Firefox 3

6
June 17, 2008

Firefox 2, predecessor?

Firefox 3 is coming out today. It’s been more some 1.5 years since I wrote Firefox 2 post. And about a year ago, since I wrote about my first real encounter with Firefox 3.

My stance on on Firefox 2 remains the same, that is I hate it, no personal reason or anything, from my posts linked above you can get to know my true feelings about it.

If it wasn’t for Firefox 2, I’d never even come close to Firefox 3. A month ago or so, I came to the point, where I couldn’t handle Firefox 2 and it crashing, so I was in hunt to change my browser or move to Firefox 3 which at that point was in early beta stage of development.

Browser “sphere”?

So what else was around? What was I aiming for? I’d like to move away from Firefox3 for a second and take a look at the “global” browser scene today.

Since I switched to Gnome for some 2 months now (I’ll talk about this in some post later) first choice was Epiphany. This browser is cool and all, but since it’s running on same engine Firefox is running (Gecko), have some order of it’s “features” but it’s all good once you get used to it, that is if you get used to it. I’d like to compare switching to this browser from Firefox is like switching from SeaMonkey to Firefox and then wanting to switch back to SeaMonkey. It’s highly likely that it just won’t happen.

Talking about Epiphany, why not mention Konqeuror, KDE’s equivalent to Gnome’s Epiphany. And since I’m in process of switching to Gnome after years and years of KDE, I believe I have a right to give a subject opinion. Even tho I don’t think KDE users will like this, and will call me a traitor :)

Of course starting of, I can’t go on but say that Konqueror is not just a “web browser”, it’s basically a ultimate GNU/Linux “transformer” tool, except that a lot has changed with its “status” in KDE 4.0. But let’s not talk about that now, cuz it’s just gonna take us away from current topic.

Konqueror was always a great browser, one of the few browsers that was going after standards all the way, in such speed that most web sites wouldn’t get to comply with those same standards. But besides being fairy sluggish there are two main reasons that prevented me from thinking of Konqueror for my primary web browser choice.

And those two main reason are it’s browsing speed and it’s ability to display web sites properly even tho I followed all the standards to the fullest. But, disregarding ability to display pages properly, it was just … really slow, incredibly slow. There was even a test on Abshost (RIP) forums, and Konqueror finished absolutely last when it comes to browsing speed.

But ok, what about Konqueror as web browser in KDE 4? Well thanks to qt4 it’s not sluggish anymore, also it’s browsing speed has improved (incredibly) but it crashes, and it’s basically unusable (I’m talking about situation in KDE 4.0.x).

So the thing with Konqueror, it’s great and all, but were just never able to use it for straight 24hrs without firing up Firefox or some other browser to view certain web page properly.

Opera. My relationship with this browser dates to the time of Netscape as it is for Firefox now. In recent times build on qt3 (still is latest 9.5 is still qt3) but unlike Konqueror it’s fast. Second, Opera in my opinion is the fastest web browser (browsing speed), it’s just incredible. Opera will have so many features built in (like Firefox with additional 10 addons), won’t be bloated … but.

As everything in this world, nothing can remain absolutely static for whole eternity. To keep story short, simply put they fucked up, their code started going to hell and they sold their soul to the devil, if you wanna know what happened in details, ask me and I’ll let you know.

Opera = null respect.

There’s just so much more browsers worth mentioning, but I’m affraid this story will never end if I continue the way I started :) If you’re looking for the best, you’ll end up on Firefox and that’s end of story.

Firefox 3

So as I mentioned above, my first encounter with Firefox 3 was soon after 2.0 was released. But that was basically a preview, I saw 3.0 was expecting great future and went on with with my torment on 2.x.

Until as I said till recently. I first “officially” moved on 3.0 but I got my package out of Debian experimental respiratory at the time so … I really didn’t enjoy it that much. Later on I switched to 3.0 completely once it appeared in Debian unstable resp. Yea, it’s still in unstable resp :)

Put in one word, Firefox 3 is … awesome. It’s hard to pick out features I like the best, when there’s ~15.000 improvements :) But one of the things I like the best is that it’s light! It’s fast! Firing up Firefox 3 with few tabs already opened within it will take 2 seconds. Switching between tabs is absolutely instant! It’s weight with 5-6 open pages/tabs will be equal to 1 tab on 2.x, meaning its taking absolutely minimum on your memory.

It’s really incredible, it’s like you’re using some completely different browser then 2.x. It also went through some designer touches as well. On 2.x I use Tango for my theme, on 3.x there was no support for Tango, but it was Tango look by default :) Also when viewing sites, boxes and checkboxes and etc, have gotten a great nice touch to them, they are round and just so slick to the point they are absolutely sexy.

When it comes to security also, it’s absolutely secure, I tried to give some input to Firefox 3 security as well, we’ll talk about this later on ;) Also, through all this 3.x usage it haven’t crashed once, so it’s really incredibly stable. Also I love the way the passwords are handled in 3.x, also you won’t have to click on your decision whether you want it to remember your password right away or later. Now you’ll be able to make that decision after you have loaded the page you were trying to get access to.

To really note all the great stuff from Firefox, I just advise you to either go to wikipedia (to read all about it), or just get the it by yourself :)

Even tho I’m greatly disappointed with the whole situation of getting the Firefox 3. Of course I understand they have site problems, but what makes me really sad is that they are trying to set up a Guinness world record for software that was most downloaded in single day. Why sad? Well how are you gonna set up the record if on such important day you’re having site problems.

