Run MeeGo in VirtualBox/Linux

Please note that this is most likely deprecated for newer MeeGo

is a new linux distro which targets phones , netbook  and other embedded devices . It’s a joint between Nokia’s Maemo linux and Intel backed Moblin  .  Version 1.0 was released not long ago . Officially supports Nokia N900 and Atom-based netbooks . But of course , if you want to take a look at it , you can run it inside a virtual machine . And from what I saw over the net , there’s already an un-official version that can run on x86 , using a normal kernel .

For the start , you should know that MeeGo is a rpm distribution , so prepair to use yum 😛

I’m using VirtualBox for virtualization , but if you prefer something else , I saw Meego can work on  Qemu and Vmware too. I used VirtualBox 3.1 . First step is to get the cd image from here . VB might not see the .img file , so in open box , select “All files”.

Create a new machine . I installed on 384MB , but the more , the better . You need to enable PAE/PAX , otherwise it won’t boot . After you made the new machine , start it . Select install MeeGo , and bla bla bla ( means a pretty normal linux GUI instalation ) .

At first boot , comes the moment of truth . If you are lucky , it will boot in the graphical desktop . Otherwise …

Boot again , and press Esc key . On the boot line options , deselect “quiet” and boot . To get a terminal press alt+F1 . enter your login , do a “sudo su” and then a

init 3

. This should kill the X server with tries to start , but fails ( use alt+F1 to get back to terminal until it’s killed ). Now .. : do a

yum install wget

and after wget is installed , do a




.  Now you need to copy this to /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/ . Maybe a

chmod u+s /usr/bin/Xorg

might be needed also.

Now you can reboot ( or do a “init 5” and “startx” , but better reboot ) . Normally , now you should get the GUI .  On my laptop  , mutter ( the GUI ) is SLOW , but look awesome . Not sure why is slow , maybe because of video … or because the kernel is optimized for Atom CPUs . Anyway , works for a preview and you can make an idea of what this OS will become . Practicly you will be able to have (almost) anything that runs on a desktop linux in your phone . It comes with several apps like Chrome , Emphaty ( a gnome IM client ) , Evolution ( mail client ) , Banshee ( media player ) etc.

I’m really curios how Nokia will direct the progress of Meego … well actually how both Intel & Nokia will do it . I’m saying this because Nokia is the patron of KDE and Qt . This Meego first version is based on a gnome/gtk interface ( and even more ,it has Banshee with is based on the damn Mono ( .net clone) ) .
Credits goes to from here in helping me making this work .

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Summer guide for linux distros

This is not a complete list of linux distros news , just several distros that I’m watching.

As you  know , Ubuntu’s second LTS ( long time support) – Lucid Lynx 10.04 is in the wild from some time . I’m a KDE fan , so for last 2 years I used mostly the Kubuntu spin , which some times seemed more stable even than the official Gnome version . The problem with Ubuntu , I think since Jaunty 9.04 , is that Canonical instead of consolidate the desktop version ( make it work as much of possible out-of-box ) , they try to enter mainstream and enterprise with some services , like Ubuntu One . I don’t say it’s a bad idea , but my feeling is that since Jaunty there were regressions in some areas , of which users complained . Not big regressions , but annoying . For example , in 8.10 the 3G modem was working perfectly for me . Since Jaunty problems started .  Another “always problem” was with the proprietary drivers . Luckly for Ubuntu , Ati and Nvidia always provided at least a beta driver in the last moment before the launch .  Of course , some of these problems were created by upstream ( changes in X server seems never ending ).

Unfortunatly for Kubuntu , Canonical invest only one core developer , the rest are from community . This is good , because this distro has the liberty to listen a bit more of what people wants . The problem is , this is not enough . Gnome shit is not stripped enough from Kubuntu , it always get the feeling that more development should be invested in Kubuntu to make it more stable, faster . One on another , I say Kubuntu is a pretty good KDE distro . One nice thing is that beta repos for new KDE versions are available pretty quick for Kubuntu and they are pretty stable – I never could have patience until a new KDE version was put in official repo so I always used beta repos . But as I said , canonical shits from official version are felt in Kubuntu , which often is translated in less speed .

3 weeks ago I used for a week Fedora . Didn’t tried Red Hat’s community distro from some time , even I worked on CentOS servers  . As usually I used the KDE spin-off  . Like Kubuntu , it comes with almost a non-customized KDE interface . Last Fedora – version 13 “Goddard” seems a pretty solid distro. Fedora has a more professional feeling than Ubuntu . Performances seems pretty good , no big problems , except one . Proprietary drivers  🙂 At the moment it was launch , the ATI proprietary driver was not yet working on Fedora .

