If you're only using your $500 PlayStation 3 for console gaming, you're missing out on half of its hidden versatility: the ability to upgrade into a fully functional PC! Inside that shiny plastic shell resides some decent computing silicon, just waiting to be released from its undeserved console shackles. And while Windows Vista and OSX are no-goes due to legal issues, there's no reason at all not to dual boot into a perfectly serviceable Linux platform when the need arises.
The installation process is fairly straightforward, and the hard drive is easily upgradeable if you don't mind spending a little extra cash on the side. And while Ubuntu for PlayStation has a few functional limitations, you can find myriad excellent applications for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own living room, including VLC for encoded video playback, Amarok to blast your digital music library, and some classic SNES emulation software that you can play using your PS3's Sixaxis or Dualshock controller. This guide will show you how to do all of the above, so let's get started!
The Linux graphical user interface (GUI) system may be very different from what you are used to if you are coming from a Windows or Mac OS X background. The GUI of an operating system is commonly referred to as its shell. While virtually all versions of Windows since Windows 95 have used variations of the same basic shell (explorer.exe), there are numerous shells available for the Linux GUI. These Linux shells are called window managers and desktop environments. The term window manager is used to address the simple core user interface of a shell, while the term desktop environment is much more inclusive, covering the shell itself in addition to the various other programs that are integrated with it.
Due to the vast number of window managers available for Linux, many new users often feel overwhelmed at the idea of having to learn their way around them. We must emphasize that many people experiment with several window managers before settling down with one that feels right for them, and there certainly is no need to learn all of them. Due to their modular nature, it is common to have several window managers installed at once.
Much like part one of this series that dealt with choosing a distro, this guide will help you to choose a window manager/desktop environment by introducing you to several of them and addressing their strengths and weaknesses.
The newest version of Ubuntu (9.04, codenamed “Jaunty Jackalope”) is set to be released on April 23, 2009. While there are some noticeable differences, much of the improvement in 9.10 can be found under the hood.
Every Ubuntu release comes with new software, and Jaunty is no exception. Jaunty comes with GNOME 2.25.92 (in Alpha 5) and many other packages like OpenOffice.org 3.0, GIMP 2.6.5, and much more. Jaunty will also include X server 1.6, which includes new features like X input 1.5, predictable pointer acceleration, and RandR 1.3.
Also, Jaunty introduces the “Computer Janitor”, a new administration utility meant to help clean up orphaned packages. Although there are no orphans on the LiveCD or in a new installation, this tool will help maintain old installations that have been around for awhile and have been upgraded a few times.
Read on for the scoop on all of Jaunty Jackalope's other updates!
Following its rapid release schedule, eager Ubuntu fans need only wait until April 23rd for the next release of the open-source Linux distro. In the meantime, if a little over a month is just too long to wait, you can take a sneak peek at Ubuntu 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope, currently in alpha form.
The just released Jaunty Jackalope Alpha 6 is the fifth alpha release of Ubuntu 9.04 and includes several new features, along with a handful of known bugs. Among the former is a new X.Org server, version 1.6, better font-size optimization tailored to your monitor rather than defaulting to 96 dpi, new style for notifications and notification preferences, a new Linux kernel (2.6.28-8.26), and support for the new ext4 file system.
Keep in mind that as an alpha release, you should expect instability. Known issues include the disabling of the "encrypted home directory" option, video driver problems with the XServer, mis-reporting of proper font sizes resulting in abnormally small or large fonts, CTRL-ALT-Backspace is disabled, and users of Intel's i846 or i865 video chipsets receive an error message stating "Fatal server error: Couldn't bind memory for BO front buffer."
With the prevalence of software available for many distros, why would anyone want to compile software from source? Compiling allows you to custom-fit a program to your particular hardware configuration and CPU architecture, which is useful if a program has no binary that is compatible with your processor. However, this is seldom a problem these days, since most computers now use 32 or 64-bit x86 processors. In the past, Linux enthusiasts often compiled programs from source to wring the greatest possible performance out of their hardware. More recently, this has mostly become a non-issue due to the increases made in computing speed; while compiling may offer a slight performance increase, it is not enough to really make a difference.
