Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mrs. Steve Ballmer at it again and WorstBuy

Now I am mad, can't even read the text because it cropped and re-encoded my images to low resolution crap, so I am posting the images as well.

I suspect WorstBuy had something to do with this as well. Nice try! Only took me less than an hour to have it fixed, and I am reporting you to Google. It's all on server logs. They use Linux on all of their servers as well as Amazon and your cell phones. The internet depends on Linux.

Tux is also at work, not just Mrs. Ballmer. And Tux is using an awesome tile manager known as Xmonad.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How did Steve Ballmer get my Cell Number?

Maybe he payed one of those online services, gawd.

If you run an OS that does'nt play OGG Vorbis and Theora out of the box, I feel sorry for you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Desktop after Gimping Wallpaper and New Kernel

I wanted to have some fun before I have to go back to school on Tuesday :/

I'm trying to dig out this story I wrote and post it on my blog. It's buried somewhere in my computer. I'll find it. It's non-fiction about self replicating nanomachines and a computer virus and the end of the world :)

I changed my cursor to black and removed that stupid text at the bottom of the second monitor with Gimp flawlessly after I posted that picture. Did I violate another terms of conditions and EULA Mrs. Steve Ballmer?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BootChart, Performance, Benchmarks


Below is a chart showing lots of information of the bootup process in Ubuntu. The main thing here it is showing is performance and the amount of time it took to boot. For me, it was 26 seconds. I believe I can do better, but I have many things enabled, and I haven't attempted overclocking again. Yet, my system is very responsive and fast when up. To get bootchart...

sudo apt-get install bootchart

One of the biggest things I do to increase my performance is run hard drives in Striped Raid Level 0. This Raid Level gives the best performance of them all, but many complain because of the risks associated with it. As opposed to a type of mirrored RAID (Rendundant Independent Array of Disks), if one drive goes out, you lose all data with an exception. I have automated backups performed every night using cron and my own rsync command with lots of options that puts backups for example of everything in /home to my 1.5 TB TeraByte (1024 Gigabytes = 1 TeraByte) drive. This has been useful even though I have not had a drive in Raid 0 fail me because when a file is mistakenly deleted, I can go to the backups, and restore it immediately. Rsync is the best for backups. It can not only do backups to a remote server, but in my case, locally to another drive used for storage and backups that's not in a Raid configuration. I plan to create a screencast of how to setup Raid. I've done it in both Ubuntu, Fedora, and CentOS, but it can be setup without any distro's installer prior to installing the distro just as partitioning can. Other things I do to increase performance are disable unused services, support for hardware I don't have (see previous blog post), use Firefox 3.5 with cache set to use my RAM (aka memory, Random Access Memory, not to be confused with hard drive memory), occasionally use a lightweight Windows Manager such as Xmonad (Great Tile Manager) and JWM (The one used in Puppy Linux) which can all be installed through the package manager. Overclocking is okay if you are willing to take the risks, know what you are doing, and some hardware is MUCH better for it than others.

Setting the Firefox cache to use memory.
First, let me say that memory is volatile meaning that when the memory loses power (a computer shuts down), nothing is saved in it as opposed to hard drives, so this can also be though of as a form of security as once you shut down or reboot, the cache is gone, and a person then can't look through your cache to see where you have been on the interweb. Here are the instructions for setting this up:
  1.  In Firefox, open a new tab (Control + t does that) and switch to it.
  2.  In the address bar, type "about:config" without quotes, and accept the message to continue.
  3.  Right click in a white area and then left click "New>String"
  4.  Put in without quotes as the string "browser.cache.disk.parent_directory"
  5.  Next you are asked for the value. Put in without quotes "/dev/shm" (This is the device node Linux uses for your memory.)
  6.  Now close that tab (Control + w) and Restart Firefox.

 There are several separate tools to use for benchmarking depending on which hardware you want to benchmark. Here are a few of my favorites.

Video card: I use glxgears in terminal and wait for it to display some information. Earlier I got over 8k FPS (Frames Per Second), not Frames Per 5 Seconds. I thought I had seen higher before, not sure what's going on.

