chadm's blog

KSpread vs. Calc

I've been using Calc for a while now, but I recently decided to give KSpread a try after getting frustrated with Calc's slow load times. It rarely bothered me on my desktop system because I have 4GB of RAM and usually leave the program open, but my work laptop runs Windows XP, forcing me to run Kubuntu in a virtual machine. Unfortunately disk access is significantly slower and memory capacity is much smaller so the Calc startup time is painfully slow. KSpread is very fast, but are its other features good enough for me to stick with it?

KDE Configuration Discrepancies

I've taken to writing down usability issues as I find them and found myself wondering if others are annoyed by this one. When I open an app using kdesu it doesn't use my personal settings, it uses the root settings. While I can change those by executing "kdesu systemsettings" in the Run dialog, how many new users will know to do that? And if there are multiple users on a system, one set of settings gets applied to everyone with root access even though they may prefer different styles.

Run Windows Apps on Linux using 2X ApplicationServer

I recently read an article describing how to run Windows apps on Linux using 2X ApplicationServer with Windows running as a virtual machine (VM) on the local system. It's a really cool sounding idea and overcomes some of the compatibility problems of Wine, but always having a Windows VM active consumes a lot of resources and may not always be the best solution. If you are running in a networked environment, and have an available computer running Windows, a better solution may be running the applications directly from that one system.

When did Linux become your primary OS?

I'm very interested to find out what percentage of visitors are new to Linux versus those who have been users for a number of years already. How long have you considered Linux to be your primary OS? If it is not your preferred OS, do you have any plans to switch in the future.

I created a poll investigating this question. Please vote for the range where you began identifying yourself as primarily a Linux user.

The poll can be found here.

A dvd::rip Tip

After my previous post on dvd::rip, I continued to experiment with batch processing that would allow me to have titles from multiple DVD's in the queue at the same time. Fortunately, the method didn't take long to discover and before long I was up and running more efficiently than I ever had been before. Here's how I did it.

BasKet 1.0 Released

BasKet reached its milestone 1.0 release today. It fixes a number of reported crashes and should be more stable than previous versions. Kontact integration for KDE 3.5.6 now works as well. There are also many useability improvements.

Some notable feature additions are: the ability to export baskets as archives and open them on another computer; easy import from text files; the ability to customize the directory where baskets are stored; and easy backup and restore.

The full changelist can be viewed here.

Unifying Desktop Search

Wasabi is a new proposal on for a unified desktop search and metadata specification. I'm not qualified to comment on the specifics of the proposal, but I definitely like the vision. Over the past month I had been thinking that an API was needed so I'm pleased to see that others are already ahead of me. Getting this done is the first step towards making desktop search a truly useful feature that's good for more than just searching archives.

Amarok 1.4.5 Released

Amarok 1.4.5 was released today. The next version will be 2.0. It will be based on Qt4/KDE4.

Some of the notable improvements in 1.4.5 include:

  • An integrated Shoutcast stream directory.
  • Support for custom labels. Organize your music how you want.
  • Magnatune redownload manager allows re-download of any previous purchase free of charge (in any format).
  • Improved sound quality when using the equalizer with xine.
  • Support for Speex (.spx), WavPack (.wv) and TrueAudio (.tta) files in the collection thanks to taglib plugins.
  • Search inside of lyrics using "/" in the Context Browser.
  • Download songs from Shared Music (DAAP) directly into the collection.

The full details are available here.

HowTo Enable MP3 Support for K3b in (K)Ubuntu

I frequently hear comments that K3b doesn't support burning MP3's to an Audio CD. These comments are puzzling because K3b is supposed to support the MP3 format. My curiousity piqued, I checked my own Kubuntu install and discovered that the comments were correct. Fortunately there is a fix, and it's a simple one.

A More Productive Kerry Beagle

Last year I wrote about some options for desktop search on Linux. Since then many of the projects have advanced and newer ones like Tracker and Strigi show signs of widespread adoption over the next year. Not to be overshadowed, Kerry Beagle came out with a 0.2.1 release that addresses many of the previous version's deficiencies.

Version 0.2.1 has been out for a while now, but it's not available for Kubuntu Edgy so I never tried it. However, I finally got around to installing it on my Debian Etch computer and I'd like to share some of my impressions.

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