unity

TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 77 – 06/11/12 – “Greedy Car Thieves”

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techbytes-2013-tim

Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights)

Another episode from myself and Roy.  In this show we focus around an interview with the developers of the Indi game “Greedy Car Thieves”.

From Roy’s Site:

Today’s show is primarily dedicated to a video/computer game called Greedy Car Thieves (GCT), which is similar to Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 2. We talked to two of the game’s developers. Tim has played the game and Roy tried to install it but faced a dependency barrier. We spoke with the developers about the technical aspects of the game, distribution of the game through various channels including the Humble Bundle, and we also spoke about licence in the context of compiling for Linux. Later in the show there was a long discussion about dirty tricks against Linux and its proponents. This discussion was focused on Microsoft. After the interview we play “It’s Because of People Like You” by Obi Best and at the end of the show we play “Washington Heights” by Glenn White’s Sacred Machines.

You can download/stream the latest episode over on Roy’s site: http://techrights.org/2012/11/06/techbytes-episode-77/

Tim (Goblin)

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

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

TechBytes Audiocast – Back for 2012! – A pre-Year 2 broadcast!

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights) Rusty (The Show that Sux)

TechBytes is back for 2012, Rusty is here and with the whole crew ready to go, we bring to 50 minutes or so of auditory lovelyness.

Since this is a pre-Year 2 show, we are mostly taking a look back at 2011, its tech and news.  In the show we look at:

Xbox 360 – If you don’t live in the states, the reality of its “popularity”  is a very different picture.  We take a look in particular at Australia where the sales figures show that 360 is being left behind by PS3.  Great news for Sony, another chair going the journey for Microsoft.

Android, Iphone and source code – We discuss and I ask the question, since when has the mainstream consumer ever cared about source code, or even knows what the term means? Now that Android is established, are “geek advocates” really needed?

Unfair comparisons between Android and iPhone?

Linux on devices – A mention made of Raspberry Pi and its apparent beta success on ebay!

All this and more crammed into around 50 minutes!

We took the opportunity to listen to your views about what you would like in the show.  The main points that stood out as far as I was concerned:

1. No music

2. Under 1hour in length

3. More diversity in the subjects with a focus on patent issues but a more general consideration given to tech also.

You can download the episode over on TechRights and as always, if you have any suggestions, want to be a guest or merely want to abuse us, feel free to email, comment, rant or shake fist at sky.

http://techrights.org/2012/01/07/techbytes-episode-66/

Tim (Goblin)

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

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 62 – 03/10/11 – “I told you so!”

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights)

(Notes taken/modified slightly from the original TechRights show notes)

This latest episode was recorded around noon for a change.

It was arranged at short notice with time constraints and Roy being very slightly ill (speech/voice problems).  Nonetheless we covered the news of the day/week by speaking about Nokia’s return to Linux in low-end phones, Chrome being flagged as a “virus” by Microsoft, then playing “Reality Check” by One Be Lo.

Moving on, we also spoke about Microsoft’s latest patent ‘deal’ with Samsung and mentioned Amazon’s tablet among other tablets, as well as their general role in today’s computing scene. “Quejas de un Bandoneonista” by Zona Tango was then played, we spoke about Diaspora and other social networks and finally we closed the show with “A secret search” by Papercutz.

Get this episode here: http://techrights.org/2011/10/03/techbytes-episode-62/

Tim (Goblin)

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

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 60 – 22/09/11 – “Microsoft mischief, Patents, Statusnet and more!”

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights) Rusty (The Show that Sux)

(Notes taken from TechRights)

We start today’s show by discussing Linux/dual-boot systems being hampered by Microsoft’s plans. We talk about other GNU/Linux matters and then play “Lagrimas e vodka” by Sylvia Patricia. Red Hat’s results are then discussed with some enthusiasm and Tim mentions that Statusnet reached version 1.0beta4.

