Netrunner 2 – Blacklight – A new release!

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A switch to KDE from Gnome by the Netrunner team. A speedy distro with the "out of the box" functionality we have come to expect from a Ubuntu derived distro.

Regular readers to Openbytes may remember the coverage we gave to Netrunner.   The first release “Albedo” impressed with its speed and its removal of Mono, which for some is not seen as the “gift to the world” its touted as being.   If you want a recap you can read that review here. The tradition and ethos continues with this latest release “Backlight” so it was only due to me being away from home that I didn’t manage to download a copy on its official release day (26th June 2010)

The first major change for Backlight is it’s switch from Gnome to KDE. However it still does come packaged with a few Gnome apps, including Nautilus and Synaptic.  I will discuss this change later in the review as we first look at some of the packages you can expect to see packaged as default with Backlight.  What also now stands out is that the .iso comes in at just over 1gb, where previously it was 774mb.


I hate using the term “out of the box” for two reasons, firstly because I cannot assume everyone will have the same experience as me (good or bad) and also with the diversity of specs on users rigs, there will bound to be issues for some, this is true regardless if you use Windows, BSD or Linux.   The other reason for not liking the term “out of the box” is because Linux is at a position now where that is expected as standard.  There are a few distro’s that cater for the “fiddler” but I think its fair to say that most distro’s (both established and new) have the primary goal to get you up and running with as little fuss as possible.

Ive been using Linux for many years and can count on my left hand the amount of distro’s where after much persistance, the distro simply failed.  With so many distro’s being derived from established and mature brands, a “bad release” is certainly not common and from experience of years installing Windows and Linux systems for a variety of reasons, I can say Ive had less trouble with Linux than Windows.

Hardware proprietary drivers were identified and installed without issue.


Netrunner uses ext4 and at the present that is my file system of choice.  Netrunner also has Gnome compatibility so all my favorite Gnome apps should run without flaw.

Perhaps the unique point of Netrunner is KDE 4.4.2 and I expect there will be many people who want to get their hands on this. KDE is though currently in 4.4.5 which was released on 30th June.

Firefox 3.6.3 is the default browser here and you also have Java and Flash also installed as default.  Other packages include (taken from Website)

  • OpenOffice Software Suite 3.2
  • VLC (with codecs)
  • Thunderbird
  • WINE 1.42
  • GIMP
  • Audacious
  • Pidgin
  • Vuze

Theres the standard selection of play once games which don’t particularly need a mention and Im personally of the opinion that they need not be there at all.  Quassel 0.6.1 (in addition to Pigeon) provides IRC, not my personal choice, however Quassel is a solid enough IRC client.


The switch to KDE (4.4) came as a surprise to me.  I was very happy with the Gnome offering of Netrunner and thought it was an excellent grounding for future versions.  I’ve never been a fan of KDE, whilst many users rave about the DE, Ive often said that I don’t feel in control with it, it feels plastic and is far too Vistaesque for my liking.  Maybe I subconsciously yearn for an XP type DE or maybe it goes back further to Workbench 1.3, but my DE of choice has always been Gnome with a top+bottom taskbar and the more traditional menus.  It’s worth noting that whilst the taskbar and desktop are obviously KDE, the menu systems have a very Gnome look to them.  Is this an intention by the devs to please both KDE and Gnome users?  Maybe, although I don’t keep ontop of the latest KDE releases so I’ll stand corrected if its the default setting for the new version.

KDE 4.4.2 on Netrunner and its menu's which look rather similar to Gnome. A great thing for people like me who were less than impressed with KDE style.

