yup, you read it right. One of the power toys available for Windows XP is a desktop manager. It works from the task bar just like it would in Ubuntu. The preview gives you an almost Mac-like appearance, with all desktops showing up in a square format across you screen. Google Desktop also has that ability to handle multiple desktops.
I went back to the Borders today to refill the Ubuntu box, to find that 5 have been taken. After a little quick math, found that 45 Ubuntu CDs have been distributed since I first put the box in place.
/me happy. (that was an IRC joke… if you didn’t get it, don’t worry, it’s a geek thing…)
Have you ever heard “The best ideas come when you are in the shower…”. Well, I know that applies to me, while also happening at 2 in the morning.
My idea is about the OOXML.
Now this is just a conspiracy theory… but after reading this, I felt my idea may hold some water.
So there are proprietary bits of data within the code of OOXML, which are owned by Microsoft, such as the “AddSpaceLikeWord95″ or whatever it is called. In the article, Microsoft is noted as saying that they would try to pull in more revenue through the Linux-patent deals. Now that the GPLv3 is in effect, that can no longer happen.
Could it be, that Microsoft is going to try to pull in revenue with OOXML? If it becomes approved by the ISO, they (MSFT) would (try) use it to knock ODF out of the running when it comes to document formats, by using Office 2007 formats as the default in their office apps. Home users would use the formats without thinking twice, thus leaving Linux users without the most popular file format in a matter of years, or maybe even months. Sun Microsystems would then, if they wanted OpenOffice to succeed, have to use OOXML, and may have to pay a licensing fee to get the full features, due to the proprietary pieces of data mentioned earlier. In other words, you may not have to pay for OpenOffice, but you would be supporting Microsoft by getting Sun to pay for licensing fees. Therefore, taxing all Linux users for the software they use, aka taxing by association.
This is just a conspiracy theory, and all would hinge on whether or not OOXML is approved by the ISO, but it does get me thinking — what if…
Even though Ubuntu is beginning to make it’s way into the mainstream of all operating systems, I still meet people who don’t know what Linux is about. It is not a matter of how smart that particular person is, it is just that they may not have been in contact with anyone who uses Linux.
It is at this point that it should be our duty to ensure that they are not mislead in how it works. If they look up Linux in their search engine and find some misleading articles, this could be a problem when we (the Linux users) try to educate them later.
Ubuntu has, project status-ly speaking, is showing great innovation when it comes to Linux, and also having a complete system ecosystem with Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, (soon) Gobuntu, and Ubuntu Mobile Edition (after talking w/ some of the members on the team, I learned that the official device will come in 2008). There is something for everyone, and with that in mind, showing people that they do have a choice:
- Ubuntu for average/new users
- Kubuntu for power users
- Xubuntu for older computers
- Edubuntu for children
- Gobuntu for the GNU conscious
- Ubuntu Mobile Edition for Intel-based devices (extension of Celeron, not ARM)
There are common misleading articles out in the web giving misleading information. The best article I have seen debunking the most common ones is available here:
This article is a great read, and I am sure you will enjoy it since many of you probably passed over articles that have said stuff like: Linux is not free, You have to use the command line often, etc. The article was written by Michael Jordan over at Linux.org.
Sure enough, after tapping away at my keyboard telling everyone how Ubuntu Mobile would not be for devices like the Nokia N800, Mark Shuttleworth mentions it during his keynote speech.
I am glad to hear it – I was getting a little worried for a moment. Not about the actual operating system, but the devices being too expensive. Ubuntu’s programmers create some cool stuff, and I can’t wait to start testing this stuff on 7.10.
It looks like the current list of target devices might change in the future, adding devices, and hopefully, some smaller, more handheld devices.
I was just at the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded wiki page and saw the list of target devices. I didn’t like what I saw:
The devices were all UMPCs.
Perhaps you remember the “Origami” project started by Microsoft, which was really a cool idea for a new form factor, but a bit bulky. Not to mention, there wasn’t a device on the target list that was under $500. That’s a lot of money for a “mobile” device. Perhaps as an embedded venture, it may work, but mobile!?
I would have targeted the Nokia N800. It already runs Linux. Even at Hackndev.com, there are many ports available for Palm devices. Now, I have split ways with Palm, after they have changed their focus to smartphones (too expensive, data plans are $60 a month!), and started using Microsoft’s OOXML. Not exactly the best incentive, although they are going to release a Linux-based OS based smartphone sometime later this year.
This all falls under the catagory of the Palm Foleo. While it is a nice device, I don’t think making it a “Smartphone” companion was a great idea. People don’t want to lug around a $600 sub-notebook (my laptop cost $524) with a $300 smartphone. Why carry 2 devices when one isn’t necessary? Basically, they (Palm) aimed the device hierarchy as laptop(or desktop) => smartphone => Foleo. Not too user friendly if you ask me.
The same goes for the UMPCs. If I did a “mobile” version of Ubuntu it would really be mobile, as in “Fit in pocket.” Also, $500 and up is not a “mobile” friendly figure. Mobile devices 1) need to be cheap, as is the Nokia N800, and 2) it needs to be on devices that have actually sold well, for better adoption by the mass market. You don’t see everyone running around with UMPCs, do you?
Anyways, I thought I would get that off my chest.
Many of you have seen how to make a Mac-like dock bar along the bottom of your screen.
