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Posts Tagged ‘ ubuntu ’

The brilliance of Gnome Do

Friday, May 29th, 2009

It’s great being an Ubuntu dabbler, as every time I come back to it I find a new app to play with. Or something old that’s had an interesting overhaul. This time around it’s Gnome Do – which just keeps getting better every time I revisit it.

The basic premise of Gnome Do is to reduce the entire desktop experience to natural-language text commands. So instead of opening the browser, heading to Gmail and typing your email, you just type “email mum” and your message into Gnome Do and away it goes.

Want to update your Twitter status? Install the Twitter plug in for Gnome do, and just type “Twitter” and your message into the application. Anybody’s who played with Ubiquity will be on familiar ground, but instead of being hedged in by the browser, Gnome Do’s tentacles stretch into all aspects of the desktop – allowing you to search, run apps and set preferences. In fact, pretty much anything you can do on the desktop is accessible through Gnome Do assuming somebody’s written a plug in, and given that it’s an open-source project they’re appearing at a rate of knots. (more…)

The key to Linux’s mainstream success

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Our esteemed editor, Tim Danton, recently ran a thought piece wondering whether Linux would ever hit the mainstream, his ten cents worth clattering down on the side that says “probably not.”

His conclusion was an interesting one, principally because I haven’t heard it before. To paraphrase Tim, Linux will remain niche because open-source vendors don’t have the inclination to push it that extra mile, to front up for “the hassle-free” experience that users expect in their operating system. Not when they have a devoted, tech-savy user base already to hand.

It’s an intruiging point of view, but one predicated on a fallacy. If anything, Linux works the hardest for the hassle-free experience of any of the operating systems. Each alpha, beta and RC is passed through thousands of hands before it ever gets anywhere near an end user. Each line of code is mulled, every aspect of the operating system considered – by that I mean that unlike the revolutionary three years jumps of Windows or Apple’s OSes, Linux is in a constant state of evolution.


Will Linux ever hit the mainstream?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Note the Windows logo on the N310!Reading today’s story about the chief exec of Red Hat admitting he was unsure if Linux had a future on the desktop reminded me of a conversation I had just two days ago, at the Samsung European Congress in Vienna. The big news here was Samsung announcing three new netbooks (all running Windows XP, including the highly unusual Samsung N310), and after the big speech five of us UK tech journalists were offered the chance for a roundtable chat with a couple of Terribly Senior People from Samsung.

As is usual with Terribly Senior People, they were quite resistant to actually giving away any information that might be considered useful, but one thing came out loud and clear: initially Samsung did seriously consider a Linux netbook, but after speaking to retailers it won’t be dabbling with Linux any time soon. (more…)

Zero Hour approaches for my £250 build

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Myself and several of my colleagues are currently taking part in a unique challenge – buying or building a PC for £250 and discovering whether the high street, the internet or building the machine yourself yields the best results.

I’d had thoughts of building a media centre machine, but that plan is, at this point, dead in the water. To get that build into budget I found myself cutting too many corners: reducing the size of the hard disk, settling for an even worse chassis and not being able to include wireless internet, for instance, felt like removing too many crucial features to make it worthwhile.

So, that means my machine will be a good old-fashioned desktop PC, albeit one without a monitor or speakers. My final shopping list has been tweaked, pennies have been shaved off prices, and I’ve spent most of the week calculating delivery charges to work out if I save money by ordering from one site or if I’d be ruined by City Link.

My list of specifications is now complete, though, so you have until early afternoon to try and dissuade me from making a terrible mistake:


Ubuntu disappointment and data disasters

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Ubuntu 8.10 made its appearence this week, and while everybody was busy touting the network manager’s new-fangled ability to handle mobile broadband connections, what nobody seemed to be mentioning was that it doesn’t actually work very well.

The networking manager is brilliant. It’s a nice clean interface that shows you all the internet connections on your computer, whether that’s Wi-Fi, mobile broadband or any other. It works fantastically well for Wi-Fi, putting Vista’s overly fiddly version in the shade. 

Mobile broadband is an entirely different matter, though. We have three USB dongles in the office – hangovers from our mobile broadband comparison feature. Of the three, Ubuntu refused to recognise the O2 dongle even existed, and while it acknowledged the BT dongle, it had absolutely no idea what to do with it. In fact, lucky number 3 was the only one that worked, but it worked beautifully. We just plugged it in, selected the 3 option and off we went. No need to install software or drivers of any sort. Great stuff, but country to popular opinion, one out of three is actually bad. (more…)






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