With that in mind though the distro is excellent, speedy and simple to install (thanks to its Ubuntu origins) with very little fuss “out of the box”.  As I remarked previously, theres very little to find fault in Netrunner, although I still stand by the original comment that the name of this distro undersells its true potential.  When I was informed of this new release by email, I instantly thought of a net kiosk distro (since Ive looked at many distro’s since the original review)   Of course Netrunner is far from being a net kiosk package (although it will play very nicely on a netbook or limited spec machine) and also think the title since “Netrunner” implies something more net/cloud orientated, which compared to say Peppermint, its not.  Netrunner has menu links to Twitter and other online services, but instead of providing these services through Prism, they merely open up a new instance of Firefox (if one is not open, or simply open in a tab).  One has to ask the question, are they really needed? and if so could these shortcuts not simply be in a favorites menu within Firefox, rather than taking a desktop submenu up? – Only you can be the judge of that.

The choice of Firefox is not my preferred package although FF is great.  I would have liked to have seen Netrunner “thinking outside the box” and default packaging Chromium (or another alternative).  When you have so many Ubuntu based distro’s, its my opinion that you need something to set it aside from the rest so as it give it an identity. – Please don’t take that as a negative comment, as its a solid release and certainly worthy of a recommendation.

Netrunner prides itself on the complete removal of Mono and Blacklight is no exception in that continued ethos.  Despite implication (by some) to the contrary, Mono is not an essential package and I would expect many people who don’t have an interest in either Mono or the debate about it would ever notice it’s absence from Netrunner – unless of course they were fans of Gbrainy!???! in which case they will be devastated!  What the removal of the Mono packages does do is free up space to include more popular products and that can only be a good thing.

Ive mixed views about the increased iso size, although for most people 1gb is not a large download, although it does push it over that 1gb psychological threshold, which may make some consider it large.

Has Netrunner changed my view of KDE?  No.  Whilst I had absolutely no issues with the KDE implementation in Netrunner, I just don’t like it.  As for a distro Netrunner Blacklight does impress, users should find the “out of the box compat” of Ubuntu (and Netrunner is based off Kubuntu 10.04 I believe) and should enjoy the wealth of software that is available through the software manager.

I would recommend Netrunner to any user whose preference is KDE and I hope that as Netrunner matures we get to see an even more unique distro emerge so that nobody can suggest it’s “just another Ubuntu derived distro” – as I say its not and its a great piece of work by people dedicated to bringing you a user-friendly, out of the box, Mono free distro.


Netrunner homepage:

TechRights article:

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Around the Web – Some gems Ive found on my travels.

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Pyskool - A classic from the Spectrum era. (Screenshot from official page)

Thought I would add a regular article which covers some of my discoveries on the net which have not received a post of their own but deserve a mention.  If you follow @_Goblin on Twitter then you may be aware of most of these, but for those that don’t hang on every tweet I make (I assume nearly everyone bar my family) then you may find something you like.


We’ll start by looking at some gaming.  For those of you that are old enough to remember (and own) a Spectrum 48k, you will probably have come across the game Skooldaze.  For the time its graphics were very good and it was a successful game that spawned a sequel “Back to Skool”.  Now some enthusiastic coder has re-written it with Python/Pygame and released it to the world! The project brought memories back of far more simple computing times (and a tear to the eye!) You can visit the homepage here and download it yourself.

A great addition to your Linux gaming desktop (in a retro way) and is a very good showcase for the power of Pygame.  For those who haven’t considered Python and Pygame, you can check out the Pygame homepage here.

Next up we look at a game which is not un-similar to C&C.  Its an RTS which goes by the name of Bos Wars.  An open source title which describes itself as:

Bos Wars is a futuristic real time strategy game (RTS). In a RTS game, the player has to combat his enemies while developing his war economy. Everything runs in real-time, as opposed to turn-based games where the player always has to wait for his turn. The trick is to balance the effort put into building his economy and building an army to defend and attack the enemies…

Great fun and has very low system requirements.  Get yourself a copy today!  Visit the homepage here:


For those who are after a new desktop wallpaper, you could do worse than check out: theres a diverse range of subject matter and theres bound to be one which suits your tastes.

