Archive for the ‘ubuntu’ Category

Inception, Part 3…

Posted: January 23, 2011 by jellymann in computers, CPU, inception, linux, ubuntu, virtualisation

… and probably the last one. I tried again this week with Virtual PC and I ran into similar problems.

the reason, I think, is because my fail processor doesn’t support this kind of hard-core virtualisation, so I might have to wait until I get a Core i# with Hardware Virtualisation before I consider part 4 at all.

Anyway, thanks for the interest 🙂 All I got accomplished so far was install five different operating systems inside one: Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, Windows XP and Windows 7. My computer is going to die soon, I guess…

Looks it, too

Perfection is Unknowable

Posted: January 21, 2011 by jellymann in computers, customization, linux, ubuntu

I am a fan of minimalistic user interfaces. I have always been searching for the “perfect” desktop. Well, I discovered that there isn’t really one.

The thing about perfection is that it’s unknowable. It’s impossible, but it’s also right in front of us all the time.” – Kevin Flynn

Apple have done a fantastic job making the “perfect” desktop with Mac OS X. That is why a lot of people who don’t have a Mac will try and make their OS look like Mac OS X. I used to be one of those people. Since then I have realised it isn’t the best way to a perfect desktop.

Let me start with my Windows 7 desktop. After years of customisation and re-customisation to make Windows look like a Mac, I came sudden realisation: Why not keep Windows the way it is? Well I reverted everything back to the way it was and started from scratch. It’s surprising how well Windows works being Windows. I did, however, make one visual modification. I did install a new visual style, but this one stays true to Windows 7’s Aero, but moves one tiny step towards Apple, by replacing the reflective glass look with a soft gradient, and making the shadows bigger and softer. If you want to check it out’s called Soft7.

Now let me talk about my Ubuntu desktop. This one’s going to be a lot more than one paragraph because Linux is extremely customisable, way more so than Windows.

I did not attempt to make Ubuntu look like Mac OS X, but I did create look inspired by it. The few things I “borrowed” from Apple include borderless windows which create a much crisper look, the dock (in fact, two of them), and the global menu bar. The rest of the look is very loosely based on Mac OS X and is in fact a GTK Theme I borrowed from another OS based on Linux. I got the icons from it as well. Many thanks to DanRabbit, who in my opinion is a genius. I did, however, change a few things, like make the menus borderless to match the windows. Elementary also has a modification to Nautilus which cleans up its interface quite a lot.

Instead of the Gnome Main Menu, I opted for a more “invisible” approach to running apps not present in my dock. Lifehacker pointed me to a fantastic utility called Synapse that is similar in function to Gnome-do but with much more capability. I can easily launch any installed app without browsing for it with my mouse. The only drawback to this is that I need to memorize all the apps I use and have installed, and so far I have had to refresh my memory a couple of times.

The idea behind a global menu bar is that only one application’s menu bar is visible at a time, thus preventing the user from accidentally using the wrong window’s menu bar. It also helps with small windows having long menu bars, such as GIMP. The Gnome-globalmenu is available for Linux and works for most GTK apps. The only app I use that does not benefit from it is OpenOffice. Firefox also doesn’t benefit from globalmenu.

I also all reduced the titlebar to a five-pixel high strip with my own Metacity theme that is blue when active and grey when inactive. This saves a bit of screen real-estate which I can use for other things, like viewing more of this document. The only downside is that I have to find other ways of know what document or image I’m actually working on! Thankfully most programs have ways of doing so.

I’m using a fantastic dock called Docky. It might be a little buggy now and again but it more than makes up for it in all it’s awesomeness. It is simple to use, easy to set up, and look great. It has the 3D reflective table thing going on right out of the box.

And last but definitely not least is Compiz, Linux’s major composite window manager. I have made my own modifications to the configuration, mainly just animations, but also stuff like the desktop wall and th expose feature. All in all this makes for a very unique feel.

Clean Stuff

Oh and one more thing, though. To match my awesomely minimalistic desktop, I chose some wallpapers from the fabulous selection over at Simple Desktops.

Inception, Part Two

Posted: September 11, 2010 by jellymann in computers, inception, linux, tech, ubuntu, virtualisation

Things haven’t gone quite as I had planned, so we’re not going to the next level “literally” yet like I promised, so for now I’ll give you a little insight of what I’ve been up to along the lines of the Inception project.

Today I’m exploring what Linux distros work well in Virtualbox. So far, as we’ve seen, Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx works great, Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meercat works, but with only partial interoperability with the host OS, due to it’s new X version 1.9. Virtualbox’s Guest Additions only supports version 1.8 so far.