“Pajama Party” by Swimming With Dolphins is then played and we mention the patent ‘reform’ among other issues relating to patents, even the Samsung/Android situation.

“Go’n Be Gone” by LidoLido is played and then we cover Google antitrust (Google under the US government’s eye) as well as the failure of Windows Phone 7 in competing against Android (sign of things to come for Windows 8). Google+ opens to the public, so Rusty and Tim have a good debate about it, followed by almost no coverage (due to lack of time) of Yahoo and search snatch, as well as US-oriented statistics that deceive the public and make it seem like Microsoft has made real progress. We are hoping to have another episode this week.

Get this episode here: http://techrights.org/2011/09/22/techbytes-episode-60/

 

Tim (Goblin)

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

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

Convoluted Rebuttals – Unity: The War Without End?

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Maybe it’s because Summer is traditionally quiet for tech news.

As everything in the tech world (and the real world) settles down from a rather disappointing (weather wise) Summer [1], I find myself writing another rebuttal post of sorts.  This one is a little different, it’s a rebuttal of a rebuttal of Jono Bacon’s comments written by a Susan Linton.  Confused? You will be, give me time.

Susan Linton blog is on OSTATIC.    Ms Linton explains how she thinks Jono Bacon is wrong, which is fine – Her implementation of that in my view I think ignores some points about Unity and the benefits to Linux/Ubuntu/Canonical.  Its probably best if you read the article in question first: http://ostatic.com/blog/bacon-justifies-ubuntu-decisions and I hope you will entertain my own thoughts on Unity, Ubuntu and Canonical.

I should start with a little disclosure/disclaimer – I am not connected in any way with Canonical and/or Jono or indeed the Ubuntu project.  My only “real” contact with Canonical was a telephone conversation a few years ago with Jono (about numerous topics) and an interview which he kindly came on TechBytes for.   I myself don’t even use Ubuntu on my main rig (Sabayon) however I do deploy a lot of Ubuntu and derived distro’s so feel I can add my views to the  battleground of whats ironically called Unity.

Lets get straight onto some quotes, heres Susan commenting on Jono’s opinion of “hiding buttons to encourage exploration”  You can read her full blog post here: http://ostatic.com/blog/bacon-justifies-ubuntu-decisions

I particularly liked the one assertion that hiding the window buttons and the menu is a great idea because “people learn by exploration.” Well, when did it become an operating systems’ function to teach people to learn?

And my response would be, when wasn’t or should it be? In fact why are we not still stuck in the UI 80’s? If people in general are so adverse to learning new things then we wouldn’t have any progress at all would we?  What was Microsoft thinking when XP became Vista? Maybe (and I can’t believe I’m justifying Microsoft direction) just maybe, they considered their vision to be an improvement and the short-term cost of encouraging the user to explore would reap rewards for further improvements in the future?  A little encouragement is needed I believe in order for you to present your vision of a product to users.

I’d suggest Ms Linton, that there’s a happy medium.  Whilst I wouldn’t agree that revolutionary changes are thrust upon a user to learn and explore in one hit, you can’t simply let your product go stale either and even the tech uninterested are happy to engage in a little learning if it reaps benefits later; or does Ms Linton believe the average user doesn’t have the intelligence to learn or want to learn a little?  In addition I think its only right that Canonical has its own vision for what it wants Linux to be, as does every other distro, if they didn’t then everyone would just be releasing exactly the same UI’s/distro’s just packing a different name.

Generally speaking – What Susan, would you say to a Gnome user? Don’t try KDE you have to learn some new ways of doing things? or how about Xfce? or any others.  As I said before, if we followed her ethos then a desktop UI would never offer diversity because nobody would want to learn anything new or a companies new vision of what the Linux desktop interface should be.

software can help a user learn any number of things, but the operating systems’ job is to provide the stable environment and then get out of the way. 

