I have admittedly put it off for way too long. The recent OpenSSL Vulnerability with weak keys prompted me to change that on one of my systems. I was forced to use dist-upgrade when OpenSSL would not update, leaving me to continuously recreating weak keys. While I normally update packages using the command line, I was hesitant of using the GUI for Adept Manager. My previous attempts with dist-upgrade have all been failures (From Edgy to Feisty to Gutsy…) so I was not really expecting a smoothe transition. I used the GUI Adept Manager because it was the recommended method per the Kubuntu Hardy Heron upgrade documentation. Adept immediately gave me an error and closed the first time I tried. I rebooted and tried again with the same error. I kept trying, and it finally decided it would do it…and it did it well. I rebooted and I was almost unable to tell any difference. I did notice I had the new wallpaper available, but otherwise, OpenSSL let me create new, uncompromised keys… and that was what was important to me. It was so painless, I felt brave and tried it on another server. This time, no error message, and it upgraded just as easily. I still have one workstation remaining on Gutsy, a laptop that I don’t have any pressing need to update. The slow server took about two hours to update, and the faster one took about one hour.
I’ve recently learned that many issues related to suspend and hibernate are directly related to the video drivers. Even when not using the restricted drivers, often laptops still don’t correct handle suspend, hibernate, and resumes for both. I’ve written about my problems with suspend and hibernate in the past, and I’ve recently received help from the Dell Ubuntu Project and they’ve confirmed my bug report . Fortunately the provided an easy fix, even if it is unsupported. The Envy program correctly installs the most current version of the nVidia driver for my laptop and then suspend and hibernate worked after rebooting.
Having been an Internet user for a long time, I am well versed with a few topics related to peer-to-peer file sharing using the torrent system. On Windows, I used uTorrent, and initially after my switch to Linux, I continued to use uTorrent, just because it used less memory than Azureus. Eventually, using applications under Wine became a problem. uTorrent would disappear… randomly.
I tried Azureus, and it ate more and more and more RAM.
I was happy when i switched from Ubuntu to Kubuntu, mostly because of the inclusion of kTorrent. While kTorrent is not on the whitelist of acceptable clients at some of my favorite trackers, it conveniently has an integrated interface where all torrents are easily available through one window in the same view. Compared to BitTornado, this is a relief for those like me who desire an easy to manage (note, not understand, but manage) interface.
A sophisticated plug-in interface for expandability provides a range of extensions created by open source developers. It already comes with several plug-ins, and many of the features I discuss will be implemented through a plug-in, for example the interface for UPnP connectivity is through an included plug-in.
Of note, I appreciate the UPnP support. This helps eliminate the messy configuration and hassle of adjusting a firewall/router.
It also allows us to schedule bandwidth limits, much the same way uTorrent does. This again is through a plug-in. It also provides a lo-fi version for systems with limited video capabilities. This is definitely something I use, just because of simplicity.
Another feature I haven not found as useful has been the integrated search engine. I have been disappointed with the implementation of this feature in torrent clients in the past, so I was interested in trying this. It works moderately well. I have not been able to browse to next pages of results when using the integrated browser, but it forces me to be more precise in my searches. Since I am capable of using a browser on my own, I have forgone attempting to use the external browser integration. Please leave me a comment and describe your experience with this, because if it works better I would be willing to try it.
We are able to manage our torrents in kTorrent from any web-enabled computer in the world via WebInterface. I use this for checking the status from my laptop. This is convenient when I don’t have a remote desktop connection open and quickly want to view my queue and statistics.
Because I take other precautions, the Integrated black list manager I have skipped using. I am not for certain why it needs duplicated here, because if this is your only protection, it applies to kTorrent only, and really lacks in effectiveness. For those that choose to use it, it does support wild cards. Otherwise it supports the use of two ipfilter list file formats.
I believe kTorrent will be a regular in my peer to peer tool box, but the client is only as good as what the tracker supports, which makes me need to use something else from time to time.
Amarok, Audio, DemocracyTV Player, DNS, Gutsy Gibbon, GwenView, Image Viewer, Inkscape, kMyMoney, ksquirrel, Kubuntu, Miro, moblock, mp3, Quanta+, Software Reviews, Tellico, transKode, XSane
I’m going to highlight my top 10 Kubuntu apps that are not a part of the base install system. This post is more advanced, and some of the software listed may require compiling from source.
