viernes, 29 de diciembre de 2017

Video editing, Open Source, and Community

This year my job kept me away from the developing cycle of MX Linux 17.  When I realized, the new release was already available.

I installed it in my ThinkPenguin laptop because the latest Ubuntu did not play nicely with it.  To me, that was quite a shock since that laptop went from Yakkety Yak to Zeisty Zapus without problems, but Artful Aarvark was another story.

MX-17 ran almost perfectly.  The only problem I saw was OpenShot; when trying to render animated titles, the video editor kept asking for a blender version 2.62 or up.  That was a requirement that my system met (it has 2.78a), but Openshot threw the obnoxious "No frame was found in the output from Blender" error.

I tried several fixes from different forums to no avail.  Then, I asked for help in MX forums, but nobody seemed to have a solution.

Then, I went to the page of OpenShot and downloaded an appimage of Openshot 2.4.1.   It worked flawlessly!

Thus, I went to MX forums and told them about Openshot 2.4.1, hoping to help other people in the future.

Ah, but I had forgotten the community sense that distinguishes Linux and particularly MX users and developers.  One of the lead developers asked me "Do you want to place a package request for Openshot 2.4.1?"

I did it and in about a day, the great packaging team had the new version of the video editor!  I downloaded it from the repos and it does everything without any problem.

It's great to see how people help each other in the community of free software.

Thanks a lot!

viernes, 15 de diciembre de 2017

MX-17 Horizon Is Here!!!

I installed MX-17 (Horizon) today and, in fact, I'm using it to post this entry.

The installation process was simple and quick.  I did notice that the icons became flat, following the new trends...

Interestingly, after installing, some updates popped up and I applied them right away.  Then, I did notice that I could not unmount the live USB and that my other partitions were out of reach.  Of course, one of the updates was MX-system.  I could not turn the system off and had to do a hard reboot.

I had no problems with GRUB.  All my other partitions were there, by the way.

Upon logging in again, the problems I had were gone.  ^__^

Then, I realized I had no sound.  Well, that has been pretty consistent with every distro I install on this old 32-bit system (by the way, thanks to the devs for still giving us a 32-bit distro!), thus I knew what to do:  opening a terminal and typing "alsamixer" to uncheck the "auto-mute" option.  That gave me sound.

But then, I realized that YouTube videos were soundless, too.  After a short fiddling with the mixer settings, I enabled sound on YouTube.  No big deal, really.

So far, those are the only issues I've seen.  Actually, I'm impressed by the big amount of improvements and new tools they've added.  MX-17 seems to follow the path of great performance and constant improvement that has characterized it from the start.  I'm eager to test it in more demanding environments.  

viernes, 24 de noviembre de 2017

Hello, Artful Aardvark!

Yesterday, I booted my Zeisty Zapus Ubuntu on my ThinkPenguin laptop with the intention to play a Steam game.  I was greeted by the software updates notification.  It asked me if I wanted to upgrade to the new Ubuntu version.

Since I had upgraded in the past from Yakkety Yak, the laptop's original Ubuntu, to Zeisty Zapus without any issues, I decided to go for the newest release.

It took a while to download.  That was not a surprise, considering the quantity of new packages that were to be installed.  When the upgrade finished, I rebooted and was greeted by a login screen.  Interesting, previously, Ubuntu got to the desktop automatically.  Artful Aarvark seemed to bring a couple of changes, judging by that.

After logging in, I realized that Unity had been replaced by Gnome.  Well, I'm not a particular fan of either, so that was OK with me.

Apparently, everything works.  I need to test it more carefully, but I don't have much time currently as I am totally swamped with work and actually, the game I originally wanted to play was to keep my sanity.  Unfortunately, I could not play because I ran out of time, but I can play with my new Ubuntu later.

lunes, 9 de octubre de 2017

Linux Mint Spotted! (and How Many Septembers can there Be?)

Yesterday, I went to visit a little museum-market of aboriginal handcrafts.  I was amazed at the variety of items that aboriginal groups of my country had there.  I bought a shirt and several other crafts.

When I went to pay, I noticed that the computer was running LibreOffice's Calc.  Nice!

