Linux Video

What Happens When You Run “rm -rf /”

I’ve known for a long time to stay away from the short, sweet and simple “rm -rf /” command.  It deletes every file on any writable filesystem mounted by a *nix system, but what exactly happens if you do run it?  

Do green leprechauns jump off the screen to warn you that you shouldn’t do it?  Not quite.

Here’s a video with the verbose option set to make it a little bit more interesting.  I’m running it in a virtual machine so I can capture video of all the “action” – it was a bit slow to complete, but I’ve gone ahead and increased how quickly it runs to not be nearly so boring.


At the very end you can see that X crashes on the VM when I click where the trash icon would be. Rebooting results in a GRUB error 15.

If you’d like to hear a horror story about someone running rm recursively, check it out here:


In-Depth Roadmap Analysis For Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04

Update: Read the new version of this article revisiting all the ideas and current progress!

The Hardy Heron Roadmap has over 130 new ideas that have been proposed thus far. I’ve examined each one of these ideas in detail, threw out the ones that weren’t interesting to me, wrote an explanation for each, and sorted the list into three categories:

  1. User Experience,
  2. Networking and Security,
  3. Support

Of course, the juiciest items have already made headlines, such as the new theme that is being planned… “I for one, welcome our new hopefully non-brown themed overlords!”

What about the proposed changes that don’t deserve their own headline? Either you have to muck through that entire list, or you can simply read about it here. You can get more information about specific items by clicking on the name of the proposal, which will take you to a page that has a little bit more information about it. Without more from me, here we go.

User Experience

Ubuntu Theme for 8.04
We’re getting a new theme in the next release? Ubuntu has used close to the same theme since Warty Warthog – about 3 years, The REALLY interesting bit about this is how far this reaches… proposed changes include changes to the installer, bootup screen, wallpaper, application splash screens like Gimp and, Compiz effects, cursors, and even skinning WINE! This is going to be quite a bit of work, but in the end, well worth it.

Third Party Apt
Adding a 3rd party apt repository is more difficult than needed. Editing sources.list, or adding it to the software repository via GUI is a pain. This proposal focuses on creating a standardized file format (let’s call it .install file) which would allow a user to double click on the .install file, then apt would automatically install the program, add the 3rd party repository to the sources.list and automatically manage updates, etc. Very slick idea.

X.Org 7.3
This is something that SHOULD have been included in Gutsy Gibbon, but wasn’t quite ready… ah well, I guess we need to wait 6 months for this. The biggest feature of 7.3 are: Bullet Proof X – The driving force for this is to never boot up into text-mode if something is screwed up with the xorg.conf file. Very nifty. The direction this is headed is to make xorg.conf obsolete, and eventually run without it, which would be fantastic for new users.

Automatix-Ubuntu Team Collaboration
This is certainly a little bit controversial, since Automatix was raked over the coals for breaking upgrades to Feisty Fawn, and now they want to collaborate? Automatix makes stupid easy to install things that are in legal grey areas, such as codecs for playing commercial DVDs, or other proprietary software like Skype, Google Earth, etc. This idea would make it so that Canonical/Ubuntu does not have legal repercussions for including proprietary codecs or other software that isn’t redistributable.

Dual/Multi Monitor Gnome Configuration
Along with 7.3, multiple monitor configuration within a GUI is going to be pretty awesome.

This proposed change will give the distribution an improved user experience when booting up and shutting down. If you’ve ever seen a Mac boot up, you know exactly what this is trying to emulate. Transitions from the three graphical modes (text, SVGA, and high-resolution) are not really bad at the moment, but if Ubuntu can emulate how a Mac boots up, that would be pretty damn terrific.

Install on an existing filesystem without overwriting /home
This is by far one of the most annoying things that I have to deal with on a regular basis. Personally, I reinstall quite often to test out new distributions. Since getting an external 320GB drive it hasn’t been quite as painful, but for most people, they might need to backup the /home directory to avoid data loss when given the chance to upgrade every 6 months.

