level 4 files— here MP4 is a marketing term for next-generation MP3 players. The neat thing about AMV is that it's designed to play back on seriously wimpy CPUs... in fact, on a variant on the Z80 chip which was the heart of the then-utterly-amazing TRS-80 Model III my parents paid a million billion dollars for (thanks, Mom). We come full circle, yo.

But how to convert video to this format on my Linux box? I could, and in fact did, run the provided Windows software under the WINE Windows emulator. But it was crap and made files that didn't work. No idea whether that was partly the fault of WINE.

But it doesn't matter, because these guys have reverse-engineered tools for dealing with AMV files as a Google Code project. The resulting converter, while very much a command-line power tool, can be used in both Windows and Linux. Which Windows users may appreciate because it's more flexible. And it totally works. I've already been able to watch one of my salsa class videos on this cheap little player. How awesome is that?

So I wrote a little script to do the conversion as a simple one-liner in the future. And there we are. Figuring all that out took maybe ten minutes. It's taken longer to blog about it.

The player also has a built-in speaker, which was unexpected and may come in handy; but it's much too small and quiet for what I had in mind. I haven't tried out the external speakers yet but I reckon they'll do the job.

Next I need to dig up a whole lotta salsa, bachata and merengue in MP3 format and suck it over to the player. And find excuses to use it, and dance partners with whom to do so. And delete the provided sample track: "Say You, Say Me." [Twitches]

At this point I think I can safely recommend the MP3/video player. The controls aren't the sweetest but it works well and is particularly nice if you want a cheap player that loves Ubuntu and has surprisingly good video support. It also has a built-in FM radio I haven't tested, as well as an audio recording mode, although that last records in uncompressed WAV (of course, you can fit quite a lot of lo-fi WAV in a 1GB player). You can find the details, including order links, in this post.
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I am really feeling the lack of multitrack video capabilities in Windows Movie Maker. So at the suggestion of various and sundry, I have finally given the Cinelerra CV video editor for Linux a try. I installed some nice Ubuntu packages and typed cinelerra.

A very cool-looking interface come up. It was frozen and unresponsive.

I got this message at the console:

PluginServer::open_plugin: /usr/lib/cinelerra/threshold.so: undefined symbol: __sync_fetch_and_add_4

Google reveals one other guy reporting the same problem, with no response other than "try building everything from source."

I experienced something he didn't: after about ten minutes, Cinelerra woke up! And after I cancelled the random dialogs that came up due to whatever flailing I'd done in an effort to get a response out of it earlier, it segfaulted and crashed.

Yes, I will file a bug report. But I don't have time to debug Cinelerra, alas. I have a movie to make in less than two weeks. (;

Anyone know whether the cheapest edition of Sony Vegas includes multitrack editing? As in "these two cameras were running at the same time, so let me sync up the tracks and then cut unwanted chunks out of both with a single action and decide which one is visible at any given point and so forth? Rather than chopping them up into chunks the hard way?"
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I'm approaching this as a user, mostly, not as meester hacker. My honest opinions of the Linux video editing tools:

kino: very slow at exporting your finished video. Also, I managed to crash it.

kdenlive: couldn't figure out how to get useful things done.

Open Movie Editor: completely idiosyncratic "screw you do it our way" UI. Surprisingly, this fails to be complete suck, because they do some kinda-worthwhile things with that UI. The scrollbar thumb with draggable endpoints is so neat that you almost forget it's needlessly confusing in a world that has "zoom in" and "zoom out" controls burned into people's brains already like helLO.

OME almost had me, but for two things: deletes of long clips are easy to make and impossible to undo (operations on small clips undid just fine), and also I managed to crash it.

It's possible there's a newer build of OME that is more awesome, but working with video on Eleanor's XP PC was always plan A, and it still is.
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More geektalk about Linux and video. )
None of this is the fault of the Ubuntu designers or Linux in general. It's one thing to produce software with a horrible, horrible, horrible, no-good confusing UI... like the Wammu application for managing cell phone data, for instance. It's quite another to take legal risks on the part of all and sundry.
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Further travelogue from the Land of Linux on my Dell Latitude D610. For those just tuning in, I junked XP due to ugly, ugly instability and performance problems.