- Miro – instant access to recorded video from internet sources such as Google Video, YouTube, etc. Formerly known as DemocracyTV player, this gets you relevant video news in an instant.
- Transkode – transKode I use to convert my OGG and FLAC files to MP3 for use on my Rio Carbon. This might not be as essential for everyone else, but there’s definitely some divergence as far as the best convertor, and I really think transKode needs the recognition it deserves for expertly accomplishing such a task.
- amarok – It’s better than kaffeine. It’s a little slow, but is completely feature packed. It’s able to get ID3 tag info from MusicBrainz, for example is a feature which I have really been enjoying.
- kmymoney – If you need to keep up with your money on something other than your bank’s page, this is a great, free way to do it. It is an excellent open source alternative to the major commercial software, which has become more of a marketing vehicle for other products.
- inkscape – a scalable vector graphics editor. Use this program to draw using vector graphics, Inkscape is much more than a bitmap editor. If you’re familiar with Macromedia/Adobe Fireworks, then you’ll have an easy transition into Inkscape. While the interface is not identical, much of the concepts are the same.
- ksquirrel – a quicker replacement for the included GwenView. I find GwenView notoriously slow, so I choose ksquirrel instead.
- BasKet note pads – Integrates into Kontact, and allows you to work with notepads. I consider this an awesome alternative to Microsoft’s OneNote application. It’s superior to kNotes or even Tomboy.
- Tellico – If you’ve got a collection of anything, and want to track that collection’s information, this is the best software to use for documenting that collection.
- Quanta+ is an impeccable Web Development suite. It features integrated real time previews, syntax highlighting for several different languages, project management, and templates.
- AllTray is there for you when you want to iconize a piece of software. I’ll use it to remove clutter caused by the bittornado windows.
- Moblock is this issue’s bonus. It’s just good layer of protection to keep your computer away from remote prying eyes.
- XSane is great for the ability to perfectly scan. It seems to be an often overlook function during conversations, however if you have a need to scan from paper sources, this program does a bang up job.
This is going to highlight my top 10 Kubuntu applications that are installed in the Kubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon base install. It’s going to focus on all KDE native apps for the purpose of integration into KDE. I use almost all of these on a daily basis, and with few exceptions do I have alternatives that I prefer. This is intended for the reader who just received their Kubuntu disk and has not installed anything extra yet. The base install’s list of included applications is rather diverse and provides the user with most desired functionality, and this post will focus on the best of that software, and when appropriate compare only included software on other commercial software.
Konqueror, in my opinion, is the best file manager on any platform. If you’re new to my blog, I’ve written about Konqueror before. While it lacks Breadcrumb Navigation, it’s more capable in regards to other features. It’s a tabbed environment, with the ability to split panes vertically and horizontally, multiple times. We’re able to integrate shell scripts, so the possibilities are virtually endless. You’re able to configure a background image. It includes an excellent web browser.
Katapult is an awesome shortcut launcher. This is an example of where the open-source community is ahead. Katapult provides quick access to shortcuts, applications on the KMenu, and others through “plugins”. To activate, you press a key combination (default is Alt+Space) and you’ll see the slingshot logo. Start typing a couple of characters and Katapult finds the closest relevant application, bookmark, etc. Complete the launch by pressing Enter. This is much quicker than using Alt+F1 and the arrow keys to navigate. It’s also more flexible and quicker than using the run dialog.
Konversation is another leap of technology past mainstream commercial personal operating systems. While Instant Messaging clients have come a long way over the past decade, IRC is still the king of chat, and few software packages surpass Konversation in the way of capabilities. It’s also important to newcomers of Kubuntu, because it provides immediate, direct access to the official chat, where the community is able to really provide instant support. I’ve used it many times and I’ve always been able to find someone willing to help me get going in the right direction when trying to solve my problem. It doesn’t have all of the instant messaging capabilities, but it’s direct link to instant help and free technical support earns it’s high ranking here.
kTorrent also holds no equal in Windows XP (or Vista I believe). Instead, you’re stuck to the demise of the single threaded transfer of Internet Exploder. If you’re not familiar yet with torrents, you should take the time to consider some of the free and open source torrents available at Jamendo while you’re testing out kTorrent.