So GetFirefox, SpreadFirefox and Firefox being down or just unavailable or whatever, and you not being able to get Firefox 3 … I tried to give my humble support by providing direct download links, so you get both, you get Firefox 3 + you count for the world record :)

Firefox 3 Linux

Firefox 3 MacOSX

Firefox 3 Windows

Enjoy.

And for those who might want to what was my “contribution” to Firefox 3. Well since I started massively shopping online, and phising being so popular and you being tired, one night I just got on this idea.

One lonely night on #firefox on irc.mozilla.org

Dec 10 21:57:36 <AbsintheSyringe> what’s the fastest and easiest way to propose a new feature request/suggestion?
Dec 10 21:58:05 <johnm> end: go to about:config and tell me the value of general.useragent.locale
Dec 10 21:58:20 <kbrosnan> AbsintheSyringe: start by asking here
Dec 10 21:59:46 * mirs has quit (Quit: ChatZilla 0.9.79 [Firefox 2.0.0.9/2007102514])
Dec 10 21:59:57 <AbsintheSyringe> kbrosnan, you know how address bar turns yellow once you’re on secured page, so I just wondered if some certain pages could be “verified” by google or mozilla itself, and if they are trusted sites, or just simply good pages, completely *thumbs up for shopping or something like that, a “check” sing should appear somewhere in the address bar
Dec 10 22:00:29 * joduinn_ (joduinn@moz-E31CD2CB.mozilla.org) has joined #firefox
Dec 10 22:00:40 <AbsintheSyringe> if that same page is know to be untrusted, then red X should appear, if page is just unknown if it’s good or bad for shopping or whatever then ? should just pop out
Dec 10 22:00:42 <kbrosnan> ev ssl certs are attempting to take care of that issue

Dec 10 22:01:00 <end> johnm: sorry – don’t know how to rach about:config
Dec 10 22:01:26 * Coltrain has quit (Quit: ChatZilla 0.9.79 [Firefox 3.0b2pre/2007121010])
Dec 10 22:01:27 <AbsintheSyringe> yea, but lets say, a “malicious” page can just get ssl cert, but I’m saying about pages like paypal, if it’s all ok, then “check” sign should pop out or something
Dec 10 22:01:42 <AbsintheSyringe> or at least, instead of just address bar turning yellow, it should turn green or something
Dec 10 22:02:08 <Redhat71> almost sounds racialist…………

Dec 10 22:02:31 * dveditz (dveditz@moz-334F2010.mountainview.mozilla.com) has joined #firefox
Dec 10 22:02:41 * joduinn has quit (Ping timeout)
Dec 10 22:02:44 <johnm> end: type about:config into the address bar and hit enter
Dec 10 22:02:48 * joduinn_ is now known as joduinn
Dec 10 22:02:59 * dietrich has quit (Connection reset by peer)
Dec 10 22:03:01 <kbrosnan> AbsintheSyringe: that puts mozilla in a sticky position saying what is good in the web, https://playboy.com ?
Dec 10 22:03:05 <Mossop> AbsintheSyringe: Yes that is what ev certs are about really, far more verification is required than standard ssl, and the address bar does indeed go green!

Dec 10 22:03:25 * dietrich (dietrich@moz-46AA93AD.ptld.qwest.net) has joined #firefox
Dec 10 22:04:22 * Ryan_Yo (chatzilla@moz-8F661BC5.colorado.edu) has joined #firefox
Dec 10 22:04:26 * AlexJTanner (alex@moz-4A24A9EC.cvtc.edu) has joined #firefox
Dec 10 22:04:38 * dholbert (dholbert@moz-334F2010.mountainview.mozilla.com) has joined #firefox
Dec 10 22:04:47 <end> johnm: en-us
Dec 10 22:04:54 <Ryan_Yo> Can anyone tell me how to reset any changes I have made in the “about:config” menu to their default settings?
Dec 10 22:05:09 <johnm> Ryan_Yo: right click them and select reset
Dec 10 22:05:10 <kbrosnan> Ryan_Yo: right click choose default
Dec 10 22:05:18 <johnm> or…that
Dec 10 22:05:22 <AbsintheSyringe> kbrosnan, no I meant more about sites, which are known that they won’t screw you, let’s say if you’re address bar has a check sign or it’s green while on amazon or ebay or paypal, then you’re on the right spot, you’re not lets say on some phising site or something
Dec 10 22:05:34 <AbsintheSyringe> I’m affraid I didn’t express what I wanted to say the right way

Dec 10 22:05:34 <Ryan_Yo> oh ok, thanks.
Dec 10 22:05:57 <johnm> AbsintheSyringe: that’s kind of how FF3 will be
Dec 10 22:06:07 <kbrosnan> AbsintheSyringe: then that is coverd by the google phishing detection in firefox 2, and malware protection in fx 3

Dec 10 22:06:34 <AbsintheSyringe> johnm, kbrosnan how can I get the latest FF3 svn/cvn whatever you guys are using?
Dec 10 22:06:50 <johnm> firebot google latest nightly
Dec 10 22:06:52 <firebot> johnm: Index of /pub/mozilla.org/mozilla/nightly/latest — http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla/nightly/latest/
Dec 10 22:06:59 <johnm> you might want the beta though
Dec 10 22:07:10 <kbrosnan> beta 2 will be out in 10 or so days too

