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openSUSE 12.2 Review: an Immaculate Conception

When I first updated my computer to 12.2 I wasn't all that impressed, but that was apparently due to having used the live upgrade via 'zypper dup.' Earlier today (December 20th) I got fed up with some of the anomalies and accumulated mess of my system, and decided to reinstall. Quite frankly, though the 'dup' process had (for once) gone without any real problems, this was clearly the right decision to get a proper impression of our latest release. In short, I'm quite impressed.

This may very well be the most polished experience I've had since I used Macintosh OSX. Refinements and polish show all throughout the system, from the moment you turn it on up to doing your work. For that matter there is even a couple of notable changes to the installation process itself. Besides the freakishly fast loading of the installer (or live environment) enabled by the transition to systemd, there is the nice fact that writing a DVD image to USB flash media (via ImageWriter…

Thousands of signatures still needed by January 16th to push the US government to embrace FOSS in our schools.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/promote-use-free-software-our-schools-libre-office-gimp-gnu-cash-and-other-gpl-software-which-cost/T1xGw1fZ

A petition posted to the Whitehouse's website still has many signatures to go before the administration will be required to address it. Which is frankly surprising considering the size and connection of our community, and the importance of the petition.

We in the Free Software communities know how important Free Software is. It is not merely an abstract freedom, but the various side effects as well. Before I became acquainted with FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) computers were still obscured to me, and esoteric mystery. Granted, I had a more advanced understanding than most, hence why I came to Linux. But it was not until I dove in that I came to really understand computers. Everything from the Object Oriented paradigm to user interface principals finally made sense. The amazing resource of learning that FOSS provides cannot be…

Easily install Dropbox, Skype, and Google Music Manager in openSUSE 12.2

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Quite frankly, the instructions we can usually find on how to install +Skype, +Dropbox, and Google Music Manager tends to be obfuscated and unusually complicated. No clue why this is seeing as it is actually drop dead simple. The methods I show here are equally applicable to 32 bit and 64 bit openSUSE 12.2. Due to this simplicity I have decided to include all three pieces of software in one tutorial.

Skype Skype is stupidly simple to install. Simply navigate to their website, download the RPM and install. There is not a 64 bit version, just use the 32 bit one. Our package management will resolve all the dependencies. You should not have to do any prep work at all. On my systems, the PackageKit installation works fine... that is simply select the default action to Install Package from Firefox. If however this does not work, you can simply use Zypper to do the job:
cd ./Downloads zypper in skype-4.1.0.20-suse.i586.rpm Boom, that is it.


Dropbox The easiest way to install +Dropbox  for +GN…

Fully integrate Firefox with elegant new Gnome 3 theme

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One of the things I love about Gnome 3 is the clean and elegant theme throughout the system. It is unfortunate then that +Mozilla Firefox  has not been consistently themeable to look like it belongs. In the past there was the 'Adwaita' theme for Firefox, but it lacked in a few areas and consistently wasn't updated to keep pace with the version changes of Firefox itself. Now we have ' +GNOME  17.1' by the GNOME Integration Team. This theme not only delivers a consistent appearance like its Adwaita predecessor, but far exceeds it making +Mozilla Firefox look like a truly native application within the Gnome environment. Rather than ramble on about it though, I'll simply show you. You can get it by following this link to the Mozilla site.










Getting the most of your Gnome Shell with Extensions

Its no secret that I have become something of a fan of Gnome 3. That being said however there are certainly some legitimate concerns regarding functionality. One unfortunate thing, is that in order to really understand how best to use your desktop actually requires you to do some reading... its not always immediately obvious. I personally don't find this terribly troubling, but I can certainly see how this can frustrate newer users. The other criticism is that Gnome 3 is inflexible and not extensible with applets the way Gnome 2 was. Though this is a legitimate concern it is not an entirely legitimate criticism, simply because it isn't true. On the contrary, Gnome 3 offers an elegant and easy to use extension framework that is more versatile than what applets provide. It should be noted that Gnome 3 being new may not have the extension you had hoped for, but it most probably will given enough time.