Then, upon further observation, I discovered that the PC was fueled by Linux Mint!  WOW!  (See?  Linux is FIT for business! :P)

I'll be buying from them again!  ^__^

By the way, if you read my entry about September's marketshare and the interesting (and little commented) change in the figures, I have more news:  Netmarketshare changed their numbers AGAIN!

Now Windows 10 has a solid 29% and Linux has gone down to 3%.  And you  can still see the disclaimer about the lack of reliability of those figures.

Really, 3 different figures for September?  How many Septembers could there be in a year?

And why aren't we hearing anything about this?

I'm glad that we are talking about honorable companies, otherwise one could suspect the worst.  Right?

domingo, 1 de octubre de 2017

September's Market Share: Windows 10 Drops, Linux Doubles and Is above Mac OSX

According to Netmarketshare, apparently, September was a bad month in terms of market share for Windows 10.  It dropped from 27.99% in August to 25.51%.   Windows 7 didn't do well, either.  It went down from 48.43% to 45.62%.  Windows 8 and 8.1 also saw reductions.

Mac OSX 10.12, however, went up from 3.59% to 4.11%.

And Linux?  Linux had seen a first time increase to 3.37% in August.  How about September?

I almost fell off my chair:  GNU/Linux DOUBLED its market share to a whooping 6.91%!  That means it went above Windows 8.1 and MacOS X 10.12.

Now, will Microsoft-friendly "tech journalists" trumpet this as they used to do all the time?

Or will Netmarketshare say it was another mistake?

I'll wait to see how they handle this.


Now I know how they handled that.  Netmarketshare silently corrected its figures.  With the new figures, Windows losses don't seem so bad and Linux is not the 3rd popular operating system anymore.

The report comes with a disclaimer that it has not been reviewed by Quality Assurance.  Nice!  Something seems fishy here.  But maybe it is all just a conspiracy theory. After all, we are talking about honorable companies and no tech reporter seemed to realize about the issue, much less write about it.

jueves, 21 de septiembre de 2017

Maybe I should Go Back to Windows...

I noticed that lately I haven't been blogging as I used to back in 2010, when my Linux adventure started.

I've witnessed incredible changes.  Windows has actually started trying to imitate Linux, and Linux has been trying to imitate Windows.

MS Office is trying hard to keep its user base while LibreOffice is increasing its number of users... and the later is also trying to imitate MS Office (Yuk! The hideous ribbon!)

I've literally seen lots of cases in which the great Windows 10 has failed miserably (to run, to enable video/sound, to connect to the Web), along with MS Office being unable to open documents made with other versions of MS Office (and then humble LibreOffice comes to the rescue).

I've seen other people using Ubuntu in a professional environment without any hassle...

All that has been very interesting.

Still, something troubles me.

All these years using Linux (my initial distro is well dead now, along with many other I liked the most) have shown me something about myself.

As a Linux user, I totally suck.

Let me say it again.  I suck.

And I suck big time!

Seven years using Linux and I still don't have a clue using the CLI!

I remember the days when I started.  I knew nothing.  All my Power User Super Windows Guru Knowledge was utterly useless.  I had to learn from scratch.  And each day, I kept repeating to myself: "Don't worry.  You'll pick up the pace pretty soon.  Next year you'll be a Linux power user" (because a Linux guru was and still is way out of my league).

A year went by and I did not become a power user.

"Maybe next year,"  I thought.

One more year passed.  I told myself the same:  "Surely next year!"

No dice.  Is that what the Linux year really means?

How come I am a perpetual newbie??

And on top of that, the penguin is running so well these days that I on the verge of forgetting the few tricks I managed to learn!  What a shame!!

I feel so bored!  My desktop computer has been running for months without being turned off and the only changes I see are the different DEs I log into not to die of boredom.

Meanwhile.  I hear that Windows users are getting all the fun.

Since I suck as a Linux user, maybe I should go back to Windows after all.

I'll think about it.

viernes, 4 de agosto de 2017

Nothing New...

I've been literally swamped.

I downloaded Pardus Community 4.0, but I haven't tried it yet.  Hopefully, I'll get the time to do it soon.

My systems keep working without issues.  Thus, I've kept reading the news about Linux. Interestingly enough, Net Marketshare reported that Linux hit another milestone last year.  Good!

