Saturday, May 31, 2008

Splashtop: simple and useful technology......goes on my wishlist

I have been keeping up with the release news and information about ASUS Eee PC and am convinced enough that it is going to be my next laptop purchase. And if I needed more reasons to do so, Splashtop provides me with a really strong one.

The simple and useful idea is to be able to launch complete applications, browsers, Skype, instant messengers, etc without having to boot the entire operating system which typically takes up to 2-3 minutes.

It is bundled within the motherboard and is already available on ASUS laptops and is know as ASUS Express Gate.

I have very little knowledge about how such a technology would work. I would think the challenge of course is to run the entire application (hopefully in its full capacity and not a subset of features) with network access, which means a subset of the operating system features. I am guessing an application that access disk/local filesystem might present its own additional challenges.

Here is a good video demo about it:

new command a day / a few days / a week

Here is trying to start something that I probably will not be able to keep up with unless I keep a "floating" frequency option. The idea is to try and note a previously unused shell command.

Today's entry:
lsof -i : lsof will list open files, and the "-i" option is to list files/sockets for an interface.
Seems to be more useful as compared to "netstat" for listing open TCP/UDP connections.

rutul@rutul-laptop:~$ sudo lsof -i
avahi-dae 4865 avahi 14u IPv4 12827 UDP *:mdns
avahi-dae 4865 avahi 15u IPv4 12828 UDP *:50260
cupsd 4895 root 2u IPv4 12863 TCP localhost:ipp (LISTEN)
dhclient3 5601 dhcp 4u IPv4 12003 UDP *:bootpc
dhclient3 6112 dhcp 4u IPv4 11489 UDP *:bootpc
firefox 13310 rutul 19u IPv4 114592 TCP rutul-laptop.local:39018-> (ESTABLISHED)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Linux file systems in a high-performance server

I was reading this article on analysing Linux ext(2/3/4)fs in a high-performance server environment as an appropriate file system.

The idea of the article certainly raised my curiousity and the start of it did pique my interest. I was looking for the answer to this particular question asked early on:
"Can Linux file systems, which I will define as ext-4, XFS and xxx, match the performance of file systems on other UNIX-based large SMP servers such as IBM and Sun?"

Unfortunately, the rest of the information did little to assert the claim that for now (ext3 fs) and in the near future (with ext4 fs), are not designed to support large file systems that are typical with high-performance server environments.

Fedora 9 released

Like a lot of open source and particularly Linux-as-a-desktop users, I spent a fair share of my time with early RedHat Linux and eventually Fedora releases until I was saved by Ubuntu.
In fact, I still use Fedora for various projects at work which are running either Fedora 6 or 7 depending on the confidence the rest of the development team has on the stability and the kernel. These are either server systems or even embedded platforms that do not have the traditional restrictions of processor speed, RAM or even disk space.
So, the news of interest today, has been the release of Fedora 9, which among some cutting edge features, includes KDE 4.0 that Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) stayed away from. I am not a KDE user, so my opinion on the impact is insignificant.

Monday, May 5, 2008

saving PDF forms

I have needed to save PDF forms after filling them with data instead of just having the option to print them. Obviously Adobe Acrobat Professional would do the trick, but in the world of free software, Linux and Ubuntu, it would be criminal to use that.

Found a very good software (free ware) called CABAReT Stage..."

... is a flexible software for your daily work with PDF-Documents. With it you may open and view PDF-Documents, complete and save PDF-Forms, as well as send them."

The Ubuntu install was just a download, untar and then running the ./ script.

the case of the disappearing audio - solved

An annoying little problem I ran into the other day:
  • After Firefox 3b5 and flash locked up the screen, I had to force power cycle.
  • On reboot, the master audio control showed it muted.
  • On un-muting, no luck. The audio was completely absent.
sudo apt-get remove alsa-base
sudo apt-get install alsa-base (it prompted me to insert the 8.04 alternate DVD)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

more Ubuntu evangelism

People write blogs for various reasons. There are some really good Ubuntu users with well written blogs that describe Ubuntu features and tools and tricks when they have been brave and smart enough to try out the latest releases and new applications.

I like to think that I walk a couple of steps behind these users. Mainly because I always want to have a _working_ system as I don't have the luxury of a backup. Which is why I am still unhappy with an upgrade to 8.04 that installed Firefox 3b5 that disabled a lot of my add-ons because of incompatibility.

Anyways, without digressing too much, the point being that I write this blog mainly for evangelizing Ubuntu rather than it being a technical source of "all things Ubuntu". So, on that theme of doing my "job", I read recently a note from Eric S Raymond, a well known Open Source proponent and the author of some well known books (including the one I am currently reading). He switched from being a Fedora Core user onto Ubuntu. It is a common trend and the recent news about how Red Hat and Novell have decided to focus on Enterprise/Server markets rather than Desktops (thankfully!).