Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quick Apache Web Server Tutorial

Okay so this my first video, so be gentle.

This video is just a really quick overview of how easy it is to get an Apache Web Server running in Ubuntu 10.10. I also wanted to show off my desktop a little bit too. I hope this little tutorial is helpful, and I will try and post more in the future.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Conky Lookin' Good

This isn't going to be a real long post, but there is this package that many Linux users know about and have grown very fond of, and it's called Conky. Recently I have been playing with it and tweaking it a lot and having a blast doing it. At first it is very basic and kind of boring but there is a wealth of information out on the Internet to make it look really cool.

I want to give a shout out to a team of developers who make Conky even easier, they are called the Conky Hardcore Team. They develop wonderful scripts for Ubuntu and Arch Linux that make integration of things like Banshee, , Email, Google Calendar, and many more everyday utilities into Conky easier! Great job guys!

Finally I am going to upload a screeshot of what my latest desktop looks like with Conky running on it.

Truly an awesome utility and another reason to switch to Linux.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Making Money In Open Source

So in the open source community the word "free" is used a lot, but it is a common misconception as to what "free" really means, does it mean free as in it doesn't cost anything or does it mean free as in freedom. Most open source projects it means both actually, but the word free means freedom. So this leaves a door open for making money, but how?

Well I'm going to discuss two potential ways, but understand that there are many more ways to make a business out of open source software. One of the most popular way to make a business out of open source software is to give the software away for free but sell support services on yearly basis. A perfect example of this Red Hat Inc., began it's business in 1995 selling support for the new released Red Hat Linux 2.0 and package manager called RPM. Now in 2010, the company is worth 7.8 billion dollars, not bad for a company that gives their software away for free and sells services like security patches and technical support.

Another way to make a business out of open source software is sell the software itself, but you have to provide the source code and give all the freedoms that are required under the whatever license you choose to use. This is a little more difficult because generally open source enthusiast don't like paying for software. iRedMail is great example though of an open source project that leverages both making money on software and giving the software away for free. This project is a complete email server based on other open source software packages. Then they decided to develop an administration panel and they sell this package. Now here is the smart part of this project, in order to use the email server you don't need to buy their administration panel in order to use the rest of open source project.

Now like I said these are only two ways to make money and a business out of open source software. It can be done and it is a viable business model, and it works well within the open source community model of freedom of software and the ability to modify software in order to best fit your needs. You would be surprised by how many members of the open source community who are willing to pay for software as long as they retain the freedom to do what they want with that software.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Beta Review

Ubuntu never disappoints when it comes to new features and the look of the Linux desktop. I just recently upgraded to Ubuntu 10.10 because I was starting to have little problems sprout up, mainly due to my tinkering and randomly installing packages trying to get something to work and then never cleaning them off. So needless to say, my computer was slowly getting cluttered and I decided to do a fresh install, or in other words I had a geek night.

My first impression was, this looks just like 10.04, not very impressed. Then I started to look under the hood, particularly the Ubuntu Software Center. I think this where Ubuntu is really going to have the opportunity to shine. Other distributions have tried to sell software on the desktop, one well known software store was called Click-N-Run by Linsphire, and even though it was well known it wasn't accepted as much as it could have been mainly because Linsphire wasn't very popular. Ubuntu doesn't have this problem, since Ubuntu is probably the most well known Linux desktop on the block I think the Ubuntu Software Center is going to take off and do very well.

All in all it is pretty solid operating system, the only drawback that I have noticed is programs that run on a consistent basis crash often. I am going to attribute this to the fact that it is still in beta release and hopefully it will work itself out when full release comes out. Like I said earlier Ubuntu never fails to impress me and I think the developers at Canonical are doing an awesome job at developing a stable desktop. So go get your copy of Ubuntu 10.10 and try it out I think you will be very impressed at the features that this Linux distribution has to offer.

I'm including a screenshot of my desktop to show how beautiful the Ubuntu desktop looks:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Year of Linux

Well first I guess I should say it's been awhile, like I posted a long time ago, I won't bore with my life stories but sometimes life does get in the way of things that you are passionate about, and this is what happened to me. You're not hear about that though, your hear about Linux.

One of the biggest open source community chants is "The Year of Linux", or also known as the year that the open source community dominates the market and triumphs over giant corporations such as Microsoft and Apple. I have heard this chant for at least 3 years now, and even as Linux has made progress by leaps and bounds in the desktop environment, is it ready for the prime time?

To answer this particular question is very tricky, because Linux on the desktop is very capable of handling users needs on a day to day basis. So what is holding Linux on the desktop back? The answer is simple and sad really, companies that design and code software for niche reasons usually only develop their software for Windows and sometimes Mac OSX. Why? There is a stigmata around open source software that money cannot be made in that sort of industry, so why develop on a platform that is free to use. This couldn't be further from the truth, many users of Linux are more than willing to pay for software, sometimes even if it is not open source. That is opening up a whole other topic though and I will cover that in another post.

I think, and this only one persons opinion, the main disadvantage that Linux has is lack of marketing. Companies like Microsoft and Apple have marketing departments that can rival most Fortune 1000 companies. They leverage this advantage very well too, while the Linux and Open Source community sit back and say let Linux speak for itself. My question though is how Linux going to speak for itself when the general population has no idea that it even exists. There are some large corporations like Red Hat and Novell that make profits hand over fist on their Linux implementations, but don't ever leverage the power of marketing to expand their reach of Linux. Then you have a company like Canonical who focuses their energy into making a usable desktop for every type user from beginners to old time hackers, and yet they lose money every quarter, yet they keep innovating new technologies to create a more enjoyable user experience.