On the other hand, Windows 10 keeps doing what it does.  I took my USB pendrive to the office of a journal because I wanted to submit an article for publication but their Windows 10 computer decided to render me pendrive totally useless.  Way to go!

Also, they replaced my office's computer with a brand new Windows 10 one.  I asked for permission to boot Linux from my pendrive and the IT guy had a horrible time taming UEFI to let me do it.  Is this really progress?

At least now I can use the new computer without giving Microsoft rights over my privacy.

jueves, 6 de julio de 2017

Pardus 17 Released Today: The Big Turkish Cat Awakens!

Today I learned that Pardus Debian has just released its version 17.  That's quite a jump in the numbering scheme because the previous release was Pardus Community 3.0.  I guess now they switched into a year-matching number. 

I am quite happy about the release because this distro appeared as "dormant" on Distrowatch.  With that, I had realized a couple of weeks ago that most of my preferred distros are either discontinued or dormant. Others are in an unknown status, although I prefer to call it "slow development process".

Anyway, even if Pardus Community 3.0 seemed unpolished and clunky, I downloaded Pardus 17 right away and made a bootable USB stick.  The menu came in Turkish and the booting process was pretty slow.  In fact, I thought I would get a show-stopper error but Pardus managed to get to the desktop after a while.

As you may see, the DE is XFCE and everything is in Turkish, hehe.  In spite of the language barrier, I noticed Synaptic as the package manager and also located the installer, which is Debian Installer. Fortunately, Debian Installer asks you about the language you want to use for the installation.

It is too late now for me to run the installer, so that'll have to wait.  Maybe I'll do it tomorrow, if I can clear some of my work first.  At least tomorrow I'll test this new Pardus on my ThinkPenguin Adelie, which is quite picky with Linux distros.  Maybe the kernel 4.9.30 of this release will be compatible with my moody laptop.

jueves, 29 de junio de 2017

Jetpack 2: Released!!

Five days ago, on June 24, the game Jetpack 2 was finally released.

I've been waited for this game for a long time: 17 years at least.  I still remember reading "Wait for Jetpack 2 in 2000" when leaving Jetpack, the original game, which I was hooked into.

The game is a great improvement to the original Jetpack, which ran on DOS.
Start screen of the game Jetpack

Start screen of Jetpack 2
While the current release is for Windows, it is playable on Linux thanks to Wine.  Still, the developer says he is looking into porting it to other platforms.

This is what Jetpack 2 looks like

Well, at least I will be able to play the game while I wait for the Linux version, hehe!

jueves, 1 de junio de 2017

Ubuntu's Logo Spotted in The Big Bang Theory ... And What I've Been Up to Lately

This is a quick account of my recent activities:

1.  I saw Ubuntu's logo in an episode of the show The Big Bang Theory.

That was on episode 17 of the 10th season.  Actor Kevin Sussman, who gives life to the character Stuart Bloom, is wearing a grey Ubuntu T-Shirt.

2.  I upgraded from Yakkety Yak to Zeisty Zappus.

The only time I attempted to upgrade an Ubuntu version was on my Chromebook, and it did not work.  Thus, I had my concerns when I did it on my ThinkPenguin Adelie laptop, which is the machine I take to work.  My fears proved unfounded, though: everything went perfectly!  Wow!

3.  I experimented with Debian on my Lenovo tablet.

I had tried GNURoot before and it went pretty well, but everything felt more like a proof of concept. Thus, I tried Debian noroot this time.  I still cannot get VLC to work, but Libreoffice does run smoothly, and that was one of my priorities.  I'll keep testing.

lunes, 22 de mayo de 2017

6 Years Already?

Time flies!  It's been 6 years blogging about my experiences with Linux!

I've learned a lot, although I still haven't mastered the CLI (and probably never will).

I've also seen some of my favorite distros disappear, but they have been replaced by others equally great or even greater.

I've seen some other successful migrants among many who don't stay beside the penguin.

I've seen as well how Linux gets better and better, and how that other OS has started to copy it.

However, the greatest things I've experienced since I came to Linux Land are:

Freedom and peace of mind!  While many are utterly worried and Wannacry, I am happy with my systems.  :D


sábado, 29 de abril de 2017

My View on the Article "Is the Open Source Software Movement a Technological Religion?"