SpeedCrunch also fills the gap where CALC.EXE fails to put processing power to work. SpeedCrunch’s view is more informative and input options are more diverse. It provides a running history of the calculations and provides user defined variables.
Kontact is THE free PIM and Mail client I choose to stick with. Many other applications integrate to Kontact which make it truly exceptional. It expertly handles my mail (IMAP mostly), my calendars, groupware connections, to do, notes, RSS feeds, etc. To achieve similar capabilities, you can spend several hundreds of dollars. It does everything.
Kaffeine is a stand up media player. This awesome KDE media player supports visualizations, plugins, it’s got it all. It plays mp3, wma, ogg, avi, etc. The program allows us to create media playlists. The integrated screen shot capture system is just a toolbar away.
Kopete is an awesome instant messaging client. It supports Jabber, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, GMail/XMPP, IRC, Gadu-Gadu, and many others. There are many messenger clients, but Kopete is so complete I’m not compelled to use anything else. While you can use Kopete for IRC, it’s just not flexible enough for an experienced IRC user to consider it higher in the ranking.
Kate is another Text Editor… but not just any. She’s very configurable and is powerful enough for use by developers. She’s particularly adept at helping change all of your configuration files. She’s not as fast or light as some of the alternatives, but the system has no competitive alternative when it comes to robustness.
k3b is by far superior to GnomeBaker. It allows the user to create DVD’s, audio CD’s, data DVD and CD’s, as well as VCD’s. It can create audio CD’s directly from MP3 with the addition of a plug in. It also directly burns and creates ISO image files of all formats.
Akregator will be my 11th and bonus application for this list. It integrates nicely with Kontact so you can easily access your feeds from your favorite PIM. Can’t beat that really.
Keep is one you can’t live without, so it’s the P.S. Bonus. It’s a backup manager allowing the user to specify the source and destinations of the backups, and scheduling the automated intervals. Another feature I enjoy is the ability to compress the backup. This works especially well for backing up /etc/ which contains many text files.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written, mostly because I’ve moved to a new apartment. It’s a huge relief to get off the third floor, but it sure has slowed down my postings.
I’ve kind of gotten settled into the new apartment now, and have been spending some time getting Gutsy back the way I had Feisty. I’ve gotten transKode installed, but Media Tag Tools has been a thorn in my side. Fortunately I’ve found that Amarok does it, and does it better. At this point, I filed the bugs with Media Tag Tools on BerliOS and I think I’m washing my hands of it.
Something good had to have came from the crash, so here it is : It made me look into a backup system. I opted for keep, just because of the simplicity, and the fact that it was already there.
What a disappointment. I’ve previously written about experiencing the Blank Screen Bug in Gutsy with the Release Candidate CD. Today, I was forced to experience that the problem is still there on the official release. I used Adept Manager to update 16 packages it noticed that were behind. After the update, it finally figured out that I was due for the distribution upgrade. It started the process and crashed. I rebooted and it informed me of 1304 updates. I started that process, it crashed, and failed to boot again.
I used the ISO for the Kubuntu 7.10 official release and tried to install. The first try, GRUB failed to point to the correct hard drive. The second time, it still used the wrong drive, but I edited the GRUB configuration and it successfully booted.
The strangest thing, was even after I installed and booted up, the Adept Manager informed me of a couple of updates, and I updated those, and then it prompted me for a distribution upgrade… again. This time, I think I chose correctly when I opted to decline the upgrade.
With the release of Kubuntu 7.10 Gusty Gibbon, it’s now time to get started on the update. I’ve been trying for two days and I haven’t been able to get Adept Manager to recognize that there’s a new update. I am not able to devote very much time to it, so I’ll continue to try in my free time.
If anyone has any suggestions or comments regarding this issue, please advise.
Great news! The Release Candidate of Ubuntu and Kubuntu 7.10 code-named “Gutsy Gibbon” is available for install and is suitable for testing by any user. The complete official documentation on the upgrade is available for review. I didn’t see the expected updates I was looking for mentioned, but I just skimmed it. I have always planned to wait for the official update. The system’s running so good, and I don’t expect to really use the eye candy anyway. I do look forward to trying it though, but only after the official release.