So now I present to you my personal favorite Gnome Shell extensions to address…

KDE vs. Gnome

For geeks like us, it can be hard not to get caught up in the over-enthusiasm and fanboyism of our favorite technologies. One of the biggest, and perhaps oldest in the GNU/Linux world is the contest between KDE and Gnome. Now, back in the long long ago KDE reigned supreme having the lion's share of usership. Then along came KDE 4, and people ran screaming to Gnome. Now, Gnome 3 has arrived and many people have ran screaming to KDE. This can tell us a couple of things, the most obvious being that no desktop environment is perfect. Secondly, as so many of us have moved from our beloved old to something different and perhaps not beloved, we have had to come to terms with the idea that ultimately what we once thought solid fact was really just a matter of taste.
Since I started using Linux I preferred KDE. I started with KDE 4.0, which was bloody rough... but I saw the potential and the beauty and stood in awe. Now with the KDE that shipped in 12.1, I ran screaming. Now, I knew fully…

openSUSE guide for Ubuntu users

So since the advent of Gnome 3 and the Ubuntu spin of that – Unity – a lot of people have been frantically seeking a familiar refuge. Now as I stated in another blog I like Gnome 3, but it was a long time coming and I can certainly understand the reluctance towards it... not to mention legitimate issues pertaining to your peculiar hardware. As for Unity, I briefly installed the newest Ubuntu. And I hated it. I can see it may be good someday, but for now it is alpha level. Sluggish, unresponsive, not something I would have pushed on possibly paying users. So now a lot of people are fleeing for KDE or some other more familiar desktop paradigm. So in this post, I want to basically give a guideline for those who have landed in our community. One thing I do recommend is RTFM, please read a little bit of the documentation. You'll learn so much more quickly, and learn some nice tricks along the way.
Documentation; We do of course have other sources of documentation, but these three are…

Realtek Wireless RTL8187B fix for suspending

Basically the problem I experience was that if I suspended this laptop and resumed it, the wireless would not be available at all. I even tried a couple tricks to kick it active again which didn't work. Finally one of the gurus on our forums fixed my problem. Before the fix, I would have to reboot. Which meant instead of suspending, I'd simply shutdown. Thankfully the systemd booting made that a much shorter wait than in 11.4. But now, I can use it normally and am very satisfied.

As root, you need to create a file named /etc/pm/sleep.d/66_rtl8187. That is to say create a file called 66_rtl8187 without any file extension, and save it to the directory /etc/pm/sleep.d/. I did this using gedit run as root. To run gedit as root simply hit the hotkey alt+F2 and type in "gnomesu gedit". Then simply paste the following and save it to the /etc/pm/sleep.d directory. The code for the file is as follows:

#!/bin/bash
case $1 in
hibernate)
echo "Suspending to disk!"
/sbin/m…

Giving 12.1 and Gnome 3 a second chance.

When I started this blog, I intended to make it my step by step log of the trials and fixes experienced in openSUSE so that it may be a benefit to others. However, when I first tried 12.1 with KDE it was such a terrible experience that I rolled my machines back to 11.4. But this time I went with Gnome instead of KDE; since I had experienced some of the speed improvements in the newer KDE I knew that rolling back would make it seem even worse than it really was. And in any event, I needed the experience with Gnome in order to help others. Indeed, I learned the Gnome way and it was good. Brilliant actually, we have a FANTASTIC Gnome implementation. But now, I have recently acquired a new (to me) laptop with which to be a little more risky and experiment on. So, after trying a few distros I have come back to openSUSE 12.1, but this time with Gnome 3. And I must say, it is fantastic.
One thing I feared with Gnome 3 was losing some of the functionality and refinement of Gnome 2 in openSUS…

The 'holy-grail' of Linux gaming has arrived!

Edit   When this was written +Steam was not even announced officially yet. Now, it has fully arrived and truly delivers an excellent gamin experience for Linux. If you are unfamiliar with Steam, you should see my other article concerning it.

 In the course of my upcoming review of Crossover – which is a proprietary layer on top of WINE designed for simplicity and stability – it would seem I have discovered the holy-grail of Linux gaming. Now mind you, I do not mean to say that running Windows only franchises is the way to go; but it has been in this time period that I have also discovered the rich variety of games for Linux. There is a surprising number of games available for free of course, and some of them are of exceptional quality... though admittedly few. One of the areas proprietary development models excel is in gaming. Thankfully there is a rich library of fun Linux-native titles, as well as a reasonable number of Windows titles that run nicely under WINE/Crossover. What I mea…

Life without Netflix, streaming on Linux can be awesome!

For all the hype around Netflix it is easy for us Linux users to forget there are alternatives. Its not that Netflix is (debateably) the best, but rather its the most widely used that causes us to neglect the numerous options that are actually available to us. In this article I want to present some of those alternatives, and how they hold up against Netflix. One caveat however is that I cannot fairly compare the variety and quality of the programming selections of each service seeing as the former is too large to parse, and the latter is inherently subjective.

    First off, when we are talking about Netflix we should consider why it is that it is so dominant. The opinions will vary, but I'll present my analysis. Hands down, Netflix has the largest selection of streaming movies, but that is where its superiority ends. Though there are many services, most are either too narrow, too expensive, or lack content; thus I will not cover them since we are looking for a replacement to…