Improve Handling of Full Disks
Have you ever run out of hard drive space in Linux? Let me tell you, it is NOT pretty! In some cases, you can end up booting into text mode, with a read-only root partition. It is a royal pain in the ass, to say the least. This proposal is in the early stages, but suggests adding a notification that the disk is almost full, prompting you to run a cleanup wizard, and other ideas that make the problem less likely to happen in the first place, as well as (hopefully) making it easier to recover from if it does happen.

Integrate Prefetch into Bootup
Google’s 2007 Summer of Code is adding hard disk prefetching and optimization resulting in faster bootup times for Hardy Heron.

Easy File Sharing
Make sharing files between Ubuntu machines on a LAN/WLAN easier. Duh!

Single Click Install
Enable easier installation of software from the internet.

Add Remove Software Improvements
This proposes an update to the add/remove software program, which changes it into a sort of “online storefront” where the initial screen shows screenshots, top-rated or brand new applications, etc. If this is approved and pulled off properly, could be a HUGE improvement.

Simple Samba Integration
The Shared Folders utility is getting some upgrades. It will prompt the user to install Samba, no more adding users from the command line, and a simple checkbox will share all home directories on the computer.

Redesign About Ubuntu
“People are used to “About Name of Program” showing a window that gives the software version details, and copyright info. […] Ubuntu should be just as polished.” uname –r always worked just fine for me, but I can see why it’s important.

Networking / Security

Modular /etc/network/interfaces
“Split out the configuration from /etc/network/interfaces into one file per (logical) interface.” This is not a great idea, it’s a pain in the ass already to edit this and maintain correct syntax, why make it so that there are multiple files?

Dial Up Support
This will make setting up and managing Dialup and ASDL out-of-the-box, using Network Manager, very easy.

Improve support for encrypted file systems
Starting with Gutsy Gibbon, you can now install Ubuntu to an encrypted disk. The problem this addresses is adding support to install to a disk which would be auto-partitioned as an encrypted file system from the GUI, instead of using the text-mode alternate installer. Other ideas are to look for key files on USB sticks and other media, instead of just using a password.

Live CD- share this
Direct from the wiki: “Netboot server for easy setup of thin clients and machines which don’t have a CD drive.” Nice idea!

killall gksudo: Stop running GTK as root!
gksudo runs hundreds of thousands of lines of code just to show that that little box that asks for a password when trying to change administrative settings… and it is a little confusing to ask for the password before any changes are committed – why not stop asking for the password until the configuration tool tries to write to a file, then do it in a manner that doesn’t need to utilize as much code to speed things up a little bit.


Measuring Download/Installation Success
In the next release, there may be some big-brother-ish ideas being included. It’s more accurate reporting that can give developers solid numbers for things like how many people download, install, and are able to run Ubuntu. The reason is to find faults in the existing procedures for acquiring Ubuntu, and address where problems arise. Hopefully these numbers will be shared with the community. One area I can already say is a significant problem is the lack of an integrated CD burner for Windows. I’ve heard many users say they’ve burned a copy of a distribution and then it didn’t boot. The primary reason for this is that they simply burned the ISO file itself to the CD, instead of burning the image properly. Now that Ubuntu is targeting a larger audience, it would be neat to have a Windows user simply download an EXE file, open it up, and it prompts to insert a new CD and then provides some additional instructions for getting it installed and setup, perhaps even give an option to print out a PDF of those instructions? The executable would also provide additional information that this proposal is suggesting be recorded.

Identifying Local Users and Groups
This would be really slick. After you put in your location( integrated into the Time Zone selection), during the installation (or post-install) you would be presented with information regarding your local LoCo team and other local resources, such as a Linux User Group in your area. I’ve never been to a LUG or LoCo meeting, perhaps because I needed to seek them out… getting a prompt every reinstall might be annoying, but it would be a good reminder that they exist.