This guide will teach you how to create the Vista sidebar on your Ubuntu GNOME installation. I really wanted to try this as an experiment, while not wanting to give up my lower bar.
The first step is to right-click on either panel (taskbar) on the top or bottom of your screen. A menu will pop up, giving you several options. Click on “New Panel”. This will make another panel on the right or left side of your screen. This is the panel you will use to make the sidebar.
Once you have the bar in the position of your choice, right-click on the new panel and choose “Properties”. In order for it to look “Vista-ish” you will need to make it wider, so widen it to it’s maximum width of 120 pixels. You can also change the orientation of this bar on your screen from within the same tab, as well as enable auto-hiding, which will hide the taskbar when not in use.
You may have noticed that there is no transparency in your taskbar. Click on the “Background” tab at the top of the “Properties” window. Click on “Use solid color”. This will enable the transparency, and will also allow you to change the amount of transparency as well.
Next, you can right-click on the panel one more time, and add items to it via “Add to Panel”. Here’s a screen shot of how mine looks after I have customized it:
Something I found on the system monitor applet is a system information page:
Who knew? You will also get the name of your computer at the top, but I edited that part out for security reasons… Here’s another nifty item I came across… the “Take Screenshot” application allows you to take a pic of your entire screen, or any open application.
I have been thinking about this lately, and it keeps coming back to me every time I visit our wiki page, or do some work surrounding the LoCo.
As I have said before, the Local Community Team is the most powerful weapon in the Ubuntu arsenal. The possibilities are endless with what can be accomplished, while spreading a system to thousands in our state. For a system that has gained an estimated 10 million users in 3 1/2 years (which, unscientifically speaking, is over 1% of the worldwide computer market) is incredible, and we have the chance to even speed up that adoption rate. We have an uphill battle to fight, as we go against common thinking of paying $150 or more for an operating system, which usually comes preinstalled on computer systems.
We have help though, with programs such as OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Firefox, both with an estimated 100 million users each. Both applications come preinstalled on Ubuntu. Dell has also started selling Linux desktops and laptops, and even more recently expanded their offerings. Not to mention, they have announced that they will start selling the same computers in Europe.
Media and availability is key. Making sure that Ubuntu is well publicized will let people know that Ubuntu is a viable alternative to both Windows and Mac, and even more importantly know that it is free – free as in cost, that is. The free as in liberty part would come later, because it would be something alien to most people coming from proprietary systems; it took me a few weeks to figure the benefits and meaning myself.
Availability is another key part to adoption. Knowing that you can get free CDs, pass them on, and make your own is certainly a great incentive to use Ubuntu. When people realize how much more advanced Ubuntu is than they may have expected, we could only expect for the viral effect of open source software to come into play.
As we watch Ubuntu and free software grow, it is a reminder that anything is possible when we put our minds to it; and thanks in part to the LoCo, this adoption can be almost guaranteed, we just need to accept the challenge and go for it.
The format OOXML went up for a vote by the V1, which is a technical committee of INCITS… which is a industry forum that has been accredited by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. This vote was to begin a process to determine the US’s position on OOXML for when the actual voting comes around.
The vote was barely turned down, missing the 2/3 of votes needed to approve OOXML. While this is only the first step in the process, it is nice to see that at least this vote was turned down. Next up will be a 30 day letter-ballot period. The final recommendation will be made on September 2nd. Good stuff indeed – for us Linux folks.
Here’s the article from Rob Weir:
And another good article from Brian Proffitt, Managin Editor at Linux Today:
For those who may not be familiar with Office Open XML, OOXML for short, it is an XML-based file format that was created (and is still being worked on) by Microsoft. There is already an XML file format called the ODF, or Open Document Format. This format is open source as well, which allows people to help out on the project. A neutral party (OASIS) controls the direction of the standard, ensuring backward compatibility, and doesn’t play favorites with companies. Microsoft argues that ODF is designed for OpenOffice.org exclusively, while the reality is that many applications use the format. Microsoft wanted to create one of their own, that was open source, since many governments are starting to choose open formats, including the ODF. Microsoft, however, controls the formats direction, and have not released any support for Linux, locking in the users to their products, exclusively.
In order to catch up with the ODF, Microsoft had submitted OOXML to ECMA, which fast-tracks the approval process. However, that is not the final step. The ISO, or International Organization for Standardization, is the official and final step for standardization – which the ODF has already been approved.
The funny thing is… if you are against OOXML and choose one that has been in place since 2004(ODF) and already approved by the ISO, Microsoft says that you are ” killing choice”, claiming that people want choice when it comes to standards. Well, really the fight among standards happens at the level of corporations. Think of the old VHS vs. Betamax format wars. Hardly anyone bought either of these formats until a clear winner was apparent. The same goes for the HD-DVD vs. Blueray format wars, which is still going on now. The only disks in either format being purchased are for game consoles, and only a few movies being purchased for combo HD-DVD/Blueray players.
The format war between ODF and OOXML will be fought for sure, however, if the ISO turns down the OOXML, the fight may be much easier for the ODF. Microsoft has HUGE lobbying power, as was experienced during the Massachusetts government switch to ODF. OOXML has already been placed in Office 2007, although it is not an ISO official standard, so it will be interesting to see who wins. Whoever wins will control the XML Document format, and will also control the success of different systems/applications, which it is why I support the ODF – a neutral party, not just a Microsoft-only format.