July 21, 2007

Why I’m going back to Windows

I’ve been using linux for more than half a year as the main operating system on my computer. I’ve tried to do almost everything in linux. That includes word processing, working with spreadsheets, compiling presentations, watching movies, listening to music, you name it. I should admit that this experience hasn’t been an easy one. You are when aware of the fact that starting using a new operating system such as linux has a very steep learning curve. You need to learn a lot of new things and habits, and let’s face it, use command line.

Despite all the efforts and difficulties it’s been a pleasant experience. The user interface has been particularity excellent and eye catching.

However the matter of fact is that using office applications comprises more than 70% of our work with computers. I regret to say that in this very serious and important area office alternatives in linux are lagging behind. The most famous one is open office and I have to say that was the worst one. You may ask what’s wrong with them. The first problem, and maybe the most important one, is compatibility issues. It happened times and times that I compiled a file in a word processor and linux and checked it in Microsoft word and they looked different. It was also commonplace to open files created with Microsoft word in linux and see different formatting.

Many people argue that it’s not correct to consider Microsoft office as the standard and try to make other applications like it. Unfortunately they forget this very obvious fact that more than 90% of users are using Microsoft office. Before going any further I should say that’s for basic data day activities that formatting and compact ability is not that important, Microsoft office alternatives in linux are good enough. But, and this is a big one, when the situation is more serious you encounter more incompatibilities and that can be disastrous.

The other thing that some linux fans forget is that we are not supposed to spend our time with computers. We spend our time with computers to get our jobs done. And for that purpose Microsoft office has proved to be practical enough.

We all know that Microsoft windows is neither a good operating systems nor it offers the best user interface and experience. For that reason if I am to choose another operating system that would be OS X. The point I’m trying to make is that linux has come a long way to become a more user friendly up rating system. In its current condition it is a huge step forward from what it used to be five years ago. But it’s not a mature operating system for desktops yet.

I know that many linux users do not share this view with me. I’ve been trying to share and what of the learned and what I have experienced in linux with you. But Now I’m going back to windows. It doesn’t mean that I will never come back to linux again. I am well aware that I will miss it a lot. So don’t be surprised if you see me writing here again about linux. Until then goodbye!

July 16, 2007

Avant Window Navigator + reflection (step by step installation guide)

I had a post here as to how to install Avant Window Navigator.
You might have noticed that reflection is the new hot topic in user interface everywhere. And we have it here in Avant Window Navigator (AWN).

The effect I am discussing here, makes AWN very similar to the effect seen in upcoming OS X 10.5 (Leopard). So you have a chance to experience this cute visual effect in your lovely Linux environment!

If you have not installed AWN by now, follow the instructions in this post.
Then open Configuration Editor and go here:


You should change a couple of settings here.

Change bar_angle to 45
and icon_offset to 18

Now restart AWN and you have it. Enjoy!

July 9, 2007

Rotate desktop cube with mouse scroll in Compiz Fusion

This is a particularly useful feature that has been around in Beryl. But Compiz users have not enjoyed this plugin until now. If you have installed Compiz Fusion (a merger project of Beryl and Compiz), you can activate this plugin.

Run compizconfig setting manager from the preferences menu.
Find and activate Viewport mouse switch. That's it! Now if you place your mouse pointer over any empty place on desktop and use scroll button, desktop starts scrolling.

July 5, 2007

Fonts are ugly in Ubuntu (gnome)

I admit that it is more the matter of personal taste, but come on! Let's face it! When I installed Ubuntu for the first time, and after recovering from astonishment shock, I was annoyed by how ugly fonts were rendered on my LCD screen. Many say you can correct it by changing font rendering settings for LCD. I did it and it didn't help much. I finally figured out that it stems in the fonts gnome uses in Ubuntu. Luckily I found a good fix for this, as usual in ubuntuforums. Here is my personal take on the solution:

First you need to install Microsoft font pack for linux. In terminal type:

sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

then download this file from the link below and save it on your desktop:


then in terminal, go to your desktop:

cd Desktop

and then:

sudo tar xvjpf fontconfig.tbz -C /etc/fonts/

now all you need to do is to restart gnome. It is suggested that logging out and in will bring these changes into effect. But I found that it is better if you do it the rough way, i.e. pressing

ctrl + alt + backspace

Does it look better now?

July 4, 2007

How to install Compiz Fusion

[Important notice: I have posted a new guide on installing compiz fusion. I encourage you to use the new guide]

As you may know by now, Compiz and Beryl have merged and the resulting composite manager is called Compiz Fusion. As the name implies, Compiz Fusion has the best of two. The good news is that it is not just an amalgamate of Compiz and Beryl. It shows very good features and eye candies too. One beautiful eye candy is the reflection in Expose mode. You are well aware that reflection has become a hot feature everywhere. Apple has the lead and even Microsoft uses reflections! Where? have look at the left lower corner of Media Player 11.
I am particularly pleased to see that we have a nice and (almost) user friendly setting manager in place.

I assume that you are using Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) and gnome.
The first step is to disable Compiz (desktop effect) if it is running.

Then you need to un-install Compiz. So in terminal type:

sudo apt-get -y remove compiz-core desktop-effects

Then add the following line to third party repositories in synaptic:

deb http://download.tuxfamily.org/3v1deb feisty eyecandy

In terminal type:

wget http://download.tuxfamily.org/3v1deb/DD800CD9.gpg

and then:

sudo apt-key add DD800CD9.gpg

Now in synaptic, hit reload button.
The penultimate step is to install Compiz Fusion. In terminal:

sudo apt-get -y install compiz compiz-gnome compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-extra libcompizconfig-backend-gconf

Finally, in terminal type:

compiz --replace

to activate Compiz Fusion.

You should be able to find your new Compiz setting manager in your preferences menu.
As usual, you may add the latter command to your sessions to have it up and running every time the system starts up.