Since Ive been delving into the world of cloud apps, I discovered this little gem –  Ive personally had a few difficulties converting a 3gp file with my current distro and I have built up a collection of quite a few family vids taken from both a Blackberry and HTC source.  This online app makes your life very easy – upload, choose your output format and then download.  Very simple, works flawlessly and has other utilities on offer including a very handy ringtone creator.  Check it out!


Heres a talented musician who has written a number of tracks.  Tom Smith is sort of country western/comedy/other and he’s very good with “I fought the troll” being my favorite!  Tom and his work can be found here:

F.Julian is best described as producing Jean Micheal Jarre, electronic type music.  His work is excellent and some of his material sounds like it was inspired by the demo scene.  You can find his work here:

An excellent new podcast has been created (and provided the link above) which showcases the most popular music released under a creative commons license. has just produced its first show and its recommended listening.  You can find the homepage here and I also encourage you to visit the IRC chatroom over on (

Thats it for this week.  If you have any suggestions or links, I’d love to hear them either via Twitter or the email below.

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

REVIEW: Peppermint – Cloud/Lightweight distro & Considering the cloud?

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Part Ubuntu, part cloud, all Distro! Can users be tempted into breaking the ice, with a partial cloud desktop?

Linux and its diverse range of distributions are developing at a very fast pace.  Nearly every day on Distrowatch I see something new and whilst I would like to take a look at everything, the popularity and demand for Linux distro’s means that I do not have the time to review everything.   In today’s Linux world it takes something a little unique or new to get me to look at a new release (or it has to be one of the titles I champion regularly).

Peppermint Linux and its coming to pass is something akin to Puppy Arcade 8 (which we covered recently).  Like Puppy Arcade is derived from Turbo Pup (which in turn came from Puppy Linux) Peppermint is derived from Mint which in turn comes from Ubuntu.

For me when the name Ubuntu is mentioned I usually get a feeling of “out of the box”.  Speaking personally I have had only few, very minor issues when installing an Ubuntu distro and of all thats available in the Linux world, in my opinion its the simplest most “out of the box” there is.  So Peppermint building upon those solid foundations is a recipe for success? Read on and find out!

The first thing that drew me to Peppermint was the fact that it depends in part (but not completely) on the Cloud.  I think we are still some way off users wanting a total desktop cloud experience but as we head towards what will probably be inevitable, this is certainly a good way of breaking the ice.

Peppermint’s choice of Ubuntu foundations are a great choice ,  for those who are taking their first steps into the world of Linux and seasoned Linux veterans alike.

OS in the cloud or head in the cloud?

It’s funny how my view of cloud computing and indeed “always on” has changed over the years.  During the early internet days, the thought of always being connected frightened me slightly with visions of a vulnerable PC on the world-wide web for people to drop in on whenever they wished.  I remember only staying online for as long as I needed then logging out and continuing with my computing offline.  How things have changed….

Now (and I hope some people can relate to this) if, for whatever reason, my net connection is down, my computing experience feels rather lonely, rather isolated and not very pleasant.  I like my social media products to hand, I like my email to pop up and sometimes my Waves at my fingertips, often, if the net is down, my computer is off.   I have read Mr Stallman’s views on the cloud and I do appreciate some of his concerns, however time will tell if a migration does happen and history will record if those concerns come to pass in respect of computing in the cloud.  I will be running another article shortly looking at the question of cloud computing.

I think though when/if the time comes for a complete cloud migration, I’ll be more than ready to jump into the brave new world and (hopefully) 10 years on look back at this time and think how isolated/ narrow-minded I was.  Either that or I will be held to ransom by the firms that provide me with my cloud experience and look after my data and look back with regret!

My diversion about the cloud has taken this review completely off track, so lets now return to Peppermint.

Looking at Peppermint

Peppermint is a tight distro using kernel 2.6.32 which whilst being light in the area of defaultly packaged software, balances that with cloud based offerings.  Coming in at a 446mb download, within a few minutes the shiny new ISO was ready to burn.  I don’t need to explain how simple and straightforward the installation process is, all I have to say is, Ubuntu simple.

Seeemic integrates very well into the Peppermint desktop.

