The Phoronix Ubuntu Lucid Lynx benchmarks- what is that really?

“As much as we would have liked to see Ubuntu’s Lucid Lynx handily beat Windows 7, this was not the case, but to some extent the opposite.” That about summarized the conclusion on the *11th* page of an article titled Is Windows 7 actually faster than Ubuntu 10.04? written by the folks over at Phoronix.
I am not against their conclusion whatsoever. What I have a problem with is the way the story is titled. I find it very unfair to title a story this way only to have conducted a series of game tests on the two OS to reach such a conclusion. Would it have been so difficult to title it to reflect the fact that the conclusion is based on a series of tests in a gaming context.
I would be woefully unfair to Windows 7 should I claim Ubuntu 10.04 has more eye candy than the former without making it known afore-hand that I have Compiz running. It should be made clearly known that there is no way Windows 7 can be faster than the Lucid Lynx (yes I am sticking my neck here) in a general purpose context.
Forget all the fancy benchmarks with all those powerful machines that are common only in North America and some parts of Europe. You want to see how fast Windows 7 is as compared to Ubuntu, try installing and running them on a 2Ghz Intel Celeron powered machine with 1GB of RAM. Then you will actually understand which is faster.
Only a minute fraction of both OS users are gamers, so to use gaming as the standard to compare the two OS under such a heading is not so fair and balanced. And to the folks there, please check the banner ads, I could not read some of the paragraphs because the banners had covered them.

5 Linux features I miss when on Windows.

In as much as I would love not to, I still use Windows very much in my day to day life. However, being someone who also uses Linux, there are 5 things I really miss when I am behind a Windows machine. 
Always on top
The ability to keep any window on top of all the others at any given time is a blessing Linux that I am yet to see on Windows. It comes in really handy when you need to have more than one window visible to get things done or when you want to be working but have VLC lurking on the lower part of the screen.
On Linux, I am alerted, depending on my settings, that XYZ updates are available and given a choice as to which ones to download and install. Windows actually downloads the updates, then keeps on nagging you to restart in order for the update installation to be complete. I really don’t have any problem with the auto download of updates, though it would be nice to see what has been downloaded. My problem is why the heck does Windows have to keep nagging me to restart so as to complete the updates, even when I am in the middle of something? I really miss Linux in that respect.
Multiple desktops
On a typical day, I have about 6 worksheets open, with Google Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, and some other folders open. On Linux, in order not to clutter my desktop, I just move some of he open windows to another desktop and all is well with the world. Windows? Well I do not know of any such function.
Reboot, Reboot and reboot
Again, lots of applications I install tell me to reboot before the installation will be complete. If I make an installation of 5 such programs, it means for 5 times I have to reboot my system. Linux? Sudo-apt get install XYZ and bam, its done.
At times when I want to wonder into my own decompression chamber, all I do is to play around with Compiz on Linux. Seeing my windows wobble and do some cool stuff helps me get my head in shape. I really miss that functionality on Windows, at least on XP (not yet moved to 7).
There are lots of things that as a Linux user, you are likely to miss on Windows, these are some of mine. Lets here what’s yours.

