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mercredi 6 février 2013

Bye bye planet mandriva

Je viens de constater que je suis encore sur Planète Mandriva. Pourtant cela fait bientôt 2 ans que je suis passé à Mageia, et je suis content de ce choix. Par conséquent, je viens d'envoyer un mail pour être retiré de la planète...

Bye bye Mandriva, nous aurons passé de bons moments ensemble, depuis la Mandrake 9.1.

samedi 3 avril 2010

Geek an hour, geek forever

The evening started normally. I just wanted to play a bit on the computer, which I rarely do nowadays. And Battle for Wesnoth is the game I choose in these moments. I then fired up the multiplayer game, which I had never tried before, and was greeted with a message telling me that my 1.6 version of wesnoth was outdated, and that 1.8 was the recommended version. « Ok », I thought, « so where can I find this version to try it ? ». I looked in the Mandriva Cooker repositories, but no, the only version there was the 1.6... Until I found out that Wesnoth 1.8 was only 2 days old. This new version was released on April, 1st.

The rest of the evening is a bit silly : struggling to package wesnoth 1.8 for my Mandriva 2010.0. Which worked after a few hours (yep, compiling it on my AMD 3000+ takes a lot of time). I'm really not an expert packager, I only learned the minimum required to package my own apps in my previous job, but it was enough to make this actually work.

So here is the result : my Battle for Wesnoth 1.8 specfile and the associate Wesnoth 1.8 binary for Mandriva 2010.0-i586 (257 MB). If you want to keep your old games around, just cp -a ~/.wesnoth1.6 ~/.wesnoth1.8

What is funny is that doing the packaging seemed like part of the game, and the free time I had has been completely consumed by this task, but it was funny anyway :-).

Update:

I heard Wesnoth 1.8 replaced the python dependency by a lua dependency. Be aware that I added the lua dependency in the .spec, but didn't remove the python one.

jeudi 26 novembre 2009

Samedi, c'est install party !

Mon titre ne rimant qu'en français, cet article sera en français. Sorry, english folks !

Samedi 28 novembre 2009, c'est jour d'install party pour nos confrères Ubuntistes. À cette occasion, leur gourou (meditation), j'ai nommé Mark Shuttleworth sera à Paris, à la Cité des Sciences pour nous éclairer pauvres mortels. Je compte donc infiltr^W m'intégrer à la communauté Ubuntu pour voir ce qui fait le succès de leur install party, et aussi comment améliorer celles de Mandriva (je serai également à l'install party de la semaine suivante). Ça me donnera aussi l'occasion de voir un peu les différences entre une Ubuntu et une Mandriva/GNOME (6 ans que je tourne avec ce tandem de choc), et tenter de comprendre les raisons de la popularité d'Ubuntu (autre que "ils ont un patron milliardaire", "ils t'envoient des cd chez toi", ou "ils rendent ta femme plus fertile"). J'ai vu qu'il y aura une présentation éclair de Mandriva Linux, il y aura donc d'autres chevaux de troie :-). Ubuntistes, tremblez. ! Et tapez pas trop fort :-p

mardi 5 mai 2009

Mandriva : thumbs up, GNOME : thumbs down

Mandriva 2009 Spring has been out for a few days now. Congratulations to everyone involved ! I did my upgrade this week end, all in graphical mode with mdkapplet. I had some bad luck, which was fortunately quickly repaired. What you need to know is that using a 23MB /boot partition is a bad idea, it's way too small if you keep a few kernels around. Once things were sorted out, I could enjoy the gorgeous design (Yay for that tribal-penguin wallpaper !), and everything went fine.

The new GNOME mixer replaced the old one automagically, and It works great. The only problem I have with it is that it's a notification icon and not an applet anymore. I hope this will change : notification area is not made for permanent things. And I now am unable to have the mixer react to a scroll button action if I put it in the corner of the screen and move my mouse at it. Fitt's law failure. Being able to change the volume without the need to power on my screen was a feature I liked.