And that I would agree, but Susan, we are talking about a UI here.  Canonical (I assume) are looking to appeal to a wider audience.  Did you know Susan even if you discount the plethora of Ubuntu derived distro’s, there’s also many different flavours of Ubuntu itself?

“People like to explore,” he says. Well, thanks for the condescending dime-store analysis. Besides after the first “learning” experience, it just becomes more work to get to the basic function.

Susan, if what you say is right, why would people switch from years of a Windows PC to a Mac? Surely the thought of learning something new would have been too horrific to even contemplate.  What about Android or the iPhone…those different UI’s, all those things to learn.  By your reckoning people don’t want to learn OS specific interface features or have to change anything.

Without your users, you have no reason to be. Like many of your ilk, you’re under the impression that us lowly users are sheeple and must therefore follow your most exalted and elite judgment. You know best, right?

The first part is true (in regards to users) and that applies to any firm offering a product.  I distinctly remember Jono on numerous occasions mentioning choice and freedom of it, so the suggestion that Jono thinks of users as “lowly” is either ill-informed or just an attempt to be confrontational.  Maybe Susan is trying to create hits for the OSTATIC site by trying to flame? – Since Susan has made an implication, I feel fully justified to make my own.  What is being suggested? Canonical is developing Unity to get rid of its users? Maybe Susan, Canonical is developing Unity FOR its users.  It may be right it may be wrong with its Unity vision, but it’s certainly trying to appeal to its users.  Of course Canonical would stand behind their vision.  You would with yours.  What do you want Canonical or Jono to say?

We can’t possibly think for ourselves. He sums up with, “Personally I think the latter looks far sleeker, less cluttered and pleasant to use.

And my wife holds that same viewpoint (in that its sleeker and less cluttered) since my wife is not tech interested in the slightest, would Susan Linton like to call her judgment “exalted and elite”… I am certainly not that brave and I don’t think my wife is tech interested enough to call her elite!

Conclusion

I would assume that Unity is developed to appeal to the mainstream masses.  It’s easy for us that are tech interested to believe that Linux and its associated packages are written to cater for and pander to us.  The vast majority of users on this planet have no interest in tech other than it’s a medium in which they wish to get tasks done.  They don’t care about open source, they don’t care about patents they merely want to use a PC to get a job done.  Conversely though, they are happy to learn a new way of working if the benefits are presented to them, it’s a natural progression that any product will undergo change which will require a small investment of time on behalf of the consumer.  Compare a smart phone to that of one from the early 90’s.  A company’s vision of a product with many competitors is something to be encouraged, not scorned because you think that people can’t or won’t be interested in something new.

I think that Unity is progressing very nicely and I think that the mainstream user will appreciate the UI, the error I think Canonical have made (as I said recently on the TechBytes show) was having it as the default offering on new Ubuntu releases when clearly it is still in development/progression.  What is wrong with Classic Gnome default and a Unity option?  That way you would still get people using it, but the developing status of Unity would not rub off on Canonical’s flagship product Ubuntu.

A comment from a reader of her blog sums up my views about diverse opinion perfectly:

Although it took me a little while to find where to access a few things I vastly prefer the new Unity interface to the previous Gnome setup.

I’ll leave it with this thought.  Could Canonical and its Unity encourage more diversity and choice in distro’s? I say this considering how many distro’s  are derived from Ubuntu.  Presumably not all of these will share Canonical’s vision of the future and strike out in different versions of their own.  How often have I opened distro review with “derived from Ubuntu”.  Maybe Unity will assist in introducing more creativity and diversity in alternatives?

[1] Based on UK weather to date.

Tim (Goblin)

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

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 59 – 04/09/11 – “Tablets, Mobile and Google”

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights) Rusty (The Show that Sux)

Rusty is back! And most welcome he is too as we cover a far better organized list of topics.  You are going to hear about a selection of topics from around the world of Tech, including conjouring up a rather disturbing image of insecure Mobiles and a showercam featuring the hosts of TechBytes.  Interested? Hopefully not.

