This well-known French proverb is similar to: “pride comes before a fall”.
This evening I was told by the newly installed version of Firefox that my Flash player was outdated. Firefox provides a simple link to download that Flash Player. I save the installer (install_flashplayer10_mssd_aih.exe) in a directory where I save all my downloads before sorting them. I launch the installer. It moves itself to my system temporary directory and launches itself again. First I find it very rude from the installer to move itself anywhere on my disk. Then now, since 15 minutes it’s stuck at the step where it tries “retrieving install”.
Adobe Flash, if you want to play tricks, do it cleverly! Now your installation is stuck and cannot download the remaining part of the installer because it should use a proxy. This is a known issue, of course. And the simple and most obvious solution is that you can download the true, full Flash player installer here. Why not provide this link immediately?
I quickly needed a new laptop to continue working and I found a Toshiba Satellite L670-10K. It’s a nice entry-level laptop with a dual core processor (I didn’t know Intel was still doing Pentium-branded processors) and a 17″ screen (read the specs for other details). I downloaded the latest Fedora Linux (version 13, 64 bits ; and version 14 is coming soon) and installed it from the LiveCD. Nearly everything was recognized out-of-the-box: screen resolution, graphical card (Intel, with 3D effects), wired network, webcam, card reader, sound card, etc.
The only thing that was not recognized was the wireless network card: a Realtek RTL8191SE. Here is how to install it. On the Toshiba website for (Windows) wireless drivers, it is always associated with the RTL8192SE model. So don’t be surprised if the driver downloaded from the Realtek website is a file with RTL8192 in its name although you clicked on the link for the RTL8191SE-VA2 model. Unpack this file. The LiveCD doesn’t come with some packges so you have to install them (via the System menu, Administration, Add/Remove software). These packages are: kernel-devel, gcc and make. Once it’s done, do a simple “make;make install” as root and reboot the laptop. Your wireless connection is now up and running!
If you want to have Flash on your 64-bits Linux, Adobe released version 10.1 of their Flash player with native 64 bits support. Download Flash player “Square”, unpack the archive and copy the (only) file “libflashplayer.so” in directory /home/yourusername/.mozilla/plugin, restart Firefox. You have now a Flash-enabled browser!
Finally, I must have done something wrong, somewhere but I kept having the first configuration screen after installation, even after subsequent reboots. After a quick search, I didn’t find anyone with the same issue. YMMV. In order to skip this screen (after you went through them a first time), just add the line “RUN_FIRSTBOOT=NO” in the file /etc/sysconfig/firstboot and voilà!
In conclusion, I’m very pleased with this laptop and Fedora. My Linux desktop was ready in just a few minutes. Let’s work, now! 🙂
Do you know your local powerplant chimney can be a screensaver? (movie taken in October 2009 in the South of Brussels, Belgium)
This week, I nearly emptied my internet quota by downloading and seeding the new Fedora Core 11. For those who don’t know yet, Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in free and open source software. What I particularly like in this GNU/Linux distribution is that its developers prefer to make changes to the original software instead of applying fixes specifically for Fedora ; in this way, all the other distributions may also take advantages of the improved software. You’ll find many reviews and “tours” on the web about this new Fedora. In the next paragraphs, I’ll just highlight some of the most interesting points I saw until now. Coming from a Fedora 9 also helps to pinpoint the major improvements (mainly from a user point-of-view).
The first nice thing I noticed was the reduced time to boot my ageing laptop (ok, 2 years is not so old) and its simplicity (just a progress bar in the bottom of the screen). I won’t give you numbers. Anyway, numbers would have been specific to my computer. But I can tell you it’s quite faster than with the Fedora Core 9. And anyway faster than Vista. In general, I think it’s a big improvement for the user experience: after all, most users just boot their machine to use it as a tool, not to wait with amazement that everything is loaded.
Another nice thing is to finally get new versions of some software. OpenOffice is in version 3.1, Netbeans is in version 6.5, Python 2.6, … One thing I was waiting since a long time is Istanbul, a screen recorder. Otherwise, all the other main software I use are also present: Gimp, Inkscape, vim, gthumb, xmms, etc. The only thing a little bit tricky was to add the ability to read two proprietary formats: mp3 and flash. For mp3, you have to add the fusion nonfree repository and it’s clearly explained here. For Flash, I was surprised that Adobe offers an installation procedure just identical to any other software on Fedora, based on yum. I was also pleased to see projects like bioperl and biopython already available at the installation step (along with XDrawChem and JMol which will allow me to read old molecules I drew a few years ago with proprietary software like Chemdraw). One last thing a was eager to see in action is the ext4 filesystem (Fedora being the first distribution to include it by default). To be honest, I don’t see the difference.
Finally, if I have to summarize the experience with this Fedora Core 11 so far, it will be: smooth installation, up-to-date software, no surprise, ready to work after 1 day (I had to play with nearly all the new toys inside). I think GNU/Linux is really ready for the desktop 🙂
Along with all the videos of all FOSDEM editions, the FOSDEM team put the 2009 videos on YouTube. So here is the video about Gemvid:
The presentation in PDF is still available from the Gemvid webpage (and in live here).
After a while, here is why I got a TV tuner for my Linux laptop, took screen captures and wrote a script to add a timestamp on pictures … I wanted to know how my (then 5-month-old) son was sleeping (his mom can be reassured: I was not planning to put electrodes on his scalp 😉 ).
var s1 = new SWFObject(“../videos/player.swf”,”ply”,”360″,”240″,”9″,”#FFFFFF”);
Following this, I had interesting discussions with my dad about sleep patterns in babies. It could also be interesting to hybridize what we did for Gemvid and this simple solution in order to be able to quantify human/baby movements during sleep. My little knowledge of OpenCV can then come in handy for the motion and pattern detection …
Some additional technical details : Video was made from 321 TV screen captures (1 every 2 minutes) and played back at 1 frame per second. It was converted with FFmpeg (LGPL) and the Flash player is JW FLV Media Player (CC by-nc-sa). Ok: Flash is not free.
Very often, your company doesn’t allow you to install a new software on your company computer. For this purpose, Portable Apps is a very interesting website: it contains a lot of free software ready to be used, without any installation process. Moreover, it releases latest version of software very quickly. For example, 1 or 2 days after the launch of Mozilla Firefox 3.0, it was already in Portable Apps.
Most Firefox plugins (“add-ons“) can be installed in the Portable apps version of Firefox, but not all of them. The Adobe Flash plugin is one of the few ones that you can’t install without administrator rights …
Unless your company installed Firefox 2.x on your computer with the Flash plug-in. If it’s the case, you have just to copy two files from the 2.x install to the 3.0 one :
Go to your “old” Firefox plugins directory, for example:
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugins\. Then copy these 2 files:
NPSWF32_FlashUtil.exe to your Portable Firefox directory, like:
FirefoxPortable\App\firefox\plugins\. Now re-start Firefox 3.0 … Voilà!