28 May 2007

PCLinuxOS 2007 Final! [Updated 05.31.07!]

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I have been waiting all year for this release!  As most of you know, this is my Linux distribution of choice (and if you don't know, where have you been?).  And I have been testing the... um... test releases (four of them to be exact) with eager anticipation for the final release.  Well, on May 21st, I got up and attended the Morning Office via computer (thank you Mission St Claire!), I checked the PCLOS home page and this is what greeted me:
PCLinuxOS 2007 Final Released
Written by Texstar
Sunday, 20 May 2007

Texstar and the Ripper Gang are pleased to announce the final release of PCLinuxOS 2007.  Featuring kernel 2.6.18.8, KDE 3.5.6, Open Office 2.2.0, Firefox 2.0.0.3, Thunderbird 2.0, Frostwire, Ktorrent, Amarok, Flash, Java JRE, Beryl 3D and much much more.  Almost 2 gigs of software compressed on a single self bootable livecd that can be installed to your hard drive provided it is compatible with your system and you like the distribution.  Over 5000+ additional packages available after hard drive install through our Synaptic Software Manager.  Please note PCLinuxOS does not ship with Win32codes or DVD decryption software.  Proprietary Nvidia and ATI drivers available after hard drive install.

In addition we'd like to give out a special thanks to the PCLinuxOS community who stepped up last month to help us out and kept us going.  Thank you for all your support and we'll keep working hard to bring you a good Linux distribution you can be proud of.  We also want to thank Enki Consulting for providing hosting for our website and ibiblio.org for hosting our distribution.

Isn't that great?  Texstar and the Ripper gang are the developers of PCLinuxOS.  And this edition is the best ever.  A lot of the new features are in the 3D part of what makes this a better alternative to anything out there for a PC.  Here is a link to a YouTube video that will give you an idea.

PCLinuxOS uses the K Desktop Environment (or KDE).  I like this environment as it is more reminiscent of what most people are used to with Microsoft Windows.  The Main menu is made up very logically and can be customized to your liking.  For example, the default configuration has 'More Applications' at the top of the menu.

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I changed the order of this by simply right-clicking on the menu and selecting 'Edit Menu' from the pop up window.

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I then just drug this down between the 'Office' and 'System' menus; clicked the 'Save' icon and the menu is now in my preferred order.

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Adding, removing, and updating the OS and applications is a very simple process as well. Launch Synaptic, type in the root password...

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...click the refresh button, select 'Installed (upgradable)', and click 'Apply'.  This keeps the system current with all the latest updates, not only for the OS but all of the apps installed through Synaptic as well.  Not even Mac OS X does this.  To install a new app, you can do this several ways.  If you know what you are wanting to install, the easiest way is to click the 'Search' button and type in the name of the app.  For example, I searched for Banshee (it's an audio player).

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Once the app is found in the repository, you just right-click it and select 'Install'.

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And this next bit is a great part.  If there are any additional packages needed to make an app work properly, you will be notified of this and they will be installed as well.

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One of the productive things about the 3D technology is the cube effect you can have in Beryl.  What this does is make use of the 'virtual desktops' that you can have in Linux (and this is something that Mac OS X Leopard will be sporting in October).  But we don't have to wait until then to use this technology.  It's available right now with PCLinuxOS 2007.  As is seen in the screen shot below, I can have different apps open on different desktops or 'sides' of the vitual cube.

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When I want to use that particular app, I can access that side of the cube through various ways -- function keys, mouse gestures, selecting the desktop, etc.  One of those ways is through a function key.  This works like Expose' in Mac OS X.  For example, I have a couple of windows open and all I do is press a function key and I can see all of the apps at one time.

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Just like with other OSes, I can copy and paste from one app to the other.  The difference is I don't have to minimize my current app once I have copied from it.  I can just copy some text and then select the other desktop that I want to use, and paste the text there.  And then rotate over again to get more text or pics or whatever.  This has completely changed the way I work with a computer.  I now have various apps open but they aren't hidden behind other application windows.

Another thing that PCLOS 2007 has is a couple of meta data search engines.  I prefer Kerry Beagle.  This works like Spotlight on Mac OS X or Google Desktop Search or the new search features within Microsoft Vista.  The reason I bring this up is to show that Linux is not behind the other OSes out there.  Far from it, it is right there in the mix with the others and is a real contender.

