Sunday, November 06, 2005

Massachusetts Makes Smart Move Official

This article illustrates why it's better for government to use Open Source Software and open standards such as which uses the OpenDocument (OASIS) word processor format. This opinion article sums it up right at the beginning:
Switch to OpenDocument format will make state documents more accessible to the public because anyone can have the software to read the format.
Shouldn't that of itself be enough? Anybody can download the suite for free and because it's an open format, it'll be easy later to change software. That's better than having your data held captive. I particularly like this part of the article:
And let say it one more time: OpenDocument is an "open" format. Anyone, including Microsoft, can write to it.

Of course, Microsoft doesn't want to. The Redmond, Wash., giant makes its billions from locking users into its way of doing things. OpenDocument frees users. If everyone started using OpenOffice for their office documents they could decide, for instance, that StarOffice 8 for, say, $50 is a better deal than Microsoft Office at $500.
Btw, runs on more OSes than Microsoft Office too! It's available for Windows 9x/Me/XP/NT/2000, Linux, Macintosh, FreeBSD and Solaris. You can use the same office suite in all of them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Linux - Basic Course

I'll be teaching this course again in January at Fleming College:
Linux - Basic

Course Number: COMP194

Discover the Windows alternative that companies like IBM, Dell, HP, Novell and Sun are excited about. With more and more applications for the home user, Linux is quickly becoming a more mainstream operating system, requiring more individuals to upgrade their skills in the operation and maintenance of Linux. Recommended for those with some experience with computers, this course explores various versions of Linux, its installation and operation, office-type software, online interactivity, benefits and drawbacks.
This course is targeted at beginners to Linux though it's assumed you can get yourself around Windows OK. I frequently make reference to Windows as a bridge for understanding how Linux works. We're going to be using SUSE Linux mostly in the course but we will take some time to look at other versions of Linux and how they compare. The principles learned will apply to all the major Linux distributions. I'd be grateful if you pass around the word! Thanks.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hacking OpenSUSE

Update: The link above was down at the writing of this update. Here's a mirror.

Found the how-to linked above on ScotsNewsletter Forums. Moderator Bruno let us know about it. By the way, if you ever need Linux support, there probably isn't a better bunch of people on the net!

If you download SUSE OSS 10.0 Edition (it's not really called OpenSUSE, that's the name of the project, not the release), you'll find that it's missing the ability to run Java applets, Flash animations, play MP3s, Windows Media, Quicktime or Realplayer videos, read PDF files or watch DVDs. This article will tell you how to add the programs necessary to do this.

I tested all the steps in this article except playing DVDs (don't have a DVD-ROM drive yet) and it works with the following caveats. If you want to use Java in Konqueror, you'll have to do the following:

In Konqueror, go to Settings --> Configure Konqueror. Choose Java & Javascript on the side and in the box beside Path to Java executable or 'java', change whatever is there to java. Click the check box beside under Global Settings that says Enable Java globally and then click OK to store these settings. Note you can add specific domains or sites to the Java list below if you prefer not to enable it at all sites.

I also found that I had to leave the install CDs enabled in YaST --> Software --> Installation Sources or I had problems with dependencies it couldn't fix. Enjoy!