Linux has enjoyed leading the way in the server industry and being the backbone of the Internet, but even this has tapered off and Microsoft has made a severe dent in the server market as well because of their marketing strategies. If only the three powerhouse companies that the Linux community champions as leaders of the Linux community could get together and form a marketing company that brings focus to the Linux desktop to the general public then I think Linux could have the year that everyone hypes about.

Now this probably sounds like I am giving up on Linux, again this couldn't be further from the truth. I have completely dumped any and all Microsoft and Apple operating systems from my home. I still have to use them in professional life but this is not by choice. I have even starting to introduce Linux as backend platforms in my organization with great success, of course this were Linux has always flourished, sitting on a server. I have even gone as far as buying a Sony Playstation 3 over the Microsoft Xbox 360 solely because it is running Linux under the hood. Of course it is locked down system and very proprietary, but the gaming industry has been and always be this way. Again this is a post for another time.

Linux has all the components to be the greatest operating system and desktop for the general public and to accomplish its goal of being the "The Year of Linux", but until some monetary effort is put behind Linux this will be a dream of the Open Source community. Until then we will have to keep spreading the word via blog posts and word of mouth and picking up a few curious users along the way.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bug Reporting, is it really broken?

Again yesterday I was listening to a podcast when the two podcaster talking about bug reporting and how it is broken in terms of does it really work. It was funny because I had the same experience that this podcaster had, he submitted a bug report and the answer to the report was "sorry thats to hard fix" when the podcaster replied that answer was not good enough the developer that had that case replied back, "the souce code is open, fix it yourself." I had submitted a bug report once, because I couldn't get Adobe Flash to install on Firefox. My reponse that I received was, "don't submit bugs like this, search the database first and fill out the form completely," and I had filled out the form completely. the developer was very rude and it made give up on submitting bugs. I don't need to put with something like that, especially when all I was doing was trying to help.

I am a not programmer, so I can't fix these bugs. I also wanted to give back to the linux community in some way, and I also heard that by submitting bugs I am doing my part. I then get shuned for doing the very thing that I was asked to do. Even though I have not submitted a bug report since I am not going to give up on it completely, I will be very careful now with what I submit and how I submit it. Now my question is, has the bug reporting system grown so big that the developers feel overwhelmed? Is this system really broken in conceptual design? Can we as a community correct this system so that when Linux becomes more widely accepted a regular user won't get treated in the same manner?

I think bug reporting systems are great for the Linux community because they allow developers to find out directly from the users what is broken and then they can fix it. Unlike the Windows bug reporting software that doesn't mean anything, this should and the users should be treated with a little bit of respect and tolerence. I am sure that many bug that do get reported probably shouldn't be, but don't go and degrade someone for not knowing any better, this could be a huge turn off for Linux.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Linux in Business

I am a network administrator, now I am in a position where I have to administer a mainly Windows environment. So what I am doing writing a Linux blog? Well, we have been incorporating Linux into this environment as well, and what we are finding is that Linux is a very powerful and flexible platform to run many applications needed by our users. The most amazing thing is that the users don't even know they are using Linux to accomplish their day to day tasks. What we are attempting to accomplish is to eliminate as much licensing management as possible. Now I am a firm believer in letting the users to be comfortable with the desktop they are comfortable using, since Windows is such a popular choice we let the users use Windows as a front end, but may of the network applications that they are accessing are sitting on a Linux server. Eventually we are going to be web base our applications so that we don't have the need to run solely Windows.

So where does Linux fit in the desktop arena in a business environment? Well that is a little tricky, administrators are used to adapting to new technology and so learning how to navigate and use Linux comes a little more easier. Users on the other hand tend to resist change a little more, because they just want to do their jobs as quickly as possible, Windows for so long has filled these shoes, but at higher cost of ROI, Linux can solve this problem. First lets look at what Window users use on average, on a daily basis. Users generally use a web browser, email, and an office suite. There are probably some custom applications that they may also use that only run under Windows but there is a way to solve that problem as well.

Linux can provide all these functions, but there may be some program rewrites involved so it is not necessarily the cheapest rollout but in the long run you can save a lot of money. Most Linux distributions come bundled with Firefox web browser which is W3C capable, Evolution which is an Outlook equivalent, and OpenOffice which is Sun Microsystems open source equivalent for Microsoft Office. This is where the word "free" comes to an end, because now we have to look at the custom applications that were written for Windows specifically. With the emerging web technologies we have been able to take applications that used to be required to be installed on the desktop can be rewritten to run in a web browser. Of course this could be a pro and con, the pro is once the program is written for the web its done other minor changes and maintenance. The con is that there is a cost tied to rewritting programs, but the investment is well worth the cost of rewrites because now your organization can be platform independent.

With the advances that Linux has made in the last few years it has become a very viable platform to use as not only backend servers but it has emerged as a viable desktop for the enterprise user. The days of Linux being used by hobbiest has long since passed and it is evolving by leaps and bounds. Microsoft may still be the dominant platform in the enterprise environment but distubtions such as Red Hat Enterprise Desktop, Novell Suse Linux Desktop, Ubuntu Linux, and Fedora Linux gaining popularity it won't be soon before organizations will adopt Linux as their platform of choice.