February 22, 2003

Why buy Lindows when Mandrake is better?

Penguin Liberation Front lair. I've been using Linux Mandrake since its inception years ago (1996?) and it has steadily grown in functionality. One of the difficulties in RPM-based distributions like RedHat and Mandrake is the nightmare involved in upgrading RPMs or installing new software dependent on other RPMs. Inevitably, the process of upgrading or installing software required one to fish around for the dependent RPMs, which is no easy task. Since Linux Mandrake's 8 series, a new tool was introduced called urpmi. I didn't bother familiarizing myself with this wonderful tool until Mandrake 9.0. Enter the usefulness of the PLF after learning urpmi. Adding new sources for software (for RPMs) is easily outlined in the PLF's frontpage. And when I'm ready to install new software, all I need to do is type something like "urpmi gnapster" and urpmi goes through the sources to find the gnapster RPM and its dependencies, downloads them for me, and installs them without requiring me to do anything more. This functionality is comparable to Debian's apt-get tool and ultimately makes installing software even easier than in the Windows 9x/XP world. PLF has all the nice software packages that any Linux user would ever want, on top of repackaged software that make Mandrake even better (such as the freetype package for better looking fonts). Quickly commenting on Mandrake 9.0, I find it faster than Mandrake 8.2, but still not as stable. The urpmi access to 9.0 packages through PLF makes upgrading or using Mandrake 9.0 worthwhile. In closing, all I'd like to say is that I can't wait until 9.1 is released.

Posted by johnvu at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Everything that I wanted to blog

Lots happened since my server went caput and I was so itching to blog. First off, my car got broken into again! Life in Baltimore is not fun when you have to deal with nuisances such as this. This was the fourth or fifth time my car got broken into in a span of 2 years (I lost exact count). You'd think that most thieves will realize that after a while, there won't be anything left in the car to take, at least nothing of real value! I've gotten my ashtray stolen, my car manual, my hubcaps, prescription sunglasses taken (hope the thief goes blind!) and some change. Before I had to shell out $100 each time to get the vent window that was busted replaced. No, I didn't go through my insurance because: 1) it's a minor problem, don't want my premium to skyrocket just because of this 2) I reserve large accidents for insurance claims 3) my deductible is exactly $100 anyway, which is the cost of replacing the glass (sure I can pay the deductible one time and have the ticket reopen if I get broken into again, but seriously, who would bank on the fact that their car will be broken into AGAIN in a matter of weeks after replacing the glass? It's once in a blue moon.) Not willing to shell out the $100 again, I decided to replace the glass myself. I quick sent a request for the vent window (that's the triangular little piece of glass in your rear doors) at JunkYardDog.com, and literally, in a matter of minutes I already had salvage yards send me their price quote. Some places offered to sell me it for just $25! One minor problem with this service is that when you want to buy, you have to completely trust the parts place's word on sending the item and charging your credit card correctly (you usually order over the phone). But I got a used vent window for a 1996 Toyota Corolla for $34 shipped to my door. It was definitely used, had a tint film on it and very dirty. Took some time and chemicals to clean the window, but it was worth it for that price. Vent windows have got to be the easiest window installation, most windows come with the plastic molding and you just pop the replacement in the molding (requires some skill, but once you figure it out, it's quite easy to do with a screwdriver or putty knife to ease the lip of the molding over the glass) and pop the glass and molding back into the door space and you're done. I'm just glad I saved myself $66. I wish I knew about this before getting my windows replaced previously at $100 a pop.

Posted by johnvu at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

I'm back!

Had to migrate my server elsewhere. Boy what a pain, but hopefully it'll be worth it in the long run. More to come on what happened to me in the interim from my last post.

Posted by johnvu at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)