GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

My girlfriend’s migration to Debian

my gnu girlfriend

After years of talking about it and her coming with me to my free software talks and meetings, she finally let me replace the proprietary OS on her laptop with Debian GNU/Linux.

I think it took us both much time to migrate her laptop for several reasons. First, she barely has time to sit at the computer for other "normal" stuff that’s not urgen school projects. So for her, the computer is just a school tool. In contrast, for me, the computer is part of my daily life.

So after lots of procrastinating and "not now because I have urgent stuff to do", she finally allowed me to do the migration.

I’ve prepared her for the migration years before, giving her open source alternative software for almost all her tasks. Firefox for browsing, audacity for her audio editions (she does a lot of this), pidgin for instant messaging. She tried several times on Windows, but couldn’t end up adopting it because of some bugs in past versions with the spanish spell-checking dictionary not getting installed.

I selected the Debian distribution over the typical choice of Ubuntu for a new user. First, since I’m a member of KDE Mexico, it was logical for me to suggest the use of KDE. Then the decision was KDE3.5 or KDE4. I went for KDE 3.5 because of stability. I don’t want things to start crashing or behaving weird and then dissapoint her. This point also made a point towards Debian stable over Ubuntu, stability is a lot better. And finally, since I’m going to be giving her technical support, I wanted her to have the same stack of software that I have so I can guide her through screens and commands.

After we backed up all important files on DVD and my terabyte hard drive, we started the installation. Ada got angry at me after I installed it for her. She really wanted to do it herself from beginning to end. So, we started over.

After a long while of downloading updated packages with a relatively slow connection, the system was all set. I explained her the new desktop manager and how to install packages from commandline. A few more minutes downloading audacity, audio and video codecs and other applications, she was all ready to go.

She quickly went through her frustration phase as every change in someone’s life produces. A few complaints later, and the next day she was back into audio editing for her next dance festival.

Its been three days now since she migrated and all I’ve heard is good things about the change. I hope everything keeps going well. Next step: using Emacs.

GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source personal

Long day

Its been a long day but it has finally come to and end. It all started with a lot of javascript hacking for It was getting tough but I finally beat it.

But the javascript adventure wasn’t over yet. Duke Crawford came to visit for a couple of days, so we started hacking on the twexter interface. Nice to say we managed to rewrite the whole interface to take a simpler approach. Its a pity we can’t continue with the interface we had before, thanx to some browser bugs, but since we need some more things going, we cant hold out for perfectionism. This way, we’ll soon be happy to announce a version 0.4

I’ve been using twitter lately and still don’t find its awesomeness. Although its entertaining to post my twitts every now and then. Feels reflexive and relaxing some how.

FLISOL is only a week away and I hope I can make it there. Also, Ubuntu Hardy is coming out soon.

A lot is going on and I’m about to go to sleep. Yes, a long day indeed, but a nice day after all.

Events GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

Me voy al Consol 2008

Estoy muy emocionado porque han aceptado mi platica en el CONSOL.

* Usando Git: control de versiones distribuido
o Gabriel Saldaña Torres

Sesión Técnica – 1 hora Aplicaciones Aceptada

Tambien estoy algo nervioso porque es mi primera platica. Pero creo que todo saldra muy bien.

Eso si, estoy de acuerdo con Zodman y los tres puntos que debe curbir el CONSOL. Son basicos!

  1. Alojamiento
  2. Comidas
  3. Transporte

    Minimo el alojamiento que es lo mas importante. No me gusta estar buscando donde quedarme o quedarme lejos de donde esta toda la banda para la conbebencia.

GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

My top 5 missing features on KDE4 on Ubuntu Gutsy


I’ve been using the KDE4 from the Ubuntu Gutsy repositories for two days now, and I know there are a lot of missing features but here are my top 5:

  1. Printers: they are missing from the kde4 settings manager program. I know its not a full all bells and whistle final release, but can this be skipped from a (any) release?
  2. Widgets: Okay, the fact that KDE4 can now have widgets is nice, but why are all the widgets useless? Why not show off the widget potential with cool things, like a full RSS reader, a system services monitor, or a blog publishing widget? Or maybe just have something plain simple but useful like a calculator. No, they give us a clock and a battery monitor. Sounds like the Windows 1 TV commercial with Steve Ballmer: “A clock!”.
  3. Copy and Move: One of the main reasons I started loving Konqueror was because it had a Move To and Copy To option on the context menu. Its very helpful to move files around without having to open windows or drag them. On Dolphin, this features is missing.
  4. Shutdown Menu: I felt kind of in Vista land when I pressed the Shutdown button from the new Kmenu and then got asked again if I wanted to shutdown or logout. The Kmenu already presented me those options, and I chose Shutdown, why ask again?
  5. Switch to Next/Previous Desktop Shortcuts: I mentioned it in my last post and even there’s been updates to the packages, this keyboard shortcuts are missing on the settings. Its annoying to use the mouse to do such a thing, and the Expose-like feature is still not responding 100% of the times.

Which ones are yours?

GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source

KDE4 with Ubuntu Gutsy (first impressions)

Today was the official release of KDE4, and the Kubuntu packages are already available for download and use.