Dec 10 22:07:46 <Ryan_Yo> is there a timeframe on when firefox 3 will be out of beta?
Dec 10 22:08:14 <johnm> Ryan_Yo: probably next year
Dec 10 22:08:15 <AbsintheSyringe> kbrosnan, you think I should wait for beta2 then instead?
Dec 10 22:08:23 <Ryan_Yo> oh ok
Dec 10 22:09:14 <Redhat71> AbsintheSyringe: what if whatever that decides “which are known that they won’t screw you” decides to screw you?
Dec 10 22:09:26 * Ryan_Yo has quit (Quit: ChatZilla 0.9.79 [Firefox 2.0.0.11/2007112718])
Dec 10 22:10:06 <AbsintheSyringe> Redhat71, well I’m saying that part should be left for Google/Mozilla to decide what’s good or not, in the end you’re the one making decisions for youself, not that company, that is just there to make it easier for the end user, IMO
Dec 10 22:10:17 <end> johnm: General.useragent.locale =en-us
Dec 10 22:10:39 <johnm> end: yea I’m not sure what your problem is then if help is in spanish
Dec 10 22:12:03 <firebot> stephend@mozilla.com set the Resolution field on bug 407236 to DUPLICATE of bug 401582.
Dec 10 22:12:04 <firebot> Bug https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=407236 nor, –, —, nobody@mozilla.org, RESO DUPLICATE, Downloads getting stuck in download manager
Dec 10 22:12:05 <firebot> Bug https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=401582 min, –, Firefox 3 M10, nobody@mozilla.org, NEW, Download Manager stuck scanning for viruses
Dec 10 22:12:25 <Redhat71> as much as i like google & mozilla, i don’t think good or bad should be decided by them or any “big shot”
Dec 10 22:12:46 <end> johnm: could it be related to my server being inMexico? If so is there any way to get it switched over to english?
Dec 10 22:13:53 <Redhat71> and even if those *good* won’t screw you, what makes you think they can’t be hacked to screw you?
Dec 10 22:14:05 <Redhat71> s/good/good sites/
Dec 10 22:14:09 <johnm> end: what is the value of intl.accept_languages ?
Dec 10 22:14:28 Redhat71 ReDWinD Remaille Remco RetLaw Rev_Backspace
Dec 10 22:14:41 <AbsintheSyringe> Redhat71, I don’t know man, right now it was just a rough idea I had …
Dec 10 22:15:08 <Redhat71> once people get used to think something like red is bad & green is good, they tend to trust that blindly……..

Anyways, talk goes on, on few occasions as well, so I may not be “responsible” for this, but I’d like to think so, cuz in the end same thing I was talking about is actually in Firefox 3 :)

Does Openmoko bring freedom to our mobile phones?

1
June 16, 2008

One of the regulars here on FoolControl (BrencelJ), asked me about my opinion on OpenMoko, that is did it change and what is it after going in depth with details on the whole project, especially after being on Dors/Cluc 2008 in Zagreb, and after listening to Herald Welte lecture, and after talking to him.

This may pull few other topics along with this same very question. One of the founder of whole open source movement (Richard Stallman) disproves owning a mobile phone and I’ll quote: “as he believes the tracking of cell phones creates harmful privacy issues.”

We own our phones, we have them in our possession, but how much do we really own them? Herald used very similiar sentance, if not the same one on the DORS/CLUC conference.

And now some of you may really ask yourself where is this guy really going with this post?

Every single of us has a phone, now it’s really a question how much that phone is really ours. Currently I’m owner of Sony Ericsson W960, but do I have full control over my phone? No I don’t and I’m fully aware of that. Pretty much at any point of some time period, Sony Ericsson itself can access my phone without me even knowing it, and no it’s not paranoia or anything, it’s just raw reality.

If they don’t have access to my phone that way (even though I doubt it) … updates … and there you go, and it’s just ridiculous to name all the ways they can access my phone. Same goes for any other brand, Nokia, Samsung even Motorola (which are mostly based on is linux), heh and yea the brand that beats them all IMO is definitely iPhone :)

So this is basically where Openmoko/Neo1973 (GTA01) jumped in. Ok, this was/is a phone that’s completely based on Linux, (as I figured it it was based on Debian, so now it’s some variation of the same or something like that) you have the full control over it, you can install your software when you want to, you can remove your software when you want to, you pick your own software. Free software, open source software, you upgrade when you want, pretty much you do whatever you want. Did someone say freedom?

Except being free and all, what’s the point of it all. To be honest I think phones hardware characteristics are really poor, especially compared to todays standards of the category it wants to compete in (smartphones). Please take a look both features of gta01/gta02 yourself:

Type Smartphone
Connectivity GSM
Bluetooth 2.0
GPRS
AGPS
WiFi (in final version)
USB 1.1 slave and host
2.5-mm audio jack
Retail availability 9 July 2007 for developers, TBA for mass market release
Media microSD, SDHC capable
Wolfson WM8753 Codec
Operating system Openmoko Linux, Qtopia (both Linux-based)
Input touchscreen
buttons
Power 1200-mAh battery[1]
CPU Samsung s3c2410 SoC @ 266 MHz (development),
Samsung 2442 SoC @ 400 MHz (final version)
Memory 128 MB SDRAM
64 MB NAND flash
256 MB NAND flash in final version
Display 2.8 in. VGA (480×640) TFT, 282 pixels/in.
Dimensions 120.7 × 62 × 18.5 (mm)

In my opinion nothing that will really get you butterflies inside of your belly, and by this I definitely mean on gta02. I didn’t have a chance to play with gta01, but it seems … really poor.

