Tuesday, 28 November 2006

DVD movies won't run ("encrypted")

I couldn't run a regular movie DVD in my drive. Apparently it's because they are "encrypted". I was using Kaffiene media player. Here's what I did to fix it.
  • Run Adept (Package Manager)
  • Enable Universe AND Multiverse repositories in your list
  • Do a search and install of a package named libdvdread
  • Then, search and install package libdvdcss
  • Run Kaffeine and enjoy your DVDs
If your unsure how to do all this. You should probably start by reading this:
followed by this:
Then this:

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Kopete problems

Well, hold on.

We've got some problems with Kopete.
  1. The settings are a little squirrely. It's a little mental workout to find the settings you need to change. Sounds don't automatically seem to be set up. (They are, but you just have to activate them in the right spot.)
  2. Apparently there is no logging of conversations. Wait, no, there are, if you have a Kopete extension installed. Well it is installed, but I still can't find where my conversations logs are kept. All I want to do is see what some guy said to me the other day. Where do I find that?
  3. Despite my installing Firefox and setting it as my default browser, links sent in a chat window in Kopete get sent to Konqueror.

The Kubuntu Live CD and install

I stuck the CD in. It took a couple minutes for it to all mount and load up. And it worked.

You could imagine how ecstatic I was to use a desktop that had more than 16-bit colour again.

Audio worked, I was able to use Kopete (instant messenger) right away. Firefox wasn't automatically installed, but Konqueror (file/web browser) allowed me to view most html.

The system ran pretty well considering it was using the CD and a partial hard drive mount.

Well, I'm already here. If I actually install the thing, I can put Firefox on and permanently tweak some things.

The install goes well. The only thing that took a while was the formatting of my 250GB drive. I didn't partition it.

By the way, it saw all 250GB.

And... it works.

The one that pushed me over the edge

I found the appropriate distribution from kubuntu.org. I ended up using the plain old PC desktop CD because I didn't have a 64-bit processor, and I wasn't installing a RAID server.

The .iso I downloaded sat on my computer for a couple months.

Finally, I burned it to a CD. So it sat on both my computer and on CD for another month.

And then lo, on the 30th day did the heavens open and Windows misbehaved and this user freaked out and had one of her bi-annual f'n'r-fits (format-and-reinstall, folks). And so this user ran out and bought a new hard drive and.... re-installed Windows (2000 Pro).

  • And her video didn't work properly. (Doth thoust need to install the drivers manually? Yes, you do.)
  • And her onboard ethernet didn't work. Again.
  • And installing the drivers didn't work to fix all these annoying problems. Again. How did I finally get it working the last time? Who the hell knows.
  • And... only half of her brand spanking new 250GB hard drive showed up.

Furthermore, installing the newest drivers would be nice, but the Ethernet card didn't work so... (ha ha, funny funny; slight oversight). Installing the drivers gets halfway then tells me I need DirectX9.0c. Installing DirectX9.0c requires Windows Service Pack 4 first... but Windows Service Pack 4 requires...

I have all these on my secondary hard drive, but it's still a pain.

After some research I discovered that my motherboard may need an upgrade to support hard drives larger than 137GB. I checked the BIOS, my version actually had been upgraded and was fine. (This all has to do with 48-bit Logical Bit Addressing).

Oh by the way, Windows also needs Service Pack 4 if you're using Windows 2000, and Service Pack 1 if your using XP, if you want it to see your 250GB drive.

Oh, ok. But wait, I have my Service Pack installed!

Oh by the way, the Service Pack has to be included on the install CD. When you install it.

Oh @#!*.

Cliff's Notes is essentially: I got to the point where the ethernet was working but I really couldn't fix my video (16-bit colour 640x480 resolution baby, YEAH!). My 250GB drive was in limbo. This was after two days. Then I realized I had that spunky little Kubuntu Live CD kicking around...

Well, we'll just see what happens.

Why Kubuntu?

The archaic version of Red Hat I had tried left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Whether that was Red Hat's fault or mine is somewhat debatable. Last time around, I asked all my supremely nerdy friends what they liked, and they came up with that.

Bad idea. By the way, don't ask a group of male nerds what they do for fun.

Time for a quote from Edmonton band Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie.

