I'm still skeptical about Microsoft

Let's start by saying what everyone is saying. Microsoft has changed their ways right? Things are better now. They want interoperability. They went into an agreement with Novel for that reason! They are releasing software as open source and trying to make things interoperable with their software. They want to advance the software industry... hmmm. I don't think so.

Let's dig a little deeper shall we.

Past transgressions

If you still believe we should give that company a chance to redeem themselves. Take a look at these articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Microsoft
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_documents
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft

It's not difficult to dig up dirt on this company. I let these articles speak for themselves. The only reason this company is still standing is because of their overwhelming market share. In my opinion these criminal activities should have lost them their support and power from the rest of the world. It's like suing a billionaire scammer for 1 million dollars and letting him carry on with scamming.

Interoperability

Boy what a mouth full. Microsoft is working with Novell and other Linux based companies now to get interoperability with other software. How did they strike this deal? By threatening Linux with patent lawsuits. Effectively they wanted to scare independent software vendors into dropping Linux in order to avoid lawsuits from them. Naughty naughty ms...

Open source strategy

Yeah right. Everyone was shocked when Microsoft made this move. I however knew what the effect was going to be. Microsoft wants to open source code to things that don't really matter, and if those things matter they want to sprinkle it with patents. Is Windows open source? Is Internet explorer open source? Is the .Net framework open source? Is visual studio open source? This software is their vendor lock in stronghold. Until they release the source code for them under unlimited licenses(or GPL like licenses) they have not changed their tune.

So where is Microsoft holding on to it's vendor lock in? The answer is actually not windows, but rather the .Net framework. Some might argue that mono is the answer to that. But mono has not made a significant impact or dent on the amount of Windows .Net developers. .Net suckers millions of developers into an easy to use framework. There's one catch, and this is where the sucker part comes in. .Net is Windows only. .Net changes at such a speed that I don't see a foreseeable way that the mono project can keep up.

But lolz ms gave a lot of money to the Apache foundation! And why do you suppose they do that? The apache license just happens to be very liberal. Microsoft wants to attract (sucker in) php developers to the windows platform. Maybe they can get Apache code to help them with that. I wouldn't be surprised. The Microsoft version of PHP will likely be just as stupid as iron python, which was from what I could tell python syntax shoe horned into .Net.

The conclusion

I know this is a very short article... I will very likely come and update it as my brain catches up with me. The conclusion is that a .Net developer running windows and reading Scott's blog, using SQL Server, Silverlight, and WPF is locked in. That developer actually deprives (him/her)self of the freedom to choose the right technologies, leaving them to shoe horn Microsoft products into every and any problem space. Microsoft has done so much damage in the past and is so wrought with bad noise, I'd rather not support them.


* Disclaimer: I write this article with no claims to facts, but only opinion based on my own knowledge, which may or may not be accurate. The intention of this article is as constructive criticism to the proponents of Microsoft and their customers, and not the company. All copyrights belong to their respective owners.

Panel position is everything: Getting your KDE4 Panel in the right place.

KDE 4.1.2 Has an interesting panel. It seems to have a way of popping up in a random place on a random screen(if you run dual screen like I do).

When I fired up my new shiny KDE4 Desktop for the first time, my panel was stuck on my old 17" CRT, with no drag-n-drop way to get it to the other side. And yes I did click on the cashew and try everything until I was blue.

So without further a due:

run :
kdesu kwrite /home//.kde4/share/config/plasma-appletsrc

The applets Configuration file

This configuration file contains the settings of all your plasma applets. Containments are: the desktop and the panel. You can add plasmoids(widgets) to it.

[Containments][1]
..
plugin=desktop

[Containments][1][Applets][23]
..
plugin=folderview

This means that folderview is nested in containment 1, the desktop.

Moving the panel

Now find your panel. It looks like this:
[Containments][26]
formfactor=2
geometry=0,-44,1980,38
immutability=1
location=4
plugin=panel
screen=0
zvalue=150
The settings above puts my panel at the bottom of my second screen, which is really my main screen. Changing the screen value should change where your panel is located. location is which edge of the screen your panel sticks to.

Here comes the tricky part. You've done your editing and you want to make your changes permanent. Saving the file and restarting X will not work. When plasma exits it will repopulate the file with it's current settings. We need to close plasma to save the settings.

Open a konsole and run the following command:
kquitapp plasma

Now save your plasma-appletsrc file and then run plasma from the konsole window. Your new settings should be there now.

Small tip... I had trouble working in that file... so I deleted everything except my desktop and my panel... there aren't that many widgets in this version of KDE, so it's no problem to just add them again.

I would like to hear about your experiences with the panel and the panel settings, and what works and doesn't. I can't exaclty remember how I got it right....

PC-BSD 7.01 - Review

PC-BSD... 7

Installation

PC-BSD has a quick installer finishing the entire install in about 20-30 minutes. The installer is easy to use and fairly intuitive, the only problem I had was that it would only work in VESA mode, which is ok. I didn't like the pictures with the stereotypical people, but hey... it's only 20 minutes, so who cares. I opted for the full DVD which was about 1.7 GB. There isn't much software bundled with it, but some nice stuff is included.

  • Firefox 3
  • OpenOffice.org 2.4
  • Pidgin
  • VLC
  • Inkscape
  • GIMP
  • Amarok 1.4
  • Wine
That covers quite a few needs.

First Boot

Booting up and meeting my new KDE 4.1 desktop wasn't so bad, except only one screen was working right. Apparently the NVidia drivers are included in PC-BSD, but they didn't work for me, so I downloaded the new version. After installing it and running nvidia-xconfig --twinview (for my dual monitor setup) KDE was working great, even allowing me to put different wallpapers on each monitor.

Updates




After the desktop is up and running the PC-BSD update manager checks whether there are updates for your programs. If an update is found for either the system of a package you have the option of updating. This saves you from having to know when new versions of software come out so that you can go to the vendor sites to download them. So in no time I was running OpenOffice 3, Pidgin was updated, and some security patches and bug fixes were also applied... pretty sweet

Getting new software

I went to PBI dir to download some software. Neverball was first on the list so that I could test my graphics driver. Neverball is a pretty cool game too. I downloaded the PBI(Portable Bsd Installer, or Push Button, whatever) and double clicked on the file after download. The nice thing about it is that it also shows the Icon of the application... Sort of like Windows installers... well some of them... and not MSI. When you run the PBI you are asked to enter your root password. This is a really really good thing. If your family or girlfriend is using the pc that mean they cant just install any old thing... if you have the root password. This also means malware can't install itself.*

Look and feel

I am a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to looks. This is why the PC-BSD desktop was lacking for me a little. The Wallpaper was really nice looking, but I changed it because I like nature scenes, and KDE-Look has some really nice ones. The fonts were all sans seriffy. Easy to change yes, but for newcomers it might look a little disappointing. I think a little more attention should be paid to that. Also I think some kde settings wouldn't do harm, like disabling Kicker... just for now, until everyone adjusts and KDE 4 is more mature. Other than that everything looked and worked great.

* I realize there is no malware for FreeBSD or Linux... yet. I mention it here because it solves a problem by never letting the problem happen in the first place, and it is a fairly valid question when you are wary of Windows security.

I Hope the PC-BSD Team the best of luck and many thanks for such an awesome package.

SpreadBSD