Sunday, September 02, 2007

pclinux user support

I had a problem installing a package (aptitude package manager) and I posted a request for help on the PCLOS forum.

The problem proved to be a bit tougher to solve than I thought it would be. Several people tried to help. I would try the suggestion and post the results which each time was that I was still unable to install aptitude. This cycle was repeated several times until the problem was finally solved.

I found that the people who tried to help me were great. They knew what they were doing, were patient, and kept working on the problem until it was fixed. There was very little waiting on my part - responses to my posts on the topic were very prompt.

The pclinux community is great. The PCLINUX free support is better than much of the paid support I have gotten from other software sites.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 20, 2007

make a movie in Linux

I have been trying to convert a wmv movie for dvd using ffmpeg and dvdstyler but the screen size was coming out all wrong. I found a front end to ffmpeg called winff that set up ffmpeg so that it produced a mpg file with the correct attributes. I then used dvdstyler to create the menu and the final iso file. It all worked correctly.

finding large files in Linux

I wanted to clean out some old large files on my hard drive. What I needed to help me do this was a listing of files by size. My plan was to find the large files and delete the ones I no longer needed.I used find, sort and less to do this. The code was:
$ find . -printf '%s %h%f' | sort -nr | less

the options in find for print f that I used were %s (size in bytes), %h (directory) and %f (file name)
the options in sort I used were -n (numeric osrt) and r (reverse [high to low].

Once the list was run in a terminal window I opened a second window and removed the files I no longer needed.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

dvd moview with Linux

I have the movie elephants dream in avi format and therefore I can play it on the computer but not on the television. I decided to convert it to dvd movie format.

I first tried dvdauthor (qdvdauthor gui front end) but I got a message about a missing menu file which I think was caused by my not having made up any menu item. I then tried DeVeDe which worked fine and produced an iso image. I mounted this image (loop device) and played it fine.

I then tried to burn a dvd using kb3 but I had a problem. Kb3 said that it could not burn the dvd - I have had problems with kb3 making dvd movies before. Also I use an external dvd device and this also seems to cause kb3 problems. I installed gnomebaker and it burned the iso image to the dvd without any problem, although it took a while. I tried the resultant dvd on my t.v. and it worked fine.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

switching to PCLINUXOS 2007 from Ubuntu - week 3 - final observations

This is my third week using PCLINUXOS (PCLOS) after switching from UBUNTU. THis will be my last rpsost on this and here are some final observations.

I have found that PCLOS is a very usable desktop Linux distribution. From the begining I have had very few problems. The install was easy and trouble free. I prefer xfce4 to kde and installing xfce4 was a snap and configuration was easy.

PCLOS is visually pretty, has an excellent set of default applications, and the official repository of programs has first tier programs in all significant categories of software.

For an experience Linux user (I have been using Linux sine Nov. 2000), PCLOS is an excellent choice. It is structured following the expected standards for directories, utilities, configuration files, and so forth. The default applications (Open office, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) are all main line and work without a hitch. The available online documentation such as user's manual, installation guide, etc. are quite good, but I found that everything worked so well that I did not need to use any of the documentation. I have checked out the user forum and PCLOS home page and it seems that there is a very active community. Fortunately, I have not needed any help, but it seems that help is available if needed.

The default desktop is KDE, which is a good choice because it is very stable and has a lot of great packages. Gnome and XFCE4 are also available for those persons who prefer them.

For the new user, I think that PCLOS is one of the easiest distributions to get started with. It is a live cd with the option to install. It has great hardware detection and setup (it recognized my wifi card and set it up just fine. The default applications are some of the best available. The developers have included good applications in all the areas that the normal desktop user would probably work in. About the only thing one has to do is to install libdecss to play encrypted dvds. This is explained in the documentation that appears when a browser is started for the first time. The available user manual answers just about any question that a first time user might have.

The synaptic package manager is very easy to work with and hardly needs any instructions for use. I think most any user should be able to find, install, and remove software without any difficulty.

The only minor problems I have had in the three weeks of use are:
1. I needed to turn off ipv6 in firefox and thunderbird by using about:config. At one point loading email and web pages became very slow, and from past experiences I knew that I needed to turn off ipv6 to fix this.
2. The glines game does not retain my score, but klines works fine.
3. The menu item for tightvnc (vncviewer) would open into a terminal window instead of the application. I turned off the terminal option by editing tightvnc.desktop in /usr/share/applications.
4. The flashplayer9 firefox plugin hangs up. I have read in various forums that this is a common problem and happens because flashplayer9 has a problem releasing the audio device. Flashplayer7 does not have this problem. I usually just download the stream video using the firefox plugin download helper and then play it off line.

