Linux distributions trends

Google trends - Linux (Ubuntu, Red Hat based, Debian, SUSE based) and Windows Vista

I was just playing around with Google Trends and I thought of showing the result of one of my search.

You can see on the figure (or directly at Google Trends) the evolution of search request perform by users of the Google web search engine in 2005 and 2006.

At the beginning of 2005, Ubuntu was rather new, hence the growing number of request over 2005 and 2006. I have no explanation about the sudden rise of Vista in the beginning of the second 2005 semester.

So was Ubuntu more popular than Vista in 2006? Well if by just using Google Trends we would have such an answer that would be easy, but this is only one factor amongst many. So you can think of your own good idea.

To conclude, you could check this other trend comparison between various version of Ubuntu, interesting…

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NTFS write support for Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (the development codename) has a fairly easy way to enable write mode on NTFS partitions. Writing on such partition is safe since release 1.0 of NTFS-3G, and it is included in Ubuntu Feisty’s Universe repository.

To use it, one should enable the Universe repository and install ntfs-3g package (see Ubuntu documentation about installing software) and that’s almost it.

You can now either update manually your partition configuration file (/etc/fstab) to use ntfs-3g driver instead of the default ntfs. Or you could use the ntfs-config package which does the trick taking care for you about the local settings or external hard drive. Who said Linux was not easy?

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Translating Software

TranslationTranslating a software is not a piece of cake. I have started doing some translation for the Ubuntu project, from English to French. And sometimes it is requiring a lot of effort to translate a single word just because usually the text you are reviewing is seen raw: out of the context, and thus many translation could apply but only one is correct. I did not give too much thought on this, and I move on.

But today I have found a particularly interesting post on translation. After reading it, I had the feeling that if a part of an application is not easily translatable in another language, perhaps the original version is not clear enough neither for the native speakers. Then, one could think that one tool to measure partially a GUI ergonomics could be the translation process.

So what now? As Alan Horkan says in his article, there is a need for more interactions between the translation teams and the software designer (or sometimes also the developer). Perhaps, this has to be think further by each Open Source project.

Enhancing Ubuntu’s network experience

NetworkManager LogoUbuntu is ready for network operations just after install. But what about easy configuration when you are on the go, like being able to select your wireless network, handling its security or viewing in real time its quality?
Even though Ubuntu do not provide this facility with the default installation, it is at a distance of a few clicks before you can get all those enhancements. A user simply needs to install NetworkManager, a small/neat applet for Gnome.

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Drivel, a Blog Editor

I am discovering Drivel, a small but neat application that allow me to edit my Blog off-line. Actually, this article is being written with Drivel.
Drivel is compatible with MovableType, Typepad, LiveJournal and Blogger. So as I am using WordPress, it is using the MovableType compatible XML-RPC. However, it is a bit disappointing because not all possibilities provided by WordPress are offered by Drivel. Besides writing rich text within Drivel, the only other option is to assign a single category to an article. This is yet a bit limiting, especially when compared to what drivel can offer when connecting to a LiveJournal Blog.
In addition and even though there is a way to split the article in two, in the “read more” manner (accessible via the menu Format->Insert link…), it is not compatible with WordPress and the article is displayed as one single block. Another concern is that once you have updated an article with Drivel, and if you want to re-modify it, Drivel has still in memory the original version of the article.
Still, Drivel is a neat application to have when you’re working off-line, but has room for improvement to better support existing possibilities in other Blog system than LiveJournal.

Update: The new version of Drivel (2.0.3) shipped with Ubuntu 6.10 does not bring visible changes when using WordPress apart that now after updating an article, Drivel will re-download the list of recent entries. Thus correcting the annoying bug that Drivel would still show the content of the original article before it was modified. The Drivel 2.0.3 complete change log is accessible on SourceForge. However, Drivel is still not capable to retrieve the currently assigned category of an existing post.

One can find another interesting review of Drivel on

Inkscape: The Free Vector Graphics Editor

Inkscape LogoInkscape is an Open Source software dedicated to Vector Graphics edition. It is using the standard SVG natively to store the creations. A couple of days ago, a new version of Inkscape was release, the version 0.44. Do not mistake the “0.xx”, this software is already usable and stable.

This article will try to explain what are Vector Graphics and what Inksape can do for you. In addition, we will summarise the new enhancement of Inkscape latest version and finally see how to install it on your Ubuntu distribution.

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Neat Computer Temperature Applet (Gnome)

Computer Temperature Monitor (Gnome Applet)I have found a little tiny utility that simply and neatly displays the CPU and hard disk temperatures: the Computer Temperature Monitor (ex-Laptop Temperature Monitor)

This is a Gnome Panel applet written in Python. There are packages for various Ubuntu releases and other Linux distribution.

Tips & hints

After installing the package, it worked out of the box for the CPU temperature. Regarding the hard disk temperature, one has to install the package ‘hddtemp’ (it is in the Ubuntu Universe repository).

Trying to reduce the hard disk noise – no luck yet

This is a current problem for Dapper, Breezy and Hoary whatever desktop you are using (KDE, GNOME or XFCE).

On some hardware – like my Dell Latitude D600 – you get constant disk access and noise. This does not allow your disk to spin down to save energy (especially annoying when running on battery). This problem is reported in this forum: Frequent HDD activity

So far I have manage to activate the laptop mode, but it does not seem to solve the problem for me. Anyway, if you want to activate laptop mode this is not straight forward, and this is why I am writing today.

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Administrator privilege phylosophy (sudo vs. root)

If you are a Windows 9x or Me user, I guess you are wondering what this article is all about. If you moved to Windows XP, you start guessing what it might be. But I guess when you had the opportunity during the Windows user creation to select “Limited Account” or “Administrative Account”, you have selected the latest. Not only the name “Limited Account” sounds pejorative, but you will not able to use a lot of your application then because of insufficient privilege (it is getting better, and if you have the luck to have the latest version of all your software, it might work), so you are using your Windows with administrative privilege.

This is not only a bad idea because if during your normal desktop use, you or one of your program fiddles with an important file, you might get your system to an unstable state. It can become tremendously bad when you get infected, as your whole system is then compromised (no need to find a privilege escalation security breach somewhere)

The Linux/UNIX users are surely all laughing at this. Because, they all know that you should have a root account for any administrative tasks, and a user account (see it is not a limited account in this philosophy) for all desktop use. However, there are two doctrines: the root or sudo doctrines.

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