Another sad news for GNOME is the choice of Mandriva to stick to navigational nautilus by default instead of GNOME default's spatial nautilus. I like spatial nautilus. Yep. But what sucks is that it was made the defaut, but a major defect was never corrected : left an middle click comportment in opening a new folder should have been inverted. This would have helped remove this bad reputation of "Windows 95"-like mode which does nothing except open a lot of windows. Having to double-middle click to avoid cluttering my screen with windows is also what led me to switch to single click policy. GNOME is supposed to be easy to use even for the beginners. But real beginners have already a hard time to double click without moving the mouse, so asking them to double-middle click is way too difficult. Really. I find it difficult for me and I don't exactly define me as a beginner. Oh, and try that on a laptop or a netbook, you'll love it, especially on those netbooks like the first Acer Aspire One with one button on each side of the touchpad...

One good thing however is the new description for the session manager: I totally agreed with vuntz when he told me that normal people don't know what a session is. I still remember the first time, being a bit lost and unable to guess what that stuff was supposed to do from its name in the menus.

Also, speedboot seems to work nicely : I've bootcharted my system before and after migration, and gdmgreeter now appears in 20s instead of 26s.

All in all, I'm quite happy with what I see. This time the rough edges are not that rough. This Mandriva release really makes me feel at home. I'll be happy to install it at the next install parties in Paris ;-).

mercredi 22 octobre 2008

Grep updated in Mandriva 2009.0

Funny thing I saw today : grep version jumped from 2.5.1a in 2008.1 to 2.5.3 in 2009.0. Sounds useless, huh, grep does its stuff, so this should only be a bugfix or code cleaning release, don't you think ?

Well in fact, its not. Grep 2.5.3 introduces the long awaited option --exclude-dir. You can now just grep your version control tree for some stuff and easily exclude your .cvs/.svn/whatever directory, without having to resort to a big fat find command with xargs.

Before :

find . -type f ! -path '*/.svn/*' -print0 | xargs -0 grep foo

After :

grep -R --exclude-dir=.svn foo *

It's sad that this option took several years to enter the code base (at least 2.5 years) and was first refused (this bug report is an example of how not to reply to users). Also, this new version of grep landed in 2009.0, but grep 2.5.3 was released in august 2007...

Mandriva Linux 2008.1 users interested by this feature can install the 2009.0 version of grep from their closest miror :

urpmi ftp://ftp.proxad.net/pub/Distributions_Linux/MandrivaLinux/official/2009.0/i586/media/main/release/grep-2.5.3-6mdv2009.0.i586.rpm

Update : Don't do that at home kids if you're not sure, because mixing software from different releases can sometimes lead to nasty bugs

vendredi 17 octobre 2008

24 seconds !

This is my new boot time, thanks to the instructions of Mandriva's kernel star, pterjan :-p. Thanks for having been so reactive.

If you didn't, you should read my previous entry about boot time. So, how did these 9 seconds (compared to 2009.0 without the fix, and 7 compared to 2008.1) disapeared ? Well, first, I'd tell you I'm not sure they're completely gone, because I felt that loging in was sensibly slower (more time until I have a wallpaper) but I have no numbers for this, as I only measured the boot time until gdm for 2008.1 and 2009.0. So maybe the "graphical desktop startup time" is a bit longer, but not 7 seconds longer, so I'm sure I won some time...

So where was the problem ? Well it seems that the usb-storage module is at fault. Yes. Again. Here is what fcrozat told us a few weeks ago in his article named "Improving boot time on a general Linux distribution, not an easy task" :

We also had reports of "udev takes forever" when people had usb storage devices plugged on their system. We did some tests and it was adding about 5s to boot, mostly because of "usb-storage" settle delay (which is 5s), when udev coldplug starts. To try to reduce this, we are now loading usb-storage module before udev is started, if an usb mass storage device is detected, to make sure the 5s "usb-storage" settle delay is done in parallel with udev. Average gain : 3s (there is still a penalty of about 2s when usb mass storage is plugged but we can't really do anything about it ATM).

From my lsinitrd output, pterjan could see that my initrd was loading the usb-storage module. I had no USB storage device connected, but it was nonetheless slowing me. In fact, it seems that an old buggy version of harddrake used to add instructions to load usb-storage in /etc/modprobe.conf. It's an old bug, but unluckily, if the command is already there, no tool will remove it for you. I saw today that my work laptop running 2008.1 has the same problem.

The solution was to remove the /sbin/modprobe usb_storage; command from my /etc/modprobe.conf , and to regenerate the initrd (which I had never done before - don't laugh). This was easy. It seems this module is only required to be in the initrd if your root (/) partition is on an USB storage device.

