Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Playing With OpenSuse Studio. Barrieluv's Linux.

Right then.

This is the desktop...

It appears as 800x600 but a click on the Display Settings icon in the tray and it was 1024x600 in a flash.
Wireless is up and running on a WEP encrypted network without a hitch.
The login sound played on startup, so I know the sound is working.
Hotkeys for brightness are working albeit without an OSD.
No hotkeys for volume, though.

Here's Firefox/YouTube...

A little choppy in fullscreen, but I've come to expect that with recent distros.

So, it works. If all I ever wanted to do was browse the 'net, it would do the job and do it well. However, there are other distros that do that job and are much,much smaller. BrowserOS would be one of them.

But that's my fault. I'm sure that if I were to use IceWM it could get smaller. I've no doubt that learning to build a kiosk type thing would be the way to go.

In the meantime, I'm going to look at building an OpenSuse equivalent of my current install. Just because I might learn something from it.

So, my first build, although it does what I built it for, has come as something as a disappointment.

However, I can say quite the opposite of OpenSuse Studio.
It's fantastic. It's fun. It's well engineered, ergonomic and above all it's not scary.
I think my experience shows that no matter what level you're at, you can get stuck into this and not worry about screwing it up.

Build it, test it, tweak it, test it, scrap it and start again.

Over and over until you get it right.

Playing With OpenSuse Studio

Well, I finally got my invitation to try OpenSuse Studio. For the uninitiated, it's an online app that lets you "roll your own" version of the popular distro, OpenSuse 11.1. Sounds good, don't you think? Let's not forget that I know nothing of building stuff and I'm certainly not what you might call a power user.

This isn't my first run through, by the way, which is why I know that installing Alsa makes the sound work.

I'll build a small one for browsing. I'll use Gnome (because I'm comfortable with it), Firefox, Flash and Java (because they work) and Alsa ('cos I want to hear YouTube as well as watch it).

Let's take a look...

After signing in I'm greeted with this page, where I can choose my template. I'll select Gnome. You can see the other choices, KDE4 would be bigger, IceWM smaller and the JeOS option even smaller.

Scrolling down the page, there are options for Suse Enterprise editions and at the bottom, you have to choose your architecture (32-bit for me) and give your project a name. Hmm.....

So, clicking the Create Appliance button brings us to a welcome screen. Down the left side you can see some details of the project. I'm using 1.01GB of my 15GB work space and the download size currently stands at 290MB. You can click on the "Packages Selected" and start removing stuff if you want to. I won't.

Along the top you can see tabs for Start, Software, Configuration, Overlay Files and Build and I'll work my way though them starting with Software.

On the Software tab you can choose which packages to add/remove and which repositories to have enabled. You can search for packages in the search bar or...

...scroll down the page to see the package groups.

To add Firefox and Flash, I click on the Networking group. And there you can see Firefox and Flash. Click on the add buttons beside them and you're done. Then I added the Alsa stuff (alsa, alsa-plugins, alsa-tools, alsatools-gui and alsamixergui) and Java (java-1_6_0-sun and java-1_6_0-sun-plugin)
Dependencies are automatically taken care of and any conflicts will show up in the left side bar.

Now, I want to add the Packman 11.1 repository which has lots and lots of extras in it and, because I'm using an Eee PC, the Eee Support repository. You search for and add these in exactly the same way as you would the packages.

Once it's all done, go back to the software overview and you can see the changes in the repository and software lists at the top of the screen.

Once it's all done (and that could take some time depending on what you want and how often you change your mind) click on the Configuration tab. Which has more tabs. General, Personalize, Startup, Server, Desktop, Storage & Memory and Scripts.

Lots to do here. Let's start with the Default Locale and Timezone. I'm in the UK...

I'll leave the Network and Firewall settings as they are.

Scrolling down the page, you can add your users and groups. I'll change the user "tux" to "barrieluv" and give me a new password and then I'll add a new user, "kait" and give it a password, too. I'll change the root password as well.

Then go to Personalize...

Here, I can upload a new logo and default wallpaper. The logo doesn't appear on the desktop, but you do get a small "Built with OpenSuse Studio" badge in the corner.
I won't have a logo, just a wallpaper. So I upload the new wallpaper, select it and select the blank box for the logo.

Now on to the Startup tab. Here you can choose your Default Runlevel (I'll leave mine as it is) and add an EULA. Which I have.

The Server tab is next. It just asks if you want to configure MySQL Database. I'll leave it alone.

Then the Desktop tab. No auto login for me and I don't need anything to autostart.

Storage & Memory. Again, no changes for me here.

And finally, Custom Scripts. Of which I know nothing. Blimey, I sound really dumb...

So, with the Configuration tab completed, it's time to move on to Overlay Files. This is wasted on me...

And so to the Build tab.