So besides playing on your linux phone all day long, tweaking, hacking this and that, I really can’t find any purpose of this phone. Yes, it brings freedom to our mobile phones, but maybe we have stepped so far into darkness, that we don’t even care about freedom anymore.

My phone kicks it’s ass really, except it’s highly oriented to Windows platform, and maybe that Sony Ericsson has full control over it, but it has double of what freedom phone has. Too bad that this whole thing will just fall in Google Android‘s shadow. Not to mention iPhone and it’s developers, but we’re talking about freedom here, so iPhone is out of this discussion :)

And in the end, let’s say we got ourselves a gta01 or even gta02 it doesn’t really matter, we don’t have a top notch, or even medium notch smartphone, but hey we have got rid of those pesky corporations, that only want our money and all. And yea that’s all fine, but there’s just one nasty little thing.

What about providers? Either our GPRS operator, or internet provider, doesn’t matter really. Maybe we inadvertently turned into slaves, lost all our freedom along the way. And now it’s just that we don’t even know what freedom really is, or how it should look like, or what are we even looking for.

DORS/CLUC 2008 Zagreb

11
April 27, 2008

OK, so last week I was in Zagreb, attenting DORS/CLUC 2008. The conference + workshop, only lasted 2 days + 1 day workshop, but my friend Vedran (best know for being owner of microsoft.ba) and myself went there 1 day earlier, and I extended my stay cuz I enjoyed Zagreb so much :)

When it comes to conference, it was absolutely great, most of attention and best lecture was by “Harald Welte” about OpenMoko. I had a nice little chat with him, about it all. Alan Cox was there as well, but to be honest, I expected much more from his “lecture” but that always happens when you get your expentations too high, from anything really.

I’d like to give out a special thanks to Kristijan Zimmer, who was like the main organizator of it all, and who did a great job for all of it, and of course Vlatko Kosturjak :)

What came out good out of this whole thing? Well besides really great time I had in Zagreb, and everything/everybody being so nice to me, conference and both workshop were really great. If I’d like to make a comparison between a big thing such as DebConf and DORS, I’d really give DORS … I’d rate it 9 out 10.

So …

1. Conference and workshop were great, check
2. I signed a contract for this projet, relatively good money invovled, check
3. I got a “Moodle” certificate on 3 rd day of DORS on a workshop, check
4. Everything was absolutely great and I enjoyed it, check
5. And I got opportunity to talk/lecture on DORS next year (didn’t plan this at all), but if I do something worth talking about, I’ll definetely do it.

So here, enjoy the pictures and a video I made. There’s just so much to say but … yea. Besides this all, I’m workin on 3 projects right now, so I won’t really have time to post for awhile here, I also have big plans to develop “FoolControl v1.5” but all in it’s time. And yes “ultimate” answer to an “ultimate” question is that, after this whole event I can walk around saying that “size does not matter” don’t ask me anything about this :)

Hood we were in, was absolutely beatuful, kinda near to FER and ex INA building.

Btw, we had a private room in “Buzz hostel” and staff was incredibly great to us, it turned out to be great place, downtown Zagreb and all.
And here’s a bonus video, last night there was this pretty big party at our hostel, so some of us couldn’t sleep cuz of it. Vedran desperately trying to stay awake :D

DORS/CLUC 2008

0
April 6, 2008

http://www.open.hr/dc2008/

Ok, so this may sound out of sudden, and it did really come out of nowhere. But when I read who’s attending and speaking on this same even (Alan Cox, Harald Welte, Machtelt Garrels etc … etc …) I just had to register and go.

Some other LUGBIH members might be my company, if not … oh well :)

I really hope I’ll get to talk to talk to some people on this same “event”.  I should pretty much spend that whole week in Zagreb, so I’ll make sure I post a fine “summary”

Right now this may sound as a crappy post, cuz I’m tired and it’s 6:23AM.

Stay tuned.

Codename: peacenow | open design

6
March 26, 2008

This is going to be one long post, I’ll put two months of ideas and work into this post, so … you might want to take it easy. Go grab cup of coffee or something before you start reading it.

Let’s call this introduction

For almost last two months I’ve been doing something … it all started when one of my colleagues actually said “does it have to be that slow” (referring to my boot). And regarding my colleague who doesn’t have any “credit” to make me do this, I talked to few Debian developers, and yea their boot is slow as well. Then later on, all my ideas, because it all was just too … “broad” I actually came up with idea of releasing my own distro (for 10th time) :)

Reasons for making my own distro? Well I was actually not happy how KDE was “handled” within Debian. Of course, please don’t go mad about this now, I know all about separate KDE CD’s, “installgui –tasks=standard, kde-desktop”, heh I even had my own version of getting “default” KDE put on Debian. I could go on and on about this one, so I’ll just stop. So don’t go all “he didn’t that” “he didn’t this”, trust me I know it all about whole “kde situation”.