Offering Google Docs in the taskbar menu, opens your Google Docs in a light window client (via Prism)  as if it was a locally installed package.  This seemless integration of online services is consistent with all the cloud packages incorporated into the Peppermint desktop.  Under your “Office” menu you also have Google Calender, Google Mail, Google Reader and ePDFViewer.  It should be noted that you do have a local text editor, if you are wanting to create a simple file locally and of course you’ve got a wealth of more traditional alternatives to install locally through the Software Manager.

Default packages

Whilst this distro does lend heavily towards the cloud, it still does have a nice selection of default packaged software.Python 2.6.5, Leafpad 0.8.17, Gnome-mplayer and many more.  Its all pretty academic though with the software manager, you have a huge selection of software to download after install.  Firefox 3.6.3 is packaged as default though for me this was an instant removal.  I am an advocate of Chromium which for me has been a wonderful experience in the main since the very earliest builds.


Yes, this is a speedy distro!  Boot up times are exceptionally fast as is shutdown and even with numerous tasks running on one of the many desktop’s around the house, my now prehistoric 1.8ghz processor never went above 22% on CPU usage.    I took out ram to see how well Peppermint ran on half a gig, which is probably more relevant to those who intend this to be deployed on a low spec netbook or laptop and I can report that barring a little extra disk activity from time to time (as to be expected) the whole operation was still very fast with a reasonable amount of facilities being run at a price of only half my available ram.


Since Peppermint doesn’t come with any “play once” games and many of its apps are cloud based, the small 446mb file will be a very quick download for many.

I was very impressed with the cohesiveness between the cloud based apps and the locally installed ones.  Ive used web dependent distro’s before, but never within a traditional desktop environment and previous reviews have been of “Web kiosk” type distro’s.

If I wanted to be really fussy I would mention that upon default install the browser shortcut is located very close to the “menu” button, which means from time to time you will miss and bring up another instance of your browser when what you really wanted to do was access the menu.  This is a minor issue though and Im sure most people customize a distro to their own tastes after install anyway.

Whether you want a cloud experience or not, this distro is an excellent lightweight option for daily use, the cloud features whilst well-integrated are not “set in stone” and there’s nothing wrong with you replacing them with more traditional solutions.

I think Peppermint Linux serves two purposes, one its a great lightweight distro that will sit very nicely on any machine old or new, but also its a nice introduction to cloud computing which doesn’t “throw all your eggs into one basket”.  For me personally it has eleviated some of the fears/myths about computing in the cloud and Im happy to say that Peppermint has a permanent home on one of my rigs now.

A strongly recommended distro which not only gives a solid desktop experience that is capable of handling any task you throw at it, but also introduces you to cloud computing in a very non-committal way.

Just like many of the distro’s I feature here, I encourage you to support this project, the hard work and professionalism this distro displays for me means its one I will be following with great interest in the future and as far as Ubuntu derived distro’s go, this is up there with the best of them.

I have been contacted by the devs behind Peppermint and have the pleasure of saying that a Q&A session will follow in a future article.

The Distrowatch entry for Peppermint can be found here:

You can visit the Peppermint home page here:

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

Cloud over the IT world in 2010? – Survey results & what next for Windows?

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As we approach 2010 it appears a popular trend is Cloud computing. Will it take computing by storm and will Google's be the one to kick start a migration to the cloud? or could we be in for a storm?

As we end 2009, what will be the hot topic of 2010?

Regular readers to this blog will remember the questions I posed in regards to the resistance from some quarters about computing in the cloud.  My argument went something like this, if we are agreed that Microsoft Windows has the market share of the OS market and can agree that maybe one of the reasons its prone to so many security issues is because of that popularity, why do people have a fear of the cloud in relation to security of data?  If you read that article you may also remember the Microsoft advocate Andre Da Costa claiming that cloud computing was still a concept that was way in the future.

