Archive for the ‘OS’ Category

May

02

by Kaj Kandler

I just started to use multiple monitors on Mac OS X (Leopard) and immediately encountered issues with Outlook for Mac OS X. When I open a new window, to write a new e-mail, it positions the window on the main monitor and not on the second monitor where I have Outlook open.

That becomes very annoying when you use Screen Sharing and look only at one monitor at a time.

A small tool, SizeUp, comes to the rescue. SizeUp lets me most of all move the current active window to the other monitor, using a keystroke. So when I open a new window and it appears on the wrong monitor I can easily put it into its place.

SizeUp also allows to size the currently active window to the right or left half so I can have two windows side by side on a monitor, which is great for copying comparing documents.

June

29

by Kaj Kandler

For over 8 months I have been working on a Mac Pro now. Let me share some of my experience with the you.

First I ran the beast with Windows XP on it. And this machine is a beast! It’s quad core server type processors are fast and the box in itself is put together in a way that it deserves the “Pro” for professional in its name. After realizing that memory under Windows XP was limited to 2 GB for some reason and we could not get it to even accept 3 GB of the 6 that it was configured with, I decided to switch to its native Mac OS X.

Let me share a few of my impressions to use a Mac OS X for programming, lots of reading/browsing, e-mail and Office work:

  • It does use memory economical. I can run way more apps at the same time than on my Windows XP laptop with the same amount of RAM (only 4 GB of the 6 GB it originally had). Not to mention that is stays responsive even with my usual 20 – 30 tabs in Firefox.
  • It is rock solid. It runs weeks w/o reboot, unless I start Windows in Parallels. The Windows VM does bring the machine to a crawls after a day or two. Don’t know if it is Windows or Mac OS X.

More in my next post.

March

12

by Kaj Kandler

According to InfoWorld, Walmart discontinued selling its $200 gPC from Everex in stores.

The $200 PC loaded with Google applications will continue to be available at the Walmart.com website.

As reason, Walmart’s spokes person, O’Brien said “The idea was to see if shoppers in our stores would respond as they do online to the offering. The answer is that customers did not respond to expectations, so we decided not to restock.” This is an interesting contrast to the many reports that the low cost, low energy PC has sold out in some stores and Walmarts pride to be able to manage inventory best. Also, Paul Kim, director of marketing at Everex, says “The sell-through [at Walmart stores] was brisk, I am surprised at the decision,” said Paul Kim, director of marketing at Everex.

Interestingly, O’Brian felt compelled to say “We did not ‘pull’ Linux from our shelves or make any kind of ‘announcement’ on this,” she said.

March

12

by Kaj Kandler

At ZDNet, Christopher Dawson compares NeoOffice vs. OpenOffice vs. Office 2008 vs. iWork. He obviously comprares them on Mac OS X, as GeoOffice or iWork and Office 2008 are special releases for the Apple Mac platform.

His report is influenced by his experience managing the IT for a school in Western Massachusetts. Chris concludes:

iWork is very slick and integrates well brilliantly with iLife. It’s easy to use, but powerful enough for serious users. However, it’s lack of compatibility with open file formats is of concern. Office 2008 is also slick and highly functional but not nearly as effortless to navigate. Even with academic pricing (iWork is priced around $10/license academic versus almost $70/license for Office), Office is a bit pricey and hard to justify when cheaper or free alternatives exist. OpenOffice for the Mac really isn’t worth a second look right now given its lack of integration and compatibility. NeoOffice has its niggles, but is generally a solid, easy to use office suite. Even if you choose iWork of Office, it should be installed on all of your users’ machines to ensure compatibility with their students. It could certainly stand alone, as well, but the relatively inexpensive iWork is a hard bit of kit to pass up.

November

08

by Kaj Kandler

While Everex started selling its low cost PC for <$200 at WalMart, it now offers the motherboard, CPU and OS bundled for $60. Add some memory and a hard drive ($40) and salvage an old computer case, power supply, keyboard and mouse ($0) and your are up and running for $100 and a little sweat equity.

LinuxDevices.com has an in depth report about Everex’s plans for its Linux and Google applications based $200 PC. LinuxDevices reports that Everex hopes to sell 50,000 to 60,000 PC’s through WalMart. The main concern for profitability are the support costs, which Everex hopes to keep under $30 per sale.

The developer board comes with the CPU and a DVD containing the ready to install gOS Operating System. According to the article, gOS is an Ubuntu based Linux distribution with the Enlightenment Window manager for the low cost PC is called gOS like in Google OS for its inclusion of all Google online tools available and pre installed. The vision is to use online Google tools for Search, E-Mail, Calendar, Bookmarks, Text Documents, Spreadsheets, and more. If needed local applications, such as the office suite OpenOffice.org are included as well. gOS is also open source and available for download, but it appears the version delivered with the board or the PC is pre configured to the hardware and adds programs for multimedia (playing mp3, DVD, etc.). You can’t expect an abundance of performance from the Via C7 processor, however, it does a good job with web browsing and running basic applications and multi media playback.