Packaging Section On The Forum
There’s a hidden packaging section ( on the Ubuntu forums that needs to be better utilized. It is not a very active section in the forum, it either needs to be added to the main list of forums and promoted, or simply deleted.

Make screencasts available on the desktop
A Help->Tutorial Videos browser menu? This is a fantastic idea!

Forum Content Certification
Sometimes instructions provided in the forums just don’t work. Often, I’ll find a howto on installing some software for an old version of Ubuntu, and this would create a new forum team that would check the validity of instructions, approve the post, promote the information in the forums, wiki, and elsewhere, and finally involve re-checking the posts after new releases.

Getting teacher input to shape our education offering
This one implies that Edubuntu does not specifically solicit input from teachers, nor do users have a mailing list, forum, etc to voice their complaints. If this is the case, definitely a good idea to reach out and get feedback and suggestions from the people who actually use the OS, right?

Automatic bug reporting
This is certainly an interesting idea, but due to privacy concerns I don’t really want to see this make it into the release. Why emulate Windows here? It can be REALLY annoying to get MORE error popups when things crash.

Ubuntu Mobile Browser
The Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded Project proposes to add a Firefox-based browser which would be completely reworked from the ground up. I’m personally very interested in this, the following quote gave me chills: “Ideally we would get a solution that would be embraced by the Mozilla community and eventually adopted as the “Firefox Mobile” solution.”

Of course, I saved the best for last….

Installing Ubuntu from within Windows
ubuntu-install.exe… nuff said… might not make it though… it is listed as ‘dangling’ which means it can’t be scheduled or has circular dependancies… no idea why it can’t be made to work.

Which ideas do you want to see make it into Hardy Heron? Do you disagree with any of these I’ve listed? Got more to add?


Ubuntu Documentation Solicitation at Ubuntology

James House over at Ubuntology just received a form letter from the Ubuntu Documentation Team, requesting some help in creating Ubuntu documentation guides. I think this is a great idea, but who exactly is the Documentation Team?

“The Documentation Team is a group of community volunteers who manage the documentation that ships with the Ubuntu operating system, as well as the community-developed documentation on the documentation website at”

I think James is on the right track in helping out with his material. Unfortunately, I think most of my guides are aimed at installing 3rd party applications, installing from source, or some other method which are highly frowned upon by support channels.

For example, if you followed my MoBlock article and suddenly couldn’t connect to because you didn’t follow it completely, if you started posting on the forums or owned a Dell PC with Ubuntu pre-installed, unless someone really wanted to go out of their way and help out, you’re just SOL because you edited sources.list and installed 3rd party packages that can’t be supported.

“Ubuntu Forums does not provide support for Automatix, EasyUbuntu, or any other unofficial method of installing software. We recommend, to receive assistance, that you find the direct channel to the project developer(s) before you decide to use one of these scripts.” – Matthew Helmke, Admin, Ubuntu Forums.

I’ll go through my articles and see if anything would fit into a Wiki, but I doubt it… I don’t tend to write articles that feel like they were written a dozen at a time in a cookie cutter format. Thanks for the heads up James, if any of you want to help out, hit the links above. Also a quick shout to Happy Linux Thoughts, another blog similar to mine that I really enjoy reading.


Browser and OS Statistics for October

I’d like to share some interesting statistics with my readers, I know it’s not quite the end of the month, but after more than 220,000 page views from nearly 170,000 visitors, it’s pretty safe to say these numbers wont budge too much in the next few days, unless there is some freak super explosion of diggs, stumbles, deliciousness, reddits and maybe a slashdot or two.

The most intersting statistic to me, is the fact that damn near 80% of all visitors are using Firefox.  This includes all operating systems, which is pretty significant when you compare that to how many users are utilizing Windows.  This site attracts very technical readers, which would explain the awesome google-fu that some people are using to find this site.


