viernes, 6 de diciembre de 2013

When the walkin' gets tough, the Zen get walkin'

After a rather long hiatus, which made many Linux users uneasy, today I read the announcement that Zenwalk, the Slackware-based Linux distro, is back.

How could I forget a system that made me fail so miserably first, but taught me a great deal about Linux later?

Hyperion made the official announcement of Zenwalk 7.4 beta 1:


Zenwalk 7.4 BETA is ready for testing.

In this release you will find :

    LibreOffice 4.1.1
    Gimp 2.8.6
    XFCE 4.12GIT
    Thunderbird 24.1.0
    Firefox 25.0.1
    Kernel 3.10.20 with performance tweaks

Several applications of previous Zenwalks have been replaced : Mplayer is now the multimedia player (instead of Totem), Lxdm is the display manager (instead of GDM), Xfburn is the CD:DVD burner (instead of Brasero), Geeqie is now the image viewer.

Great!  Downloading time!!

viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2013

One Week with OpenMandriva Lx 2013

Exactly a week ago, I read the announcement of the release of OpenMandriva Lx 2013 and, since I had been experimenting with the Beta and the RCs, I installed the final version on my HP laptop.

Curiously, I did not experience the live session that installs itself, reported here. I could navigate the live session before deciding to install without any problem.

The installation of this Linux distro, which I had been waiting, posited some risks. First, my laptop has a rather complicated partition layout: it runs Mageia 3, PCLinuxOS, Pisi GNU/Linux RC1, and PicarOS, a spin of GalpON MiniNo made exclusively for children (you can learn more about PicarOS here). Second, although most distros in my laptop are 64 bits, I keep one 32 bit-distro (PCLinuxOS). Third, I combine GRUB legacy and GRUB 2 to boot the different Linux distributions.

However, the installation of OpenMandriva Lx went without any problem and, when finished, its beautiful GRUB2 detected all my other distros.  It even identified some with their corresponding logos and placed a Tux icon next to the others. I liked that detail.  The installation from a USB drive was significantly faster than the one with a DVD, by the way.
Then, I decided not to say a word of this distro after having used it for a week. This is what I have found as an OpenMandriva Lx user:

1. SimpleWelcome Launcher
Let me clarify something: when I first saw SimpleWelcome in Mandriva 2011 RC, I hated the new launcher. Later on, I warmed up to it and now I must admit that the darn thing is beautiful and responsive. Yes, it might look like a gigantic cellphone, but it certainly looks better than certain ridiculous tiles with childish colors that distract you with their constant movement...
The tab Welcome displays the programs that you have used recently and you can pin them on that position by toggling a little star ont their upper corner. You can delete the recently used documents from that tab by clicking on a small broom (and you will see a cute brooming animation as they are removed).
SimpleWelcome launcher: the Welcome tab
The next tab (“applications”) shows you the programs on the computer. You can navigate them using the search field on top, clicking on the little dots at the bottom, or sweeping to the right or left with the mouse. The applications can also be grouped together.

The timeframe is my favorite part of SimpleWelcome and what made me like the new launcher. It stores your documents chronologically, provides several views of them, and lets you get glimpses of what's happening in Facebook (also with a nice picture-scalating animation).
Timeframe displaying Facebook activity
2. Stability
The OS has been working perfectly all this time. No crashes, no freezes, no weird delays. Of course, OpenMandriva Lx is a somewhat resource-hungry system, but its performance has been notoriously improved since Mandriva 2011, which I jokingly nicknamed the Vista of Linux-Land.  OpenMandriva Lx works fine on my desktop (2GB RAM) and my laptop (3GB RAM)

3. User Account
They included new icons for the user accounts (/usr/share/mdk/faces). However, the one I liked was removed: the cat. 

Fortunately, I had saved the icon. It took me a whiIe to figure out how to change it, though. Even when you change it from MCC (System/Manage users/Edit), the icon you selected during the installation stubbornly stays. What you have to do is go to /home and, with Dolphin, display the hidden files. You are going to see a file called .face.icon, which is the picture selected during the installation. Substitute it by the one you want, but make sure the image is 225 x 225 pixels.  

The problem with the fixed image does not occur when you set up additional user accounts.  For example, I set up a Guest  account and gave it this icon:

To do so, simply open Konsole and type su, your password, and then cp image.png /usr/share/mdk/faces before you set up the account to have your image available.

OpenMandriva Lx controls my scanner, printer, wireless and wired Internet connections, etc without any problem.  LibreOffice and Firefox come with it, so you can work and browse the web.  It plays video files and music files, and you can watch YouTube videos, too.  It integrates KDE nicely: KOrganizer can work with my Yahoo! calendar, Kmail retrieves and sends my Yahoo! mail, and the contacts can be managed with Kontact.  In other words, it can do what most computer users need it to do.

However, due to the fact that OpenMandriva Lx is taking its first steps, users who require more specific functions might get disappointed.  For example, concerning accessibility technologies, some more polishing is required.  Although I could make Kmouth read text in English, Jovie does not seem to work and, therefore, you cannot change readers and languages.  Asian language input is another area of problem.  iBus does not work and, hence, I have not figured out how to type in Japanese.

Those two, nevertheless, are not great blunders for most users.  Gaming might be a more serious consideration.  To activate Steam, you need to add the i586 repositories even if you are working with a x86_64 system.  To do so, as a superuser, type this in Konsole:

urpmi.addmedia --distrib --mirrorlist ''

Some of the games I have do not work, though.
Desura is giving me a major headache; after trying to start a game, the client crashes...

Even so, I like the OS and it shows great potential.  I am sure that OpenMandriva Lx will get better with time.  It was worth waiting for this release.

lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

Pentaboot Laptop Changes

My HP Pavilion g4 laptop has undergone some changes.

Let's see...

1.  GRUB2 is now provided by OpenMandriva Lx RC1.  Formerly, I used Mageia's, but it was difficult to get it to see PCLinuxOS, which uses legacy GRUB.

2.  PCLinuxOS has been updated and it now fixed the SCIM IME.  That is simply great!  PCLinuxOS 32 bits is my gaming OS as it gets to play my DESURA and STEAM games perfectly.

3.  Mageia 3 remains the same with some updates.  This is my academic distro and my family OS (it was user accounts for my family)

4.  Pisi Linux 1.0 RC1 replaces Pardus 2011.

5. Mandriva 2011 was replaced by OpenMandriva Lx 2013 RC1 and now this distro was upgraded to RC2. I also tested the Live/installer DVD and the keyboard problem was finally fixed. This seems to be a promising release.

