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Showing posts from March, 2010

sox and mp3

This is just an info nugget that I hope will save someone else the half-hour it just cost me. In Debian, sox won't play mp3 files by default--even with the baddest, ugliest gstreamer bits installed. The magic bit of fufu dust you need to make sox play mp3 is the libsox-fmt-mp3 package. But as long as you're at it, you may as well just install all the libsox formats with:

# aptitude install libsox-fmt-all

GNU IceCat and file managers

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There's no shortage of essentially identical Mozilla-derived browsers in Linuxspace now. Firefox is the official Mozilla product. Two better known variations are Iceweasel--a Debian project that replaces the not-really-covered-by-a-free-license Mozilla branding stuff in Firefox with really-covered-by-a-free-license branding, and Swiftfox--which offers processor-specific optimized compiles of the Mozilla code.

Perhaps a lesser-known variant (as of this writing) is GNU IceCat. IceCat is very similar to Iceweasel in that its main purpose for being is to remove the non-libre Mozilla bits from Firefox. It goes one step further than Iceweasel in its pursuit of libreness in that it redirects its add-ons explorer to a GNU-maintained list of add-ons that are fully-libre. Don't worry--you can still install any add-on that you can in normal Firefox by visiting Mozilla's add-on site. Seems like a winner: promoting libre software without limiting the use of proprietary software.

Howev…

Ubuntu as not Linux

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!=
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Yesterday, I commented on how there seems to be a concerted effort by Canonical to brand Ubuntu as an independent OS and conceal the Linux that it is. I based this view mostly on UI and software developments I've seen in the last few Ubuntu releases. Today, I got a bit more curious about the PR side of things and had a look at the Ubuntu website.

As a start, I wanted to see how prominently the site featured the term "Linux". And after visiting a whole bunch of pages a typical user would, I couldn't find a single use of the term. Compare this to the respective sites for Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, and even openSuSE, all of which state very plainly on their home pages that they are Linux-based distributions.

So, I fired up Google and searched for "linux" site:www.ubuntu.com to see if I missed something. Excluding mentions in security reports (which a typical user will almost certainly never access), the term "linux" popped up in Google's result…

Gamesters of Triskelion

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Like a few others, I am becoming increasingly concerned about the direction that Ubuntu seems to be headed. In essence, it seems that there is a concerted effort 1) to brand Ubuntu in such a way that it conceals the Linux that it is and 2) to do this in a way, along with some other stuff, to lock users into the OS. In other words, the motivation behind Ubuntu may not be to create a better Linux through which the parent Canonical will make money by providing support to Enterprise and other commercial users; rather the whole raison d'etre may be to develop a platform to market and sell to regular desktop users proprietary services that will increasingly come glued to the platform. And it just so happens that a Linux base provides most of the functionality for the required platform--as well as a core of well-meaning developers who are willing to work for free and who will have done all the heavy lifting for you

In other other words, I am concerned that the monetization of Ubun…

Karmic and Pulseaudio (not SOLVED)

I have been bitten by the bug reported at https://bugs.launchpad.net/pulseaudio/+bug/352732 . In fact, I was bitten by this back in Jaunty. There the problem was isolated to logging out of a non-Gnome session (and into Gnome? I forget exactly). In Jaunty I solved the problem by killing pulseaudio before terminating non-Gnome sessions. Now in Karmic this solution doesn’t seem to work in all situations, so I am trying the suggestion in post #77. Namely, in /etc/pulse/default.pa, comment out the line load-module module-device-restore

Here is the snippet from my /etc/pulse/default.pa:

### mfk addition: comment out "load-module module-device-restore" ### see https://bugs.launchpad.net/pulseaudio/+bug/352732 #77 #load-module module-device-restore
We’ll see how it goes.

Update (2010-03-10) I just noticed that my soundcard input selection is being disrespected. There are two inputs on my lappy, and the system always defaults to input 1 no matter what. I don't know if this is relat…