I wish I had more IE users visiting to convert to Firefox…

Linux Microsoft

How To: Run Microsoft Outlook “Natively” On Linux Using VirtualBox

There are hundreds of reasons why someone would want to run Microsoft Outlook in Linux, and this guide will show you how from beginning to end.

When I use the term “natively,” I mean fully integrated into the desktop enviroment, NOT an actual native binary Outlook client. Outlook itself runs in a Virtual Machine, but it acts like a pseudo-native application.


Unlike most emulators, VirtualBox allows you move freely between applications, without the constraints of a border around the VM which degrades the user experience. Here’s a picture for a good idea of what I’m talking about.

In the screenshot, there is Outlook 2007, Internet Explorer 7 (browsing Digg of course), and Windows Media Player 11 playing an internet stream, and the start menu sits at the bottom of the screen, while I have the Gnome Desktop menu up at the top.

I personally need Outlook for corporate email, and VirtualBox lets me utilize all of the other tools like IE (and toys, like iTunes) that can’t be experienced without emulation in Linux.

Using VirtualBox, I can seamlessly copy and paste a URL from Firefox in Linux to IE7 to test compatibility with IE. It’s pretty damn slick, and until we see a version of Linux coming straight from Redmond, it’s about as “native” as these proprietary applications will ever be.

Impressed? I certainly was, and to be honest, I’m very jaded when it comes to new technology. Let’s get down to it, shall we? These instructions are written with Ubuntu or Debian in mind, but may vary if using a distro that doesn’t utilize apt-get.

1. Download the VirtualBox binary for your distribution from their website and install it. Usually all you need to do is double click on it after downloading.

Note: Some distributions have VirtualBox within their repositories, but these can sometimes be out of date, and we want to be absolutely certain that we get version 1.5.2 or higher so that we can utilize ‘Seamless Mode’ which makes it so applications we run in the virtual machine show up just like normal windows in Gnome or KDE, instead of bound within a virtual machine window.

2. Add yourself to the vboxusers group.

As always, there are methods to accomplish these by using a GUI, but ultimately it’ll be faster and easier to work in the terminal. We’ll add ourselves to the vboxusers group to use the program, and we must logout and back in again for the group addition to take effect. Change wayne to your own username.

sudo adduser wayne vboxusers

3. Then we download utilities to setup a network bridge from the Linux system to the virtual machine.

sudo apt-get install bridge-utils

4. Now we have to edit the interfaces file to add the bridge interface.
sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces/
I appended the last three lines (in bold) to this file to make it look like this:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
auto br0
iface br0 inet dhcp
bridge_ports eth0

5. Restart networking services to recognize the bridge we just added.

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

5a. These commands may be helpful needed if you get errors with the above steps.

sudo rmmod vboxdrv
sudo modprobe -k vboxdrv
sudo chmod 666 /dev/vboxdrv

6. Now we need to create a permanent host interface, so that if we reboot, networking will still be available to the virtual machine. Obviously change “wayne” to your own username:

sudo VBoxAddIF vbox0 wayne br0

7. I tried this twice, and both times at this point my internet connection was hosed. A quick reboot fixed the problem, and I’m not quite sure where to start as far as trying to find the culprit, so we’ll reboot here. If you can find a workaround for rebooting, please leave a comment and I’ll give credit where it’s due.

Barry comments:

The reboot thing seems to be related to setting group membership. I got away with logging out and back in.

8. Open up the VirtualBox program (Found in Applications | System Tools in Gnome), accept the EULA, and register to receive newletters. Click New, and follow the wizard.




Once finished with the wizard, you should have a screen that looks like this:


9. Configuring the Virtual Machine.

Click the settings button in the menu and we’ll go through and change a few settings to gain better performance and get everything set just right. general-advanced.pngIf you have a newer processor that supports virtualization, you will see a performance boost by enabling it in both the BIOS and in the Advanced tab, put a check next to “Enable VT-x/AMD-v”.

virtualbox-cddvdrom.pngTo get install Windows on the virtual machine, we will either need to insert the bootable disc into the CD/DVD-ROM drive, or make an ISO image of the media and point the VM at the image. This setting is found under CD/DVD-ROM on the left. Put a checkmark next to “Mount CD/DVD Drive” and configure this page according to what you need. I found that using an ISO image was easier to use.