Although the introduction of package management on most distros, less diversity in CPU architecture among the user base, and massive increases in hardware speed have largely reduced or eliminated the need to compile software yourself, there are still a few instances where you would have to do so. Although the various official and unofficial software repositories for Ubuntu and other distros include most of the tools that the average user would need for any given purpose, the repositories are not completely comprehensive.Old packages sometimes get dropped and updated versions are often slow to be added. It may also take a release cycle or more for brand-new programs to be included.
While Ubuntu and Debian have “backports” repositories that have fairly new packages in them, many other distros do not have such a resource. For large projects with large community support, the developer may offer nightly builds, but this is not the case for most projects. The only reliable way to get bleeding-edge software (stability issues aside) is to either find a repository that has it or download the source code from the developer and build it yourself.
In part one of our guide, we walked you through the process of finding a distro that is right for you. By now, you hopefully have become more familiar with the distros that are out there and have at least one that you would like to try. This chapter is going to walk you through downloading and burning a CD image of your chosen distro(s), the traditional way of partitioning and setting up a dual-boot system, and another way to dual-boot without repartitioning. Instead of providing a step-by-step tutorial for a specific installation process, our goal is to educate you on the underlying concepts in a more generalized way that you will be able to apply towards many different Linux distros. You should also read our previous guide to installing Ubuntu for further instructions.
We are certain that many of you want to try Linux to see what it is like, but have no idea where to start or how to get into it. This article is the first installment in a four-part guide that will gradually introduce you to the Linux environment and how to adjust to it if you are a new user.
One of the hardest things to do while starting out is finding a distro that is right for you. Many users try several before settling on one of two that they really like. Once they find a distro that feels right, they are often reluctant to switch unless the distro becomes unsuitable for their needs for whatever reason.
In most instances, choosing a distro ultimately comes down to several factors: Your skill level, the purpose of the system, and package management.
Highlighting one of the benefits of using an open-source OS, Hewlett Packard has released a custom version of Ubuntu intended for netbooks, and more specifically, for the HP Mini 1000 Mi Edition. The custom OS is built around Ubuntu 8.04 and comes preloaded with the usual software suspects, plus a few more.
The main difference between Hardy Heron and HP's customized version comes down to the GUI, and it appears HP went to some length to make its OS stand out from Ubuntu. Booting up the HP Mini 1000 Mi takes users to a screen with a web search bar, a favorite websites list, and various shortcuts to music and photos on a black background. The Program Launcher separates applications into different categories, and a custom media player called HP MediaStype offers a full screen interface to scroll through your media.
Some of HP's netbooks already come preinstalled with the custom OS, but the OEM also plans to offer a utility in the coming days to turn a Windows XP HP Mini 1000 into a Mi Edition netbook.
We don't know if Verne Troyer's into the whole netbook scene or the open source movement, but if he is, he can now order HP's shagadelic Mini 1000 Mi. Sporting a 9-inch screen, the pint sized mobile PC gets randy with the Linux community by trading in Microsoft's Windows XP for a customized version of Ubuntu.
A baseline configuration starts at $330 and includes an Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz) processor, 512MB of DDR2 RAM, 8GB SSD drive, and HP's Mobile internet (Mi) software. But if baseline's not your bag, the Mini 1000 Mi's mojo allows for custom configurations, something not common in the netbook sector. Upgrade options include a 10.1-inch display, 1GB DDR2 RAM (currently a free upgrade), 16GB SSD or 60GB 4200 RPM hard drive, and Bluetooth.
So, the season of giving has just come and gone, and you’ve received a Linux-based netbook—the popular new class of ultra-cheap, ultra-portable computer. By definition, netbooks are very limited in what they can do; they’re primary meant for accessing the web as well as some moderate office and multimedia use. Their low-speed processor and minimal memory means that they’re just not suited for more intensive applications like gaming or video editing.
However, there are things you can do to get the most out of your little machine. For instance, you can swap out the limited OS that comes packaged with most Linux-based netbooks for a much more versatile distro like Ubuntu, which can be customized specifically for netbooks. It’s a somewhat complicated process, but in this guide we’ll walk you through it, step by step, and then we’ll show you how to get around in Ubuntu.