Some of us actually, just as every other distro (during install) has “choose default desktop environment” we actually thought of putting same thing into Debian. And yea, these ideas have been suggested, and to answer all your questions. I’d refer to “Debian on the Desktop“, part that says it pretty much all is:

  • We recognize that there are only two important classes of users: the novice, and the expert. We will do everything we can to make things very easy for the novice, while allowing the expert to tweak things if they like.

So yea, there’s your answer. Heh, now some of you may ask “instead of GNOME, why not KDE?” I don’t have official answer for this, but I do have “sayings”. And this is the last one I’ll use, because with all sort of questions I can go till tomorrow and this post will never end.

Most of you may go and say, it’s because “it’s like windows“, no as for everything (Iceweasel let’s say), there’s a deep philosophy behind it. To some of you it all may seem like I’m just going too off topic, but no, I’m on it the whole time, just wanna let you know about all “its neighbors” before hitting the “target.”

When KDE was first released it was awesome and all, but there was one thing that wasn’t right. And that is its was based on Trolltech’s qt licence, that wasn’t anything near GPL. Later on they played with “qpl” and “lgpl”, but finally KDE 4.0 (qt4) is now under GPL.

Back to the topic. Another reason why I needed my own Debian, KDE distro is because besides KDE being absolute default, I needed all the apps I use with it. That is mostly Development/Security/Hacking apps/tools, I wanted my own”feel/design” out of box. Also I wanted to be optimized for mobile/notebooks, some of you may know that in my household I don’t have 1 desktop computer, it’s actually 3 notebooks. I did my “switch” to “mobile computing” many years ago.

Of course, this is not really needed, because you don’t have a need to reinstall Debian every day, you can just install it once, and forget about it until the “end” of your computers life. Maybe the results were just so good, that I wanted everybody else to be able to enjoy the same thing.

Getting to the “core” of this whole thing

So in the end, few of you, after releasing info. about my “peacenow project” just couldn’t wait for it, and kept asking me about it (still are), and since I don’t have time (right now) and since it would be just a customized Debian, and no I’m really not looking for fame with something like “Kubuntu” or similar. I’m just gonna post the “data” I have gathered in last two months here, so you can do the same thing on your Debian desktop.

This is actually peacenow being open for everybody to look inside :)

So basically what I wanted is to have my Debian just boot fast enough right? But as time went on, it just become much more then just making your boot process faster.
“Process” went on, liters and liters of coffee were “drained”, lack of sleep … hm let’s rephrase that to no sleep at all. I’m not gonna complain really.

Yes, before all I’d like to point one more interesting fact. Let’s say you install your Debian from a “Debian KDE CD”, in no time if you’re not careful what you’re installing you’ll end up having GNOME environment on your box in no time! It’s just that, let’s say if you use few Gnome/GTK apps, like Pidgin, GIMP, Xchat, and so on, you’ll need more apps, that need more GTK libs and so on. Out of sudden, you got Gnome as a default on your box. Not even update-alternatives is gonna help you.

Nevertheless, let’s talk about boot again. First I googled, then googled some more, then this and that. You know ultimate formula to make your boot process fast is just to disable the scripts you won’t needed (you won’t be using), maybe think about re-arranging them. But yea, you also might ask yourself “which one’s can I get rid off?”

Boot, KDM, KDE idea explained

When I was thinking/working on this whole thing I thought of elevators. Basically let’s say that I’m on 1st floor and wanted on 5th, this normally would be done by going 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th. But I always have these … mad ideas? What I wanted is to get to 5th floor right of from the very beginning. I was walking with this idea for awhile when it actually hit me!

I thought of a new idea, if you need to go to let’s say 9th floor, you’re gonna “jump” to it, but by climbing the logical floors, in this case these are the odd floors. So 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th. Same “politics” are used for even floors, 2, 4, 6, etc… This was like story telling, but I had to prove the point. And it was actually after studying Petronas Towers architecture, it was them who lead me this magnificent idea.

Ok, now that we have boot sorted out, what filesystem should be used? Ok, I’ve been long ReiserFS fan, until it actually ate my root partition. But still I tried it out in this “experiment” And yes, to note that I tried every filesystem with different mount options. Ok, we’re talking that we’re not gonna use this for server, we’re going to use this system for mobile, developer platform, maybe some hacking here and there :P

After trying all the filesystems, even tho before I was strictly against it, ext3 is the winner. Incredibly enough, ext3 will boot faster then xfs! (of course with right mount options). Even without that, it’s incredible, it will even boot faster then ReiserFS. This is also interesting fact, because if we take the statistics, ext3 will be among the last ones when it comes to performance, if we compare it to ReiserFS, xfs, jfs which are top of a line when it comes to performance.

Only thing that’s better then rest of these that ext3 has, is it’s the most stable, most tested filesystem when it comes to Linux. Many distros use it as a default filesystem. You can’t notice many performance differences between all of these using your “bare eye”, so you really won’t notice that’s anything slower on your ext3. Actually let me correct myself, when you’d be copying large amount of data, either from lan or simple dvd, or external hdd … whatever ok, xfs would just slow way way too much! Ok, these situations may not happen every day that you copy so much data onto your hdd, but still … This is one of the biggest reasons that “chased” me off the xfs.

So back to ext3, the thing that was chasing me most away from ext3 is … after “x” number of boots, whole system will be checked, this took time, and this was usually annoying when you needed to fire up system, use it for short period time and halt. Of course this would be fine if I was on desktop computer, server even better, on server I’d actually approve this action as much as possible. But on my notebook, no way. Of course, one of the ideas was to just keep sending it into sleep/hibernate, but trust me, sometimes this just wasn’t the option.

