100% free laptop

Hold on, I did not mean that I was selling my laptop for free. I am not selling it at all and I am more than happy with it as it is 100% free (libre) when I am using Ubuntu. There is no proprietary driver used even for 3D or Wi-Fi.
Ubuntu Feisty Fawn offers a new tool about restricted drivers in the administration section which deals with restricted drivers.
I was curious about its functionalities and I launched it.
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Gnome Power Management

Gnome Power Management logoIn the up coming Gnome 2.18, there have been several improvement of the Gnome Power Management applet. It still does the job of easily configuring many options that reduce power consumption. But recently it offers a power history.

This functionality is accessible upon right click on the applet icon. It displays a neat little plot of the power level of your battery and of various ACPI-related events (like session idle, suspend, etc.) Gnome Power Management - Power History exampleI find it quite useful to see if the power management policies chosen are applied and if they could be optimised.

On your right is a screenshot of the power history (click the image to enlarge).

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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Definitively two different styles

Video MIME Type by TangoRecently San Francisco was the location of the Macworld 2007 event. Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. CEO, performed a remarkable keynote and presented the iPhone, which is buzzing all around the internet now.

Even though, that’s only a few month that we got our first Macintosh computer, I fell in love with the look and the use of those devices long before when once – around 15 years ago – there was one of those machines for a few days at home (my father brought it to work on it a couple of days). Since then, I long for having one.

Fifteen years ago PC (DOS+Windows) based computers were clearly ugly. From the hardware design to the Graphical User Interface (GUI), PCs were no comparison to Apple Macintosh and their Operating System (OS). Nowadays, the look of PC (Windows XP or Vista) is clearly improved, both hardware and software. But oddly enough and for my own taste, I consider Apple design still more recherché (sought-after).

The funny part of all this, and which is what triggered this post, is the difference in keynotes from both Microsoft and Apple. Get the full article to know more…

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Tidal-like wave observed from Earth

Sunquake animation and its resulting

A major solar flare triggered off a sort of tidal wave on the visible face of the Sun. The event was detected by the new solar patrol telescope in New Mexico on the 6th of December. This phenomenon is impressive and you can see it quickly covering a large distance (a few hundreds thousand kilometers here) in a matter of minutes (around 8 minutes).
This phenomenon, known since the sixties, is called moreton wave, which is named after the astronomer Gay Moreton.

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 Linux.com.