Hard Disks:  

$ sudo hdparm -Tt /dev/md0

 Timing cached reads:   2106 MB in  2.00 seconds = 1053.39 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  316 MB in  3.03 seconds = 104.43 MB/sec  

Even though I am running my system on top of Raid 0, it is likely that your speeds are close to mine if you have purchased modern Sata2 Drives. The reason is because the cache for those modern drives is usually 32 mb, and mine are about a year old and have a cache of only 8mb, 16mb cache for the 1.5tb drive. I have not figured out yet how to measure write speeds in a nice format like the above. If you know how, leave a comment. That's what Raid 0 is supposed to be good at when compared to Raid 1 (mirrored, not striped). Your metal oxide platters likely spin at the same standard 7200 RPMs unless you are running a laptop. Then I believe it is 5400 RPMs last time I checked.

Checking overall, mostly a combination of CPU, RAM, and BUS SPEEDS:
Install p7zip-full.
Open in your web browser the following.

$ 7z b -mmt2 -md26 2

7-Zip  4.58 beta  Copyright (c) 1999-2008 Igor Pavlov  2008-05-05
p7zip Version 4.58 (locale=en_US.UTF-8,Utf16=on,HugeFiles=on,2 CPUs)

RAM size:    2007 MB,  # CPU hardware threads:   2
RAM usage:    777 MB,  # Benchmark threads:      2

Dict        Compressing          |        Decompressing
      Speed Usage    R/U Rating  |    Speed Usage    R/U Rating
       KB/s     %   MIPS   MIPS  |     KB/s     %   MIPS   MIPS

22:    2058   121   1651   2002  |    37927   178   1923   3424
23:    2161   129   1706   2202  |    35674   170   1921   3266
24:    2332   145   1732   2507  |    35250   171   1907   3271
25:    1994   131   1737   2276  |    34227   170   1888   3219
26:    1987   147   1643   2421  |    32412   245   1259   3088
22:    2150   126   1658   2091  |    36655   257   1286   3309
23:    1985   119   1695   2023  |    36117   172   1924   3307
24:    1954   122   1721   2101  |    34635   167   1927   3214
25:    2141   140   1745   2444  |    33862   167   1906   3185
26:    2023   151   1631   2465  |    32144   162   1885   3063
Avr:          133   1692   2253               186   1783   3234
Tot:          160   1737   2744

There are several other benchmarking tools. Check (The Linux Documentation Project), and search with your package manager.

Feel free to post your benchmark results in the comments!

New stable kernel released

The kernel 2.6.31 has been released as stable/mainstream. I spent hours configuring it, and then I compiled it. I realized I made a mistake in configuring it, and so I did the whole process again. My favorite section is labeled "Kernel Hacking" (see below). I saw many interesting things such as support for my BlackBerry phone that I compiled directly into the kernel (not as a module), support for things having to do with Playstations, etc.

For those who have never seen what it looks like to configure a kernel, here is a screenshot I am providing.

Before getting it right with trial and error, lots of determination and patience, my system was unstable and I was having to use the "Reboot Even If System Utterly Broke" technique to safely reboot my computer.

Advantages to configuring and compiling a vanilla kernel straight from the creator of Linux himself (Linus Torvalds) Linus + Unix = Linux

  1. You get to remove unneeded support for hardware you don't use. For example, I compiled this for my desktop, hate bluetooth, etc., so I removed all support for that, and it makes the kernel smaller and boot faster, use less resources, and system running faster. Pre-Compiled Kernels that come with distros are made to work on a wide variety of hardware to work on many machines, and therefore you can tailor the kernel to your specific needs and hardware.
  2. Unpatched and unmodified: You can choose your own patches to include and not include the ones you do not want. Example: I want a patch for my open source wireless driver to support packet injection (creating IVs Initialization Vectors) used to test my wireless security to determine how easy my wireless network can be broken into (key/passphrase obtained through hacking/cracking).
  3. Latest hardware support: Even if all your hardware works, it is likely that some improvements have been made in the kernel for some of your hardware devices, and they will work even better.
  4. A learning experience for those who want to know the ends and outs of Linux.
  5. With Debian based distros such as Ubuntu, you can use make-kpkg instead of make install to create a Debian .deb package of your kernel and kernel headers.
This post is not meant to be a guide, but if I get enough requests for one, I can work on creating a guide.

Tip: For those new to configuring the kernel, start by loading your distro's default .config that was used to make the stock distro kernel located in /boot/config... and then start making changes. If you see something you aren't completely sure what to do, leave it the way it is or Google it and read the help menu until you fully understand what you are doing before making any specific changes.