If you want to hear the audio notification when email arrives or are using this guide for another purpose (like iTunes) click Audio on the left and put a checkmark in “Enable Audio,” then hit the dropdown and select OSS or ALSA.

The virtual machine isn’t hooked up to the network yet, and to accomplish that, we will use something called “Host Interface” which we setup earlier.

virtualbox-network.pngClick Network on the left, then make sure “Enable Network Adapter” is checked, then where it says “Attached to” select “Host Interface” from the dropdown menu. Type in vbox0 into the Interface Name box.

Press OK and we’re done configuring VirtualBox, and can startup our newly created system and start installing Windows.

Important Note: By default the keyboard and mouse get trapped when you click inside a running VM. Use the right CTRL key (other right) to escape from it. After the next step, this wont be needed.

install-guest-additions.png10. Once finished installing Windows, we’ll need to install drivers for the emulated graphics and networking cards in Windows. Click Devices, Install Guest Additions.

You’ll get a popup in the VM just as if you had put in a new CD. Run the setup and reboot when prompted, that takes care of the graphics drivers and tools to allow us to take advantage of Seamless Mode.

For Vista, there was an additional step needed – updating the device drivers for the emulated AMD PCNET ethernet device. I went into the Device Manager in Windows, right clicked on the Ethernet Controller, chose Update Driver Software and followed the prompts, when asks, I chose to install from a specific location and chose the D:\ drive, and everything worked like a charm.


11. Now that everything with our VM is up and running, prepare to be absolutely amazed at how well VirtualBox integrates the experience of running Windows applications in Linux.

To enable Seamless Mode, press CTRL+L. You’ll end up with something like this:

Now we’re all done. Install Outlook, iTunes, and all your other proprietary applications that do not run well under WINE. That’s not all folks. Did you think all I was going to say was super awesome enthusiastic positive remarks?

Nah. There are problems. Not the type of problems that make innotek’s VirtualBox unusable… No.. there are just some small issues that are minor annoyances.

First, the audio coming from the VM sometimes will take control of all audio coming from the sound server. I know this is how audio works in Linux, and there are workarounds. But do I really want to spend a couple of hours installing Pulseaudio or Jack to gain multiple streams of audio playing at once? Not really. Itwould be nice if VirtualBox would release the sound server when it is done playing something.

Secondly, sometimes there are some pretty massive and frankly, quite ugly video transitions that take place when the VM is using lots of CPU and you try to manipulate windows. Did you think the jarring blackout effect of Windows User Account Control in Vista was bad? This is worse. Far worse. The best fix for this I can find is using the same wallpaper for both machines. Fortunately this quick fix seems to minimize the effect. Also, disabling Compiz Fusion or Beryl will help cut down on the frequency and duration of these episodes, although they still exist. It’s hard to describe, but imagine Windows UAC and multiply it by 10.

Other than those two issues, there is only one more issue to discuss: video performance, or rather, lack thereof. Playing a video on YouTube or any other flash video site and trying to do anything else at the same time results in audio skipping. I realize the video and audio go through multiple layers of two different operating systems and emulation, but you would think it could be fixed. I’m sure it will be fixed eventually, but until that time comes it’s annoying.

These three problems (other documented problems exist, but I have yet to run into them) are probably why VirtualBox doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

If you are still running a dual-booting system, I highly recommend you give VirtualBox a try – who knows… maybe you’ll be able to give up Windows. In the end, innotek’s VirtualBox is an innovative product that provides people who need proprietary applications to get work done the ability to run them without requiring a dual-boot setup.

If you’re a new visitor, feel free to subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up to date with the latest posts and comments on


Comcast Responds To The Million Dollar Question… And Lies Again!