Video Capture

I didn't have my heart set on editing video with Linux. But just for laughs I plugged in my el cheapo cardbus firewire card and hooked up my camera. Then I installed Kino, an allegedly user-friendly video editing program for Linux. I did this via the "add/remove" menu, nothing weird or complicated.

I fired it up; it didn't see the camera. But it did display a message about not being able to access a device.

Now, it's true that this could be a showstopper for a less technical person. Kino should say something more directly helpful. But if they at least Googled the message, they'd find out that you have to start Kino as root.

Ubuntu should provide options to run certain applications as root— just because I prefer the convenience of a GUI doesn't mean I'm not smart enough to make that decision. There's no checkbox to launch an app as root, that I can see. Vista has a "launch as Administrator" feature, which is sensible, and Ubuntu should offer something comparable.

Anyway, I sarted it as root from the command line. And I clicked capture. And O HAI, I'm pulling down my daughter's after school play.

Then I then hit trouble— stuttering and other unhappiness. Then the laptop shut itself down... gracefully... with a message explaining that my CPU was overheating.

This was a frequent problem in Windows-land, too. The laptop adjusts its speed to account for activity and temperature issues, but sometimes it outsmarts itself and overheats. So I looked at the power management options and found ways to manually limit my CPU speed without too much command-line fiddling around. I had a terrible time with this in Windows. I had to do a little Googling but overall it was much easier in Ubuntu.

At work, I have a USB fan stand for my laptop, so I don't tend to have this problem at work.

Once I had a cool-running laptop and dialed back the preview quality (not the quality of the real captured video), Kino had no problem pulling down the video. Nift-o. But it crashed at the end of the process.

That's not so cool... Kino has been around a while and should be stable for the basics by now. And where is the dialog inviting me to send in a trace of the crash? Why doesn't Ubuntu offer that option when any program that is part of a standard package crashes? It shouldn't be hard work to report a bug in an open-source operating system. It's easy to send in those traces in Windows (although Microsoft may or may not care if it's a third-party program).

But when I restarted Kino, it apologized and pointed out that it had recovered all of my video. Okay, not exactly feeling warm fuzzies, but I've got my video. I'll buy that.

I added titles and did some light editing rather painlessly, but couldn't immediately export the video for y'all because too many pieces are missing. Kino depends on the mjpegtools and/or ffmpeg to actually output the Internet-friendly video formats y'all know and love. Unfortunately, for legal reasons, these can't be provided as standard equipment in a free operating system. So figuring out what to do about that is my next step.

I've also heard good things about kdenlive, an alternative Linux video editor which has a very Windows Movie Maker—like interface but is not yet available as an Ubuntu package as far as I can see.

Monitor Troubles

If I hook up my external monitor before booting Ubuntu, it spots it and fires it up at its maximum resolution. If I hook it up later, it still spots it... but assigns it a crappy resolution and refuses to go higher. Yuk!

I'm not sure why this happens, but since Ubuntu boots in less than a minute, I can live with it until I have some time to play with it. I still want to get a "one big desktop" configuration going, and I know that's going to require some hand-tweaking anyway.

I want to reiterate that my laptop is already working vastly better than it was in Windows. An end to the awful pauses and crashes has made me vastly more productive at work. Good is a huge step in the right direction— perfect can wait.
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Ubuntu Linux is rocking pretty hard on my PC at work today. I was able to get my work environment back up and running with very minimal effort, just a few oddities like moving from familiar Red Hat commands like service to the Ubuntian invoke-rc.d and different locations for directories and so on. All of the collaboration tools we like around here, such as Campfire, are playing nicely with Firefox 3.0 b5. And Firefox 3.0 b5 is as blazing-fast as advertised.

I was pleasantly surprised that it picked up my external monitor with no problems and, indeed, no effort on my part and is driving it at its proper size.