I decided to try Fedora 14 Alpha, but to my dismay the live CD wouldn’t boot at all. I checked online for solutions but unfortunately there is no support for alpha and beta guest operating systems in VirtualBox, which is sad for Maverick also.

Fedora 13 installed and booted fine, which is a huge step further than what I got with Fedora 14. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the Guest Additions to install, no matter what I tried. I installed all the headers, necessary building dependencies and stuff, downloaded a kernel source RPM (which didn’t quite install properly) but alas nothing helped. All I had was the default crappy cursor integration that Lucid also had when I first booted it up.

N.B. The default crappy cursor integration feels funny and does not hide the cursor when you leave the machine’s window, whereas VirtualBox’s Guest Additions’ cursor integration hides the cursor, and feels exactly the same as the host’s cursor.

I haven’t used OpenSUSE for years, so I wasn’t surprised that I was surprised by the GUI changes made since then. But what made me most excited was that OpenSUSE comes with full VirtualBox Guest Additions out of the box! Woot! Now I don’t have to worry about THAT anymore! I ran the live CD and the first thing I noticed was the smoother mouse integration, then the windows had shadows, went transparent, wobbled, and then I dragged off the edge of the screen and the desktop cube went crazy. I guess the Compiz guys didn’t take VirtualBox into consideration…

And now for our special guest for today, lets have a round of applause for Microsoft Virtual PC 2007! Yes I know it sucks compared to VirtualBox, and it eats my computer’s resources, but it still kinda works. I only ever use it for running Windows 98 for occasional compatibility reasons, which are few, and because VirtualBox doesn’t support Windows 98 (Did Sun perhaps think it was too old?). I decided to pull this old relic out of the closet and install Fedora 13 on it (Previously I did try 14 but it failed even more than on VirtualBox). To my surprise everything went fine, it works quite smoothly, and it connects to the internet. Now I just have to install the VM Additions (if they even work) which I will do another time.

Lucid and OpenSUSE Updating next to each other. Don’t they look cute together!


All three running quite happily together. Purple, Blue, and Green:


So here’s the summary:
Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx: Works Great
Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meercat: Works, but with limited Guest Additions support (No 3D Acceleration or Automatic Screen Resizing)
Fedora 13: Works, but couldn’t get Guest Additions to work
Fedora 14 Alpha: Couldn’t even install it
OpenSUSE 11.3: Works fantastically, Guest Additions worked immediately out of the box
Fedora 13 on Microsoft Virtual PC 2007: lol

Thanks for reading.
Have a look at Part One of my Inception Project.

Inception, Part One

Posted: September 8, 2010 by jellymann in computers, inception, linux, tech, ubuntu, virtualisation

This idea I am about to share with you now is inspired by the movie Inception. I love that movie! It’s really thought out well, and the concept is so cool and mind-boggling.

Similar to the dream concept in Inception, there is something called “lucid dreaming”. A lucid dream, in simplest terms, is a dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. My friend found that on wikipedia. Now here’s the cool part: Ubuntu’s latest stable version is called Lucid Lynx. How cool is that!? So that’s the OS I decided to use for this project. Another cool thing that makes Lucid lucid, is that it knows it’s running in a Virtual Machine. This is evident in the fact that it provides mouse cursor integration out-of-the-box. Cool, right?

So I begin. The Lucid installation went on smoothly, it installs just like it would in reality. This means it takes just as long, if not longer… It sits at 79% for like half an hour on my machine, and then crawls along from about 86%, mainly because it needs to download packages off the internet, and I have a crap slow internet!

It took a while (maybe an hour or so) but now I’ve arrived to my new Lucid desktop, running normally. I’m glad I haven’t come across any hiccups so far, but to my dismay it did not come with all the guest additions installed like I thought, only mouse cursor support is default. Oh well, that’s not a huge problem, I’ll just install the guest additions myself.

I’m installing them using apt-get instead of the ISO provided with Virtualbox. I’m hoping this is a better way. It sure is easier to install and uninstall, but it means I still have to download the whole thing which is a pain on my internet connection. I had to wait at least half an hour for 8 minutes O_o (Maybe there’s some kind of time difference between the Host and the Guest OS here… 15 minutes = 1 hour?).

So it finally finished downloading and it gives me this fail message. After Restarting I got no additions. So all that downloading and waiting hours (or minutes?) was fruitless. Oh well it’s not a train-smash, I’ll just revert to using good old VBoxGuestAdditions.iso and see if I get any luck with that.

Well would you look at that? It worked! Now I’ve got all the juicy features of the guest additions. I guess there’s nothing wrong with the ISO after all. I’ve got it working in seamless mode and all the other juicy features. Yay!

So that’s it for now. This is part one of my Inception project. Stay tuned for the next installment where we will take it to the next level (literally)
Head on to Part Two of the Inception Project.