I read the article "Is the Open Source Software Movement a Technological Religion?," in which Gil Yehuda compares the movement to religion.

Although he has some interesting points, I think actually closed source or proprietary software advocates are the ones who seem much more to be into a religion.

Why?  To put it simply:

1.  Their leaders hide the truth (the code, flaws, etc.) from them and they simply accept it.

2.  They attack open source based on claims that have been given to them and that in many cases are not accurate.

3.  They do not have the will to investigate their products / leaders and take them as religious people take dogmas.

4.  They lack the scientific need to investigate and learn.  How many times they reject open source based solely on the claim that they "do not want to learn anything new"?

5.  They prefer to put up with the flaws of their software because "that's how things are".

6.  They are are not allowed to actually get into the depths of the software they use nor have the opportunity to change it.

7.  They let a specific corporation use them to its will and they happily keep giving this company as much money it asks from them, regardless of the product they receive.

Again, closed source advocates are more a religion in my perspective.  At least I have the freedom to choose and I will not go to software hell if I decide not to keep supporting a specific open source tool.

martes, 25 de abril de 2017

PicarOS Diego 2017 Is Out?

What a surprise!  I learned that there was a release of PicarOS 2017 this month!

If you don't know PicarOS and you like GNU/Linux and have children, you're missing a jewel.  This is a GalPon MiniNO version made especially for children and with education in mind.  In my opinion, it is the most complete Linux distro for kids, and it is extremely attractive for them. Children love it!

The best part is that it is a fully featured system. I like to use it myself, and anytime I do, people get interested in this beautiful distro.  Too bad it receives so little attention from the media.

In terms of new features, I noticed that now it comes with the option of a 32-bit kernel, PAE, or a 64-bit one.  Nice!
The window buttons tell you you are running Compiz

To be honest, I did not see any extreme changes in PicarOS 2017, except that the minino-compiz feature seems to be missing in the menus.  Still, you can launch it manually.

I have to keep testing it to see what else is new.  Thanks, PicarOS developers!!

sábado, 15 de abril de 2017

When My New Laptop Lost its Home...

I bought a new laptop from a Linux vendor some time ago.  The machine is a beast and it comes with a SSD for the root system and a HD for the home system. One day, I noticed that I could not enter my session. 

After some checking, I realized that the machine was not reading the HD.  The BIOS did not show the entry for that drive.  Weird.

Now, what do you do with a computer like that?  Can you use it for working?

Of course!  I could log into a session from the root system and work from there.  Also, I could use my the clone of my system that I carry on a live USB pendrive.  Thus, the problem, although weird, did not stop me from working.

Later on Mechatotoro took my laptop to a repair shop and, as I thought, it all was caused by a hardware issue: the HD had somehow gone loose. Once it was put back into place, everything was normal again.

What did I learn from that experience?  That Linux is simply great!  While another OS would tell you that you cannot use the computer, with Linux I could keep working although the home system was unreachable.   

martes, 21 de marzo de 2017

Document Freedom Day

Document Freedom Day will be in a week.  What is DFD?

According to , it is:

"the international day of Open Standards and happens every year on the last Wednesday of March. It is a day to come together and raise attention towards the ever growing importance of Open Standards for all aspects of our digital communication and information accessibility."

I remember that once, I celebrated it sending to all my colleagues a "freedom test".  It was just a regular mail with a short explanation and an .odt file.  If they could not open it, they could realize that they were not free.  My small campaign had a modest rate of success, at least to make people question their choices.

I wonder if I should do something similar this year... 

lunes, 20 de febrero de 2017

How to: VLC can't Resize Videos!

Yesterday, I tried to watch a video on my MX-16 install.  Unfortunately, the video display was very small and trying to adjust the size of the window did not help. The video size was still the same and taking a snapshot was no use, either:
Yes! The blue rectangle IS the video playing!
Then, I tried fullsize.  I got the same little video size embedded into a big, blue rectangle the size of my whole screen.
Nice, right? The snapshot didn't even show the video!
Ah, the video behaved funny.  Trying to access the menus was a nightmare for they would appear behind the video:
Groovy! How am I supposed to read the menu?
Was this a DRM-related issue?  Or something else?  Apparently, it was something else: it was a video acceleration problem, actually.