6.  PicarOS, the OS for children based on GalpON MiniNO, was updated to Diego.  At first, the installation lacked sound but I fixed the problem after a while.  All I had to do was disable a sound card that is useless.  To do so, I used the sound tools.

I am now waiting for the new Elive release...

lunes, 11 de noviembre de 2013

Updates knocking on the door!

Ah, updates!

I remember that, back in my days as a Windows ME user, I learned to be truly afraid of them.  Updates were supposed to help your computer but, almost inevitably, something would go very wrong after applying them.

I would have thought that, by now, Microsoft mastered the process of providing updates that do not break your computer.  However, that is not the case.  A colleague told me that her husband applied updates to her Windows 7 desktop and the old MS magic was performed just the same: the sound card went crazy and refused to work with the microphone and the webcam also stopped working.

And then, there's the celebrated Microsoft update to convert your Windows 8 RT computer into a Windows 8.1 RT... brick!  It went so bad that Microsoft had to prevent people from installing it.

I don't know if they fixed it but, according to this post, the update to Win 8.1 now seems to convert your computer into a cat (because it does not play nicely with mice).

To be fair, I have also heard complaints on updates coming from Linux users.  I myself have messed up with some Linux installs because of carelessness during the updating process.  My last experience was when I tried to install PCLinuxOS 2013.10.  Of course, it was all my fault: I had been sluggish with my bi-weekly updating process and, being PCLOS a semi-rolling distro, that is a rather serious mistake.

I learned my lesson and today's PCLOS update went smoothly.  It was a major one, too: it converted my KDE 4.10.5 laptop into a KDE 4.11 machine.

By the way, I am also getting a Mageia update with Firefox 25... At last!  This thing of not being able to read PDF files directly from the browser was getting me frustrated...

It's great that updates come around!

domingo, 10 de noviembre de 2013

Some changes around here

With my recent installation of OpenMandriva Lx RC1, Mandriva is no longer present in any of my computers. I had to wipe Mandriva 2011 on both my desktop and laptop to make room for the new comer.

It's kind of sad... Mandriva, the distro that made me migrate from Windows, does not exist now.  I made some changes on the blog to reflect that fact.  For example, as I regularly use seven Linux distros, my badge now includes their logos.

This feels kind of exciting, too.  In a way, those changes also show me how much I have learned about Linux since 2009.

This has been a rewarding journey.  Let us see: 

  • 2009, I start dual-booting Mandriva and Windows XP.
  • 2010, Mandriva, Mepis, Pardus share my HDs; I no longer use Windows.
  • 2011 (jan), LibreOffice is released.
  • 2011 (jul), PCLinuxOS becomes part of my Linux family.  
  • 2011 (sept), Mageia makes its debut and earns a place with the other distros.
  • 2012  OpenMandriva Association is born.
  • 2013 (feb), PicarOS (GalpON MiniNO) becomes my daughter's favorite distro.
  • 2013 (mar), AntiX is added to the distros powering my netbook.
  • 2013 (sept), I install Pisi 1.0 RC1 to my laptop.
  • 2013 (nov), OpenMandriva Lx RC1 shares a place on my desktop and laptop.

Wow!  Lots of changes...

sábado, 9 de noviembre de 2013

OpenMandriva Lx 2013 RC1: A Quick Test Drive

As promised, I took my OpenMandriva Lx 2013 RC1 home to install it to my desktop computer. A while ago, I installed the beta --after a tenacious fight, I must admit--, so it was time to upgrade it.

At first, the task seemed as difficult as trying to make a submarine fly: to begin with, the keyboard was dead (more on that in a moment) and the painfully slow installation process got stuck five times.  However, I discovered that the extremely slow installation and repetitive halts were due to a corrupted DVD.  So, I burned a new one and started again.  

These are the two most serious issues that I found along the process:  

1. Lack of an operational keyboard
At boot, regardless of which of the two installation methods provided you chose (regular or basic graphics), the keyboard will refuse to work.  Of course, since you can navigate the screens with the mouse during the first steps of the process, you might not notice that your keyboards is useless.

This one is not a new problem; it bugged me also during the install of the beta. What beats me is that the dead keyboard has still made it to the RC1.  I mean, it is a serious issue that should have been taken care of earlier.

Anyway, I could activate the keyboard by rebooting the distro, selecting the basic graphics install, and then hitting TAB to get some options.  Once the installer got to the keyboard selection screen, I waited a couple of seconds and the keyboard was operational.

The rest of the process was a bit slow, but simple if you have installed Mandriva or Mageia before.  

2. Grub installation on partition
This is simply impossible because, although there is a drop down menu, the only option that you get is the MBR, so OpenMandriva's GRUB2 will wipe out your existing GRUB.

However, OpenMandriva was finally installed and ready to run.  These are the good points:

1.  Faster boot and shut down times.  As compared to those of Mandriva 2011, the boot and shut down are much faster.

2.  Improved login screen.  The login screen, which got a bit stuck on Mandriva 2011, works now perfectly and is more visually-appealing.

3.  Everything worked.  Sound, printer, scanner, card readers, USB drives, wired and wireless Internet connections, desktop effects, mounted partitions of other distros, YouTube video playback...  I even customized the Window decorations and added the Cairo dock.

4. Fully functional GRUB2 menu.  Although my previous GRUB was gone, it was replaced by one that picked up every other distro and identified it flawlessly, regardless of the fact that some of those distros used legacy GRUB.

5. Improved timeline (with SimpleWelcome launcher).  For Facebook lovers, the timeline now displays updates of your friends, which you can comment and like quickly without  firing up the browser.  The updates become larger with a neat animation effect when you clic on them.   

After balancing positive/negative points, I would say that OpenMandriva Association is sticking to its plan to deliver an original, fresh, and innovative Linux distro.  Even though it might take some time until all isues are ironed out and the vision becomes a reality, it is good to know that the association is not falling for the fallacy of "let's dumb our Linux down so that Windows users adopt it."  The quality of their product is pretty high.

Right now, the RC is powering my desktop and my laptop.  Using the distro is a delight, too.   I even wrote this entry with OpenMandriva RC1.

So, trying to make the submarine fly was difficult at first...but it was good that the submarine happened to be the Mighty Jack.

