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Enabling sound in GNU/Linux with ALSAmixer

This post answers the questions:

  • Why does sound not work in Bodhi LInux?
  • How do I activate sound on Linux?
  • How do I unmute ALSA mixer?
  • How do I control sound from the command line in Linux?

Sound is turned off in certain distros by default (goodness knows why) so before you hunt for drivers and take to the forums, check this first… Read more

Some GNU/Linux distros to try

This post (still in the process of being written) is part of a series on getting to grips with GNU/Linux for the first time.

In this post, I will be giving a brief overview on a few other GNU/Linux distros that you might be interested in trying out. Note that whilst none of the distros listed here are aimed at command-line-loving power users, all require a degree of curiosity (they are GNU/Linux systems after all) and some may require cracking knuckles on a terminal shell, at least on first setup.

They are organised into four categories:

  • Lightweight – no extra trimmings, no bloat, just the bare minimum, to run fast and travel light.
  • General purpose – provide most of the apps an average user may need, aiming at general users.
  • Kitchen-sink – includes everything a specific type of user might need. I also include some hardware suggestions.
  • Live CD – fairly light and fully featured, most commonly used as troubleshooting discs, for using unknown computers, or whilst on the move around the world.

 

Read more

Installing Lubuntu

This post is part of a series about getting started with GNU/Linux in virtual machines using VirtualBox. If you don’t already know how to use VirtualBox or virtual machines, please read Introduction to Virtual Machines Using VirtualBox.

You can also follow along if you’re actually installing on a real machine – but you’ll have to troubleshoot machine-specific issues on your own. I can point you to a primer on “Linux distros” if you haven’t gotten totally to grips with it yet.

Section 2 can serve as the template for installing Ubuntu derivatives, including Bodhi Linux and elementary OS, which share the same installer. Read more

Introduction to Virtual Machines Using VirtualBox

This post is part of a series on setting up GNU/Linux distros on your own computer, without reinstalling your computer’s operating system. It is intended for persons completely new to computing who want to discover VMs and GNU/Linux. I list some technical how-tos for Windows and Mac users; I’ll assume native GNU/Linux users won’t have need for such details… If you’re not familiar with GNU/Linux, I’ve written an introduction to help clear up some confusions about it.

This specific tutorial will simply cover recommended system requirements, a brief overview of VMs, and how to setup VirtualBox for the first time. Installing specific distros will be covered in subsequent tutorials. Read more

The Linux Newbie’s Guide – 10 key concepts

Getting into the world of Linux might seem a little daunting to anyone who doesn’t come from a formal computing background. For starters, there seem to be so many different “Linuxes” to choose from, even though Ubuntu, distributed and maintained by Canonical, seems to be the most popular for home users, whilst a new contender, “Linux Mint” on the rise. Are they the best? Are they easy to use?

More importantly:

  • is [such-and-such-Linux] for you?
  • will you be able to use it on your own?
  • how do you get help with no support hotline?
  • does help for one Linux work on another Linux?
  • does a program on one Linux run on another?
  • can you run Windows programs on Linux?
  • Help me I’m scared of the command line!
  • What is Linux anyway??

The chapters in this post are:

  1. All Linuxes are Linux but aren’t Linux
  2. What is GNU? What are distros?
  3. Linux Distros and Families
  4. Desktop environments
  5. Graphical package managers
  6. Command line
  7. Package managers
  8. Root, users, and the sudo command
  9. Wine
  10. How to get help

Read more

BitTorrent Bundles – True Free Advertising is Just Around The Corner

BitTorrent is currently trialling their new “Bundles” file format and mechanism, which allows content creators to create packages for their work to be freely distributed.

Anyone receiving the work will be able to view some of it for free, then be asked to take action to unlock the rest of the content:

  • pay a fee
  • provide their email
  • share the work

I’m hoping that they’ll also include a “View item in store” option as a mechanism for unlocking the content, to give the sharing and viral marketing paradigm a real boost, and turn the face of online advertising on its head!

Thus, persons who specifically do not wish to pay money will still not have to, but ensuring a store link for that particular content (and not the artist in general) accompanies the piece in an otherwise free-distribution format

  1. allows sharers to share, and recipients still have a no-pay way of viewing the material
  2. enables artists to edge persons amenable to the idea of paying towards a store, removing the requirement of said consumers to proactively locate a retailer
  3. which subsequently would make the act of sharing a real free-advertising mechanism

This could work really well, so long as sharing gratis and libere is still possible, and if artists using this can provide direct access to the specific item in an international store.

Here’s to hoping!

 

Copyright Should Make Way for Creative Commons

Currently, “Copyrighted” is the default state of any creative piece. I think it is time this is changed to be Creative Commons – or something similar. I would distinguish also a right for a piece not to be spliced/abridged. Part of a set, do not distribute separately.

For one, this is the way fandoms view intellectual property, and, let’s face it – without fandoms, merch does not get sold. Additionally, it is through the enrichment of stories and content that better content is created.

I think of storytellers who retold and embellished other people’s stories, I think of folk songs passed down, re-interpreted and re-matched against other tunes, and a flurry of other great things that we’ve gotten from being free to rework, rehash and recombine, and then compare that against an imperative to ensure that only one body has the right to copy and distribute an expression for fear that it is inherently in the copying that money is to be made (a very Pre-War point of view).

Abiding by the book: in law, buskers playing popular songs are repeatedly breaching copyright, fan fictions are a theft of trademark, every design on TeeFury and other t-shirt site is a violation of rights on intellectual property. Taken to an alarmist extreme, referencing popular culture in a published or performed piece is potentially a breach of copyright (the walls surrounding fair use are not watertight – they’d need to be clear for starters).

I think we need to relax a bit. More money is wasted on legal battles than earned riding the waves of popularity and fandoms – who, by the way, really want other people to know about your material. Since we can’t simply say in court “Copyright sometimes applies,” I’d vote for more permissive licenses to be the legal standard. This does not exclude the ability to copyright a work, but a change would highlight the differences between the two licensing schemes, and open up further discussion as to what is really, truly necessary to foster creativity without causing the collapse of creative professions.

Installing CentOS Minimal

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[This post is now fairly obsolete and has a few problems. I am in the process of re-writing it. It should still lead you to a fully functioning CentOS 6 system, but overlooks some significant parts, so use due diligence and read up on topics as you go along!]

This post is intended as a guide to Linux beginner-enthiasts to the basic setup pitfalls when performing a minimal install of the Community Enterprise OS, and point out some basic command line techniques that every Linux user should know. CentOS minimal, as its name implies, is very minimalistic, and does not ship with a nice graphical interface, but instead drops you in the command line after installation.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

  1. Download and install
  2. Create a user and add to sudoers
  3. Networking
    1. A note on SSH
  4. First basic YUM operations
  5. GUI installation
  6. Apache installation and locations
  7. Opening the Firewall: iptables
  8. rpm, make and ndiswrapper – driver installation

Read more

Olympic Committee Upholds Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws

Olympic Committee Upholds Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws

Cycling and Public Transport – no cars!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23657010

I’d be happy if the council heavily discouraged ownership and use private vehicles within Edinburgh, whilst at the same time starting a Council-led/funded scheme to facilitate the purchase for everyone of bicycles mounted with electric motors (to encourage even the most reticent).

This should leave only public transport and businesses with vehicles, and everyone else with greener, safer, healthier, less noisy, less obstructive, non-congestive cost-effective private transport. Extra motorization and rear-cars for families (motorized private rickshaws!)