The fix was extremely easy.  Since VLC comes with video acceleration by default, if your card is within the unlucky ones, you get what I got.  Thus, all you have to do is disabling that option.  Go to Tools, and then choose Preferences. There, look for video.  Under the Screen category, untick accelerated video output:
Here you are! Let me watch my videos peacefully!
After that, close VLC. Open it again and that pretty much takes care of the problem:
Now I can resize the window and the video display, too!
I can go fullscreen, too!  Problem solved!
Now, the second part will be to tell Dragon Player to do the same!  I've no idea how to do it there!  :P

lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017

Hello, Think Penguin! Nice to Meet You!

Well, my Zareason laptop started doing strange things after a long life of intense work and harsh conditions.  I wanted to buy another computer from them, but the model I wanted was out of stock.

Thus, I started looking for options and finally found an Adelie computer from Think Penguin that was pretty close to the computer I wanted to buy originally.

I bought it, asking for their default choice for the OS.  When I got it, I realized that it came preloaded with Ubuntu 16.10.  Since Ubuntu has never been my favorite Linux distribution, I tried to go the multiboot way, making several partitions to host different Linux flavors. 

Unfortunately, none of my distros could be installed.  I tried MX-16, which is the newest distro I have and its partitioning tool (Gparted) threw errors at me when trying to make the partitions.   As a result, I could not install anything.

Then, I decided to use the Ubuntu disk that came with the computer to do the job.  That was my first time using Ubuntu's installer and my second time using Ubuntu.  The tool did its job and thanks to that, I could install MX-16.

I've had to learn a few new tricks with this computer.  As the rep from Think Penguin told me, the computer is too new for many Linux distributions (the ones I use regularly), but I've been able to manage so far.

What about Ubuntu?  I'll keep using it and maybe I'll get used to it.  My Steam games are all there, and most run perfectly.  So do other software tools I need for work.

I'll be checking other distros with current releases to see if any can work with this computer, too.  Maybe my next test will be with Fedora?

So far, I'm very happy with this new computer.  The service at Think Penguin was excellent, too.  I'm so satisfied that I may buy a Korora laptop from them in the future.

domingo, 29 de enero de 2017

GnuRooting Experiment 2: Success!

Long time ago, I had tried GnuRoot on a ZaReason tablet.  I didn't go very far: I got to boot a Linux environment, but without a graphics session.  Thus, I abandoned GnuRoot.

Debian GNU/Linux running on my tablet!
Today, I found this nice tutorial by Braden Farmer and it motivated me to try once again, this time using a Lenovo tablet.

Apparently, everything went as expected.  I could indeed install Debian with LXDE and it works pretty well (although you do need a keyboard and a mouse, which I don't have right now.)

Well, I'm glad this experiment worked.  I feel happy because I learned something new. 

martes, 24 de enero de 2017

My Quest for a GNU/Linux Laptop

My embattled Alto 4330, which I bought from ZaReason about 4 years ago, has started to fail.  I have to pledge guilty because I've dropped it twice and the poor machine kept working faithfully.  Thus, while I think of a way to fix it, I started looking for a replacement.

First, I do not want to pay for Windows 10, especially because all I'd do with it would be to wipe it out from the hard drive.  Since I do not want to put up with all the UEFI and restricted boot nonsense, buying from a Linux vendor is my road to take.

Unfortunately, ZaReason was a no-go.  I tried to buy their Strata twice, but my order was rejected.  Upon asking, they told me it was out of stock but they would get new merchandise soon.

I checked again two weeks later and they had the Ultralap.  Nice... I almost bought it, but it does not have an optical drive. Some may think "So... what's the problem?"  I guess the problem is that I do use CDs and DVDs, and having a super portable laptop that needs an external CD/DVD drive, even if it is very slim, is not convenient enough for me.  They may offer other models soon, but I cannot afford waiting.

I took a look at System 76, but their laptops did not fit my needs.

Then, Mechatotoro suggested Think Penguin.  Apparently, their Adelie laptop is the closest to the Strata I wanted... plus it comes with the keyboard in my language.

