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

wget http://202.112.3.1/libglx.so

or

wget http://www.adriannuta.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/libglx.so

.  Now you need to copy this to /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so . 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"
EndSection

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 😉