If you want to do the same, first make sure you have another kernel on which you'll be able to boot (it may be the case if you upgraded from 2008.1 like me). If not, backup your current initrd (you'll however need a live CD to restore it in case you're in trouble). Then, as root, call this command :

mkinitrd -f /boot/initrd-$(uname -r).img $(uname -r)

This will regenerate the initrd for the kernel version you're currently running. Then bootchart again. Then enjoy.

mardi 14 octobre 2008

What happened to my boot time, dude ?

Hum... Why did I lose 2 seconds in boot time ? 2008.1 booted in 31s, and 2009.0 boots in 33s.

Update : As asked by pterjan, here is the result of the lsinitrd command.

Update : running depmod didn't fix the problem.

Mandriva Linux 2009.0 : upgrade successful

But not without glitches.

Here's how it went. I tried to remain in the position of a newcomer that has no clue about what a command line interface is, so even if I used a terminal a couple of times, it was just to check some stuff, not to fix it. I launched the mdkonline applet for the purpose of the upgrade (I always disable it because of it wastes too much memory to my taste).

Migration applet

Once launched, a notification popup appeared telling me there was a new distro available. If I record well, I clicked on the applet (and not on the popup), and was a bit surprised to be shown 2008.1 updates. I did those and waited a bit more. I was once again presented with the "new distro available" notification popup. I clicked again on the applet, and was presented the distro upgrade dialog.

'New stable distribution available

Note : I really hate Yes/No dialogs. Pretty please, Mr. Developer, use actions verbs on your buttons instead of Yes/No (with button icons would be even better) ! I the accepted the upgrade, and the new media sources were downloaded and updated. Using the Aria IP geolocation, the Free (french provider) mirrors were selected, and the upgrade process started downloading and installing the packages.

Here came the first problem : a curl error, because a package could not be downloaded. I think this happened because the mirror may have been a bit overloaded. So I had this error (no screenshot, sorry), and was presented this dialog.

Yep. The error detection code sucks : if a package download fails, it tells you the upgrade is finished.  A cat /etc/mandriva-release confirmed me that I still was using 2008.1. Here, even if the dialog recommended it, I feared that a reboot could do more harm than good, trying to boot a 2008.1/2009.0 hybrid. So I started again the upgrade, and had more errors.

aria error

First I had an aria error, because the mirrors lists were unreachable I think. Then a dependency error , due to the fact that the upgrade had been interrupted. The drakxtooks couldn't be updated because the perl-Gtk2-Webkit package was missing, and this message was blocking the whole update.

drakxtools can't install

Seeing no other alternative, I closed the session, to avoid rebooting. I tried to login : my login was refused ! With no other choice, I then crossed fingers and rebooted... A few seconds after, I was happy to see GDM and not a login prompt. I could log into my account, and started once again to upgrade. Then again, I had Aria errors and couldn't have the "Main updates" media.

media error

But still, the upgrade went on, with a (very) long packages download/install cycle. I hope Mandriva will do something about that, because it was one of the longest upgrades I had ever been through. Before that, I had always done my upgrades seldomly by reinstalling (to check the choices that were made for defaut applications), but most of the time, using the init 3/urpmi --auto --auto-select/init 5 technique (and not forgetting to upgrade the kernel too). Oh, by the way, during the install, I had a warning telling me my /boot partition was 99% full, but it caused no harm. I removed some old kernels since then, and everything's fine.

The "upgrade completed" dialog appeared once again, but this time, the icon showed was using the 2009.0 graphical style (which I don't really like, MCC icons were much nicer on previous releases - old doesn't mean it has to change).

Following the given advice, I rebooted, and started thinking that a "Close" button would have been better than the "Ok" one (yep. I find that even if a bit outdated, the HIG are still great).

Once my session opened, the update applet still tells that I can migrate to 2009.0 ! However, fixing my "Main updates" media problem (the main miror set by Aria had an MD5SUM error on the synthesis file for this media), was as easy as setting by hand a new mirror, and looking for updates. The only broken thing was my firefox panel icon, which had disappeared, since the icon had been renamed from firefox.png (2008.1) to firefox3.png (2009.0).