Here you can decide which format you want your build to have and you can give it a version number, which is handy if you're forever adding to and improving it.
I want to build a Live CD and I'll call it version 0.0.2.
A message appeared in the side bar telling me if I wanted to install my live system, I would have to install the live installer. Clicking on the message did this for me automatically. Which was a nice touch.

After hitting the Build button, a progress bar appeared...

...and in just under eight minutes, my live cd, "barrieluv's linux", was ready for download.

And when it's downloaded, I'll stick it on a USB drive using Unetbootin.

There is the option of Test Drive. Hitting this opens a tab with your distro running live inside it. A little slow perhaps, but a good tool for getting an idea of how things are progressing.

Results and comment to follow.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Android x-86 On The Eee PC 900

I'm typing this from my 900 running Android, the Google OS which can be found on the G1 and HTC phones, live from a USB stick creted with Unetbootin. Wireless works well and it is incredibly quick.

Just thought you'd like to know!


Friday, 14 August 2009

Jolicloud Is Coming...


Roughly translated as "Beautiful cloud".

And it is.

A mix of Ubuntu, the netbook interface and Jolicloud's web based social OS/browser thing with extra knobs on, it's currently in an alpha state and not quite ready for everyday use. Running live it's easy to get a handle on what's going on.

So, because it's built on Ubuntu (with a 2.6.30-4 kernel) it was easy to stick it on an SDHC using Unetbootin. And because it's Ubuntu, it's like sitting in your favourite armchair.

But in a fabulously decorated room.

Greeted by this desktop, I setup my wifi connection in the usual way and jumped into setting up my Jolicloud account.

You can install all sorts of web based apps from here...

I chose to install GMail...

So without having to fire up FireFox, I can check my GMail. Cool! And it's the same for FaceBook and Twitter. And probably a whole host of other stuff, too.

Speaking of FireFox, it's nice to see it's already been setup to make the most of the smaller screens...

In fact the whole look and feel of Jolicloud just screams "WE"VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT!".

And they've got a lot more to come.

This is shaping up to be the netbook distro. As long as the newer netbooks are supported by the time it goes on general release and they don't over egg it, I can see this being everywhere.


Wednesday, 5 August 2009

PCLXDE 2009.4 On The Eee PC 900

Somebody posted something on the EeeUser Forum asking about this distro, so I thought I'd take a look.

You can download the distro here (as well as have a look at a list of apps included) and I used Unetbootin to put it on a 1GB USB stick.

If you didn't already know, PCLXDE is a spin of PCLinuxOS which is based on Mandriva.

And so to boot.

Initially, I chose the Default option at boot, but this hung and dropped me to BusyBox. And so did the LiveCD option. Rebooting and choosing the LiveCD_sata_probe brought up the login page and I logged in as guest (password is guest). To use root, the password is root.

A very nice looking desktop, no?

And the PCMan file browser...

And so to internet access. After all, a netbook's not much good without it's wireless. Well, at least for me...

Hit the network tray icon and a list of available networks appears.

Typed in my WEP pass...

And hit Connect.

Oh. Um...

Erm... Hit the Monitor button...

Then the Connect Wifi button...

And... presto! Connected.

I probably went the wrong way about this, but it worked. If there is an easier way, let me know!

Midori is the web browser. Lightweight and snappy, it's perfectly suited to this distro. It also has the speed dial plugin a la Opera, which is nice. I used it to check out YouTube and the BBC iPlayer.

Both sites worked perfectly without the choppiness of some other distros. Switch to fullscreen, however, and the choppiness kicks in.

So, what else works?

Um, actually it's more a case of what doesn't work.
The volume hotkeys (Fn+F7, F8 and F9) had no effect at all, the brightness keys do work (but very slowly), there's no wireless toggle and the webcam (I tried it with Wxcam and Cheese) didn't work properly. I'm pretty sure the webcam can be got going fairly easily though. The wireless doesn't work on coming back from suspend/hibernation.

PCLXDE 2009.4 was never meant to be an Eee specific distro, so it's easy to forgive the stuff that doesn't work. The wireless works and that's all you need to get online and search for solutions if you want them.

It is, however, ideal for older hardware and that's probably where it will be most used.


Monday, 3 August 2009

Android Live On The Eee PC 900

Ever since my girlfriend got her G1 phone I've fiddled with it at every opportunity.
Working my way through it as much as I can without 'rooting' it, scouring the net for little tips and tricks, finding out which are the best apps available and generally having a good time.

So I was over the moon to learn that Android was available as a live distro. It can be run in a VM too, but I don't want to make my current install any bigger.
I popped off to the Live Android project page, downloaded the necessary bits and used Unetbootin to put it onto a USB drive.

Now I really wasn't expecting much and unfortunately that's exactly what I got. It froze at the (pretty) splash screen and went no further.

Looks like I'll just have to wait a little longer...