Here’s a screenshot of my current desktop:
My new kde4 desktop

How to install?

If you want to install KDE4 in your current Ubuntu or Kubuntu Gutsy is very easy.

First add the repository to your sources list:

sudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list

Then add this line at the end of the file

deb gutsy main

Refresh your packages
sudo aptitude update

And install kde4-core if you want the basic installation.
sudo aptitude install kde4-core

If you want all kde4 packages that are available, install the kde4 package.
sudo aptitude install kde4

The configuration process will ask you if you want to log in with gdm, kdm or kdm-kde4. Choose the one you like.

Finally, logout and log back in, choosing the KDE4 session from your login manager.

First Impressions

My first impressions of the released KDE4 were positive. Taking into account that I tried all release candidates in Live CD, the quality of this released version is actually usable and comfortable. The libraries might be stable release quality, but the applications are still a bit rough on the edges.

K Menu

The kmenu changed a lot. It feels very Vista-ish (which i dislike) but you get used to it very easily. The search is fast and the navigation is not that cumbersome as the Vista menu.


To really enjoy the experience you must enable the animations. Open the System Settings KDE4 on the K menu. Kcontrol is gone in KDE4, and replaced with this System Settings. Its like the Kubuntu Control Panel layout. Choose Desktop, and enable all desktop effects. Also check the effects on the Advanced tab.

There are a lot of animations I didn’t expected on KDE4, and it looks very promising.


I definitely recommend you to set Dolphin as your default file manager. Maybe you will enjoy it as much as I do.

For some strange reason, the kubuntu packages dont have Dolphin as the main file manager, it has Konqueror. To enable Dolphin as the default file manager, just open Konqueror, go to the Tools menu, then Configure Konqueror. Now select the File Associations button and under inode, select directory. Move Dolphin to be the first option on the application preference order list and save the changes.

Dolphin on KDE4 is great! The panels, the file tree structure, the info pane, all worth having there. The icon animations on the info pane look awesome. And the greatest of all is the embedded terminal (press F4 to display). It changes directory to the current directory you are browsing. Nice touch.

One bug I’ve noticed is that Dolphin opens the file with right and left click. So even it launches the menu for the icon, in also opens the file, and then some error pops up. Its not as annoying as it sounds though.


The Panel

On the RC releases, the panel was not configurable at all. On these release, the panel is still not that customizable, but at least it displays correctly the system tray, clock and virtual desktops. These are configurable, but not as much as in KDE3. Still cannot resize the panel or move around the widgets in it.

Missing Features

There are a couple of missing features. One of the most noticeable, for me, are the KWin shortcuts. There is no option for “switch to next desktop” keyboard shortcut, so I’m stuck with Ctrl+F1 through F4 to switch desktops. I’m used to configure Ctrl+Alt+Arrows to do this depending on the desktop I’m in (got used to it from my Gnome usage days). The expose feature is smooth and nice, but I can only activate it once and only once if I move the mouse to the left top corner. The next times I want to activate expose, I have to press Ctrl+F10.

The screenshots and video recording don’t come up. The zooming and looking glass didn’t work for me either. Also the panel clock can only display one timezone (I usually look at 3 different timezones I’m interested in).

Also I noticed that the GTK theming option is missing from the Settings manager. GTK based applications (Firefox) look…ugly.

And of course, as being a recent release, there are lots of applications that need to release their KDE4 version. Amarok for KDE4 is not on the kubuntu repositories yet and I’ve been trying to check that one out, since its one of my favourite KDE apps. My other two favourite KDE apps also need their KDE4 update: Yakuake and Katapult. Although you can still use them.
missing switch next desktop, bug in expose corner.


There are lots of features I haven’t discovered yet and there’s still a lot of polishing to do on it, but its beautiful, fun and safe to use. I’ve been using KDE4 at work for the whole day, and I know its very premature to say it, but I think its a great release, great changes, and with a very, very promising future ahead.

GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source Tutorials & Tips

Como enviar videos al Xbox360 desde Linux

Por fin encontre la forma de enviar videos a mi Xbox360 sin tener que usar Windows.

Muy sencillo, solo instala ushare

Vas a necesitar libupnp
sudo aptitude install libupnp2

ejecuta el siguiente comando para iniciar el servicio de ushare:

ushare -p 49153 -D -x -c /home/usuario/videos/

Esto lo puedes poner en un script que se ejecute al iniciar la sesion lo como quieras.

Ahora, si el Xbox360 se queja de que no soporta el tipo de archivo o que no encuentra ningun video, puedes convertir tus videos facilmente con Avidemux.

sudo aptitude install avidemux

Abres el video, en el lado derecho seleccionas Mpeg4(lavc) como codec de video, FAAC como codec de Audio y MP4 como Formato. Guarda el proyecto y Avidemux empezara a convertir tu video a MP4.

Esta informacion la saque del Linux HowTo Blog. Habia estado varias semanas buscando una forma de hacer esto hasta que por fin he visto la luz.

Para mas detalles y paquetes deb para Ubuntu, chequen el post del Linux HowTo Blog.