The good:

  • Nothing broken, I didn't have to use a single command line to repair it.
  • I could still surf on the web with Firefox while upgrading, even if at one point I lost the sound.
  • Suspend/resume works ! At last ! In 2008.1 the network chip didn't work after a after resume, it needed a reboot. This is now fixed.
  • I found the default desktop font under GNOME 2.24 nicer than in 2.22. Here's an example with the GNOME panel, but the result is even more flagrant in Firefox/Thunderbird. :

Before :

After :

The bad:

  • The upgrade didn't happen flawlessly.
  • Mandriva really needs to take into account the basics of the HIG for every new dialog they create.
  • When there's a md5sum error on an hdlist file on a mirror, aria doesn't automatically try to use another mirror.
  • The whole process was painfully slow, despite my AMD 3000+ CPU and a 20Mb/s connection.
  • It seems that KDE users have much more trouble with the migration, which was to be expected with the huge changes from KDE3 to KDE4. Sorry for them :-(.

samedi 11 octobre 2008

L'expérience interdite...

Je me suis posé la question de savoir si je devais tenter une migration vers la Mandriva 2009.0 tout de suite. Après avoir vu la réaction d'Olivier, qui était aussi la mienne en début de soirée, je me suis dit que je devais essayer d'être plus couillu :-)

Allez, soyons fou, cette petite notiification me fait tellement du pied... Demain je me lance (c'est un peu tard pour ce soir), promis, et je vous dirai si vous avez des raisons de vous inquiéter ;-)

jeudi 9 octobre 2008

Mandriva Linux 2009.0 is released !

Here we are, Mandriva Linux 2009.0 has been released today ! Congratulations to everyone involved !

Download Mandriva Linux 2009.0 (bittorrent download) (make sure you choose 2009.0 and not 2008.1).

Download Mandriva Linux 2009.0 (direct download)

Read the errata

Read the release notes

mardi 30 septembre 2008

Mandriva on the boot time front

It's nice to see that Mandriva is working on shortening the boot time. Even if we're not at a 5 seconds boot (which, I agree with fcrozat, is unreal - what people should ask for is flawless resume instead), I've seen on some of his bootchart graphs a 10% speedup which is cool. As it's been a long time since I didn't use bootchart, and tried it again and benchmarked my Mandriva 2008.1/GNOME system, in case it's useful for someone.

Here it is:

 

lundi 8 septembre 2008

Pas de Mandriva dans Capital...

Il y a quelques semaines, l'émission Capital de M6 était venue tourner des images du Gdium dans les locaux de Mandriva, pour leur sujet sur les netbooks. Manque de chance, il semble (j'ai raté le reportage) que les images soient passées à la trappe, et que Linux n'ait pas été cité une seule fois dans le reportage... alors que c'est un facteur de baisse de prix, et que c'est une des raisons du succès de ces machines.

Mise à jour:

Extrait du reportage :

"il a rendez vous dans le temple de l'informatique parisien. C'est un endroit où les passionés d'ordinateurs mettent leur nez un peu partout, à la recherche de pièces rares..."

Je vous le donne en mille, ce temple où l'on trouve des "pièces rares", c'est Surcouf... Au bout de 4 minutes de reportage, les journalistes avouent déjà qu'ils n'y connaissent rien, et passent le reste du temps à comparer un netbook à un portable traditionel, façon "ah bah oui, une smart, ça roule moins vite qu'une berline". Effectivement, c'est peut être pas plus mal qu'on ait pas entendu parler ni de Mandriva ni de Linux...

mercredi 23 juillet 2008

Revue du netbook Acer Aspire One

Voilà une revue du Acer Aspire One sur LinuxFr. Le point litigieux (l'écran trop brillant) évoqué par Xate dans mon dernier billet sur les netbooks a été soulevé, voici ce qu'en pense alouali, le rédacteur de l'article :

J'avais une petite angoisse sur l'écran brillant et les reflets, mais finalement l'écran est suffisamment lumineux et contrasté pour que ce ne soit pas une gêne, même pour moi qui travaille dos à la fenêtre.