What's more, the shaky wavy lines I had with Windows are gone! Whoabots, how did that happen? I can only surmise that the official Dell Windoze driver was kind of crap.

However, Ubuntu does do one non-ideal thing: both monitors display the same desktop, which extends further on the larger monitor, displaying additional information if I choose to drag windows to the right.

When you do the "mirroring" thing with Windows, the larger monitor usually displays no more than the smaller. Which is not as cool, because you don't get the full use of the big one. So I appreciate that I'm r00ling considerable screen real estate here. But I'd like to find a way to display a single ginormous desktop stretched across both displays like I used to in Windoze. And so far I haven't found a straightforward way to do that in Ubuntu.

Meanwhile, though, I'm developing and testing and checking in and not suffering and not yelling and not waiting for my seriously unhappy Windows environment to get things done. I am no longer desperately jealous of the happy Mac-heads in the office. At the level this thing is performing so far, I may never be.

Linuxified

Apr. 6th, 2008 07:04 pm
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I'm now running the current beta of Ubuntu Hardy Heron my laptop. Boots fast. Runs fast. Drives my laptop's screen well. Very nice.

My daughter's machine is authorized for all of my itunes music, so I'll just burn it to CDs from there.

The biggest problems:

1. The machine chose— and I do mean "chose," as in did it elegantly with shutdown messages and everything— to power itself off during the update process. Twice. I think this may have been due to a buggy laptop power management program that made updating itself rather difficult. (; But now it has been updated. And this is a beta release.

2. Wifi. This was expected. Apparently Broadcom chips are a big fat exception to the rule that most wifi chips work reasonably well with Linux.

As it turns out, it's not hard to make it work at all. It's the confusing way the various HOWTOs on the subject are written that makes it seem hard, and wastes a lot of time.

So here's the right way to get your wifi mojo goin' on a Dell Latitude D610 under Ubuntu Hardy Heron beta:

1. Open a terminal prompt

2. sudo bash (become root)

3. apt-get install b43-fwcutter

b43-fwcutter will run off and get the firmware for your Broadcom chip. For legal reasons it can't be distributed with Linux. Most HOWTOs muddle this issue with discussions of how to manually download the firmware. You don't have to. Let b43-fwcutter do it.

You should now have a /lib/firmware/b43 folder full of pretty files.

4. rmmod b43 (it's OK if you get a complaint that it wasn't loaded)

5. modprobe b43

The preceding two commands set up the driver for your card again, giving it a nudge to notice all that pretty firmware.

6. ifconfig wlan0 up

Boom. That's it, you're done. Your wifi networks should start showing up in the handy little wifi network manager in the upper left. My WPA security worked with no problems.

I still need to try this afresh after a reboot and make sure there are no funny little commands that have to be done at boot time. There shouldn't be.

Still need a good solution for backing up my Nokia phone.
boutell: (Default)
1. Can't play all the stuff I've bought off iTunes. The most practical solution seems to be burning it to CD on iTunes and ripping it in again under Linux. The quality would be affected.

(There is a licensing issue here— the license doesn't allow it— but since I paid CD-comparable prices for all of this music, I really don't think I need to get weepy about it.)

2. Can't back up my Nokia phone's contacts and calendar. I'd heard there were good Linux solutions for this but now that I come to it, there really don't appear to be. Ouch.

One guy wrote an exporter... but not an importer. He says he'll write it when and if his phone ever crashes. Uh-huh, and then he'll find out if he's backed everything up adequately too...
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It's been a long time since I ran desktop Linux in any serious way.

I booted up the Hardy Heron Ubuntu beta. I was impressed by the fact that the display Just Worked With No Horrible Tweaking... straight to a nice desktop at the right resolution. This was a horrible problem with Linux for a long, long time.

Two issues, one big, one little:

1. It seems to recognize my wifi but it doesn't actually work. That's a big deal. However, I've researched this and I'm satisfied that it can be made to work on a fully installed Ubuntu system. There are other D610 owners out there happily wifi-ing away in Ubuntu.