The Karmic Koala – Not Ubuntu’s Vista

Ubuntu Linux, without a doubt is the most popular Linux desktop OS out there. It has come a long way since Warthy Wathog some 5 years ago. The crowning release of the distro was on the 29 of October when Karmic Koala was unleashed into the wild.
To say this release is good will be an understatement. It is the best so far in the history of Canonical. However, Karmic Koala, just like any other software that is made up of lines of code, is bound to have bugs. I am yet to read anywhere that it was stated  Karmic was going to be bugless. I am amazed at how people are equating Karmic to Vista in terms of buggs and hiccups.
First of all, Ubuntu Karmic is far from repeating the spectacular, legendary failure of Vista. The latter was a big, unprecedented blunder on the part of Microsoft. Not so is Ubuntu Karmic however. I installed the beta and later the final release and not a single thing went wrong. I am not going to be naive to say it will go so for everyone. No, people will experience some problems with it. Even the multibillion dollar Windows 7 is giving people a hard time with bugs.
But it is very surprising when you have people begin to predict the demise of Ubuntu just because they have encountered bugs with Karmic. What people are not saying however, is that Karmic is radically different from all the previous releases in that it comes with some really new functions and features that are now making their debut. It is packed with new features that are bound to cause some performance problems.
For years we have all been saying we want to see  Ubuntu stand up to Windows. We want to see new functions and features in Ubuntu. Now that Canonical is beginning to deliver, we the same people are now turning to attack the developers. I agree with a good friend of mine when he says Ubuntu is always under scrutiny because it is the most popular Linux desktop distro out there. But to make all sorts of noise because some bugs have been discovered is just being unfair to Ubuntu.
To reduce the incident of bugs with your system, you should consider backing up your system and doing a clean reinstall. I have always been against upgrading from one major release of a software to the other. It is always better to start afresh. You should also have a realistic expectation of the OS. You should know it is something made by man and may suffer some deficiencies.
If you are thinking of installing Ubuntu Karmic but are being put off by the hue and cry you are reading all over the net, I can confidently say to you that go ahead and install it. It is a great release and your your system is likely to run smoothly with it. The bug issues you are hearing are the exception rather than the rule to the Ubuntu experience. Go on and enjoy real freedom.

6 must have Open Source apps for Windows 7 users

Windows 7 was released for retailing last week and I know by now you might have bought yourself a copy. However, getting the shiny looking Windows 7 on your box is just the beginning of your journey to having an enjoyable computing experience. You would need to have some apps that will complement what you do with the OS. Below are 6 of such apps that are absolutely a must have to complete your Windows 7 experience.
This simple CD/DVD burning software is a very impressive application given the array of features it offers. It can be used to create custom data, audio and mixed-mode projects and record them to physical discs as well as disc images, record to dual-layer DVDs, erase rewritable discs using four different methods and scan the SCSI/IDE bus for devices and collect information about their capabilities, among a host of other features. It is suitable for everyday users who only do so much with their CD burning programs. I think it will serve your needs well since most of the fancy features you find in commercial counterparts are hardly used by most people. InfraRecorder is definitely a must have.

If for some strange reasons you have not heard of VLC before, then you are missing something. This app is one player to rule them all. It has never failed to play any file I have ever thrown at it. It uses its own internal codecs, runs on any platform I know of and is very light weight. It is packed with almost every features you could think of, 7 of which you might not even know of. VLC is definitely a must have if you are to enjoy multimedia on your WIndows 7 system to the max.
If for some very, very, very strange reason you do not know what Firefox is, please check out this video before you continue reading. Firefox is the most super, duper browser in the world. It comes with an simple interface and an impressive array of features. It is extremely customizable with the thousands of readily available addons out there, 7 of which are a must have. If you are in the EU, then the obvious choice of browser for you is Firefox since your Windows 7 is not likely to come with IE preinstalled. But if you are anywhere else in the world, do yourself a favor an avoid IE at all cost. Use Firefox instead. It definitely will make your computing experience an unforgettable one.
This is another awesome app you would not want to do without on your new Windows 7 system. It is a universal chat client that connects to virtually every chat system on the planet (now has voice and video). You can even extend it further with wonderful plugins that blow you away. It is very lightweight and does not eat up your system resources like other ones out there. With Pidgin, you only need one app to stay in touch with your friends across all the popular social networking sites out there. You really would not want to do without this app on your Windows 7 system. It’s absolutely a must have no doubt.
If you are going to be doing some word processing on your system- who doesn’t anyway?- then Openoffice is a must have app. This cool and easy to use, full fledged office suite comes packed with features that will do almost anything you are used to doing with its counterparts, chiefly MS Office. It has a simple interface (though a little ugly to some people), is customizable with thousands of widgets and has almost no learning curve as long as you can read and write. It is good for every setting you can think of and can be deployed easily and quickly without hassles. I definitely and highly recommend Openoffice  to help you get the best out of your new Windows 7.