I received an email from a reader who did a little social engineering and was able to obtain a bulletin sent out to Comcast employees.  It has a FAQ section which answers for people who specifically read the AP article, which answers some of the million dollar questions I asked during my chat with them.

This Comcast BitTorrent filtering issue is getting more and more attention in traditional media, congress, etc.  We’ve got to keep blogging about it, keep the negative buzz going and tell Comcast to take it and shove it.  If you want to save some money and still stick it to the man, read down below for my tip on saving $50 or more with a 10 minute phone call.

the read, it’s misleading, confusing and infuriates me as a customer who have a legitimate problem.

Customer Account Executive Talking Points
Peer to Peer
Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer Access to Peer to Peer

Summary/ Overview of Topic
* An in-depth AP story ran on Friday, October 19, 2007 that suggests Comcast is hindering its customers’ ability to use BitTorrent, a peer to peer file sharing application.


  1. Comcast is committed to providing all of our customers with an excellent Internet experience.
    We do not block access to any Web site or applications, including peer-to-peer (P2P) services like BitTorrent.
  2. We never prevent P2P activity, or block access to any P2P applications, but rather manage the network in such a way that this activity does not degrade the broadband experience for other users.
  3. Network management is absolutely essential to provide a good Internet experience for our customers. All major ISPs manage their traffic in some way and many use similar tools.
  4. Network management helps us perform critical work that protects our customers from things like spam, viruses, the negative effects of network congestion, or attacks to their PCs. As threats on the Internet continue to grow, our network management tools will continue to evolve and keep pace so that we can maintain a good, reliable online experience for all of our customers. 
  5. We have posted a new FAQ on our website making clear to our customers the steps we are taking to protect the customer experience for all of our customers. (Note: FAQs are located in the “Connection” category of

Impact to Comcast
* Due to this article, customers may call in to inquire about limited or blocked access to BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer applications.

Customer Q&A
Listed below are some anticipated Customer Questions with suggested responses. Use Verbatim Use as Guidance

IF Customers asks…  THEN respond…

Do you block access to peer-to-peer applications like BitTorrent?
* No. We do not block access to any Web site or applications, including BitTorrent. Our customers use the Internet for downloading and uploading files, watching movies and videos, streaming music, sharing digital photos, accessing numerous peer-to-peer sites, VOIP applications like Vonage, and thousands of other applications online.

Is my peer-to-peer activity going to be impacted by Comcast?
* We never prevent P2P activity, or block access to any P2P applications, but rather manage the network in such a way that this activity does not degrade the broadband experience for other users.

* We have a responsibility to provide all of our customers with a good Internet experience and we use the latest technologies to manage our network so that you can continue to enjoy these applications. Peer-to-peer activity consumes a disproportionately large amount of network resources, and therefore poses the biggest challenge to maintaining a good broadband experience for all users – including the overwhelming majority of our customers who don’t use P2P applications.

What do you mean when you say you manage your network?
* Network management is absolutely essential to provide a good Internet experience for our customers. All major ISPs manage their traffic in some way and many use similar tools.

* Network management helps us perform critical work that protects our customers from things like spam, viruses, the negative effects of network congestion, or attacks to their PCs. As threats on the Internet continue to grow, our network management tools will continue to evolve and keep pace so that we can maintain an excellent, reliable online experience for all of our customers.

Do you discriminate against particular types of online content?
* No. There is no discrimination based on the type of content. Our customers enjoy unfettered access to all the content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer. We respect our customers’ privacy and we don’t monitor specific customer activities on the Internet or track individual online behavior, such as which Web sites they visit. Therefore, we do not know whether any individual user is visiting BitTorrent or any other site.

Thanks to cizzop, your social engineering skills are pretty amazing.  That said, that’s one hell of a response from Comcast.  Technical support is going to be following this document to the letter and will never admit that anything is wrong.

