KDE vs. Gnome

Gnome logoKDE logoOnce again I am willing to try out something bigger and slower then AfterStep. These time it is KDE version 3 that comes with Red Hat 7.3. I upgraded my KDE 2.2 from Red Hat 7.2 and the whole day spent already :) It runs much faster on my machine and I don’t actually know if it is KDE, my machine (1GHz, 512 MB RAM), or both. Anyway, it feels faster and smother then ever before. In my opinion, it is way better then Gnome from the same distribution (which is like 1.4 beta :)), although I was Gnome’s biggest fan for all the time before. There are several things, which pushed me into KDE camp:

  • Naming convention. Most of the software for KDE starts either with “kde” or with “k”. Of course there are exceptions like “kernel” but in general it is much easier to find packages on the CD. Gnome is not all that friendly with “abiword”, “gnumeric” and “*gnome*”. But that might be only me.
  • Lots of small helpful utilities. Gigagilions of things are installed with full KDE installation. From knotes to that tea management program :) Gnome is either following different path or is not there yet.
  • Smother integration of ingridients. Again, MHO, but with every next version of both desktops I feel it more.

This is roughly the overview. Let’s see if I will manage to stay away from Afterstep this time. One day passed already.

Good news

There are two much of good news today. First, this site has been moved to new hosting facilities, where it will hopefully be a bit faster and updated more often.

Another exciting point is that my distribution based on Red Hat Linux 7.3 is almost ready. I have successfully fit it on one CD (~ 570 MB), replaced sendmail with exim (version 4.04), replaced wu_ftpd with proftpd, added bash complition and mc into minimal installation, and did few other nice things. I’ve even got couple of people to be beta testers and it works fine till now. In couple of days I will release the patch to anaconda, file listings, and the tool I’ve wrote for speeding up dependecy checking. Stay tuned. :)

Hacking Red Hat CDs

Still playing with Red Hat Linux 7.3. By now I have managed to fit it on the single CD (650 MB). Anaconda (installation program) got me pulling hair out of my head though. First, I have no prior experience with Python. Second, after I checked it out, I think I am the luckiest man alive (that I didn’t). Thirdly, code is pretty weird; for example, it is very easy to specify default language for installation, but things like changing grub to lilo, or specifying different default timezone, or allowing ssh connections in default firewall settings made spend lots of time :) If one day you will have to do something in Python, you will definetely thank Python website for providing good documentation. Concerning RPMs, I can easily put updates on distribution CD now, change Package groups (like Printing support, etc), and even substitute some software by another, like I did with proftpd obsoleting wu_ftpd and anonftp. What I need now is some way of verifying that directory with RPM packages is self-contained without actually producing a real distribution and installing it. :) Tomorrow it will work hopefully.

Another nice surprise got me when I upgraded my DVD machine to Red Hat Linux 7.3. After all, low latency does not appear to be that good for DVD playing (tested with xine, mplayer, and ogle). Without low latency support DVDs are playing much better, but still by far not that good as it was with 2.4.9. Tomorrow I will downgrade the kernel and check it out.

Last one for today – I have put the new picture of myself. This time I am with my girlfriend. And, yes, that “Li” on my t-shirt is a part of word “Linux” :)

More stuff and Quake III

Today (or actually yesterday) I was still playing with Red Hat 7.3 installation CDs. Not much to go – now it fits into single 720 MB image which happen to boot and install nicely.

Part of the last weekend was spent on upgrading my home network to Red Hat 7.3, thanks to power failure which brought my home server down again (and yes, UPS is on my wish list :) ). Apparently, everything went nice except for strange mouse disappearence from my workstation and some problems with DVD playing. Changing mice with my girlfriend happened to fix my problem, without creating one for her. DVDs are more complicated though and I am still working on the issue.

Saturday ended up with one of my friends at our place and a first Quake III lan with me using DVD box, laying on the floor and aiming via TV set. :) Almost broke my neck, but had lots of fun… till 6am. :)

Back from holidays

I am back from holidays. Most of the time was spent on rearrangements of my home network. I have downgraded the CPU to PII 200MHz on my home server and upgraded it’s memory to 256 MBytes.
There is also a brand new 1.2 GHz Celeron with 128 MBytes of memory, which is dedicated to DVD playing and other illegal activities :)

The topic of DVD playing is still new to me. I have found few projects on Freshmeat.net, including Ogle, xine, and Mplayer. For those happy Red Hat users, most of the above software is available in RPMs from FreshRPMs.net. I was also able to output DVDs and DivX to my TV using the instructions for Nvidia drivers. GeForce2 with TV-OUT easily does the job.

Meanwhile, it is nice to notice that while I was on holidays lots of people worked hard. I am very glad to discover announcements of Red Hat Linux 7.3, OpenOffice.org, Gnome 1.4 snapshot, and several other nice pieces of software in my mailbox. Congratulations to the developers!

Hacking kickstart and amanda. More.

Today and yesterday I am playing with Red Hat installation program amanda, kickstart and several other tools. My current goal is to learn how to modify Red Hat installation disks in order to create customized installation CDs for our environment. Basically, it will come down to installing of all updates from the very beginnning, replacing sendmail with exim, adding mysql to SQL Server setup, and using the latest rawhide kernel with law latency patch. If I am lucky enough to fit it all on one CD, I am happy. If not, I will fill the second disk with ltsp, openoffice.org, evolution and other usefull staff.
Until now I managed to get the rough idea how the whole thing works, and build several test CDs with random changes. Currently, I am making the ISO image of the disk with all updates in place and plenty of useless things removed (like Novell and Macintosh staff). I found Burning a Red Hat CD HOWTO extremely helpful aswell as Red Hat 7 CDs mini-HowTo and Distribution Hacking 101: disecting anaconda pages.

P.S.: Almost forgot to mention two links to Unix tips and vim tips.

P.P.S.: I am also on one week vacation from tomorrow. Happy Easter!

Red Hat, kickstart, and distribution hacking

Kickstart day. Few more machines are off from Compaq to IBM. Meanwhile, I managed to get an interesting problem with kickstart – it panics the kernel with “init not found” if I boot from the floppy to do CD-ROM installation. Needs more investigation, but for now I choose to boot from CD-ROM and use floppy only for ks.cfg storage :) While looking for anyone with similar problem, I came across several nice resources about creating your own distribution based on Red Hat. Distribution Hacking 101 explains in details how to add LTSP project to Red Hat 7.2 CDs; and Red Hat 7 CDs mini-HowTo gives lots of explanations in general. There is something similar at Linuxdoc.org.