This is an anti-virus and anti-spyware that works perfectly on your Windows 7 system. It has a standalone virus scanner and right-click menu integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer, high detection rates for viruses,  spyware scanning scheduler, automatic downloads of regularly updated virus database, addin to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically among others. The only downside of this app however, is that it does not include an on-access real-time scanner. You need to manually scan a file in order to detect a virus or spyware. It is still worth the try though, that is if you are not the type that clicks on every yes you see online and in your email.

So now that you have these  apps on  your new and shiny Windows 7, you can enjoy the best of computing technology at a relatively affordable price. I would love to know what other app you would love to see on the list. Please let me know and I would gladly add it.

4 powerful ‘anti-virus’ programs to complement your Windows 7 experience

Windows 7 has finally been released. A lot of buzz is currently being generated around this release with more people set to give it a try. A quick search on Twitter for Windows 7 shows a huge number of tweets every single second. However, there is a problem that you would have to confront sometime in the future if you are using the new MS baby; ‘threatware.’
There are rogues out there that simply live on invading your computer and stealing your data for their own nefarious reasons. The latest modus operandi of these is criminals is to hijack your computer and force you to pay them a ransom before you can use your own computer again. Don’t fall for such security risks and pranks. The following 4 ‘anti-virus’ programs will surely safeguard you from all these security threats and take your computing experience to the max without you having to repartition your Windows 7 box.
Anti-virus 1- Kubuntu Linux
This is perhaps the most popular ‘anti-virus’ or virus immune program you might have heard of from the ‘other side.’ This ‘anit-virus’ is a versatile OS built on the Linux kernel designed to run smoothly on even fairly old hardware. You can use this ‘anti-virus’ along side your existing Windows installation. With this program, you can now spend more time having a worthwhile internet experience and less worrying about all the threatware out there. The best part of this program is that it is free to use. You can get more information about this ‘threatware’ stopper and how you can download a copy here.
Anti-virus 2- Linux Mint
This ‘anti-virus’ is a direct derivative of the first one designed for those who want everything read to use out of the box without any additional configurations. It is easy to use for beginners and has almost no learning curve. It is also immune to any form of threatware. You can also use it alongside your current Windows installation just like the first one. It is certainly worth a try if you want a simple way to save yourself from Windows threatware. Read more about this free ‘anti-virus’ here and how to download a copy for yourself.
Anti-virus 3- Fedora Linux
This Linux based ‘anti-virus’ works well on almost all hardware and is stable. It is backed by one of the industry giants in the Linux world; Red Hat. It’s also one of the most popular ‘anti-viruses’ that you can run alongside your Windows 7; also available for free.
Anti-virus 4 Arch Linux
This program is really simple and light weight designed to use as little system resources as possible. It is great for those of you who want a program whose footprint is nigh invisible on your Windows 7 box.  Go on and grab a copy of this threat proof program today.
To complete the setup of your ‘anti-virus’ of choice from the above list- you can get even more choices here– just install the addon called Windows 7 transformation pack and you have a safe, robust and flexible system that is almost immune to all the innumerable threat ware out there.
I am not saying do not use your new Windows 7, no. Use it, but I do strongly encourage you also give one of the above listed ‘anti-viruses’ right on your system. Try them and tell us what you think.