November

02

by Kaj Kandler

Gee, WalMart is becoming a major outlet for Open Source PCs. It just announced a desktop PC for under $200, including mouse and keyboard and even speakers. The machine is rather green than powerful, as it uses a 1.5 Ghz VIA G7 processor, which has enough juice for homework and playing mp3s, and in turn is quite energy efficient. This machine needs just 2 Watt power on average (how ever that is measured) and is almost not to be heard, with 28db noise levels.

The kicker is this is a PC with lots of open source software and w/o MS Windows. It runs a Debian based Linux distribution called gOS, including OpenOffice 2.2 and uses lots of Google, YouTube, Facebook and other web applications pre-installed. Some might see the Google web applications as bloatware, but at last they are not try & buy versions.

You have to buy an extra monitor or use one of those that are discarded in perfect working order. I know a few people who have dumped their nice 19″ tubes for flat screens. So if you have more space than money, ask around their might be a good monitor for free in some garage. Did anybody say Craig’s List?

October

26

by Kaj Kandler

Apple releases tomorrow its latest version of Mac OS X called Leopard. It’s build-in text editor TextEdit now supports ODF and MS OOXML. This means it can exchange text documents with OpenOffice.org Writer, NeoOffice Writer and also with MS Word 2007.

Many Mac OS X fans now hope that Apple will soon support the ISO standard ODF in the iApplications such as iWork.

October

02

by Kaj Kandler

I just learned that one needs to be careful when installing OpenOffice.org 2.3 on SuSE 10.X. Aparrently the packaging has changed so that you can install the various applications, such as Writer, Calc, Base and Impress, separately.

September

18

by Kaj Kandler

Today, IBM released Lotus Symphony, its version of OpenOffice.org as a free offering to business, government and consumer users.

The productivity suite is free to download. Interestingly the website only presents three applications, “Documents”, “Presentations” and “Spreadsheets.” The Database functionality of OpenOffice.org is apparently missing. The Suite supports Windows XP or Vista and Linux RedHat or Novell SuSE. A discussion about MAC OS X support has already started in the support forums.

Lotus Symphony does naturally support ODF and also can read and write the Microsoft Office formats most of the time. The latest MS OOXML is not yet supported.

Unfortunately this is another species in the jungle called Open Office eco-system.

P.S.: If you are PC veteran, you might remember the Lotus Symphony for DOS, which included Lotus 1-2-3. This is not the same!

September

11

by Kaj Kandler

Today I visited the Sun Tech Days Boston for day number one. Sun Microsystems put on a big program at the downtown Sheraton hotel with three major tracks:

  • NetBeans and various Java related technologies
  • OpenSolaris and its community
  • University a cross section for students, introductions to almost every Sun developer technology

I peaked in to the introductions for OpenSolaris. What I and a moderate crowd listened too was core developers who focused on the developing community of OpenSolaris and how it becomes more than Sun employees developing with everybody else watching. In many ways OpenSolaris does catch up with many other *nix like OS distribution. The word “modernize” was used often in describing the efforts to create new installers,
updated shells, new packaging system, more drivers, etc. OpenSolaris really seams to be a train picking up steam.

I was surprised, how undecided the road map was for the various projects and initiatives. It often was unclear when a certain feature would arrive in which release of OpenSolaris or Solaris the commercial distribution of Sun Microsystems. As an engineer I like things to be finished and done right, instead of rushed to meet a deadline. But from the business perspective, it is not a good thing, that many processes, and I mean decision processes, are not yet decided on. I’m well familiar with such mixed messages from the OpenOffice/StarOffice project, I’m more involved with. If I would meet Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, I’d let him know that Sun’s positioning of the commercial Sun products versus the open source products is not clear and that it is hurting Sun.

Back to the Java track, where I peaked into sessions about Ajax frameworks and upcoming Swing technologies. It appears Sun does not take sides with the various Ajax frameworks, other than trying to support them all in NetBeans. NetBeans 6.0 impressed me with its ability to not just syntax color and code assist but also to have many wizards that generate code for your from a few questions. This was especially apparent in the session about Swing Application Framework and Java Beans Binding. NetBeans supports these brand new frameworks with code generation that can rival Ruby on Rails scaffolding, although for pure Java apps.

Speaking of Ruby on Rails, or better Jruby on Rails. This session was rather disappointing, as the speaker was jsut a few days into Ruby and Rails and basically did talk about her own excitement about a dynamic language and the impressive meta programming Rails style. I would have hoped for more hard facts on how JRuby does vs native Ruby and what the challenges are and how they are overcome.

As you can see it was a busy day, and the program only started in the afternoon. I look forward to tomorrow.