Friday, June 12, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 on MSi Wind U100

I installed Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) on a Micro-Star International (MSi) Wind U100 for my 10 year old niece about a week ago. It was my first time to install from flash drive, good thing resources on how-to is vast. I went directly to the Ubuntu's instruction.

I used the stripped-down flavor of Ubuntu called Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) which is expected to run faster on Netbooks.

The installation went smoothly. And Ubuntu run almost perfectly.

By default, UNR uses its own custom launcher, called UNR Launcher , which is cool but seemed buggy. The top panel disappears and running a gnome-terminal seem to fade behind the UNR Launcher.

My niece is just an average net surfer. She could have a hard time switching desktops from UNR Desktop to Classic Desktop (same as what you see when installing Ubuntu on a desktop PC) and back to UNR Desktop; I have to make this netbook 99% bug-free if not 100%. So I searched for a fix.

From the Ubuntu Netbook Dekstop, run a terminal and type:
gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components_list --type list --list-type=string ["windowmanager","panel"]

From the Classic Desktop, run a terminal and type:
gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components_list --type list --list-type=string ["windowmanager","panel","filemanager"]

Then all, except for the low volume, is okay.

Last thing I did was to change the theme to look like Windows XP -- I had to, or she could be alienated from a totally new interface.

So I took the GNOME theme called XP Royale, which uses Tango as the default icon but I had to go with GnomeXP icons.

She's happy using it now. Not knowing that she's using Ubuntu. And by the time she realizes that, I know she would be thanking me for showing her a better OS.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chrome 2 vs Firefox 3.6

I was actively participating with testing Firefox (or called Minefield) before Firefox 2 even came out. Then I delve myself to testing other FOSS (Inkscape, Synfig, Pencil) and even started contributing as a developer (KonsolScript, Clash).

Some years later, Chrome came out with a powerful JavaScript engine, V8. It surely was powerful having to render 3D scene written in JavaScript -- I was surely disappointed at how Firefox was not evolving at all anymore.

I used Chrome for almost a year. I was totally satisfied at it speed. Then came Chrome 2.

There were some changes that made Chrome 2 less user-friendly:
  • Deleting of history and download list individually -- you now have to clear it all or have a long of mixed wanted and unwanted download list.
  • Not completely removing the SQLite files used for history and/or possibly page caching.
  • Unable to finish the page when user has low disk space available.
Firefox 3.6a1pre on the other hand still has that user-friendliness while trying to catch up Chrome's V8 capability.

To witness Firefox' improved speed, download from:
http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/latest-trunk/

Install it then check Chrome Experiments website. The site enlists heavy JavaScript-driven web applications that only browsers like Chrome could easily run.

I had a good time playing World of Solitaire, which almost gave the feeling of simply playing Windows' Solitaire.

But I was particularly impressed with JS Touch, where it renders 3D scene of a hanging cloth. It makes me wonder, when will I see a 3D JavaScript game running from inside a browser.

Firefox also implemented tearing-off tabs out and into opened Firefox windows like Chrome does. Sadly it still has the same problem of memory bloat -- caused by hour long surfing.
Overall, I'm surely going to get back using Firefox (or in this case, Minefield).