Some submarines can fly.  Tatakae, OpenMandriva!

viernes, 8 de noviembre de 2013

Right on Schedule! OpenMandriva LX RC1 has arrived!

Just as promised, OpenMandriva Association has made the first Release Candidate of OpenMandriva LX available for download today.

Right on schedule! OpenMandriva Association is sticking to the plan

Apparently, this release fixes more than 70 bugs and still offers the assortment of launchers that the beta called for the Battle Royal.  The winner will be defined in the soon-coming RC2.

Yes, soon, seriously... If they keep it on schedule, the new RC2 will be here, let's see... Next Friday!

I finished downloading the RC1 .iso and will test it later to see what gives.

No, on a second  thought, I think that I will install it to my desktop PC.

Yeah, let's live dangerously ;-)

I hope the plane can take off!

jueves, 7 de noviembre de 2013

"Good things happen during the weekend" OpenMandriva LX is Coming!

UPDATE:  The Release Candidate 1 was launched last fridayHere's my reaction after I installed it to both my desktop and laptop computers.

According to this post, OpenMandriva Lx will be seeing the light of day pretty soon: on November 22!

The final product will be preceded by  two release candidates:
  • Friday 8 November: Release Candidate 1
  • Friday 15 November: Release Candidate 2
I must admit that I really like the way the beta is working on my desktop computer.

I wonder, what launcher finally won the OpenMandriva Lx launcher battle royal? Funny but, although I first detested it, I now wish that SimpleWelcome made it...

sábado, 19 de octubre de 2013

On Gaming, Upgrading, and PCLinuxOS

I am nothing close to what people call a gamer.  In fact, very seldom is it that I play games. I used to play some in Windows before I migrated.  However, back then, I did not invest a lot of money on games, either.  Once I bought a nice game that Windows stubbornly refused to launch even though my machine fulfilled all the requirements.  I also bought "Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation" and enjoyed it for a while, until a Windows XP service pack prevented me from being able to use it again.

When I migrated to Linux, I had already given up on games.  I mean, I could still play some of my favorite titles thanks to DOSBox or SNES emulators but, essentially, I simply assumed that Linux was pretty much a gameless land.

One day I read a tutorial that Texstar wrote to install Desura (I did not know what "desura" was) on PCLinuxOS and I gave it a try.  I learned then that it is possible to play games on Linux.

Gradually, my PCLinuxOS laptop became my door to a gaming experience on Linux; I would play the first Humble Indie Bundle games I bought for the penguin OS.  What I liked the best was that I could play most of the titles in the bundle, like Braid, Cogs, Machinarium, and Cayon Physics Deluxe (the latter two with WINE).

Nevertheless, bothered by minor KDE bug that was probably the result of my own failure to install updates for a long period of time, I upgraded the OS to PCLinuxOS 2013.10.  I actually did not have to do it, but I went ahead anyway and did it.  Although the upgrade surely fixed the KDE bug, something went wrong: I lost the Kwin OpenGL effects and the games played with WINE became unusable. 

I solved the problem rather easily: I put PCLinuxOS 2013.2 back and updated the machine.  It took almost three hours, but the games worked again and the KDE bug was gone.  Sometimes you just have to revert...

Now, armed with both Desura and Steam, this laptop with PCLinuxOS has turned itself into a nice source of entertainment.

Oh, and I have bought some new games, too. I guess I will write an entry on the differences I found between Desura and Steam one of these days.

OpenMandriva Releases the Beta 1!

According to this post, OpenMandriva Lx Beta 1 is now available for downloads.

The most interesting part for me is the multiple launcher testing.

Well then, I am presently downloading the iso to see what it brings.

miércoles, 2 de octubre de 2013

Mageia 4 Alpha 3 is out!

Anne Nicolas has announced here that the last alpha of Mageia 4 is available for download.

This alpha brings KDE 4.11.1, Gnome 3.10.0 and now Mate is found inside the repositories.

Other changes are the movement to the network interface naming scheme available in systemd v197+ to ensure that the network interfaces are predictable.

However, this early development version is not intended to be used daily as a stable release; it should not be installed in production environments or used for writing reviews.

viernes, 20 de septiembre de 2013

Pisi 1.0 goes RC!

This entry (in Spanish) confirms that the RC of Pisi Linux 1.0 (Izmir) is here.  Pisi RC comes as a 64 bit distro only.

It includes:
  • Kernel 3.10.12
  • Firefox 24
  • LibreOffice
  • KDE 4.11.1
  • Latest versions of lots of free software packages
  • Several languages available (also for installation)
It requires a minimum of 10GB to install it to a VM (VirtualBox).

A clean install is recommended and the repositories are found here.

The final release is closer.  Kudos to the developers and thank you for their tireless effort.  The dream is alive!

miércoles, 18 de septiembre de 2013

Elive has a new house!

For those of us who are waiting for the new version of Elive to come out, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the Elive project has a new site.

The menus are clear and the new house looks clean and inviting.

I also heard that the new version of the distro will bring a surprise...a feature that no other OS includes and that will make the world go "OMG!".

Let's keep waiting, then.

miércoles, 11 de septiembre de 2013

Coming Soon: Pisi 1.0 RC!

According to this post by Yoyo (in Spanish), the release candidate of Pisi Linux 1.0 is close.  For those who might not know, Pisi Linux is the fork of Pardus Linux.

This release candidate will bring:
  • - Kernel 3.10.x
  • - KDE 4.11.1
  • - Mesa 9.2
  • - Latest bug fixes
  • - Updated software
  • - More…
I am very excited because of the news.  As the beta 1 of this distro has been performing very well on my laptop computer, I am eager to see what a more polished release will bring. 

For the time being... Congratulations to all the developing team!

sábado, 7 de septiembre de 2013

Microsoft SkyDrive and Open Document Files

We are living pretty interesting times.

I remember that, when I first tried SkyDrive, the only available format to save your documents was the infamous .docx.   Consequently, I ran away from Microsoft's crippled cloud offering.

After all, I was not willing to accept this company's antics to impose an unnecessary standard that, in reality, was only directed to generate incompatibility so that Microsoft Office users had to buy Office 2007.

However, I visited SkyDrive earlier this year and, to my surprise, I saw that you could choose between .docx and .odt to save your documents.  I remember Megatotoro's bewilderment when I told him about it; the news was difficult to digest.  Odt seemed to be winning the arm wrestling.