The big problem with proprietary drivers comes on laptops . For example , I used the new experimental mesa driver , which looks pretty good in performance , BUT power management is not yet ready . Not having the power management translates in less battery . For example , using the open source or mesa driver on my Elitebook  ( has ATI graphics ) , the battery lasts about 2 hours . With the driver for ATI I get 3 hours . It’s a pretty much diference , not to mention that the laptop is more quiet , because the fan don’t run all the time .

Back to Fedora . One particular thing I didn’t liked was the SELinux . Fedora comes with a nice policy manager , but it can be annoying for a home user . Of course , it can disable . One goodies on Fedora are several system-config-* GUI utilities . Made in the gnome style ( simple without options for expert changes ) they are a nice addition that newbies might like it . Another good thing was that Fedora is the only one ( I think …) where I found Eclipse to be on Galileo ( 3.5 ) . Personally , I wouldn’t recomend Fedora to a newbie . It was and still is a distro for power users . It can work in a enterprise env. , the influence from RedHat is felt , even it’s community based.

OpenSuse . If you want a KDE distro , this is the one . These guys work pretty much to make a polished distro . They have a custom KDE interface which is very , very nice 😀 . Didn’t tried OpenSuse for some time . Long ago , it was slower than Ubuntu or Fedora , mostly because of Yast , their utility – a blessing and a curse in the same time . But things evolved ENORMOUS . OpenSuse is a damn fast KDE distro , I was surprised . It beats by far Kubuntu ( or at least that was my feeling ). The current stable 11.2 uses KDE 4.3 , a bit outdated , but you can upgrade to 4.4 . I had some issue with 3G modem  ( not sure if it was because of the 4.4 version ) . 11.3 will be released soon , I’ll definetly install it – I hope ATI and nvidia drivers will be ready by then . Opensuse promotes a lot the new mesa drivers , but as I said before , it can match yet the proprietary . YAST control center is one of the strength of openSuse , yet the yast package manager I found it powerfull, but not very friendly – it looks at first view very criptical .

Mint is a Ubuntu fork . It’s basicly a modified version by the community . In other words , most of canonical shit is taken out , but keeping the official repos . Except this stripping and modification to some packages , the Mint team also developed some nice tools like the Software Manager or the mintUpdate . The latest version ,9 – Isadora , is , of course , forked from Lucid 10.04 . I think it’s the first Gnome desktop I still used it after 3 days :)) . It comes with a custom theme ( a NORMAL layout , 1 panel as bottom taskbar) and runs FAST – I like it .  Almost zero problems , everything worked ok . This is how Ubuntu should be .  I would recomend this for newbies more than Ubuntu .  Even if it’s on Gnome , I can take it … well , until KDE version is released ( unlike others , Mint team don’t use fixed dates for releases – when it’s ready , they throw it in the wild ) . The software manager is very nice , except the apps from official repos, it also have some external . For eg. , you can install skype from here . Of course , if you want more refined managing , there’s always Synaptic . One nice thing is that , for example , it comes with Pidgin and not Emphaty ( or whatever is called ). Personally I don’t understand why Canonical tries to promote Emphaty , when there’s already a gtk IM client , which even KDE users ( yeah, Kopete is a down , at least from my point ) use it .

So, in the end , things to watch :

  • OpenSUSE 11.3 ( aroung 15 July )
  • Mint KDE version and even XFCE one
  • Fedora 13 , but watch out if you need proprietary drivers
  • if you have a netbook and want to experiment , try MeeGo , it’s the next OS for Nokia phones and not only

Finally a good KDE4 on Kubuntu

Ubuntu 8.10 is close to offer a stable KDE4 … finally . Even KDE4 is still not covering all the applications are KDE3 was , things are looking good.
So let’s start :
Intrepid Ibex will come with KDE 4.1.2 . For more details about the differences between 4.0 and 4.1 see the official announcement . Major difference is that 4.1 brings back the PIM  . Also this version fix performance problems and I have to say : you feel the difference . I have a 8500GT video card , not sure why , but the firmware driver wasn’t enabled after instalation . KDE4 flies without the visual effects , almost as fast as XFCE 😀 . At least for me , it seems to be faster than gnome now . After I activated the nvidia driver , I had some problems . It is know that KDE4 , because of a bug in the nvidia drivers ,  it works slow on some videocards . This was back 2 weeks ago when I first installed Intrepid . Now I saw in the latest updates that the situation improved a bit . Basicly you’ll see Xorg consumes 10-14 % (at least for me) from CPU .  But this is on the way to be fixed and also you can do a small tweak . After some googling it seems nvidia-settings can help a bit and also some config entries in Xorg config file .
So , after the changes this is how nvidia section looks in my Xorg.conf :