Par contre un point que l'on m'a confié informellement (non, je ne cafterai pas mes sources ;-) ) est la mauvaise qualité des BIOS d'ACER, par exemple pour l'ACPI. Cela tendrait à supposer que ce joujou pourrait ne pas fonctionner sous une autre distribution si ACER a pris certaines libertés avec les "good practices" du BIOS. Et bien coup de bol, le testeur a aussi utilisé une Mandriva Flash, et n'a pas rapporté de problème trop grave, si ce n'est la résolution par défaut en 800x600 au lieu de 1024x600. Il a aussi pris le soin de déclarer la configuration matérielle de l'Acer Aspire One sur hardware4linux. Qu'il en soit remercié :-)

samedi 12 juillet 2008

GUADEC: au revoır Istanbul !

Hé bien, ces dernıers jours ont fılé comme le vent ! Moı quı voulais faıre un poınt régulıer... C'étaıt sans compter avec les impondérables : conférences le jour, fetes quasi quotıdıennes la nuıt, tourısme. La semaıne a laıssé des traces sur l'organısme ! Alors Aurore et moı partons nous refaıre une santé sur l'ıle de Bozcaada pendant quelques jours.

Sur une poınt technıque, les conférences étaıent assez ınégales. Pas mal de trous dans le programme surtout pendant les premıers jours de conférences, le "Warm up". En revanche, les keynotes ont été tres réussıes. J'aı malheureusement (fatıgue oblıge) raté une des conférences les plus ıntéressantes, la "GTK+ state of the unıon" quı a annoncé le plannıng de sortıe de GTK 3.0". Zut. Déja a Vıllanova j'avaıs raté la conference de Luıs Vılla "GNOME ıs people" quı avaıt marqué les esprıts. Bon, je doıs etre maudıt.

Voıcı donc pour moı le top 5 de ce GUADEC a Istanbul:

  1. Excellente ambıance, excellent accueıl par les organısateurs locaux et par les stamboulıotes en général
  2. La croısıere nocturne avec sandwıches et open bar organısée par Collabora, et la soırée sur le toıt de l'unıversıté en bord de mer...
  3. La keynote sur l'utılısabılıté
  4. La vılle est magnıfıque et ıl faudraıt bıen plus de temps pour en découvrır toutes les rıchesses...
  5. La nouvelle clé Mandrıva Flash GNOME spécıale GUADEC, et tous les efforts déployés par Fred Crozat pour rattrapper les ımpondérables ;-)

Et voıcı mon flop 5 des trucs que j'aı trouvé ratés :

  1. La soırée de cloture organısée par Google. Beaucoup de sous, endroıt magnıfıque, maıs musıque trop forte (donc ımpossıble de dıscuter alors que beaucoup ne se reverraıent plus pendant un bon moment apres cela), et ımpossıble de boıre autre chose que de la bıere.
  2. Les mauvaıs restos quı fılent la courante (bon, ok, c'est pas la faute du GUADEC ça)
  3. Les ıntermınables dıscussıons sur gıt/mercurıal/bazaar etc.
  4. Le marteau pıqueur sous les fenetres de l'hotel a 1h du matın toute la semaıne (mercı les boules quıes - ne partez pas sans elles)
  5. Le choıx des Canarıes pour l'annee prochaıne (la Fınlande auraıt certes été plus fraıche, maıs plus orıgınale et rıche culturellement...)
Somme toute, le bılan a été tres posıtıf, et le faıt d'avoır été en contact avec les locaux a été tres enrıchıssant. Je croıs bıen que cela va rester mon GUADEC préféré pour un moment :-)

mardi 8 juillet 2008

Fin de la premiere journée

Finalement tout s'est bien passé aujourd'hui. Nous sommes un peu plus familiarisés avec le réseau de tranports et l'Akbil. C'est une sorte de toute petite cuillere en plastique qui sert de carte de transports rechargeable ici. Arrivés au GUADEC Pascal Terjan nous a présentés a Tuçe et Elvin, deux charmantes stambouliotes avec quı nous avons dıscuté tout l'apres midi (ainsi qu'avec Christian, un allemand de chez Imendıo).

En effet cette année, le GUADEC c'est assez léger coté conférences... Il y a pas mal de "free slots", c'est a dıre de cases vides dans le plannıng. Alors on en a profıté pour refaıre le monde entre européens, et ça a été ma foi tres enrichissant.