Now, here’s my tip to save some money, don’t even bother talking to Technical Support, you’re just wasting your (and secondly their) time.

Instead, call their cancellation department.  This always works!  I’ve never had them deny me a credit or reduction in price when I had a problem and complained about it.  Thankfully, cancellations is far more helpful than technical support.

  1. Call their cancellations department.
  2. Remember the name of the person who answers.
  3. The conversation should be something like this:
    1. I’ve read the Associated Press article on filtering and have a problem with it.
    2. I’ve gotten a quote from another ISP and it would save me <number> dollars a year to switch.
    3. I enjoy the service and would like to keep it, but….
    4. Is there is anything Comcast can do to make up for the inconvenience?
    5. If they refuse, insist on speaking to a supervisor.
  4. When they give you a huge discount for the next few months or even a month free…
    Thank the person by name and tell them you appreciate their time and personal attention.
  5. Feel free to buy me a beer.

Remember:  The Cancellations Department for Comcast is like any other large company, and we can exploit this very easily.  Comcast pays people to do whatever you want to retain you as a customer.

By allowing them to ‘save’ the account, you’re actually helping out the cancellations agent get better stats and maybe even get a bonus.  They’ll be happy to talk to you as long as you’re courteous, and above all, don’t yell or use profanity.  Be assertive, not aggressive.


Tweak Ubuntu Software Sources To Stay Bleeding Edge

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already ahead of the pack since you run something other than Windows. If you are also running Gutsy Gibbon, now you can leap


ahead and get updates anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before everyone else.


Digg “Linux Nation” for Thursday October 25th 2007

Another Thursday, another Linux Nation. Roy Schestowitz from Digg suggested that my weekly round up is not really about Linux, that it’s almost all about Ubuntu. I can agree with that, with an explanation:

I don’t make the news, just talk about it.

What I can do to fix this? Talk about it differently to not alienate readers who don’t care to hear so much about Ubuntu – we already get enough on Digg, why compound the problem?

It may be time for a change in format. For this edition, as a trial, I’ll do a non-Ubuntu version. I’ll just write about the top 10 stories instead of 15, since there are only 11 stories this week that don’t mention Ubuntu in the title or description. Like it? Hate it? Got a comment? Use the comment form down below, or hit my picture on the right to contact me via email.

Top 10 Linux Stories of the Week:


Top 25 Ubuntu-Based Distributions With Descriptions

Have you ever sat on a toilet with the lid up and got water on your bum?   If you have, you probably remember how that initial rush of excitement eventually faded and you were upset?  Sometimes running vanilla Ubuntu can feel exactly like that.  Here’s a list of 25 Ubuntu-Based Distributions that should keep you high and dry from the Ubuntu burn out syndrome.

This is a Xubuntu derivative which uses CoLinux (a port of the Linux kernel to Windows), and is primarily designed to facilitate running Linux binaries on Windows. Ever see Konqueror running in Windows? Now you can.

Official derivative which runs the KDE Desktop, Edubuntu is focused towards the classroom, and contains many educational related packages.

The objective of the Elbuntu community project is to provide the maximum eye candy for the end-user using the enlightenment window manager and the related libraries. Elbuntu is based on the Ubuntu distro, but with E17 and not gnome.

This Ubuntu is lean, mean, and FAST as hell. It uses Fluxbox window environment, which lets it run faster on lower-end hardware – faster than most other versions of Ubuntu. This is Ubuntu without the “bloat” – not quite 7.10, but they are working on it.

If you complain that Linux does not have MP3 or WMV codecs by default, you may want to check this out since it licenses these codecs and includes them by default. Click N’ Run is really, really slick and makes installing software easier than any other distribution.

Is it me, or does anybody else read the name as gNuisance? Based on Ubuntu, this distro takes the proprietary and non-free software from Ubuntu and rips it out. Basically a bastardized version of Fedora, probably better off using the next one in the list.