But hey, don’t worry, I took care of this, this won’t happen on your “peacenow debian”. And it’s nothing really harmful for your system, it’s just one of the mount options. Awesome, we have our filesystem now as well, so filesystem + boot, now we’re at the point of KDM.

Ah yes, that kdm. You know, when I first started using “display managers” after Slackware of course, I’d actually use GDM it was faster, it had many themes … why not eh? Of course during my “research” I also used XDM and just plain console login. Yea, talking about this, there was also a talk about KDM4 … which I haven’t tried, but some actually gave me idea. Right now KDE3.5.x and KDE4 can coexist on the same system, so that I should actually use KDM4 that’d log into KDE 3.5.x. Yea this mostly is (for those who don’t know) is that KDE4 thanks to qt4 is faster, needs less memory, so yea this kinda made sense. But nah … I’ll leave this for actual codename: peacenow release or something.

So, plain console login would if you ask me, heh even it “has no looks”, I think its looks are the best. But there was one problem, and that is it would load KDE itself way way too much. Answer to why, is pretty self explanatory, since at that point it wouldn’t even load X. Talking about X, in my research I found out about thing called “OneSecondX” they are building at RedHat. So yea, I’ll keep an on that one, prolly save it for another “HowTo” like this, or put it into an actual distro.

So no console login, GDM would be the winner, but what we want with all this is to avoid GNOME/GTK usage the most we can, so clearly KDM is the winner. XDM is just too … nah.

After all that comes KDE. Ah yes, there’s no need for extra words here, what I actually started using since this whole “revelation” is something similar as seen in Gnome. So I actually started using KDE’s Session Manager to “Restore manually saved session” not just “Restore previous session” which was mostly bringing everything up, from Amarok to Firefox/Iceweasel … everything. So to me, this seems as a best option right now.

After KDE come its applications. Also a really neat lil thing I found is “preload”

preload is an adaptive readahead daemon. It monitors applications that users run, and by analyzing this data, predicts what applications users might run, and fetches those binaries and their dependencies into memory for faster startup times.

I think this explains it all. Of course, and I am serious at this point, you’re system as well as you’re OpenOffice or Firefox/IceWeasel will boot faster then Gentoo’s user. Of course, I can cross the line of sane and experiment bit more with “apt-build world” but I don’t think I’m gonna go that far.

Debian, kernel and app wise

As I said, KDE, mobile, developer oriented Debian platform. What also proved the best from my research is that Debian Etch/stable is the greatest thing that hit the linux world in past year. You know Slackware 12.0 is … wow, but Debian Etch is … standing up to its shoulder, if not then it’s standing higher.

Please don’t make a mistake, and jump on Debian Lenny/testing right away, you need to follow what I say in the following part step by step, very carefully. When you have Etch/stable and then upgrade to Lenny/testing … it’s completely different thing from just installing Lenny/testing right away from one of the weekly generated sources.

Some of them are good, some of them are not. It’s a classic example of gambling. Kernel wise, I haven’t really covered anything about that one here … point is that you’ll end up on 2.6.22-3 and it’s been “stable” for awhile here on lenny/testing so … now if I start talking about this too … then really. No, it’s really good, that I Slackware freak in my soul, who loves to tweak and compile his own kernel didn’t have need for it, because this kernel is just … nice. Not bloated or anything, and still it “all works”.

Application wise, there’s only going one application that’s going to make big move on “Gnome invasion”, and that is Eclipse. Among many other things, it’ll bring Synaptic with it. Synaptic is great, it really is. Many of you now will ask about Adept, Adept 2.x is in stable three, there’s Adept 3 alpha in the experimental resp. at this point, but it’s just so unusable that it’s just … It’s weird, because people will be using it on Kubuntu … So we’ll be using apt-get and aptitude, because we’re hardcore and we know them linux :)
No need for fancy GUI stuff.

One more thing, since we want to use the most of our great KDE powered Debian, there are just few more things you should pay attention to, later on you’ll need to decided wheter you want it in your system or not. In the end we want the ultimate “machina” here, so let’s use all the best Linux/GNU can provide us with.

Amarok … ah yes. You have more then 1000 tracks in your collection, maybe few thousands … what 10k? Nice. Hm, does it actually annoy you when it’s updating collecting, or adding collection to your playlist, or it’s just taking too long to boot? Did you know you can make it all go away?

Amarok being the great application it is, can be set up to make use of MySQL for your collection. So instead of using “standard” SQLite … why not turn Amarok into a real beast it is? After this beast will think it was fed with additional 2GB of ram. Yea … yummy.

I don’t know you really want to this, since it’ll reflect on your boot time, since out of sudden you’ll be booting mysql-server. So if you only have few hundreds to a thousand … thousand and a half you might think this over. But anything over this number, you gotta have it like this!

KDE Guidance, ever heard of that one?

A power management applet to indicate battery levels and perform hibernate or suspend using HAL.

If you decide to go for this one, I’ll want you to go to KCenter > Power Control > Laptop battery | Uncheck the “Show battery monitor
But why?