From the song Every OS Sucks:
Now there's lih-nux or lie-nux,
I don't know how you say it,
or how you install it, or use it, or play it,
or where you download it, or what programs run,
but lih-nux, or lie-nux, don't look like much fun.

However you say it, it's getting great press,
though how it survives is anyone's guess,
If you ask me, it's a great big mess,
for elitist, nerdy shmucks.

"It's free!" they say, if you can get it to run,
the Geeks say, "Hey, that's half the fun!"
Yeah, but I got a girlfriend, and things to get done,
the Linux OS SUCKS.
(I'm sorry to say it, but it does.)
Exactly my experience (except for the girlfriend thing, because I'm a straight chick).

As I did my research online, time and time again Kubuntu popped up. Easy to use, graphical interface, comes with great software packages. There's even a Live CD.

Live CD = try it out before you commit. Excellent.

Initially I felt moderate shame about being a computer nerd ("professional" to some) and choosing the easy cutesy Linux. Then I remembered my last experience and the fact I don't need to prove my manliness. I felt much better.

Besides, all the nasty innards will still be there for me to play with. I can use command line if I really really want to.

Kubuntu it was.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Why Linux?

1) As a programmer and education enthusiast, I believe in the open-source movement. I strongly believe we need to push our society towards a symbiotic society (as opposed to a "let's see how we can mentally mess with these people and make them spend money they can't afford" society). This is actually a huge issue for me. I really don't like the direction society is going in. Society should be communal, helpful, and open. It should be (positive) education-centric. Our current society does not stress this.

At risk of sounding hokey, I would like to see a "Star-Trek" society. Open and free education, people who work at their jobs because they enjoyed learning their field.

2) My first experience with the Internet was in 1995. Over the last eleven years, I've seen the experience turn ugly. "In the olden days", you plugged in the line, it worked. These days, you need (in addition):
- a good firewall (not every one will cut it), and learning how to use it properly
- the other crappy firewall because OS updates don't work well without it
- a good web browser with fewer (bad) ties to the OS; one that you can customize (to protect yourself better - think cookie, certificate, and password handling)
- finding numerous browser add-ons that prevent web sites from hijacking your browser
- a registry checker to keep tabs on other baddies that got past all of the above

Wow, I know what I'm doing on a computer and I'm frustrated and slightly overwhelmed by all of this. I couldn't imagine the paranoia and stress all you normal folk go through /*insert dorky smiley face here*/.

I'm not so stupid as to assert viruses and other problems can not happen with Linux. However, the beauty of Linux is that community enforces itself. Linux developers don't have the same pressures and obstacles non-open source developers do. Linux developers don't need to cover their butts if they do something stupid - they just fix it. Linux developers don't encounter the same office politics when solving a problem. Open source development also gives more open collaboration.

Linux developers develop because they want to, not because they have to. Isn't that nice?

Linux developers who feel they need to evil and put evil junk maliciously on your system promptly get smacked upside the head by the rest of the community. The problem gets solved immediately.

I want an OS and developers I can rely on.

3) The issues go beyond just the OS. I feel this way about other computer applications too.

4) I'm a Computer Scientist. Linux is probably something I should know a little about (even if I picked the "easy" version).

5) I'm really frugal. (From where I'm from, that's a good thing.)

In the beginning...

This is primarily a Linux blog used to keep track of and share my experiences using Kubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake. I'll be writing this for both the less-nerdly and more-nerdly types, so you'll see both technical and non-technical terminology. This is an experiment for me, and I hope any hiccups I encounter may help you too.

I'm a Computer Scientist. Any of you know what that actually means know that it doesn't necessarily mean that I know how to put together a system or know how to set up servers. That being said, I can figure out most stuff given time, and have gained some knowledge of such things on my own.

I actually tried putting Red Hat Godknowswhatversion on an old box several years ago, but that ended badly. Though I had programming experience, everything had to be learned again (what do you mean I have to compile something just so my fricken' mouse will work????). The experience was not intuitive and I was used to doing things the Windows way. After spending weeks on the system, I gave up. I only had so much spare time.

I had been toying around with the idea of going to Linux again since about January 2006. From what I heard, Linux had matured; so had its applications and add-ons.

After some research, I decided to use Kubuntu. Kubuntu is based on Ubuntu, but with a KDE desktop in stead of GNOME (meaning: it looks different and acts a little differently). After getting over my fear of royally messing up my only computer at home, I took the plunge.