Section "Device"
             Identifier      "Configured Video Device"
             Driver  "nvidia"
             Option  "NoLogo"        "True"
             Option  "RenderAccel" "true"
             Option  "UseEvents" "false"
             Option  "TripleBuffer" "1"
             Option  "PixmapCacheSize" "70000"

Do those changes on your own risk . Depending on your card , Xorg might crash . On some forums there were more options , but some didn’t worked for me (like setting DamageEvents or BackingStore ).Next is to run :
nvidia-settings -a InitialPixmapPlacement=2 -a GlyphCache=1
You can add in your Autostart ( you can use KDE Autostart from System settings) if you feel KDE is working faster after this command .

I had a problem with the NTFS partitions . Not sure that I broke them or …  Dolphin was seeing the mounting points in /media/ , but there were erased from fstab . Same problem I had in  Ubuntu version . For making things easy install MountManager and NTFS-3G config
Ok , so what’s new in Kubuntu 8.10 ?

  • Adept is 3.0 beta – a new and fresh look , but search is a bit stupid ( seems is going to be fixed until the launch)
  • You can install Amarok 2 beta  – it’s pretty stable right now ( crashed rarely for me) . The biggest news is the video support , which works ok , even a fullscreen option is missing .Several plugins are already available . There’s also a plasmoid for am4rok , but currently is broken because of a DBus problem ( actually the error is in the am4rok build ). Drag and drop files into the playlist also works 😉
  • Most plasmoids works great , even some OSX widgets works ( at least the HTMLs like the Chuck Norris one )
  • Network manager works better and better , I see it recognize my 3G modem ( the gnome version even ables me to select my operator)
  • a good news for me was that my Xonar DX soundcard was recognized by KMix , so drivers are getting better
  • System Settings has improvments/fixes : the Login manager has all the tabs available ( some were disabled until now ) , Strigi works , you get a Grub editor ( I think it was before too)
  • You might want to check Okular for viewing all kinds of documents files and digiKam . Also digiKam comes with a standalone photo viewer – showPhoto . Didn’t tested yet DigiKam , but I’ll give it a shot these days.
  • Dolpin : there’s more that meets the eye about the file manager . The new selection mode is very cool ( no need to press Ctrl key for multi-selection) . You can also use it as FTP client , you only need to introduce your ftp and use the Split button and voila : you get a 2 pane explorer 😀

In the end , I think things are looking good for ubuntu users that want KDE as their desktop . But remember : KU 8.10 is still in beta , it’s expected to be released on 30th october , so it’s not recomended to install it on production machines 🙂

Intrepid Ibex is here

I was very curios about the new things that Ubuntu 8.10 will bring them . Even the release of 8.10 is scheduled for end of October , I couldn’t resist and I decided to make  a try . And hell ya , on the production machine !

Starting with Alpha 6 , it’s possible to upgrade to Ibex using update-manager -d . A big warning : seems there’s a kernel issue with Intel GigE ( e1000 driver) which can lead to permanent damage to the hardware . So don’t try Ibex yet if you have a ethernet like this . The dist upgrade went smooth , took around 40 minutes ( proubably less if you have a broadband conenction , it needs to download around 700MB ). I have an Ubuntu gnome and xfce also .

One of the big features of this release is DKMS , which automatically rebuilds  kernel drivers when you install a new kernel version . Gnome comes with version 2.24 which brings several improvments , most notable is the Empathy Instant Messenger. One thing that I like because I was affected is that now the gnome volume seems to work with OSS4 . I have a Asus Xonar DX sound card and ALSA didn’t liked at the time I tried , but OSS4 did . I though OSS is discontinued , but that’s totally wrong , seems the new version recovers the gap behind ALSA . Also seems there are some improvments at gnome’s speed , even I think there’s still work to do here .

Other updates includes  Synaptic , which looks a bit better now  , an update to pidgin (2.5.1) – looking better , some new Murrina themes are available ( not sure they were until now ).

A new theme is brought in Ibex , the brown  one from Netbook remix . Even it looks cool and it’s nice , it can be a bit confusing when you try to work 🙂 . But I’m sure for dark themes fans this will be a pleasure .

In Xfce ,there are no new things , proubably only some maintanance work . It’s still 4.4.2 – stable and fast as always .

Overall , even it’s an alpha it seems more stable than Hardy betas , but still keep in mind that it’s an alpha , so use it on your own risk on production machines 😉