At the time I challenged this remark and stated that IMO this was always the claim with new tech/innovation when Microsoft were not at the forefront of it.  You can read that article here and before we proceed further, lets remind ourselves about what Andre Da Costa had to say about GoogleOS and cloud computing:

Everybody is saying its lame and Google is way ahead of its time. The fact that they are using this draconian measure of requiring specific hardware leaves much to be desired. If Google goes forward the two biggest losers will be Google and Linux. A web centric operating system is not viable today, next year, 5 years or even 10 years from now, because the ubiquity of an Internet infrastructure that Google is requiring for Chrome OS does not exist, even if there is a good internet infrastructure in some part of the world, its not completely reliable.

Of course if you are not indoctrinated into the world of Redmond the story is somewhat different and to me it appears that its only the advocates who believe that computing in the cloud is as far away as a secure Windows.  Its been reported on the net that as a result of a survey that cloud computing was one of the trends popular with companies.  Its grabbing the interest of enterprise and the home user?

Adam Bosnian had this say:

Almost any size of organisation can use public or private cloud resources and enjoy significantly enhanced economies of scale

You can read the entire article here:

So what does this mean for the masses?  In my opinion for most of us 2010 will be pretty much the same as it is now, we will continue to see Linux make in-roads into the mainstream desktop market (as well as the wealth of alternatives) and we will see a continued increase in Linux based hardware.  With GoogleOS hitting the streets next year, I think that this is why the cloud OS has been attacked and criticised by the Microsoft faithful.  They are worried.  With a name like Google and more people opening up to the concept of computing in the cloud one has to wonder where Windows will sit in all of this.

About mid 2009 I wrote an article entitled “Are games the last bastion of salvation for Windows?” and I think as we progress through 2010 this will become ever more true.  Whilst undoubtably hardcore PC gamers will choose a Windows based system, you have Wine going from strength to strength and many developers commenting that the PC market is getting harder to make the type of returns you see in the console sector (through piracy and a reluctance by some users to upgrade hardware just to play the latest releases)

Google has the brand name. Does it have the influence to convince people of a switch from traditional computing?

Where we’ve been, where we’ve come from and where we are headed?

I think the “mainstream” user was exposed (and had their mind opened to) alternative OS’s in the mobile phone market, we see popular devices offering a plethora of features that are not running a Windows OS.  Combine that with the reports of satisfied Apple Mac customers and the growing interest in Linux to see why maybe now more than ever people don’t consider PC==Microsoft (and are open to new concepts and solutions)

I don’t believe cloud computing is such a scary concept to users as it once was.  I remember in the days of dialup watching every minute online.  I remember an easier life when I first got broadband and now in 2010 most PC’s are connected to the net as soon as they are switched on and stay connected until they are powered down.  For those of you like me who’ve been about a while, I’d ask you to cast your mind back a little while.  Can you remember when the thought of “always connected” would fill you with horror and visions of cyber-attacks, hell and damnation and all manner of nightmares?

In 2008 the BBC wrote this article: which in my opinion echoed the same fears that many people have in regards to important data being held in a remote location.

I think Cloud computing will start with Google, not necessarily because it has a killer implementation (although that may be the case) but rather because it has the brand name to inspire confidence in the concept.

So what of Windows?  Could its closed source nature be eventually the death of it?  Quite possibly, one only has to look at the wealth of FOSS projects that are providing alternative solutions to many of Microsoft products.  Even Microsoft themselves are alleged to use GPL code (and allegedly violate it albeit by a third party)

Remember Mr Ballmer’s cancer comment in regards to Linux?

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches

But then should we really pay any attention to him? he was alleged afterall to also say that Google was a house of cards and iPhone had no chance of getting a significant market share.  I bring this up since GoogleOS is built on Linux so its rather relevant that the first “mainstream” steps of this concept are being taken by that which Mr Ballmer seems to have a low opinion of.  Talking of cancer and IP,  I wonder if he would like to retract that since Microsoft China are alleged to have taken code from another companies product and attempted to use it as their own.  For more information on this, read the article here.

