Tag Archives: Linux

Rufus Rocks!

[rufus icon]Darn, I haven’t written about rufus yet! When I wanted to get Windows installed on to my PC, UNetbootin and others really didn’t cut it for me. Rufus saved my day. When I wanted to do full reinstall of Windows onto my old laptop, again Rufus saved the day.

Rufus is a nifty little utility, about 800kb in size, that takes your install cd image (ISO) and moves it over to USB, so you can install using that instead. While I haven’t used it to burn Linux ISOs, I can heartily recommend it.

[rufus screenshot]

Debian Jessie, annoyingly, does not come with UNetbootin in the main repository. So, here I am using Rufus to move stuff over to the USBs. A reasonably compromise and benefit of the dual boot system I have!

Experimenting with Workspaces

Screenshot from 2015-05-08 09:42:22

Linux has workspaces, yes. No big news, but then I got to wondering how I could use them. I recalled that when I used to work as a support professional, I used to have a two screen setup. One screen for the support tool we used and the second for all the work we did. So, that still got me wondering if I could be a bit more productive with with workspaces. After some searching, I found this page with a ton of responses. What it came down to was the following:

  • Workspaces are an excellent way to separate different piles of work and manage the pile of open apps on your desktop
  • To use workspaces you need to be able to separate your work into different piles
  • Common piles are, “Communications”, “Browsing”, “Work” – which could include writing a document or coding.

Loving Cinnamon and Debian 8

I hated Kubuntu. I realize that now, because where I used to hate the Kubuntu feel, I now absolutely adore Cinnamon’s desktop. It just looks awesome. The fonts are good. The look feels a lot more relaxed compared to what I had configured for Kubuntu.

Screenshot from 2015-05-08 09:29:03

The visual look and feel defined a large part of the experience of working on the desktop, which is why perhaps I felt so comfortable on Windows 7.

All that I’m missing now is a blogging client. I really should set myself to that task. I think it’d be learning experience.

Debian Jessie on Dell Latitude 6220

I guess I should’ve read my own posts comparing Linux and Windows, before raving on about Windows last time. The updates on Win7 were a nightmare, with me having to boot and reboot every other hour for a day or two until the download floodgate was shut, almost. I don’t think I’m done. I see that sign next to “Shut Down” where I’m being warned of another upcoming update.

Debian 8That aside, I did want to get my Latitude E6220 on Linux. This time, I’ve chosen to go with Debian, and since I couldn’t choose, I went for both Cinnamon and Mate desktops. Mate gives me the creeps just from the look of the Menu. Cinnamon feels more comfy that way. Next step was to get the drivers all sorted. Frankly, that was a bit easier than getting it done on Windows! You could download the drivers from http://support.dell.com but it wasn’t a clean one-time thing.  I noticed two issues on Linux from the get go:

  • WLAN not working
  • Reboots left the computer hanging

Mercifully, the Ethernet worked right away on Linux – which it did not on Windows on first install. I had to download the Ethernet drivers from Dell’s support site via another PC. So Linux scores better here! A short bit of searching brought me to this resource on the reboot issue. I went into the nearest Latitude on that list and it did mention the reboot issue. The solution was simple:

To solve the reboot issue you’ve to pass the kernel reboot=pci. You can achieve this by adding reboot=pci to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="" in /etc/default/grub.

And after updating that file, I ran update-grub and suffered my final hang.

The WLAN issue was a bit less straightforward. Reading through the WiFi wiki, I identified the adaptor as BCM43228. And I’d have saved myself some time if I’d just scrolled to the end of the PCI section. The wl section covered what I needed. Chased that with a now working reboot and ta da, laptop configured. Since Linux is friendly with Windows, grub handles my dual-boot and I seem to have no issues on that front. I guess I might have issues with the clock as I did previously, but thankfully I do have my old post to help me out.

Back on WLW, Windows & Office

Wow, never thought I’d make it back into the Microsoft world again, but here I am. Got myself a machine set up with Windows 7 and currently installing Office 2013 Home & Student. And I can say it is a relief, in some ways. In other ways, I still want  to ensure that I can dual boot this machine with a Linux distro. Smile

So, what’s changed? I guess, I got older and started thinking of rational decision making, at least on a personal level. That’s the gist of it. And there have been a lot of changes in the state of play in the IT arena.

Just to try my hand at storytelling, I do want to get into this a bit more, however, I’m working on my resume and time’s a-flying. Hopefully, by tomorrow evening I’ll have polished up my resume enough to do just that.

Signing off with a sigh of relief at being back on Live Writer.

Sound on Linux

And I stumbled down the rabbit-hole of Linux’s sound maze. And then I think how did I get here? Oh yes, it started with KDE. I really liked this aspect of KDE, which was the amazing ability to define the hierarchy of sound output devices. If you’re going "huh!?", I mean that with KDE, when I was listening to music, I could configure it so that sound would normally play from the audio speakers, and when I connected my USB headset, then it would play from there instead. And upon unplugging it would revert to playing from my speakers. No KDE means no such feature, unless I decide to install Kmix – which would mean blah blah bloated install.

Qualia of Sound

So, yes I’m in this maze. To understand what was going on, I decided to understand what lay underneath. And it is a maze.

Here’s some of what I’ve read:




So, basically what it comes down to is the following structure:

Sound Hardware <== ALSA (kernel) <== PulseAudio <== Gstreamer | AlsaMixer

This is what it appears to be on my Debian 7 machine. Now, what I’d like to do is possibly get rid of the middle Pulse Audio layer. And replace it with Jack.

Gstreamer has a plugin that allows it to interface with ALSA. And it’s possible to reroute PulseAudio through Jack too.

So, I could do this:

Sound Hardware <== ALSA (kernel) <== Jack <== Gstreamer | AlsaMixer | PulseAudio


Sound Hardware <== ALSA (kernel) <== Jack <== PulseAudio <== Gstreamer | AlsaMixer

Dunno when I’ll actually get that done. But it’s in the works.

Pi or Beagle?

And following up on a thought I had a few weeks ago about a portable LDAP server, my good friend Philipp recommended that I check out Raspberry Pi. I’d somehow mistaken RP for a programming language! And lo and behold a new world suddenly opened up. I’m on day 1, so perhaps I’ll have more ideas after day 6?

And since one path leads onto another, I ended up trying to evaluate other options like RP on the market and here’s what I’m reading now.