A thousand miles journey starts with a single step (Lao Tseu)

Hello World, we are coming…That’s it! In a few days my partner and I will do the first step of a long journey around the World. We are going to travel for a whole year, spend time together, enjoy life, people, cultures, landscapes and food together. This World seems so beautiful and magical, that it feels natural to just let’s go exploring it!

As we are going to enjoy the real life, my virtual me is going to hibernate. This blog will no longer be updated for the coming year and maybe even more. As a temporary measure, I will close commenting just before our departure, which is scheduled on the 1st of August 2007. Closing commenting is just momentarily to avoid this blog being flooded by unsolicited commercial message during the coming 365 days.

I never yet talk much about my interest in bande dessinée (a special form of comics) or comics. Though, I definitely prefer the first ones, I am fond of the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson. I find this strip so refreshing and funny, if you do not know it, give it a try at your local library or bookshop! Fans of Watterson’s work may have noticed a small plagiarism I used earlier. To give credits to whom it deserves, here is the small strip that inspired us our travel blog name (magical-world.eu) and my previous sentence:

“It’s a Magical World (…) let’s go exploring!”

Credits: Bill Watterson

Avahi – discovering services a network offers

Avahi - LemurAvahi is a protocol implementation that is using the Zeroconf protocol specification to discover services available (and advertised) on the network. Avahi really does simplifying the configuration and use of certain services that are supporting it.

The number of application integrating support for Avahi is everyday growing and you can even interoperate with client of other protocol implementation like Bonjour from Apple.

Of course, Avahi is integrated with Ubuntu and it is pretty easy to activate it.

In the Gnome main menu “System” -> “Administration”, there is an item called “Services”. Simply launch it and scroll down the list of services until you find Multicast DNS service discovery (avahi-daemon). Select it and close the application.

Application like Rhythmbox, Gaim/Pidgin, etc. will now be able to use this service. You can for example share your music on the local network. So, your siblings can access your music library and listen to it too. I will write a short article on it soon.

On some of my Ubuntu systems, I had to tweak a system file before it was working. Continue reading if you are in this case.

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What about a Pretty Pidgin on your Feisty Fawn?

Pidgin 2.0 logoRecently, I have been configuring Avahi on my laptop and desktop computers and I wanted to evaluate its possibilities. The first obvious choice was using Rhythmbox to share music within the two computers. But that was too easy, basically once Avahi was configured, I had nothing else to do, it just worked…

Thus, I wanted another challenge and I was remembering that Gaim (now Pidgin) should support the Bonjour protocol. Bonjour is an implementation of Zeroconf made by Apple and release as open source. Avahi is another implementation of Zeroconf and is readily installed on Ubuntu by default, though not activated. However, the installed Gaim on Ubuntu 7.04 cannot create a Bonjour account. That was just the excuse I needed to take some times getting Pidgin and installing it.

The installation will describes how to install Pidgin with support for Bonjour and Avahi on Ubuntu 7.04, and I will try to keep it the easiest possible. However, you will have to use the command line. No worries, though, as I will try to make it easy! :-) A second little chapter will explain how to activate Avahi. This guide has been validated on both the 32bit and 64bit versions of Ubuntu.

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Re: The Indulgences of Open Source

In reply from The Indulgences of Open Source (by Jonathan Cogley).

Jonathan, the author of the above linked post, is talking about free software projects and their relation with the understanding of “customers“. To illustrate his writing, he provides two examples of free projects: DokuWiki and AWStats.

Before I go in deeper analysis, let’s talk semantic. I am not an English native speaker, but I figure that English might be close enough to French so I do not make a misunderstanding. A customer is the person that buys or receives a product, it might not be the “end-user”, the one who is actually using the product. Knowing the philosophy behind free software, I also feel uneasy to call an end-user a customer when they go and download the project. Free software give the end-user the same rights and freedom as the producer, he can therefore be an actor and/or contributor of the project. Something not possible in the traditional producer and customer view.

Products and customers are bound to the commercial world, whilst projects and users belong to the free world.

Now, Let’s analyse Jonathan’s train of thought on each subject separately.

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Alpha, beta, gamma – or why Safari 3 should be Alpha

As you know Safari 3 is now beta and available for both Mac OS and Windows platform. However, it seems that Apple underestimated the development state of the Windows version. Developing software is like respecting the alphabet order, no letter (or phase) should be skipped. Apple should have thought twice about that before releasing there public beta of Safari 3 for Windows. It is hardly beta software.

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Safari 3, beta is available for Mac OS and Windows

Compass - Safari logoApple has announced the main features that will be shipped with Leopard, the next generation Mac OS. Together, they unveiled the next release of Safari. Safari 3 will be available on Mac OS and on Windows (XP and Vista only as it seems). A public beta is available for download on Apple web site.

If you want to learn more about Safari, click on read more.

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Le Nouveau Littré 2007 aussi pour Linux (French)

As this is a French related software (a dictionary of French words), it will only interest people with a good level of speech in French. Therefore, this article will be one of the few written in French.

Si j’ai toujours mon Petit Larousse de 1988 en format papier, j’ai parfois besoin d’avoir accès à un dictionnaire directement depuis mon ordinateur, ne serait-ce que lors de déplacement. Depuis maintenant deux ans, j’achète le Nouveau Littré électronique. Le Littré est un célèbre dictionnaire de la langue française qui fut écrit à l’origine par Émile Littré. Les dictionnaires plus populaires, que sont le Larousse et le Robert, ont suivi la voie ouverte par le Littré.

La bonne nouvelle pour nous amis libristes (mot inconnu du Littré au passage ;-) ) est la déclinaison multi-plateforme du Littré électronique. L’édition 2007, comme la précédente, est disponible sur les plateformes Windows, Mac OS X et celle de notre cher pingouin Linux.

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Increasing laptop battery life in Ubuntu

Gnome Power Management logoThe nature is getting greener everyday, so why can’t we? I decided to invest a bit of my time solving a problem with Dell laptops running Ubuntu and the LCD brightness. The root of this problem is detailed in the Dell Latitude D600 laptop page on the Ubuntu Wiki. To shortly summarise the current release (7.04) of Ubuntu does not manage to talk with the Dell hardware properly to get the brightness state and to modify it. Therefore, Ubuntu cannot dim the LCD brightness to save energy on such laptop.

This post briefly offers some technical background before pointing to a guide in wikishelf, which will explain how to activate the control of the LCD brightness and take advantage of the Gnome Power Manager facilities to save some more battery life.

For other tips and tricks to lower your power consumption on Linux in general, try this article about Linux power management, how to optimise power consumption, most of these information are not specific to Dell laptops or Ubuntu, they can even be applied on desktop computers to save energy.
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Count out! Simple game can provide fun too

I stumble yesterday upon a funny, not complex little game that resemble pretty much mine sweeper. :-)

It is a flash animation, so this has nothing to do with free software. But it is just fun to play. It is much like mine sweeper but with numbers. A number indicates how much golden tile there are adjacent to it. This make it pretty simple when the number is 0 or 4, or even 3 next to a border or 2 at a corner.

Easy but fun . :(|) Ideal to relax 2 minutes.