Well, because Debian doesn’t come with “Hibernate”, “Suspend” button along with your regular “End Session” “Shutdown Computer” “Restart Computer”. Sure, we have it compiled in our kernel, fire up konsole, be a major l337 pass “hibernate” and that’s it.
It’s going to sleep. But once you wake it up, once it get’s back to KDE, session won’t be locked! So you need to go to meeting, you send your computer to hibernate, you’re sneaky co-worker opens the computer lid, system wakes up, and there he’s in middle of your stuff.

Ok, so what’s the deal, KDE Guidance will replace your current (default KDE) battery monitor (that’s why we gonna turn it off), it has few simple options with that same session lock, and lid, and this and that. So yea, even tho it’s 5 mins of c++ to add “Hibernate” to your KMenu, I think this is just a better option.

Please remember these options, because they’ll “reappear” soon in “Step 8”

Putting pieces together

Now, after pretty much explaining everything that’s going to happen, what I need you to do is just follow these step by step instructions.

Step 1.

Go to “Downloading Debian CD/DVD images via HTTP/FTP” go under the cd section, choose your architecture, and find for example “debian-40r3-i386-kde-CD-1.iso“, assuming you’re not completely retarded and that you actually got your “Debian KDE CD”

Boot it up and start the intall

Step 2.

My partition scheme is something as it follows below:

  • /dev/sda1 is made as primary partition and is my root partition, it’s on ext3 with “noatime” for mount option.
  • /dev/sda2 is also primary partition is on ext3 with “noatime” as mount option as well, this is my home partiton
  • /dev/sda5 is set up as logical and I use it as swap.

You can do it just like this, but you don’t have to. You can have your prefrences, just make sure that your ext3 is on “noatime” as mount option. Rest is not really that important in this case, that is defaults suit us just fine.

Step 3.

Don’t choose networking mirrors or anything right now, just finish the install, install grub on MBR … yea few things like the “standards” and you’ll be fine.

I’m sorry if it looks (from my tone) that I’m treating you as you’re doing Debian install for the first time, or that you’re complete idiot … precausion matters I guess :)

Step 4.

Now that your install has completed.

# apt-get install rcconf
# rcconf

You’re services list should be like something below:

[*] acpid
[*] atd
[*] cron
[*] dbus
[*] dirmngr
[*] exim4
[*] kdm
[*] klogd
[*] makedev
[*] nfs-common
[*] openbsd-inetd
[*] sysklogd
[ ] alsa
[ ] avahi-daemon
[ ] bootclean

If it does look like that, good, if it doens’t make it look like that. Plus disable the following:

atd, cron, dirmngr, exim4, nfs-common, openbsd-inetd

After you’re done with that part
vim /etc/init.d/rc
Look for “CONCURRENCY=none“, it should be on 32nd line.
Change that same line to “CONCURRENCY=shell”
:wq!

Right now at this point, from grub to kde (kdm loaded) on somewhat modest machine you should be there in <= 40 seconds. Reboot if you wanna see your results. Yea, you’re all happy and stuff, too bad we’re not gonna stop here :)

Step 5.

At this point, what we’ll do is change “/etc/apt/sources.list” and prepare it for “apt-get dist-upgrade”. Please replace the following mirrors, the one from your country, I’m using this one, cuz I find it to be the best pick for area where I live. You have the whole list here.

But before that, make sure you installed “debian multimedia keyring”, you can find the same right here (give it executable permissions chmod a+x). Now that you have it all sorted out, your /etc/apt/sources.list should look like this:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

# stable
# deb http://debian.inode.at/debian/ etch main contrib non-free
# deb-src http://debian.inode.at/debian/ etch main contrib non-free

# testing
deb http://debian.inode.at/debian/ testing main contrib non-free
deb-src http://debian.inode.at/debian/ testing main contrib non-free

# multimedia
deb ftp://debian.netcologne.de/debian-multimedia.org testing main
deb-src ftp://debian.netcologne.de/debian-multimedia.org testing main

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After you’re all done, you’re ready for big moment :)

Step 6.

# apt-get update
# apt-get dist-upgrade

You may want to restart after it’s all done. But since Debian is the only distro that doesn’t even require a restart after whole distro upgrade … well you can be gansta and reset all those services and things so they are updated to new version … just restart ok? :)

One more thing, before restart

# apt-get install preload

Step 7.

Ok, now we may want to hit it off with some “protocols” and applications. This may be a confusing step. First add “security respiratory” for you Debian, I skipped this in “Step 5” because I was saving your ass from errors that could just confuse you … yea I know you already owe me a beer :)

# security
deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib

^ Add to your /etc/apt/sources.list, if it’s something like:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

# stable
# deb http://debian.inode.at/debian/ etch main contrib non-free
# deb-src http://debian.inode.at/debian/ etch main contrib non-free

# testing
deb http://debian.inode.at/debian/ testing main contrib non-free
deb-src http://debian.inode.at/debian/ testing main contrib non-free

# multimedia
deb ftp://debian.netcologne.de/debian-multimedia.org testing main
deb-src ftp://debian.netcologne.de/debian-multimedia.org testing main

# security
deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Please proceed with “# apt-get update

Step 8.

In this step, I’ll explain how to setup Amarok to use MySQL in 2 minutes.

# apt-get install amarok mysql-server

Once install is done it’ll ask you to setup root (mysql root) password, try making it good. Now do the following, you do remember you root password right?