* Google – Real names, nyms and why its important that you consider what exactly you are giving up when taking on Google services.

* ACS:Law due to face the music in 2012.  What will be the outcome? How does the USA differ slightly in its approach of copyright issues?

Track: “End Sequence”  by Obsidian Shell

*  Android Tablet devices – $199 – We discuss.

Track: “Deeper Conversation” by Yuna

* Linux turns 20 and celebrates win as well as Kernal.org being hacked.

* Nokia feeding patent troll MOSAID to attack Microsoft rivals like Android.

* Class lawsuit over Windows Phone 7

* iPad losing market share to Linux/Android

* Amazon Kindle tablet coming before Christmas?

Track: “One More Workout Shawty” by DJ Car Stereo (Wars)

* Cablegate reveals diplomats batting for Microsoft and defaming Linux.

* Red Hat’s RHEL 7 ideas crowdsourced

* Ubuntu approaches release with a new beta and another Ubuntu derived distro you should take a look at.

The show is then played out with another choice by Roy: “Mi Compadre Bernabe” by Cerronato

Get this episode here: http://techrights.org/2011/09/05/techbytes-episode-59/

 

Tim (Goblin)

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

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.

Looking at 11.04 Natty/Unity – Good or bad?

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Theres been a 1001 different reviews of Ubuntu 11.04, so I hope to put a little bit of a different spin on the review.  Theres been much criticism regarding the direction Canonical have taken with Unity and then with every release of Ubuntu you always get a flood of FUD with people capitalizing on the issues of a minority as “proof” that Ubuntu is not fit for purpose.  This seems to mainly happen with Ubuntu so I can only surmise that Canonical’s offering is seen as the biggest threat to those who would rather you stayed with “traditional” products.

For this review,  I want to explore how much of the “doom and gloom” reported by other people is actually true in respect of 11.04 but in particular Unity.

So firstly the introduction.  I am coming from Sabayon, a Gentoo derivative.  Through my own silly fault and trying to partition whilst very tired, I hosed my system.  As much as I would like to blame Sabayon I can’t,  so being OS’less there seemed no better time than to test out Ubuntu 11.04 on my main rig and more importantly get my own views on what all the fuss about Unity is.

I deploy alot of Ubuntu to new Linux users, so for me it goes without saying that Ubuntu and “out of the box” are synonymous.  I usually stay at least one/two versions behind when deploying to new users, so this journey into 11.04 was more for my own curiosity and to check out Unity which seems to have caused so much fuss. When I deploy Ubuntu to a user its my reputation on the line every time i switch them from Windows. Happily, Ubuntu has not let me down yet.

First things first.  Unity is not a big deal, it’s not this digital monster invading your house and destroying your Ubuntu/Linux experience.  If you can get past some of the knee jerk reactions on the net and actually give it a go, you may find that it offers a surprisingly well thought out and smart UI for your desktop experience. That’s speaking as someone who enjoys for the most part a minimalist desktop and from someone who shies away from most desktop effects and widgets.

Unity represents a massive departure from my traditional way of working and in its default presentation, I expect many others would be the same.  So lets move onto the things I disliked about the experience.

1. The sidebar is not what I am used to.  My Gnome desktop usually consists of two taskbars, one at the top, one at the bottom.  The top to give me access to installed apps and system utils, whilst the bottom to keep hold of all my running apps.  I have multiple desktops so a switch between desktops and apps is usually very quick.   The side bar I found, was present when I didn’t want it, drawing my eye and then absent when I did.

2. Alerts from packages are brought to your attention with a “Zookeeper” like wobble.  It’s a nice effect to alert you say to a message in IRC with X-Chat.  Blink though and you’ll miss it.