In other News, I was able to get a resolution of 3648x1536 with dual monitors, and for those who do not know what that means. It is a measurement in pixels of width x height.

Width: 3648 pixels
Height: 1536 pixels

I played around with Compiz Fusion using these dual monitors, and it's very nice :)

Below is a video demonstration of Compiz Fusion running on Ubuntu Jaunty.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Microsoft Trains BestBuy Employees to Boo Linux to Customers

Quote from Best Buy Employee:

So I work at Best Buy (insert boos and hisses) and I was doing some Microsoft ExpertZone training.

Well, the new one for Windows 7 allows me to get a $10 retail copy of Windows 7 after completing the courses. So I figured I'd get it and sell it for a quick buck. Now, during my training modules, a "Linux vs Windows 7" module appeared.

Here are screenshots of the lies Microsoft is portraying.

Okay so this one isn't so bad.

Again, this one isn't so bad either.

Okay so here's where it starts getting bad.

No iPod support? Really? And the Zune doesn't work on the Mac either although there has been some progress from the Linux community. And I've never had any problems pulling pictures from cameras.

I've yet to see a printer that doesn't have a driver. You might have to download it from the products website though (gasp!).

Yeah yeah. Software. Although WINE has been vastly improving lately (we even got around that stupid Secu-ROM).

There are free alternatives to all of the Windows Live "essentials".

WOW. Of all the games to mention, they mention World of Warcraft. I wrote a tutorial on how to get WoW running on Linux not to long ago. Its probably the easiest game to set up with in WINE.

Authorized support? Well you have Red Hat and Canonical, oh I guess you can count Novell...

Video chat with Pidgin? Or Skype?

I don't have time to refute the rest, but I'll post the screenies.

This comes from

As you can see, m$ is trying to stay on top as a m$onpoly. In my own experience, I realized that m$ has tried/done changed standards of the internet with Internet Explorer 8, so that Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will not work properly with these websites, m$ attempts to cause incompatibility for others. Also you can see how much false and manipulating information there is above. BTW, all my hardware works in Linux, ALL, and if it's doesn't support Linux, I don't purchase or support it. My Realtek usb (very versatile) with fully open source and patchable drivers, 500 mWatts of power that allows me to remove the default omni-directional antenna and replace with a directional Yagi loses connection in Windows often, and I have to keep doing repair, fidling, wasting time, to make it work right in Windows as opposed to it working stable and solid fast in Linux with more control over what I can do with it. Hardware is supported out of the box with Ubuntu, no need to go driver hunting. So I installed Windows and my internet, sound, and a few others did not work. I could not get online to get the drivers. What do you think I had to do? I used Linux to get online and download the drivers. Ubuntu is user-friendly beyond Windows and updates all your software at once without having to run multiple updater programs in the background wasting your computer resources. I could go longer, but I'll leave it at that as of now.

UPDATE: Both Microsoft and Bestbuy admitted to what's happened/happening. They had no choice.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Puppy Ubuntu and Gentoofying Ubuntu

You might be wondering wth (what the hell) am I talking about.

For those of you who don't know, Puppy Linux is a very good OS indeed for older computers. It is light weight, each release stays at about 100 mb. It can load it's entire self into ram (random access memory), and the user interface is very attractive and intuitive.

Puppy Ubuntu

Now what it needs is some Debian roots with apt-get. I can take a regular ubuntu, strip it down of unneeded and replace it with lighter weight software, maybe software that isnt as bloated with features, but I'd rather start from the scratch up, so an Ubuntu Server edition and then a vanilla kernel compile, .... ok enough said. Now you should know what Puppy Linux is good for, older hardware.

Gentoofied Ubuntu

I could take my recompiling of deb packages even further and automate everything as far as installing all software compiled just like gentoo, but using ubuntu and apt-get. ok there is a command I've once used, a If you have multiple cores, compiling is for you. Put those babies to work. If you are still reading this, you are interested in what I have to say and the information I provide, much appreciated. But I must get feedback especially with the gentoo/ubuntu idea because this will take a lot of work, but can be done. Puppy Ubuntu won't be so time consuming and has better benefits.

Gentoo will make you go from beginner to moderate Linux user pretty fast. When I the gentoo handbook, it was 92 pages. Everything is installed via the command line. Don't use the GUI installer.