There was a catch, though: you could save a file as an .odt with the Word Web App but, to be able to edit it, you had to run MS Office 2013 on your computer.  Again, Microsoft was pushing users of SkyDrive to buy a newer version of the Office suite and install it locally to do something that, obviously, people wanted to do in the cloud... a poor compromise that revealed that the company, instead of offering solid cloud solutions, was more concerned with protecting its old model software franchise.

Today, I gave SkyDrive another try.   Only expecting the "you cannot edit this file, blah, blah, blah", I tried to open a stored .odt and... Word Web App opened, only displaying the classic warning about compatibility issues that a desktop install of MS Office spits out when you try to work with an Open Document Format file.

I was dumbfounded.  For a moment, I thought the whole thing had been a product of my imagination, a crazy dream triggered by last night's bout of insomnia.  But no, the only word contained in the document was there on the screen: "Freedom".  I started to modify the file and renamed it "Hello World(1).odt":

The .odt created with Word Web App in SkyDrive

Word Web App did what it was supposed to, without complaining about my need to have MS Office 20XX installed locally on my desktop.  I am sure I was not running any version of  MS Office on my computer as I was using a Mageia Linux desktop.   Still in disbelief, I downloaded the file to open it locally with LibreOffice:
My first .odt file edited on SkyDrive using a Linux computer an MS cloud software
Sure enough, LibreOffice opened the file without a glitch.

Then I uploaded the file to Google Drive to see how Docs would work with it:
Although Google Docs inserted a blank page before my content showed and moved the picture a bit to the right, it was pretty much the same file.  But I was appalled: Microsoft was actually offering BETTER compatibility with LibreOffice than Google Docs was!

Is this perhaps a less publicized example of another backtrack that Microsoft has undertaken?  Maybe.  After all the mess with Windows 8's start button and the XBox One, it seems possible; the company might be trying desperately to correct its own wrong-doings.  Of course, they do it to keep cash coming, not for the sake of costumers, but still...

Now what Microsoft needs to do to utterly baffle me is to name one of these three candidates as the company's next CEO instead of Elop or the Ford guy:

The world is changing. 

Google sued for reading emails

This is interesting.  Apparently, Google is facing a class action for reading people's emails.

What I do not understand is if the legal action has legs... After all, Gmail users have been informed previously about the practice and must consent to it in order to open a Gmail account.

By the way, did you spot Mandriva in the picture? :-P

Games! Steam in Mageia 3

Although I'm not a gamer, I decided to check Steam on Mageia 3.  I installed the Steam client and open an account when the distro was released, but the software would crash whenever I attempted to see the description of a game.  As it was a beta client, I never thought about using it until today.

After an update of the software, I discovered today that Steam did not crash any longer, so I decided to carry out a gaming experiment: I wanted to purchase one of the Linux games to see the playability factor on my desktop computer.

I found a cheap game that seemed fun: "Snuggle Truck," a little side scroller in which you drive a truck as fast as you can to a zoo, trying not to drop any animals as you go.  The game was $5, so I chose it.

The game in the Steam library (on Mageia 3 x64)
The buying process was simple and fast.  The installation of the game was automatic.  What was left was playing it.

The game started fine, cartoonish music playing an all.  I liked the graphic quality and the responsiveness of the game.  Driving the truck was fun, too.  I am not a good player, but that is not the point. 

These are some screen shots of my poor performance in the game's tutorial:

I must say that the experiment was successful; I'm happy with the service (and the game, of course!).  My daughter will love playing "SnuggleTruck".

Steam, count me on your list of Linux customers.

viernes, 6 de septiembre de 2013

Update Day

I updated my PCLinuxOS and my Mageia laptop installs today.  The process finished without any problem and everything is working as expected.

What to say about it?

jueves, 29 de agosto de 2013 Landing Page

I've been trying to see the progress of OpenMandriva, especially since I heard about the wallpaper contest.  I got this today.

He, he, speak about Linux and fun!

lunes, 19 de agosto de 2013

Mr. Starks, Reglue, Linux: We Believe in You

Dear Ken Starks,

We haven't met personally and, given the geographical distance between my country and yours, will will probably never see each other face to face.

I don't even know if you will ever get to read this.

I just wanted to say that I came across your blog some time ago, when I was taking my first steps in Linux land and, thanks to your posts, I grew more confident.  I learned a lot about Linux reading your entries.

There is more.  Thanks to your blog, I came across a fantasy novel that will keep me busy academically.

However, that's not all.  You made me see harsh realities that had been veiled from my eyes.  I discovered the courage of a cancer survivor who fights different battles on multiple fronts.  Sometimes, my heart ached with your posts.  Some other times, your writing brought happiness into my life when I really needed it.

Perhaps silently, you have been busy bringing happiness to many children in Texas, young people who had been formerly excluded from didactic activities because they lacked a computer.  All of them deserved a better future.

As an educator (and more as the father of a little girl), I understand your cause.  The future of any society is found in children.  Dickens spoke about that long ago with the terrifying scene of the creepy girl and boy that crawled from under the cloak of the ghost in A Christmas Carol.  It is no coincidence that the Ghost of Present says that the two terrible children, Ignorance and Want, have the potential to bring about doom.

Mr. Starks, you have been erasing the ominous word from the forehead of many children, giving them a different future.  Will the next computer genius come from them?  Is the future leader that will keep our world free playing with one Reglue computer today?

The Linux community has one saying:  "Linux unleashes the power of your computer".  Reglue has been unleashing the power of many children.

That's why I believe in Reglue.  And I believe in you.  My whole family believes in you.

I wish the Linux community understood this and donated for the future of Linux.  That future is in children, not in a mobile device... but maybe those who donated for the mobile device, if their dream does not come true, would be kind enough to redirect a tiny part of the money they pledged to a different cause?  Will they paint a smile on the sad face of a child that dreams of a computer?

Mr. Starks, I believe in you because you are a visionary.  You know that, ultimately, it's not the code that will keep Linux growing.  The future growth of Linux depends on the quantity of children that get exposed to it today.
My 3-year daughter playing with her Linux computer

Finally, let me thank you, Mr. Starks.  What you have done in Texas will have a profound impact in my country someday.  We will probably not be around by then... by my daughter will. 

So, from the bottom of my heart... Big thanks!

viernes, 9 de agosto de 2013

Those unexpected regressions...

A while ago, I read Ken Stark's delicious rant because of a kernel regression.