Thus, I took the plunge and ordered one.  Now their card verification loopholes have started...  although it is highly inconvenient for me as the customer, I understand their fight against fraud.

I hope my order gets processed and shipped without any other problem.  I also hope that the laptop I bought may be a good one.

jueves, 5 de enero de 2017

How I Got My Epson XP-231 to Scan Using Xsane

Mechatotoro gave me a printer Epson XP-231, which also has a scanning function.  After installing the drivers and seeing it print text files and scanned pages, I thought I had it up and running well... until I tried to scan a page to save it as an image:  it would not start the software to scan that came with the drivers.

I tried simplescan and learned that it didn't recognize my scanner.  It saw just the camera.

Then, I tried Xsane.  Same problem.

After a few hours of trying, I stumbled upon VueScan.  I downloaded the trial and BINGO!!!  It worked like a charm.

I was inclined to pay, but realized that the basic version only used the scanner to its minimum.  To get it to work fully, you have to pay a bit more.  Maybe too much for my budget.

Thus, I set forth on a quest to make the scanner work because, unfortunately, Mechatotoro's method did not work in my case: He was using Red Hat based distros and I use Debian based ones.

Thanks to this fine tutorial, I could solve the problem. This is how I got it:

As root, I opened the file:


Depending on the case, you have to uncomment or add : example-backend

I noticed that there was a line reading epson2, and it was uncommented.

Then, I ran on the CLI:


The output looked like this:

# sane-find-scanner will now attempt to detect your scanner. If the
  # result is different from what you expected, first make sure your
  # scanner is powered up and properly connected to your computer.

  # No SCSI scanners found. If you expected something different, make sure that
  # you have loaded a kernel SCSI driver for your SCSI adapter.

found USB scanner (vendor=0x01aa [EXAMPLE], product=0x0001 [EXAMPLE SCANNER]) at libusb:001:003

  # Your USB scanner was (probably) detected. It may or may not be supported by
  # SANE. Try scanimage -L and read the backend's manpage.

  # Not checking for parallel port scanners.

  # Most Scanners connected to the parallel port or other proprietary ports
  # can't be detected by this program.

The line "Found USB scanner (vendor=0x01aa [EXAMPLE], product=0x0001 [EXAMPLE SCANNER]) at libusb:001:003" is the important one here.  I copied it somewhere else to have it ready.

As root, I opened




I looked for the line reading "usb" in both files.  I added in both, as root,  the information of the vendor and of the product I got as my output.  Using the example above, it looked like this:

usb 0x01aa 0x0001

After saving those files, all I had to do was starting Xsane.  Now it recognized my scanner!  :D

martes, 3 de enero de 2017

On commence bien comme ça!

Year 2017 has just started and I'm already experiencing its surprises!  First,  I tried to buy a laptop from ZaReason, but my transaction failed twice.  Upon asking, they told me they are out of stock but will have new computers quite soon.  I checked other vendors, but so far none beats the specs and price of the laptop I intended to buy.

Today, Mechatotoro gave me a nice Epson XP-231 printer as a present.  I did not have much problem to get it up and running (both the printing and the scanning functions) on MX-15. 

However, while I was trying to install the drivers on MX-14, I ran into problems.  BIG problems.  Suddenly, my system decided that every file I selected with the pointer was to be deleted.  Fortunately, it would ask for confirmation and thus I could recover some trivial folders: my documents, my downloads, and my desktop. 

Thinking that maybe my mouse was misbehaving (too bad because it is not even 2 months old), I unplugged it to try the mousepad.  Bad news!  It did not work.

This is quite a way to start the new year!
After that, I thought my MX-14 system was in bad shape and set to reinstalling it from a remastered USB pendrive.  However, the system on the pendrive showed the same behavior.  Not liking the situation very much, I booted MEPIS 12 to see if I had better luck.  No.  The same issues greeted me.

In a desperate move, I opened the laptop, removed the keyboard, the hard drive, and checked the memory.  After being cleaned, they looked better.  Not being able to do anything else, I put the laptop together again and started it fearing the worse...

Well, it is working normally again!  I hope it keeps doing it while I get my new laptop.  The problem is that Linux laptops are not so easy to find here.  Hopefully, I'll find one I like soon.  2017, what a great start!