3. Apps that have focus put their pull down menu into the taskbar at the top of the screen rather than contain them in their executing window.  This is concept which I’m finding difficult to get used to.  This also applies for your minimise, maximise and close window buttons when you have a given app maximised. If you have several small apps running in windows then giving them focus then moving to the top of the screen to access pull down menus saw me engaging in far more mouse movement than I should.

I’ll make a quick comment on Ubuntu 11.04 itself in that all my hardware was detected out of the box and just like previous experiences.

I did find though that my Mic was muted by default which meant I needed to quickly run alsamixer in order to rectify. Not an issue though.

Next up, I don’t like Evolution, I never have. Thunderbird, whilst with its issues does provide my all in one solution. Whilst Evolution is integrated well into the Ubuntu experience, it just doesn’t have the features I require.

I didn’t notice an IRC client packaged as default (I’m wrong here?) and maybe this is a sign of its declining/specialist usage on the desktop, however one of the important things about Ubuntu is community and since there’s much going on in the IRC ubuntu community then I suggest it’s a necessary package to include. – Please feel to correct me if I have missed a feature here.

Ahhh! Ubuntu is for newb’s not the l337!

Certainly more so in the past, I’ve seen a select few regarding Ubuntu for “newbies, newbs, lamers” et al.  In todays Linux world I think this elitism exists only in rare circumstances.  Its completely silly too, just because Ubuntu wants to assist in setting up your system and get you up and running as quickly as possible does not make it “for newbs” I know many very experienced Linux users who favour Ubuntu purely because they have better things to do then mess about with their OS just to become functional.  Anyone can install proprietary drivers, its simple, but if Ubuntu takes that task away by automating the process, I’m all for it.  There was a time where I enjoyed the challenge of getting one of the more “exotic” distro’s functioning on my system, but now with several projects on the go, what I want in a new distro is to be up and running as quickly as possible.  I’ve deployed (and used off and on) Ubuntu since 8.04 and can happily say that this has always been the experience I’ve had.

Conclusions

I always wonder why Canonical seems to be hit with the largest amount of critics, this undoubtedly is due at least in part to its popularity with the adage “you can’t please everyone”.  That being said opinions on Unity have me rather bemused.  For starters you can easily select the classic Gnome DE if you so wish and if you feel that strongly about Unity, then you can still have 11.04 in a “classic incarnation” – problem solved.

This review has been written over the period of a few days and one of the successes of Unity for me was that my wife immediately felt comfortable with it.  My initial reservations have melted away with the realization that a different way of working can, until accustomed to, be a frightening place.  Now that I’ve settled with Unity over the last few days, I will be keeping 11.04 on my main rig, I had intended to return to Sabayon, but now that I’ve got accustomed to Unity, there really is no reason for me to switch back at the present time.

Have I still got features I’d like changed? Well yes, little things (some of which I’ve mentioned above) although it should be noted that customizing Ubuntu to your specific requirements is something that everyone can do.  I intentionally did not do that for this article as I wanted to experience Unity and 11.04 in its default configuration (presumably how Canonical want you to experience it)

There are so many facets to discuss about Canonical and Ubuntu – “for purchase” software in the Ubuntu Store, Ubuntu One, Mono and many others, however I think these are side issues which distract from the fact that yet again Canonical have put a lot of work into a quality release.  A quality release I hasten to add which I will happily be deploying to the next batch of new Linux users.

As with any software, there will be people with issues, until such a thing as a standardized PC exists, the plethora of hardware configurations will undoubtably cause issues for some – that goes for any software and in respect of what I want to see changed I always say that the only application which is tailored exactly to your needs is the one you code yourself.

I think Canonical is on the right path and certainly have confidence in the distro which is probably the most “household name” of all the Linux distributions.  If desktop Linux is to become common place and not merely a talking point when people enquire what you are running if you don’t use Windows, then I think Canonical certainly has the product and determination to do that.

Tim (Goblin)

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

Mail: bytes4free@googlemail.com
Skype: tim.openbytes
I can also be found in #techrights, #techbytes on freenode.net.