Ah, those regressions can be real bothersome in the world of FLOSS.  Even so, I had never experienced one.  Therefore, the whole thing remained pretty much an abstraction to me... until two days ago, when I found my original thesis presentation and understood the frustration of those regressions.

Let me explain.  When I was a student, computers were not as popular as they are today, let alone laptops.  Thus, delivering a presentation meant that you had to  borrow somebody else's laptop.

Those were my Windows days.  Although I had a desktop computer, my Microsoft Office version did not include PowerPoint.

Fortunately, my brother had won a set of CDs with a collection of programs that included some free software and demos.  In one of them, there was StarOffice, which allowed me to create my presentation.  When finished, I saved it both as an .sdd file and a converted .ppt file.

That was a long time ago.  I thought I had lost the presentation forever, but I found an old CD containing only the original .sdd thesis presentation.  Logically, I wanted to see it.

I had seen LibreOffice deal with .sdd files before, so, when I got the dialog asking me for a program to open the ancient presentation, I knew that something was wrong.

There was simply no way to open it.

I browsed the web and found that LibreOffice dropped .sdd files support since version 4.

So, there I was, with a document that I was dying to see and no software that could perform the magic to open it.

To make matters worse, it seems that OpenOffice can deal with the files, but I cannot install it without having an office suite dog fight on my modern Linux systems.  It seems that the days in which I could keep OpenOffice and LibreOffice side by side are gone (last time I could do that was with Mandriva 2010.2).

Luckily, my wife's Asus Eee PC 901 is still operational and it comes with Xandros Linux and StarOffice!  I used it to convert the file to .ppt and later to .odp.

Who would have thought that the tiny netbook was going to save the day?

jueves, 25 de julio de 2013

How to install LibreOffice 4.1.0 in Mageia 3

Let us assume that you are a newbie running Mageia 3 (like me, I guess). You know that Linux distributions have differences; for example, while Debian uses packages named .deb, Mageia requires packages known as .rpm.

You also know that Linux distros have a different release schedule. If you check Mageia's here, you will have to wait February 2014 to get a new version of the distribution with a new LibreOffice if they do not update the package later this year.  But you want Libre Office to run in your Mageia 3 system right now, so you go to the download section of LibreOffice and, if everything goes right, you will see the packages that you need for your distro and language.  You can confirm if you are getting the right RPM packages because you know how to read (something you learned as a child and have been practicing ever since).  So you download the main installer, the language translation, and the built-in help in your local language.

So, you download the files... now what?

Installation of LibreOffice in Mageia 3

You need: The installation files, your root password, and self confidence.

Once you have the file, you right-click on it and select "extract here, auto detect subfolder". Then you get inside the newly created folder and go inside a sub folder called RPMS.

the following step is not for the faint of heart as it requires use of the TERMINAL!!

Yes, the above is sarcasm. I've read too much about how complicated and inconvenient it is to use the terminal...well, not in this case. I could do it and, believe me, I have no training in programming.

Once inside the folder RPMS, go to the window menu and click on "tools". Select "open terminal" to deal with the friendly black screen.
1. Type su
The terminal returns: password:
2. Type your root password (you have it, don't you?)
The terminal returns: [root@localhost RPMS]#
3. Type urpmi *.rpm and relax while the computer does its own thing. You will read many messages, but do not be afraid.  Let the computer handle the installation.  Once it's over, you will see the same prompt ([root@localhost RPMS]#)
4. Now, close the terminal (Boy, that didn't hurt, did it?)

Perform the same operation with the language file: right-click on it and select "extract here, auto detect subfolder". Then you get inside the newly created folder and go inside the sub folder called RPMS.  Once inside this folder, go to the window menu and click on "tools". Select "open terminal" to deal with the charming black screen. YES, AGAIN! But you are not afraid, are you?

1. Type su
The terminal returns: password:
2. Type your root password
The terminal returns: [root@localhost RPMS]#
3. Type urpmi *.rpm and wait for the computer to finish its thing. When it's over, you will see the same prompt ([root@localhost RPMS]#)
4. Now, close the terminal (Boy, that was enlightening, wasn't it?)

Then do exactly the same for the help file.

After this, your OFFICE menu in Mageia will display icons for LibreOffice under the section MORE.

By the way, having both LibreOffice 4.0.2 and LibreOffice 4.1.0 does not imply that the two office suites fight like cats and dogs within your computer, in case you are wondering. UPDATE (Jul-27-2013): Today, the update to LibreOffice hit the repos.  When you update LibreOffice, your system will only call LibreOffice 4.1 regardless of which version you choose.  That is OK, (unless you want to type in Japanese).

My only complaint about LibreOffice 4.1.0 so far is that I haven't been able to use iBus (the input method editor) to enter text in Japanese. That's a big concern for me. I hope to find a solution soon. In the meantime, I'll keep the previous version for that purpose... or Abiword.

(For those readers that might thinking about having experienced Déjà Vu --or Déjà Lu ;P --, let me clarify that this is a slightly modified re-post of an entry I wrote before.  It was for Mandriva 2010.2 when the first version of LibreOffice was released.  The original is here.)

domingo, 21 de julio de 2013

My Revised Wish List

In February, I wrote a small list of the releases that I wanted.  It was sort of a wish list of Linux distros.

The first three items have been granted:  Mageia 3 is powering most of the computers at home (I upgraded the Mageia 2 partition on Eimi's desktop PC today), Pardus Anka was released as Pisi GNU/Linux Beta Sueño (which also has a partition on my laptop), and I am typing this entry using OpenMandriva LX beta on my desktop PC, now with sound and the ability to access my other HD partitions.

That means that I'm only missing Mepis and Elive from that original list.

My birthday is pretty close.  Then time seems to fast forward and, in a blink, it will be Christmas and 2013 will have ended.

Allow me to daydream and revise my wish list.  This time, I'll organize it in software and hardware.