I have had no crashes or other bad stuff in the three weeks of heavy use.

I would recommend PCLOS to any first time Linux user, but I would recommend they get a good basic book about Linux and become familiar with the user forum and the user documentation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

PCLINUXOS 2007 ande Democracytv

In one of my prior posts I said that DemocracyTV (podcast client) was not in the PCLOS repostiory. Today, I noticed that this changed and that Democracytv is now available in the official repository.

I installed it and have tried it out and it seems to work fine.

Monday, June 11, 2007

switching to PCLINUX from UBUNTU week 2

I am now into my second week of using PCLINUX 2007 (PCLOS) and I am really enjoying it.

My biggest problem has been finding a podcast client. I had used DemocracyTV but when I tried to install it from its home page, I had problems. I tried jPodder (java based) and it sort of worked but not too well. I finally did what I should have done in the first place; I looked in the repository and I noticed kpodder and gave it a try. It actually works rather well for me. It is easy to add podcasts and select the episodes I want to download and it is working fine for me.

At one point, last week my thunderbird email client really slowed down. I tried the same fix I had used for firefox, that is about:config and then turn off ipv6, and it worked. This is not a problem casued by PCLOS as I have had this happen to me before with other distro's (Ubuntu, Knoppix, Puppy Linux, etc.).

I am a fairly heavy user, and I am amazed that the items listed above are ALL the problems I have had. It is turning out that PCLOS is rock solid.

There has been a lot of words in the tech press about Linux as a desktop and I think that PCLOS is a great desktop system for the average user. Installing it is a breeze and needs hardly any setup. The applications that come pre-insalled are the ones that I think most users would want (Open Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, and the KDE desktop). Synaptic is easy to use and pretty much intuitive. The only negative is that the discriptions of programs are a bit terse. The casual user probably will never need to install software (email, web browsing, word processing and spreadsheet are already installed). For the moderately experienced pc user, synaptic should not present any significant problem.

The big thing is how trouble free it is under normal use. It loads fast, shuts down supper fast, and looks great. I would (and will) recommend PCLOS to anyone who wants to migrate from Windows or MAC to Linux. I am sure they will have a good experience.

For the experienced Linux user, PCLOS is just about the perfect desktop - mostly because it is so trouble free. I have been using Linux since 2000 and Am very experienced with Perl, Bash scripts, etc. I have found that working with PCLOS is jsut like working with any other first rate distro. I have created scripts, installed and 'tweaked' my favorite desktop manager (xfce4) without incident. I use PCLOS several hours a day and it works just like I expect and want. It has all the Linux features I want and expect and things work the way they should.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

switching to PCLINUX from UBUNTU week 1

Last week I accidentally destroyed my laptop's (Toshiba a105-s1013) hard drive partition table. Since I need to reeformat my hard drive, I decided to install PCLINUXOS2007. I had read several reviews and had tried the live cd and I wanted to give it a try. I figured that if I didn't like it after a day or so I could reinstall Ubuntu. I had been using Ubuntu edgy eft with xfce and I could not upgrade to feisty fawn because the sound didn't work for me when I tried it via the live cd.

The Install of PCLINUXOS2007 (PCLOS) was easy and worked well. My wifi card was recognized (same in Ubuntu) and the network setup went without any problems. Once I had installed PCLOS, I configured my system to the way I like it. Since PCLOS uses synaptic, selecting and installing programs is much the same as in Ubuntu. My favorite applications (Open Office, Fire Fox and Thunder bird) were already installed and my other preferred applications were in the repository. I did have trouble with DemocracyTV and installed Jpodder, but I should note that DemocracyTV didn't work well in Ubuntu either.

Overall, Installing and setting up PCLOS as a desktop machine was easy. I found that PCLOS had a better set of configuration menu's than Ubuntu. Ubuntu's configuration features had worked fine for me, but PCLOS's were easier to use.

My impression is that PCLOS is a bit more stable than Ubuntu. Also, I feel that PCLOS starts up and shuts down a bit faster than Ubuntu. I also found that qemu (virtual machine) works better in PCLOS than Ubuntu.

In my first week of using PCLOS , I have had no problems. PCLOS has a much smaller repository than Ubuntu, but has all the programs I have needed or wanted. I think that Ubuntu's documentation is a lot better than PCLOS. The Ubuntu user community is much larger than PCLOS's and Iget suspect it is easier to get help when need. On the other hand, so far at least, every thing works fine in PCLOS. I have had minor problems with applications in Ubuntu, but they have been quickly resolved by the user community.

The bottom line is that After my first week of using PCLINXOS, I have decided to stay with it instead of going back to Ubuntu. Everything works well, and the Ubuntu world is getting a bit to big and busy for me.