Ah, ceux auı ne sont pas venus cette année regretteront peu etre le magnıfıque T-shirt commémoratıf, ainsi que la malette pour PC portable (la classe - c'est ballot, j'aı pas de portable).

Ce soir étaıt organisée la premiere beuverie. Attention, l'alcool n'est pas donné. En demandant une caipirinha au bar, je suis un peu passé pour un extra terrestre, mais elle m'a été facturée au prix fort :  20 YTL (environ 10 €). J'ai profıté de la soirée pour prendre rendez vous avec Reınout pour discuter un peu utilisabilité des drakxtools.

Le retour s'est fait en grande partie a pıed, car vu l'heure seul le funıculaire étaıt encore accessible. Demaın les conférences ne m'ıntéressents pas trop, je vaıs en profıter pour faıre un peu de tourisme avec ma chérie...

PS: ça y est le marteau piqueur pour les travaux du tramway est de retour... Oui, a 01h50 du matın (sic).

mardi 24 juin 2008

Micro Hebdo n°531 sur les ultra-portables (netbooks)

Ah Micro Hebdo. Le premier (et seul) magazine informatique auquel j'ai été abonné, quand j'étais encore sous Windows.

J'ai fini par acheter Micro Hedo n°531 (encore en kioske demain), en vu d'un voyage en train où j'avais du temps à tuer. Bon, le public de ce magazine est clair : le Windowsien débutant ou moyen qu iveut avoir des trucs pratiques. En général ils sont assez objectifs. Ils ont même essayé Linux de temps en temps, (si, si, et même Mandriva Linux, avec quelques bêtises en prime). Bon, c'est clair par contre qu'on y parle plus de logiciels gratuits que de logiciels libres.

Dans ce numéro, donc, on parle des ultra-portables à moins de 400 euros. Evidemment j'ai traqué l'utilisation de Linux dans ces bestioles. On y parle du futur Gdium Liberty 1000, qui utilise une Mandriva Flash rebaptisée pour l'occasion "Mandriva G-Linux". Par contre (honte à eux) ils oublient complètement que le Airis Kira 740 est aussi disponible avec Mandriva Linux (alors que tous les articles sur le sujet en parlent depuis bien 2 mois) !

Les autres modèles testés:

Eh bien le résultat des tests a l'air sans appel: le modèle d'Acer enfonce les autres au niveau prix (299€), poids (le seul à moins d'un kilo avec le PC by Surcouf) et rapport qualité/prix. De plus, il offre une capacité de 10Go de SSD dans la version Linux, et 8Go pour la version Windows.

Là où ça devient intéressant c'est qu'on peut choisir une version avec disque dur plutôt que SSD (bon, je préfère la SSD pour ce type de machine). Pour un disque de 80Go , on en a pour 20€ de plus dans la version Linux, et 70€ de plus pour la version Windows. Vous me suivez ? On a deux machines identiques sous Windows et Linux, avec 50€ de différence. Idem pour le MSI Wind U100: 50€ de plus pour la version Windows, à matériel identique. Il semble donc qu'il y ait un certain consensus : une licence XP en OEM se négocie dans les 50€. Prenez des notes pour la prochaine fois où on vous proposera 20€ pour le Windows de votre tout PC portable tout neuf (avec l'envoi du portable à vos frais bien sûr).

Pour conclure, vu les caractéristiques du Acer Aspire One, et la politique d'ACER de soutien à Linux, c'est le type de machine qui peut détrôner l'EEEPC d'Asus.

lundi 16 juin 2008

Windows, Linux, thoughts

Almost 5 years have passed since I erased my Microsoft Windows partitions to switch to Mandriva Linux (Mandrakelinux 9.1 at that time). And I never regretted it. However, I try to keep myself informed of what happens in the Windows world, just to be able to help relatives when they're in trouble. So I keep an eye of all the stuff I don't use on Linux: anti-spywares, anti-adwares, anti-viruses, anti-everything.

Yesterday, I had a Windows box to cure. Randomly, some Internet Explorer windows would pop up, and bring the whole machine down to its knees, eating a few hundred megabytes of memory, and causing lots of swapping. I could download Firefox, then killed all the iexplore.exe processes, and was able to browse the web to find a new antivirus and antispyware to see what was going on. Using Firefox, no ads appeared.
All this made me remember why Windows is a nightmare to maintain.