A.  Software
  1. Mepis. This distro always surprises me with its stability.
  2. Elive. I really want to see this distro in action.  It will give me the opportunity to start learning how to use Enlightenment.
  3. Voice command running on Linux.  C'mon!  Windows 8.1 Blue is trumpeting this feature as an innovation, when the Linux netbook that I bought in 2009 could do it.  So can my wife's ancient Asus Eee PC 901.   Granted, Mageia 3 now runs Jovie and Kmouth like a champ, but I miss the voice command.  I have tried PerlBox Voice to no avail, so I dream on. 
B.  Hardware

  1. The elusive Vivaldi tablet.  I'm waiting for this one eagerly.
  2. A new laptop with Linux preinstalled.  I am studying my options here.  (Interestingly, now I have options.  Times change, oh you would not believe how times change, Ballmer!)  I have seen that I can get Suse and Ubuntu machines from Dell and HP.  However, given that Megatotoro had a wonderful experience with ZaReason, I might go for one of their excellent offerings.
  3. A Firefox OS phone.  I am one of those rare individuals who have refused to own a mobile phone in this era.  I don't  like them.  Nevertheless, the carrier that starts selling a Firefox OS phone here will get me as a costumer.  I guess I am one of those rare individuals that does care about the OS of the phone, too, and with Mozilla being attacked by protecting individuals instead of advertising companies, I root for Firefox.

So that's my wish list ;-)

UPDATE: reports that there is progress regarding the Vivaldi tablet.   Great!!!

viernes, 19 de julio de 2013

A Museum Item: the Asus Eee PC 901

How nostalgic!  Today I powered on my wife's Asus Eee PC 901.  That is a tiny 8.9 inch netbook that came with 1Gb RAM, 20Gb SSD, and Linux pre-installed.  My wife kept it at her mother's house, but brought it back two weeks ago.

This thingie is especial for me because I myself was introduced to Linux by an Asus Eee PC.  It was the Eee PC 900 that I bought in Amazon in 2009.  After heavy use, it collapsed. Both machines came with a modified version of Xandros. 

However, my wife's netbook sat on a computer store for quite a long time before I purchased it in 2010.  They wanted to sell it for a price that made no sense: $635!  Obviously, they could not sell it and had to let it go for half the price ($317).  As I had paid around $300 for my own netbook, the price cut made sense and I bought it for my wife.

As I played with the netbook today, I discovered that some of the keyboard keys are not working... maybe because my little nephew and niece have been playing with the poor computer.  Other than that, the machine is working perfectly.  Even its voice command control works.
The default desktop of the Asus Eee PC 901
Xandros file manager running on KDE 3.4.2
The Learn tab.  MeBook actually reads books!
Oldie Firefox 3.0.4
It seems that I can still get some updates, even after Xandros stopped releases in 2006.

My wife should get a MS Surface tablet.  That way, she can later start a computer museum with the Asus netbook and her Windows-Vista-powered laptop :P

sábado, 6 de julio de 2013

A Letter to Windows 8.1 from a non-technical Linux user

Disclaimer:  This is my reaction after trying Windows 8.1.  It's in no way meant to be read as a technical review.

Hello, Windows 8.1

I am a non-technical Linux user.  But wait!  Before you turn away in denial (yes, we exist), let me tell you that I once was a long time Windows user.  In fact, I started my relationship with your family when I met your great-grand parent, Windows 3.11.  95 and I worked side by side, and 98 also drew me closer to your family.  Then I learned how to install OSs myself and thus became a good friend of ME, to whom I painfully had to let go when XP came along.

Can I call you "Blue"?

Well, it's true that my dealings with your family became tense thanks to XP, but I forgave him for all of his uncontrollable RAM cravings and constant infections.  I made myself like him as everybody else did.  He was a popular guy. 

Blue, your cousin Vista came one day and told me that I had to forget about XP.  Vista made me dislike your family intensely.  That's when I became a Linux user, you see?

No, Seven did not mend things.  He has Vista blood after all.

When your brother 8 came around, I jokingly nicknamed him "Ultraman Mebius", the rookie Ultraman that always got battered by every enemy in sight and, sometimes, even by his own Ultra-brothers.  This is the thing: Microsoft used Ultraseven, one of my childhood heroes, to promote 7.  You pronounce Mӧbius "mebius" (メビウス)  in Japanese.  Have you noticed that a Mӧbius strip is like the number 8 that has fallen and is lying on the ground? Just like Windows 8.
This is my intended Windows 8.1 desktop wallpaper

Please, do not think that I hate you because I use Linux.  In fact, I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt.  So, I downloaded you to see if the strong criticism against 8 is justified and if you can fix things for the many disgruntled Windows users out there.

After seeing you in action, I must be honest: it seems to me that you are in trouble.

The Windows 8.1 installer running on a VM (Mageia 3 host)
Although I was impressed by your simple installer (anyone can handle that process) and your overall speed, I believe that the experience that you deliver is not up to the expectations of many Windows users.  They neither want to learn new things nor they want to "fiddle" with the system to make it work.

Remember?  Those were the words that your family used to badmouth Linux.  Charm bars that activate on hidden spots?  The army of Microsoft trolls dismissed the idea saying that such is the way of the KDE Penguin Geeks!

New "menu" after fixing the start button to get rid of the tiles
The Windows users around me want a start button, a REAL one.  What you are offering reminds me of the ROSA launcher that got Mandriva 2011 in trouble, only that yours comes with smaller icons that look way too juvenile.
The other option that you offer is worse: the infamous desktop/metro amalgamation.  Listen, it's hideously impractical.   As a Linux user, I have been exposed to all kinds of desktop environments and configurations and, let me tell you, nothing is less intuitive than what you want to deliver.

I'll be blunt.  I do not see any of my Windows-loving colleagues using any of the two choices you bring with pleasure.  Many of them simply cling to XP and haven't even bothered to take a look at 7.  I do not think that you can manage to change their minds because, as I said before, they do not want to learn new things.  Some of them complain about "not being able to format a document with LibreOffice"... despite the fact that they can customize the toolbars or use the menus! 

Hence, the best you can aim at is converting dissatisfied 8 users into a-bit-less-grumpy Blue users... which is not a great feat, really.  Let's see the numbers.  After 8 (what a magical number!) months out and having the benefit of holiday sales, all that your brother has achieved is 5% market share.  It's four months before you go out.  By then, how much more market share he can get? Let's be positive and say that he can double in four months what he has done so far in eight: 10%.

You will probably get that in no time.  The thing is, can you get more? I've read some generously optimistic predictions for you.  Yet, I think they are not seeing the obvious: you are also 8.  The public does not want Windows 8.  What is the catchy phrase to promote you?  "Windows 8.1, attempting to fix Microsoft's OS mess"?  The public knows already that 8 is the number to avoid.  OEMs, in shame, have removed street billboards featuring pictures and the name of your brother hoping to sell more computers.