I think many people are ready to look at the concept of computing in the cloud.  Just don’t expect a realistic answer from a Microsoft advocate unless the solution is being offered by them (IMO)  Consider yourself how many apps you are already using that are based in “the cloud”.   I think you will be quite surprised and certainly for the mainstream users with their Facebook et al, many people already have their data stored remotely and don’t even think twice about it.

We all remember how Mr Ballmer IMO says something only for the exact opposite to happen.  Here is allegedly what Mr Ballmer has to say about ChromeOS in July and time will tell if its another “Google is a house of cards” type comment from the man who has unique idea’s about how to perform in public. Maybe this is why it was reported 40% of a poll by the Wall Street Journal don’t rate Mr Ballmer?  Its worth noting however that already he has the the first part of his comments wrong.  A year and a half?:

I will be respectful … Who knows what this thing is? To me, the Chrome OS thing is highly interesting … It won’t happen for a year and a half and they already announced an operating system … I don’t know if they can’t make up their mind or what the problem is over there, but the last time I checked, you don’t need two client operating systems … It’s good to have one.

Read the full article here: I wonder if Mr Ballmer will be seemingly so flippant in 2010 when we see the first intended implementations of the ChromeOS?

Recent news on Cloud computing

Finally here are some points of interest in relation to Cloud Computing in recent weeks.

Cloud Computing Comes to Hong Kong –

Fujitsu Unveils New Cloud Services for ISVs and Enterprises –

The Top 150 Players in Cloud Computing –

Goblin –

Microsoft blames…….somone! – Only 1 day for this “blame”

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Readers yesterday will remember our article “Microsoft China steals code from Plurk?” and the question I asked at the time was who will Microsoft blame?  Well, heres what Microsoft has been reported to have said on the incident:

On Monday, December 14, questions arose over a beta application called Juku developed by a Chinese vendor for our MSN China joint venture.

Ok, so immediately we can see where this is going.  The key words here would be “developed by a Chinese vendor for our MSN…..”.

The vendor has now acknowledged that a portion of the code they provided was indeed copied.

Great and don’t tell me, Microsoft knew nothing?

When we hire an outside company to do development work, our practice is to include strong language in our contract that clearly states the company must provide work that does not infringe the intellectual property rights of others. We are a company that respects intellectual property and it was never our intent to have a site that was not respectful of the work that others in the industry have done.

Really? but then this isn’t the first time we’ve had “code issues” is it Microsoft?  Are there any more 3rd parties that are going to  “borrow” code from elsewhere (or violate the GPL)?

We will be suspending access to the Juku beta indefinitely.

Well then maybe is not all bad news then.

Later on in the statement Microsoft say:

In the wake of this incident, Microsoft and our MSN China joint venture will be taking a look at our practices around applications code provided by third-party vendors.

To which I would ask, why didn’t you do this the first time you had issues?  I have a few other points to include in the conclusions, but Microsoft statement can be found here

Plurk though don’t seem convinced they had this to say in regards to the incident:

we have a very hard time believing, given the size and scope of the undertaking, that there was no active involvement or development taking place directly within Microsoft itself on this service,


Please read my article yesterday and take note of my closing words:

Maybe we should run a book for the odds on who Microsoft will blame?

and when I posted the link to the article in comp.os.linux.advocacy I said:

I wonder who they will “blame” this time?   Maybe I should start a book…odds on favorite is a 3rd party.

and we all see now that I only had to wait a day for the answer.  I wish I was a betting man since I was spot on with the “odds on favorite”.

So yet again we find ourselves looking at an allegation that Microsoft has code issues (and IMO at best supervision of 3rd party issues) and yet again its a 3rd party at fault (allegedly) what I would ask is why does Microsoft appear to have lost control of its projects? (IMO).

I don’t care if they are written by a 3rd party or not, it appears to me that Microsoft really does not know what is going on and in respect of its many other schemes, programs, packages and deals, how many more issues like these are to be found?  Lets hope that the naughty 3rd parties are merely copying the code of others (or violating the GPL) and not using this apparent lack of supervision for more dubious means.