$ mysql -p -u root
Enter password:
mysql> CREATE DATABASE amarok;
mysql> USE amarok;
mysql> GRANT ALL ON amarok.* TO amarok@localhost IDENTIFIED BY ‘PASSWORD_CHANGE_ME’;
mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

Now, if you listened carefully enough this will be your first time running Amarok. When it asks about your music collection, instead of selecting “SQLite” select “MySQL” and add the following:

Hostname: localhost
Port: 3306
Database: amarok
Username: amarok
Password:
PASSWORD_CHANGE_ME

If you’re wasn’t this time running Amarok no biggie, Amarok > Configure > Collection

Step 9.

KDE Guidance?

# apt-get install kde-guidance kde-guidance-powermanager

Step 10.

Right now, you may have noticed how much stuff I’m really not covering or explaining in details or at all. Every move I do which you can’t understand … just google it. Or what each package listed here does or whatever, you may want to know what’s it all about before installing it, if you’re not aware what’s it for. At this point just do what you’re told and that’s all, I mean no harm.

In this step, we’ll go over some applications that we might need but don’t have them. And these are just some, this is absolute minimum. Also, please note that after years and years of using GIMP and Pidgin, I’m making a final switch to Kopete and Krita. Also don’t forget to configure lisa in KCenter, if you don’t use it, disable it from booting.

System:

# apt-get install preload sux linux-headers-2.6.22-3-686 mysql-server

Internet/Network:

# apt-get install qca-tls lisa xchat pidgin pidgin-musictracker pidgin-plugin-pack

Looks/Appearance:

# apt-get install industrial-cursor-theme ksplash-engine-moodin gtk-qt-engine gtk2-engines-clearlooks ttf-bitstream-vera msttcorefonts kdmtheme kde-style-lipstik kscreensaver-xsavers xscreensaver-gl

Utils:

# apt-get install mesa-utils filelight yakuake unrar zip bzip2

KDE:

# apt-get install gwenview kaffeine kaffeine-mozilla kde-guidance kde-guidance-powermanager digikam krita amarok ktorrent kmobiletools k3b

Console:

# apt-get install sysvconfig htop mpg321 rcconf links2 mc vnstat yacpi

Devel/libs:

# apt-get intall g++ javacc build-essential kdebase-dev cdrdao libdvdcss2 dvd+rw-tools libdvdread3 transcode libncurses5-dev libstdc++5 xvid4conf ogmtools g77 fort77 kde-devel automake autoconf autogen imagemagick automake-1.9

Java:

apt-get install sun-java5-bin sun-java5-demo sun-java5-doc sun-java5-fonts sun-java5-jdk sun-java5-jre sun-java5-plugin

Office:

# apt-get install openoffice.org openoffice.org-kde

Multimedia:

# apt-get install devede dvdrip lives avidemux audacity realplayer w32codecs

Security:

# apt-get install kismet aircrack wpasupplicant macchanger wireshark weplab nmap nessus ettercap ethereal knocker john crack-common ophcrack medussa

As I said, these are just some of the applications that are included, that you may need, and till now nothing is mixed with your pure KDE environment :)

Since we installed pretty much everything we wanted, let’s go over services again.

Step 11.

Now, that we have it all sort out, let’s go over our services. After all those changes, when you run “rcconf” it should look something like:

[*] acpid
[*] dhcdbd
[*] hal
[*] kde-guidance
[*] kdm
[*] klogd
[*] mysql
[*] network-manager
[*] network-manager-dispatcher
[*] preload
[*] sysklogd
[ ] atd
[ ] avahi-daemon
[ ] cron
[ ] dirmngr
[ ] discover
[ ] exim4
[ ] fam
[ ] mysql-ndb
[ ] mysql-ndb-mgm
[ ] nfs-common
[ ] openbsd-inetd

Ater it’s all like this. That’s pretty much it. You can tweak it more, but absolutely much more in detail with “sysvconfig“. But after this point I’m not gonna gurantee anything on how successful you’re gonna be and etc … So I’d stay with all this coniguration we have seen so far.

Step 12.

This is the last step. After all your system has been configured marvelously, you’ll prolly turn on some major looks/appearance change/tweaking. First off, I think you should definetely download and install “K Menu Gnome” and “Debian Menu Icons”. Which can be found under FoolControl Downloads. This step is completely optional, and as you can see I haven’t covered Compiz-Fusion here. I already wrote about that, and if you want Compiz on this thing, please come here.

Author notes

It actually took me few hours to write this, and I’d say some 2500 hours working on it, planning it, “designing” it. For what? It may be for nothing at all, few interested heads might appear and find all of this interesting, maybe even say let’s start working on it, a lot could happend and still nothing at all.

But one thing I’m sure of in all of this, that I spend this time trying to benefit overall Linux, Debian and Open Source community, and maybe I didn’t do anything at all. But I kinda tried. I really hope I’ll be able to make it to DebConf8 this August, because I’d really like to talk some things over.

I honestly do think how one Debian desktop should look like. The more people can actually try this “variant” the better, the more comments the better. In meantime tho, all I can say is enjoy :)

March 31 update

Heh, ok so I couldn’t make final switch to kopete so I added pidgin and all its plugins I’m using.

April 5 update

Ok, now what I’m doing is actually I’m on Debian stable (etch), but my applications are all coming from the testing resp. So you can just install stable, stay on it put testing resp in your /etc/apt/sources.list and install all of your apps from testing resp.

I seriously do find this is the best option so far.