Microsoft should have called you Windows Mebius instead.

Temporary local account.  Get a Microsoft account or else...!
Don't think it's personal.  Well, maybe it is; it's all "personal": the death of the PC (Personal Computer).  You also have your mind on the clouds.  Why can't I simply keep a local account?  You promise a better experience with a Microsoft account and an Internet connection.  What's next?  "Always on", like the butchered original XBox One?  Spying?  Unauthorized reading of my Windows Journal by default?

Not everything is lost, however.  At least your fish is cute.  And the Japanese IME works great (unless you type on the write pad). 
Japanese IME on Writepad
Your Japanese text after saving it
Japanese IME working as it should on Windows Journal
The cute fish at the beginning of the installation

Unfortunately, besides all the privacy concerns, that's pretty much what you can offer me: and expensive Japanese IME and a bubble-blowing fish...

I promise I will visit you occasionally until Microsoft decides to put an end to our friendly encounters.  I will wish you good luck and forget about you afterwards because I am staying with my Linux friends.  I hope you understand.

Until next time, Blue.

miércoles, 3 de julio de 2013

My new installs: Pisi, Mageia 3, and OpenMandriva

Taking full advantage of some bouts of insomnia, I made some progress on my handling of GRUB2 (thank you Megatotoro!).  I also installed Pisi 1.0 Beta v3 to my laptop, upgraded my netbook from Mageia 2 to Mageia 3 (i586), and finally achived to install OpenMandriva LX (alpha?beta?) to my desktop.  Here's a summary of what I have seen so far:

Pisi 1.0 beta v-3 (Sueño) on laptop
For a beta, this new-comer distro is behaving like a champ.  BEsides those problems reported by Megatotoro here, the only issues I have experienced are the failure to launch of VLC and audacious.  Other than that, this beta has been reliable, fast, and stable.

Mageia 3 DVDi586 on netbook
The installation went perfect but, oddly, the firmware for the wireless was not included and I ended up without Wi-fi.  The problem got solved by manually installing the packages.  This was a bit problematic because I forgot that one should not choose to add repos during the install and, therefore, Mageia 3 failed to get software sources.  After a while, I simply added mirrors from MCC and the wi-fi was recognized.  Although the touchpad is a bit crazy, the display problems that I encountered in Mageia 2 (screen edge cube effect) was gone.  Oh, and I also got a perfectly functional iBus Japanese IME!

OpenMandriva LX Alpha (beta?)
This one was a bit tricky to install.  After having failed several times, I read that there were some workarounds.  I followed them and OpenMandriva was soon on one partition of my desktop PC.

There are some issues that I have been trying to fix, such as:
  1. No repos (fixed!)
  2. No access to my other partitions or to USB drives.
  3. Partial sound.   After following the instructions to enable sound, I could not listen to the audio on a video (MP4) I have in /home.  Since I cannot mount a USB drive, I cannot test with other types of video files.  YouTube videos, however, do play after installing the flash package.
  4. No effects
I was hoping that updating the distro would help but, after many errors, the Control Center told me that the distro could not presently be updated.

Being an alpha, the issues are understandable.  On the good side, it is responsive (boots really fast as compared to Mandriva 2011), looks nice (especially if you like the ROSA stuff), and has been working without crashing so far.

I'll keep working with these distros to see how they behave.

domingo, 30 de junio de 2013

On my movement to GRUB2

As I wanted to install Pisi Linux Sueño (Beta) to my laptop, I had to take the leap from GRUB to GRUB2.  You know, Megatotoro warned me about the fact that Pisi has a bug and therefore installs its own GRUB2 menu on the MBR regardless of what you choose.

So far, I've been working --rather happily-- with Mageia's legacy GRUB.  Megatotoro taught me how to edit it and, despite some problems here and there, I have been able to manually add the entries for the new distros I installed.

Although Pisi's GRUB2 menu looks great, I wanted to keep my Mageia background in the GRUB menu.  So, I decided to install the packages in Mageia 3 to boot up my laptop and desktop computers with GRUB2.  Those include some dependencies and I also installed the GRUB customizer package.

After installing them, my computers picked up all the present OSs, which was a great relief.

Then I proceeded to install Pisi.  Everything went fine except for the fact that I, being too tired (it was 1AM), did not double check what I was doing and ended up installing the new distro on the laptop partition that I selected for PicarOS.

I then booted up Mageia and reinstalled its GRUB2.
The silly mistake gave me the opportunity to put PicarOS back and see if this new GRUB could pick it up.  Sure enough, it did, but used Debian for the default name.  I edited the name and now my Mageia 3 GRUB2 menu shows these entries on my laptop:

Mageia Linux
Pisi GNU/Linux Sueño Beta
PicarOS (Minino Galpon Linux)
Mandriva Linux 2011

I honestly expected this new stage to be a lot more difficult.  No wonder why I kept reading on forums about the need to move to GRUB2.

domingo, 23 de junio de 2013

Random thoughts

Well, thanks to Megatotoro's review of Pisi Linux here (and his output problem), I have been fooling around with my "From-PC-to-TV" output lately.  I finally discovered how to have two different monitors on KDE.  I'll write about it soon.

I need some time to install Pisi myself.  Maybe next weekend.  And I need to learn how to install the newer versions of Firefox on Mageia 3, 64 bits.

The PCLinuxOS update went good.  I only encountered a minor sound problem because my previous sound configuration was invalid in the new KDE 4.10.4.  Yet, it was a matter of changing the position of devices in the hierarchy.  Oh, and the new login screen looks great!  No wonder PCLinuxOS is now ranked #3 on DistroWatch's chart.

Speaking of the chart, OpenMandriva has climbed positions in quite rapidly: from #200 it has gone up to #8.

I hope DistroWatch soon includes Pisi, too.

Wheee!  I am still waiting for the new Elive Release...and the Vivaldi tablet...and the Firefox tablet.

And the Jetpack 2 game for Linux.

My life with KDE 4.10.2: Using activities

Despite all the attacks launched on KDE with arguments about how confusing, complicated, and messy it is, I have discovered that non-technical users can learn to use this desktop environment and enjoy it.  My own experience is evidence of that.

I'll be blunt: I don't know how to code.  I am a literature professor, not a programmer.  So, in theory, KDE should be way beyond my league, as some people insist it is too entangled for average computer users who are confused by choices.

