Saturday, May 03, 2008

Linux: Some issues I had with Kubuntu 8.04

Whilst reinstalling my desktop and all the applications I wanted, these were the problems/issues I encountered.

VMware does not work

I use VMware to test drive upcoming Ubuntu releases and for running Windows XP. I still need XP for my GPS software on my PDA. I tried to install VMware 1.x and it failed when compiling the netwokr modules. This link solved my problems and I managed to compile the modules. When trying to run VMware, another problem appeared:
/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware: /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1: version `GCC_3.4' not found (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)
/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware: /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libpng12.so.0/libpng12.so.0: no version information available (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)
/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware: /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1: version `GCC_3.4' not found (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)
/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware: /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libpng12.so.0/libpng12.so.0: no version information available (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)
/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware: /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1: version `GCC_3.4' not found (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)
/usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware: /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libpng12.so.0/libpng12.so.0: no version information available (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)

To solve this, you have to symlink /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1 to /lib/libgcc_s.so.1. Please note that /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/ already contains a file called libgcc_s.so.1, so you need to remove it first. After that, VMware will run just fine.

f-spot and KDE 4 aren't friends

I use f-spot as preferred application to manage my pictures. Though f-spot installs just fine in Kubuntu, it fails to run miserably with and SIGSEGV exception. Apparently, f-spot needs the gconfd that is started by default when running Gnome. This daemon is also started automatically by firefox, so as a workaround, just start firefox once, prior to running f-spot and you're good.

No administrator button in KDE 4 System Settings

The System Settings for KDE 4 application looks really great. The problem is that some settings requiring administrative privileges are not accessible, due to a missing administrator button. The KDE folks probably forgot to add this, and I hope it will be there in KDE 4.1. Anyway, as a workaround, just open a terminal and type: kdesu systemsettings. This allowed my to change the kdm login screen.

Those were the problems I encountered, other than that, it installed and runs just fine. The Ubuntu folks did a good job and delivered Hardy on time. Kudos guys, keep up the good work and thank you for bringing Linux one step closer, again, to world domination.

meh :)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Linux: Impressions of Kubuntu 8.04 KDE 4 Remix

Almost 3 years ago, I decided do ditch my old PII Celeron and buy a new HP Pavilion Pentium 4. The Pavilion had Windows XP preloaded and it lasted about a week. Since that week, it has been running Ubuntu and I never re-installed it. I have been dist-upgrading the machine from Breezy (ah, those were the days) to Dapper. Since I like having a stable machine, instead of feature rich, "running latest versions of everything" machine, I've been using Dapper until yesterday.
Since the early days of Linux having a "desktop environment", I have always been a big fan of Gnome. It looked right and has always served my needs. As a java developer, I use Gnome as the preferred desktop environment at work too. Using Gnome, or any desktop environment, hours and hours in a row, enables you to discover the less pleasant parts of it. So, after a year of developing on a Gnome desktop, I have come to dislike it.
A few months ago, youtube was flooded with short demos on the new, upcoming, KDE 4 desktop environment. There were also a lot of demos showing Combiz, Beryl and later Compiz Fusion, but I never got very impressed with those. The KDE 4 demos impressed me though and I came to learn more about KDE and its applications. Gutsy was the first Ubuntu release providing a KDE 4 live CD, it was love at first sight :)
In my opinion, KDE has done a good job looking at the Mac OS X user interface, features and applications. I have also the impression that these applications written for the KDE desktop are more feature complete and mature than similar applications for the Gnome desktop. For me, it seems the Gnome desktop is a collection of small, feature incomplete, immature, applications. If, for example, you're looking for a "Total Commander" clone for Linux, you have the choice of 2 (maybe more) clones available for Gnome. These "Total Commander" clones for Gnome are less feature complete, then lets say Krusader. So I was using Krusader on my Gnome desktop, amongst other KDE applications as Amarok and K3B.
I was determined when the next LTS would arrive, I was going to switch to the KDE desktop environment. Unfortunately, from what I heard and read on the Internet, Kubuntu 8.04 won't be an LTS, since its primary focus will be KDE 4, which is considered not stable.
Indeed, KDE 4 is far from stable, but it works and it looks and feels right. This is the desktop environment for Linux I have been waiting for. The KDE developers still have a long road to go, since most applications still aren't ported yet from KDE 3.x. Integration of GTK applications, such as Firefox or Thunderbird, also need more work.
I don't want to start a desktop war here. The cool thing about Linux is that _you_ can choose whatever desktop environment or window manager you want. I chose KDE 4 :)