Kerry Beagle (which is the KDE front end of Beagle), also searches the meta data of various documents, pictures, etc.  In the screen shot below, I searched for 'NRSV' and it found a PDF file titled 'Dunn and Wright'.  It is a PDF file from a conversation that James Dunn and Tom Wright where having discussing Jesus and Paul.

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Embedded within that PDF is a reference to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

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Again, this is to show you that, far from being too difficult to use, PCLinuxOS is as easy to use as anything else out there.  Perhaps even easier.  And has just as many features and applications.  And I have mentioned before on various occasions that this OS is absolutely FREE.  That's right.  It cost you nothing but the CD media to burn the image.  You then boot from that when you start your computer and, if everything seems to be working well, you can install it right from the desktop.  And, like I have stated before, PCLinuxOS does not get viruses, spyware, or malware.  And by the way, I am running PCLinuxOS 2007, with all the bells and whistles on a five year old laptop!  So, before you decide to chunk that old PC (whether desktop or laptop), I would encourage you to take a long hard look at PCLinuxOS 2007.  It might just change your life.

Okay, that was a bit of a stretch, but still... it might. :)

[UPDATE: As an update to this post, I wanted to post a link to show the impact OpenSource has on the world. Specifically, PCLinuxOS is being used by a government agency in the Philippines You can read about it here.]

Peace be with you.

+ OD

27 May 2007

Hunger Banquet 2007

eppn_oneepsicopal_banner_full.jpgIn a very small way, I am part of the ONE Episcopalian campaign at the church I attend.  It is a branch of the ONE campaign to make poverty history.  Saturday evening, we hosted a Hunger Banquet.  Our event was a 'Dinner and a Movie'.  What I contributed was a slide show presentation.  At the Hunger Banquet, there were tables scattered around the room with name cards from various areas of the world.  Last night we had Asia, Africa, India, and the United States.  Food is placed at these tables representing how much each region has.  It is quite a symbol when you see almost all the food at the USA table with almost nothing at the other tables.  There is way too much food at the USA table where only one person was seated.  The other areas have four or five tables with five or six seated at each table.  One of the tables from each region had a small container of the food item that those regions would have to eat.  There was not enough for one person let alone the 20 - 30 people represented there.  At the beginning of the evening we asked the USA table if they would share their food with us.  Thankfully they said yes.

After dinner, the presentations started.  We saw a couple of music videos and and we had three people speak about their experiences.  We dismissed the children next because there was to be some very graphic content to follow.  In fact, my slide show had a disclaimer at the beginning.  After that presentation, we were given statistics regarding the AIDS pandemic and the reason the UN picked 2015 as the goal to make poverty history.  Lastly we watched a documentary called 'Invisible Children' about the children being abducted into the rebel army in Uganda.  After that, we were dismissed.

It was a very emotional evening, as one could imagine.  I pray that God will wake up those that attended to action.

If you have never been involved with the ONE program, I highly recommend it.  It is all about what I have been going on and on about here at Odyssey -- orthopraxis.

For the first time in history, we are at a place to make poverty history.  We have all the resources we need.  The question is whether or not we have the will.  Do we have the will to end this fixable problem?  I hope so.  This is our moment.  This is our apartheid.  This is our slave-trade.  We have to be the men and women in the face and conscience of the world to bring attention to these problems.  There are things we can do financially, physically, prayerfully.

Financially: Find organizations in your local area that support the Millennium Development Goals and support them.

Physically: Write or call your government representatives and add your voice to the millions that are demanding we do something about this fixable problem.

Prayerfully: Pray every day for God's grace and mercy on behalf of the 2/3rds world that lives in poverty every day.  Ask God for a speedy outcome of this problem.

As an Episcopalian, one of the questions that is asked us during our Baptism is, 'Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?'  Our response is, 'I will, with God's help'.  That is what the ONE campaign, and the ONE Episcopalian branch, is all about.  Please consider joining this movement to eradicate extreme poverty.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

23 May 2007

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Just wanted to let you all know (or, as some would say, 'y'all'), that I have some updates coming soon. There will be a new blog about technology, one about the ONE program and the small part that I play in that, a garden update, and I will be continuing my post about reconciliation.

So, keep coming back. I will try and make this stuff more regular.

Peace be with you.

+ OD