2. I will be astonished if it recognizes my cheapo Firewire card. This is not a big deal— I could live with doing my miniDV editing on Eleanor's computer only, and if I really want to, I can go get a cardbus firewire card that other Linux users recommend.

So now I'm busily backing up to my external drive. Which would be easier if Windows wasn't such a PITA, giving up completely on any copy operation without even asking you if you want to skip that one individual file that is locked by the operating system.
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Has anyone else tried the Ubuntu 8.04 (aka Hardy Heron) beta? I'm downloading the LiveCD now.

For the utterly baffled: Ubuntu is one "brand," or distribution, of the Linux operating system. And Linux is a community-supported alternative (*) to running Windows or MacOS X (**). A computer running Linux is not running Windows (***), so you can't run Microsoft Word (****), which is a dealbreaker for some people. But thanks to OpenOffice it's not really a dealbreaker for me (*****). And I wind up with a system which is not... always... getting... slower... with no prospect of improvement as Microsoft would like me to buy Vista Basic, which would just make my slightly older laptop run even slower than it already does.

I've more or less given up on this laptop ever editing video effectively (it always worked terribly with Windows Movie Maker anyway). But interestingly enough Linux has Kino, evidently a user-friendly program not entirely unlike Windows Movie Maker. I'm not really looking to become a serious video editor, so I'm mostly excited about tools that work and are comprehensible.

(*) Actually the licensing terms of Linux allow for commercial firms to brand and sell it, and many do, and not all Linux distributions are free.

(**) MacOS X is a lot like a commercial Linux, actually. MacOS X is built on top of FreeBSD, which is a free operating system not that different from Linux; both are part of the Unix family tree of operating systems. But MacOS X itself isn't free, of course. They have followed the letter and even the spirit of the licenses of the many free programs that are part of the infrastructure of MacOS X, contributing back quite a bit in some cases, most notably to the "WebKit" web browser code that powers Apple's Safari, Adobe Air and, originally, the Konqueror web browser for Linux. But many other crucial parts of MacOS X are not free.

(***) It's possible to "dual-boot" so that you can have Linux and Windows on the same PC, just not running at the same time. It's a pain in the ass. It is also possible to run a virtual Windows PC inside your real Linux PC, or vice versa, with tools like VMware. It's possible to run Windows applications using "shim" called WINE that allows Windows programs to see a Windows-like set of capabilities while actually running on Linux, though this is still flaky in practice after many years as Windows is very much a moving target.

(****) So yes, you can run Microsoft Word, via VMware or WINE or a commercialized Office-specific verison of WINE called Crossover Office. Of course, this doesn't get you free Word, and Crossover Office isn't free either. Running OpenOffice is a better idea unless it's definitely not Word-compatible enough for your needs.

(*****) If I land a book contract, I may wind up stuck running Word somehow (see above) in order to adhere to styles and macros handed down on high by a publisher.

Ugh

Apr. 4th, 2008 10:24 pm
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My Dell Latitude D610 was a very solid machine for a long time but now it just gets more and more unstable. Now I can't rely on it even to receive video from my mini-DV camera without massive skipping, even though I don't see any other CPU hogs running.

I've just ordered a firewire card for my daughter's PC (the good news it's only costing me $11.50, with shipping).

Sure, I'd love to buy a MacBook, but I'm a long way from having mad money just now. I might put Ubuntu on this thing in hopes of, ultimately, a more reliable PC. But I'll regret it if I'm not able to get the wifi working. Hmm.
boutell: (Default)


So I wanted to make a 3D movie, and I thought "maybe I can convince the netpbm image conversion utilities to do it in some roundabout way."

Yeah, or I could just run ppm3d.

I the netpbm utilities.

It's slow, though. I need to set up some kind of kickass pipelined thing where I'm not creating and destroying temporary JPEGs all over the place so as to avoid temporarily storing zillyuns of enormous ppm image files. Not to mention setting up new processes for every frame. I hear named pipes calling my name.

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