Archive for the 'GNU/Linux' Category

SciTE + UTF-8 / iPodLinux

Travanj 17, 2006

One of my favorite source code editors under both Linux and Windows is definitely SciTE. It's a small, compact text editor built to demonstrate the powers of Scintilla, a source code editing component for Windows and GTK+, but it soon grew to be a useful editor.

I use it almost exclusively (although I get some of the work done in Dreamweaver when I'm at work), but one thing bothered me – I couldn't make the UTF-8 support with the Croatian diacritic letters, like č, ć etc., to work correctly on Linux. The SciTE manual helps, but isn't very clear on this subject, so here's a way to enable that… Copy these lines and insert them into your file (go to Options -> Open User Options File or manually edit / create the file ~/

That's about it. You can find other character set numbers on the SciTE documentation page.

I also found some time to try to install iPodLinux to my 1st generation iPod mini, and it wasn't successful at all. I tried to install the app both from Linux and Windows following the instructions on their website, but after the installation, the iPod just wouldn't boot – it showed some error icon on the screen with the Apple iPod support page URL written underneath.

I managed to bring it back to life using Dark and Mysterious Ways – by formatting it with the HP USB format utility (to FAT, not FAT32!), reinstalling the iPod software from the iPod CD, formatting it again when / if prompted by the iPod installation and restoring the old iPod firmware version (the one I got on the CD, from 2004 :)). Only then would my iPod finally boot – then I installed the latest version of iTunes and updated the firmware to the latest version. Simple firmware restore using the latest version of the firmware wouldn't work.

After the iPL installation failed for the second time (even from Windows), I decided it ain't worth the hassle of taking the above steps every time, so I gave up for now. I can't wait for the release of Rockbox software for the Mini 1G, but I hope it will work better than iPL.

Linux Workshop, pt. I

Travanj 7, 2006

I was asked by an acquaintance of mine recently to run a Linux workshop at a youth club in Pazin because they were starting a computer section in the club and the people asked for it… I agreed to do it – I'm no expert on Linux, but I'm competent enough to run a class for people who want to be introduced to FLOSS and Linux.

I held the first "class" on Tuesday and started with a gentle (well, at least gentle from my POV :)) introduction to Linux and FLOSS. We didn't do much on the computer (just something to show them how it feels). There were 9 people present, and I handed them out a few of the Ubuntu 5.04/5.10 CDs I ordered through ShipIt that were lying around on my desk unused. To my surprise, almost a half of them tried to install Ubuntu by themselves a few days after – all successfully, and they already had some questions about some of the apps ( Math, to be exact) and some of the features of Ubuntu.

Now, I'm not that much surprised with that fact because I think the installation is oh, so incredibly hard, but because I wasn't expecting the people would be so willing to accept the relatively new things I said them on the workshop and try them right away. This can only lead me to believe that the software itself being hard to use or install isn't really the problem (with the modern distributions like Mandriva and Ubuntu, who are much more desktop-user oriented, this isn't the case at all – and this only proves it) – the problem is spreading the word, making people aware of the alternatives, educating them about these alternatives and making them aware that they have a whole community around them to help them with any of the problems.

I have yet to see how many of the people will really decide to stick with Linux and use it for some serious work to confirm this. It looks promising for now – we're carrying on with the workshop next Tuesday.

TUX Distribution Smackdown

Travanj 2, 2006

The 12th issue of TUX Magazine, the magazine for the new Linux user, is out. This time they've dealt with a range of distributions, choosing the most suitable one for the new user, and it already caused some polemics on the official website. The distros reviewed were: Debian, Linspire, SuSE 10.0, Fedora Core 5, (K)Ubuntu, MEPIS and Mandriva. The list here is sorted by the results, starting from the last.

I expected to see Mandriva among the first 3, but I expected to see Linspire there, too. I was glad to see my distro of choice among the first 3 (Ubuntu), and wasn't surprised to see Debian at the bottom when speaking about adequate distros for new users, especially when compared to Linspire, SuSE or Mandriva. The main issue with the distros was the media support – many distros didn't have any native MP3 support, DVD playing support etc. That's where the distros lost many points, along with the ease of use and configuration factor.

All in all, it's a useful article (or a set of articles, to be exact), although I'd like to see a similar thing with reviewers not being *nix experts, but ordinary people who are really using Linux for the first time. This way, as far as I could tell, some people reviewed distros they've been using for a longer time, and they're all Linux developers / consultants (except the guy who reviewed Linspire, he's an architect) – they can't look at the problem as a new Linux user would. But, they can (and did) try, and it reflected on the quality of the article. Very useful.

This issue of TUX also brings us a few extra interesting articles (and two great editorials worth a read), so I recommend it. It's free, and it's available for download at the official website.

FLOSS Partition Resize

Prosinac 16, 2005

Until recently, I thought that FLOSS (Free / Libre and Open Source Software) for harmless partitioning didn't exist. The guys at nixCraft proved me wrong by publishing an article about repartitioning using only open source software (to be more precise, Knoppix and its "qtparted" utility). It's not perfect as far as the English grammar and writing are concerned, but it's fully understandable.

Well, I stand corrected :).

Read the article: How do I resize windows Partition with Open Source Software