I wonder what the shareholders make of this, yet another allegation against Microsoft and yet another project suspended?

Of course it was only last month that it was reported:

Microsoft has pulled the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool from the Microsoft Store website after a report indicating that the tool incorporated open source code in a way that violated the GNU’s General Public License (GPL).

and the site said in regards to this:

…revealed the source code was obviously lifted from the CodePlex-hosted (yikes) GPLv2-licensed ImageMaster project.

You can read the original article here. Under the title “Microsoft pulls Windows 7 tool after GPL violation claims” Microsoft allegedly had this to say about this particular claim:

although it was not intentional on our part. While we had contracted with a third party to create the tool, we share responsibility as we did not catch it as part of our code review process.

So another 3rd party eh? and yet again Microsoft didn’t notice?  What on earth is going on here?

Goblin –

Twitux v0.62 – A dedicated Twitter client.

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I have to admit im really into Twitter, not only is it a great place to meet some intelligent and interesting people, but its also a great place for getting snippets of the latest news.  I was after a separate Twitter client since I was fed up of having to keep it in a tab on FF and a nice little “tight” client would be just what the doctor ordered.

So it was with great interest that I downloaded 0.62.  Connecting to my account was simple and by way of a drop down menu, I can view all my tweeting by selecting my own, my friends or my replies. The package can be set to auto-retrieve messages at intervals to suit you.

A few issues highlight themselves when using this package, trying to add a follow results in an “HTTP communication error”.  Links are not indentified by the program and you’ll have to copy and paste into your browser if you want to follow them.  Next up is the issue of setting the intervals for retrieving, but the quickest you can do this is  3mins and there doesnt appear to be a feature to enter a custom time (although there is an option to refresh for an imediate update).

Since the version tested in Ubuntu 8.10 was 0.62, it can be forgiven for its shortcommings, and Im sure that these and many more features will be added as the package develops, but it doesnt look as if Ill be moving over to it yet.  v0.69 is apparently out, so if anyone happens to have tested that, Id love to hear from you.

I am continuing to look for a viable package to feed my Twitter addiction.  Ill keep you posted.

You can visit the homepage of Twitux at:

Goblin –

NEW LINUX RELEASES – Into 2009 with some great updates!

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Its been too long since we’ve had software highlighted here, so here is a small list of updates to excellent packages that have already been reviewed here and this month have had new versions released.  I saw no point in re-reviewing the original work, so the list merely intends to highlight the updates.

PokerTH 0.6.3 The popular game of Texas Holdem has had a new version released.  It includes improved GFX a feature to kick players from a room (good if a user has gone AFK and not left the game)  You can read our original review here.  Then visit the PokerTH Homepage and download!   Well worth a download if you are a fan of the game and in my opinion the definative version on the Linux platform!

Sega Saturn Emulation on Linux? Expect a full testing and review in the next few days!
Sega Saturn Emulation on Linux? Expect a full testing and review in the next few days of Yabause!

In other releases, we have Wine 1.1.13 (development version) which continues to add to its already massive list of features.  For anyone interested in the the Wine software, you can see the current compatability chart.  I bet there will be a few people that will be amazed just how many modern and complex titles actually run with Wine!  If you want to see the Openbytes view on Wine, then click here.

A new paint package called Nathive has been released in Alpha form (0.813) and aims to provide a smoother learning curve of a paint package for everyone.   I wish the product luck, since I been looking for a suitable image editor to the Gimp (I simply dont need all the features, and find its learning curve rather steep)

Yabause is a Sega Saturn emulator which is due for the treatment on Openbytes.  It reports a number of Saturn ISO images playable and is currently in version 0.9.9 visit the site and check it out, or wait for the Openbytes report soon!

It appears that Linux is very well supported in terms of emulation.  From the description on the site, the emulator handles .ISO format only.