Ubuntu Karmic Koala- A perfect alternative to Windows 7

I downloaded the beta version of the up coming Ubuntu Karmic Koala and gave it a try. To say I am impressed is an understatement. There is no doubt the amount of work that has gone into this release since Jaunty. Everything worked out of the box. I did not have to tinker with anything.
This then set me thinking about why people would pay money to get to use the upcoming Windows 7 when Ubuntu Karmic will also debut around that time and will be available for free. You see, it is not just some kind of empty propaganda or fanboyism when we say Ubuntu is a matured alternative to Windows. The OS that you use on your computer is a means to a certain end. Why then, should you spend money on a certain means when you can get one equally good for free?
After testing out the beta of Karmic Koala, I am now left with now doubt that Ubuntu is ready and can now be a perfect replacement for Windows 7. Karmic has basically everything that Windows 7 can boast of. It is polished, fast, supports a wide array of hardware among others. What more  could you ask for? Not to mention that all the core applications you will need come with just one install.
I know some people will disagree with me. However, I strongly believe Ubuntu can now stand up to Windows as a viable OS on the desktop. Windows 7 is very polished, but underneath that shiny looking cover is a big pack of trouble. Believe me, Windows 7 is not going to be anymore different than its predecessors. Wait till the bad guys start bombarding it with trojans, malware and viruses, then you will see that despite its nice looks, it is still Windows.
To prove my assertions, Microsoft has now released its own security suite named MS Security Essentials. That alone should tell you how vulnerable Windows is and how desperate Microsoft has become- going to the extent of releasing an antivirus for FREE. That also is an implicit acknowledgment of the fact that Windows cannot stand on its own without a third party guard! Would you want to pay for such an OS? I would not in a thousand years.
Before you decide to pay for a Windows 7 license, I would humbly urge you to first download a copy of Karmic Koala, give it a try for a week or two and then make an unbiased assessment of it yourself. You will see that you would not have to spend money whatsoever on a pile of software that crumbles at the least attack made on it. Do you intend using Windows 7? Please tell us why or why you would not use Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Linux – 5 things to stem the tide of Windows 7.

Come this October, Windows 7 will go on sale, and this release, I strongly believe will be one of the greatest challenges Linux will ever face. Ubuntu Linux will also make a release within that same time and given the generally positive reviews that Windows 7 has received, it is going to be a very difficult time for Canonical to market Ubuntu. This is because every review of the new  Ubuntu release is going to be relative to Windows 7 which has so far received  positive reviews from a large section of the public . It is in this regard that I believe the following five points, when strategically marketed by Canonical, can help it to stem the tide of the gigantic Windows 7..
Ubuntu Server / Virtualization
First on the list is that Canonical must focus more on promoting the server aspect of the Ubuntu OS. Yes Ubuntu is widely known an excellent desktop OS, but very few know that Ubuntu also has a server OS that has been certified to run on several server configurations including HP’s Proliant range of servers and others from Dell, IBM, Lenovo among others. ISVs like Alfresco and Openbravo also have enterprise  products built on Ubuntu server edition. There is also the Canonical-IBM  Virtual Bridges  partnerships that aims at virtualizing Ubuntu desktops on Linux servers. These are very important components of the Ubuntu OS that Canonical must publicize to help it stand up to the new Windows 7.
More and more OEMs are now shipping their systems with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled, notable amongst them being Dell (who now ship their systems with Ubuntu 9.04) and more niche manufacturers like Zareason and System76. Canonical must make this kind of partnerships more known to the masses since people tend to have confidence in an OS when OEMs choose to preinstall it and also gives the OS a more professional appeal.
Cloud is the future of computing and Canonical must tell the world Ubuntu’s readiness for the cloud. The Enterprise cloud service from Canonical must be highly publicized to inform people of its existence.
Given the fact that more and more people are now carrying out their tasks on the go, Ubuntu must be placed in such a strategic position as to be an option for people when it comes to mobile computing. The UNR must be more aggressively marketed to this end.
Training / Support
The traditional norm used to be that users of Ubuntu had to turn to the Ubuntu Forums for support. This really did not do a lot of good to the OS in the enterprise market. However, Canonical now offers a variety of support services that have been tailored to meet the needs of its users. This must be made know to all users and prospective ones as well. There is also now formal training from Canonical for both corporate and individual Ubuntu users. This is a very good move which when properly developed over time, can grow to rival Microsoft’s MSCE. This is a strong advantage that must be marketed as well.
The list can go on, but these are what I strongly feel should be very well publicized by Canonical if Ubuntu stands a chance of sustaining the success it has chalked over the years especially at the expense of the unprecedented disappointment of Windows Vista.
What do you think can be done to sustain the growth of Ubuntu in the face of the relatively positive reviews Windows 7 has received? Please share your thoughts.