KDE does include a lot of choices (perhaps too many).  But you do not need to grasp everything KDE offers at once; you can gradually learn how to use it and, eventually, shape it to fit your workflow best.

When I first saw "Activities", I must confess that I did not find the concept practical.  However, that was exactly the same impression I got when I first saw the virtual workspaces in Linux.  Today, I cannot work without four of them.

This is how my main workspace looks normally

The term is about to finish and I am busy calculating the grades of students, getting ready for my own French exams, and preparing the last lessons of the semester.  In this hectic period, the whole concept of activities made sense to me in a sudden revelation.

This is my customized School activity
Modifying the "School" activity template, I can change the look of my virtual workspaces, so that I can easily access all I need to work and study:
1.  a calculator
2.  a spreadsheet with all the grades
3.  an English dictionary
4.  my notes to plan lessons

I can also have a Japanese and a Korean dictionary a click away with my School activity. 

That is not all, though.  Sometimes, one needs to select students at random.  So, the second workspace of my School activity has a dice widget that facilitates that task, especially because the widget can have as many numbers as students I have in my class.

The third and fourth workspaces sport only black screens.  I use one as a virtual blackboard to doodle freely with the KDE effect:

This is convenient, but you must be good at drawing :-P

The other becomes a curtain, so that I do not have to minimize the programs I need to run for a particular class (e.g. an Impress presentation, a document, or a VYM mind map).

When I am done, I simply revert to my regular workspace.  All the "mess" is cleaned with two clicks.

I find this an extremely neat way to use your computer.  So, there you have it: a non-technical user has learned to benefit from KDE's activities.

Thank you, KDE developers!

domingo, 9 de junio de 2013

Wintel, Office 365, education, and other observations

I just read this feature on HP's position about committing to using only Windows and Intel chips.  As it seems, the marriage between the computer maker and Wintel is going sour.

It might be too late for HP.  Maybe they still have hope.  Whatever it is, it's clear by now that Windows 8 did not help computer makers boost up their sales and, given the fact that Microsoft is not making a big splash in the mobile (phone/tablet) industry, I guess HP is right to try other options.

Some people have argued that Microsoft will have it hard this year because they cannot use their market position to leverage the shortcomings of their software concerning performance and, thus, justify the price they charge for Windows and MS Office.  Microsoft must prove with the performance of its software that it is worth using and paying for.  That is not easy, especially when people do not seem willing to keep paying for newer versions that incorporate newer problems.  Take, for instance, the shortage of sevice in MS Office 365 last year.  Microsoft issued this apology , which became memorable for the irony it contains.  As it turns out, instead of being produced with a MS solution, it was produced with... Google Docs!

It is a fact that people have not been dying to upgrade Windows 7 (and, in some cases, Windows XP!).  What's more, where I work, most people still use MS Office 2007, which means that Microsoft has failed to motivate them to buy Office 2010.  Therefore, for Microsoft, it will be even more difficult to get them to jump on the Office 2013 wagon.

I doubt that many users here will like the idea to "rent" their Office and pay monthly, especially now that it is well known that you can produce documents for free with LibreOffice or other options.

So, the argument of business productivity might not work for Microsoft now as it used to. I guess that this company's greatest hope to remain relevant will be to appeal to the sector where, sadly, the most technology-ignorant people are found: education.  It's already happening.

It's sad to say it but, unfortunately, teachers are the easiest prey for companies like Microsoft because educators normally lack information about free software and they are brainwashed to accept blindly that technology enhances learning.  In addition, most teachers are the product of a monoculture in which "technology" is equivalent to "Windows".

However, I doubt that Microsoft can stop the quick disintegration of its monopoly... even if devices running their questioned Windows 8 OS flood certain schools, for many, Android and iOS are friendly neighbors, whereas Windows 8 is a suspicious stranger.

miércoles, 5 de junio de 2013

Mandriva 2013...What it might look like

Because of all the problems that Mandriva experienced, many people have assumed that the distro is quite dead by now.  However, the foundation OpenMandriva has been busy gathering infrastructure, collecting historical releases, organizing teams and basically, doing everything that they must not to let the distro that freed many from Redmond's OS disappear.

There have been tense moments (both externally and internally) and lines had to be drawn, a process that aimed at being constructive, but resulted a painful one nonetheless.

Decisions were made and not everyone was pleased.   The list includes a name for the foundation, its identifying visual signs, the official release of the distro and, more recently, the name of the distribution.  For some, it was Moondrake, for others, Mandriva; today, we know it has been called OpenMandriva (just like the foundation).

Although not many people talked about this, there was an official alpha released and I decided to install it to a VM to see what it offers.  These are my findings:

Same installer that we have known (I was relieved to see the infamous "crazy penguin"!) and there were no problems there.  However, one new feature is that it puts GRUB 2 on your system to boot it up.

Login Screen
A bit more elegant and polished than the one on Mandriva 2011

The ROSA SimpleWelcome, Rocket Bar, etc, seem to have come to stay.  They are more polished, though.
Default wallpaper ("Moondrake")
A Wallpaper I added to test different elements
The ROSA SimpleWelcome.  It covers your wallpaper
A broom appears if you want to clean your recently accessed files (convenient)
The applications tab.  Not many programs here yet

Time Frame
This includes the new characteristics that the ROSA distribution sports.  Now it has to sections (My Local Documents and Social Networking Sites) that become ready for use after you activate Nepomuk.

Nepomuk did a great job at picking the files I used
When I first saw the ROSA stuff in Mandriva 2011, I did not like it.  However, the Timeframe eventually made me like the concepts because it is a beautiful and convenient way to navigate your documents.  This version is improved; the Timeframe looks cleaner as you can play with the drop down menu for My Local Documents.

The second part, however, is not something I like but I know many people who would fall in love with it: Social Networking.  I have never been a fan of social networking sites.  However, I set up a Facebook account that I have and never use to see how Timeframe would work with it.  The process was quite simple.
You just click on the corresponding icon to get started
The last silliness someone shared jumps in front of your eyes
You can share your own silliness, too!
I must say that OpenMandriva worked very well with all the ROSA stuff.  Of course, this is not a review (it's not wise to review Alphas!), but a simple exploration of a curious Linux user who is still saving a partition for a distro that he cannot abandon... Too many good memories, I guess.

After all, I became a Linux user thanks to Mandriva.  I hope the OpenMandriva team can manage to save the distro that showed me that a different computer paradigm is possible.