This is an official version of Ubuntu that provides the same product as gNuisance. It was going to be called Gnubuntu, but Richard Stallman didn’t like the name. It currently only has a text-mode installer, but it works just great.

This little project gets all sorts of attention. Ad two parts vapor-ware with a whole lot of Google hype working for it, and you end up with a distro that Google uses internally, and thousands of people wish it were true. I’d probably run Goobuntu as long as they use Gnome. 🙂

Impi Linux
South African Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, which focuses on the enterprise and government sector.

Do you like KDE? This is an official derivative that provides a slick KDE desktop. Recently released are some packages for the beta of KDE 4 which is shaping up to be a really nice desktop environment.

Used to be called Lindows, it’s a commercial distribution that likes to make it easy to use for an average person. Costs $50.

Ever want Linux with a ’10 foot’ user interface to facilitate running it on your gigantic TV? It’s an add-on to Kubuntu that makes this a reality.

Linux Mint
My girlfriend loves Linux Mint, which says alot more than I could. Their goal is “to produce an elegant, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop” I suggest trying this as an alternative to Ubuntu if you’re looking for something that is a bit more familiar out of the box to new Linux users.

Ubuntu based MythTV distribution that is easy to setup and use. The Mythbuntu Control Centre gives you a GUI to configure MythTV and it can be used as a Backend, Frontend, or both.

Aka Network Ubuntu, this one is a pretty sweet distro including network penetration test tools, like Wireshark, nmap, dSniff and Ettercap.

Ubuntu Christian Edition
Ever wonder what version of Linux Jesus would download?  Now you know.  Ubuntu CE is designed for christians. I’ve reviewed Ubuntu CE from the point of view of an agnostic, and ended up giving it a general “thumbs down” but I think with the next release (and especially after correspondencewith the primary developer) the 7.10 version will receive a better score. It has several neat ideas for christians such as a daily bible verse on the desktop, and several bible thumping Firefox plugins that cater well to a specific niche market.

Ubuntu Home Server
UHS is in production status but deserves mention. It’s a product that will compete directly with Windows Home Server.

Ubuntu Satanic Edition
Linux for the Damned is not technically an Ubuntu distro. It’s simply some repackaged themes which allow you to deck out your computer with some wicked screensavers, desktop backgrounds, etc.

Ubuntu Studio
This distro is geared towards people who want to produce and manipulate multimedia content. It provides a different kernel to facilitate audio processing with minimal delays, and has a bitch of a problem with not being able to fit on a 700MB CD. Bust out your DVD-RW disk like I did and take a look at this sucker if you’re interested in doing any sort of video, audio or graphic creation, I highly reccomended it.

Ubuntu Ultimate Edition
Take Ubuntu, update it, then plug in all sorts of extra software and then you have yourself an Ultimate Edition of Ubuntu.

Got kids? Grab an old Pentium PC (minimally a 75MHz Pentium with 32MB RAM), install Dans Guardian, and boom – PC for the kids to browse the web.

The Muslim Edition of Ubuntu, much like Ubuntu CE provides tools for those practicing Islam, like prayer times, Quran tools, web filtering, etc.

Official release that runs an Xfce desktop environment, it’ll run faster than a regular vanilla installation.

Does anyone really need to run Linux on their 1st gen Xbox?  Really?  Pfft.

If you enjoyed the article, please Digg it.  I’ll be doing my normal Thursday Linux Nation post within the next few hours.


Dear Comcast, Here’s The Million Dollar Question: Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t Blocking My Torrents?

Dear Comcast,

I like your commercials. They’re funny. You poke at DSL, and rightfully so – your service is significantly superior to anything but fiber to the home.

Here’s the million dollar question: Is you is, or is you ain’t blocking my torrents?

Prior to reading the article by TorrentFreak on Comcast BitTorrent filtering, I had noticed a significant decrease in my seeding ability. I thought it might have something to do with my Linux firewall that I had changed from IPCop to Smoothwall that same week, so I paid little attention.