Here's what I was painfully reminded:

Finding what is wrong is extremely time consuming. If you're not the person who installed the program, you have no way to know from what the "add/remove programs" tells you, what a program really does. No description. No file list. Nothing. So you can't just uninstall everything that has a name you don't know/like. You're then left to hours and hours of scanning, in the hope that you chose the right tools, and that they will detect the annoying software that causes the problem. Well in fact, it didn't happen. Neither the antispyware not the antivirus could catch it.

What was utterly annoying, was the fact that I left the computer on the whole night to let the antivirus perform a complete scan, but that this piece of sh*t just stopped at 35% to show a popup asking me what it should do with the virus it had found (in a quarantine zone of an older antivirus). I really would have preferred it had scrolled the whole disk and asked me afterwards, or that it had taken a temporary decision for me just to ask me all the questions at the very end. But no. You have to stay if from of the antivirus, or come regularly during the 4 hours it will scan the 146GB of data stored on the disk. Nice.

So, after a few hours of scanning the hard drive, I got sick of that and stopped the scans. Looking at the name on the popup's title bar, I could find a clue to determine from the configuration panel what was the name of the annoying crapware. That was an MSN Messenger addon. Uninstalling it, everything went fine again. Well, excepting the normal Windows "rot" problem. Having to wait for so long to just have my computer started would make me mad. That makes me think that for 90% of normal Windows users, Linux would indeed start quickly enough. A freshly installed Windows box boots faster, but after 2 months of installing/uninstalling software, Linux wins hands up.

Sometimes, I think of what the Linux distros landscape would be if it reached a critical mass, like 20% of the desktop world. Will those threats shatter my tranquility again ? People using a computer just install every software they can find, and Linux won't change that I think. So even if using only Free Software protects me, third party vendors will start distributing crapware to inexperimented users, and all this will start over again...

For the moment, I enjoy just being a dumb user that just wants something that works. And Linux distros are currently good at that, even if I think they're still too focused on what in new instead of what is bug-free. But overall, these last 5 years have been a much funnier experience using Free Software. Software that you use, and make you feel that there's real people behind it. And that they care about you. The biggest difference I see between these two worlds now is that in the Windows/proprietary world, by default, you can't trust that new software you haven't heard about before. In the Linux/Free Software world, by default, you trust it, because having the source, even if you don't read it, is a mark of trust. Hope this will never change.

mardi 22 avril 2008

Mandriva positioning on the Linux market

Here's an insightful vision of the current Linux distro's market, from Dave Neary, former member of the GNOME foundation board.

I don’t want to pick on Mandriva, but it’s true that right now they’re aiming for the general consumer, the enterprise desktop and the enterprise server, and are not competing particularly well with the front-runners in any of those markets.

And I agree with him. Even if there was some good progress on the general consumer market, the short/mid/long-term strategy is still unclear...

PS: I also noticed that the free (as in beer) mention about Mandriva One disapeared from the french download page... I'm pretty sure it was there before...

mercredi 9 avril 2008

Next step to rule the world : done

Yup, Mandriva Linux 2008.1 Spring has been released today. What is amazing is that it's been released on time, which hasn't been the case for years !

I've started testing it quite late in this development cycle (RC2), but I still was able to find a few annoying bugs, which were corrected on time, thanks to Mandriva's hard working team. While I was a bit disapointed with 2008.0 (and 2007.0), what I saw pleased me, ans I really think this release is Mandriva Linux at its best (200X.1 releases seem to be better at Mandriva).

Everything you should know about it is here:

And the most important : the link to download Mandriva Linux with your prefered bittorrent client (Transmission in my case).
Many thanks to everyone who worked on this release. Now Enjoy !

mardi 1 avril 2008

Pidgin connection errors with jabber

I barely use pidgin (and jabber even less), but today, I was just fed up of having the same connection error. I'm using the 2.2.1 version, shipped with on Mandriva 2008.0. The problem is that I had an SSL certificate error each time I would try to connect to jabber.org. The solution from the french Ubuntu forums I found was overkill: recompile and install pidgin 2.4.0. Fortunately, I found on the Arch Linux forums a much better solution, which might be helpful for people having the same problem :

rm ~/.purple/certificates/x509/tls_peers

Enjoy :)

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