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Ok so I installed Ubuntu but I hate the Gnome desktop? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Garfield Lucas   

If you want a version of Ubuntu that looks & feels like more like your familiar Windoze XP then try the free upgrade to Kubuntu. Kubuntu uses the KDE desktop. IMHO KDE is loads nicer and much more feature-rich than either Windoze or the Gnome desktop.

As well as being highly customisable, KDE makes extensive use of context menu functions. It also has loads of sweet extras like KATE (KDE Advanced Text Editor). Compare that with Windoze crappy notepad if you do any coding.

Then there is Krusader advanced file manager that lets you do sophisticated directory comparisons locally, across a Windoze network or to an FTP or SFTP connection on a remote server. 'Doze has nothing to touch it. And SMB4K manages connections to Windoze boxes better and faster than Windoze can itself.

They say little things please little minds but I love the little weather applet on the panel (taskbar) that patches into any of the planet's 3000 or so METAR stations via the internet to tell you latest weather. In fact, KDE has more goodies that you can shake a stick at. And they are all genuinely FREE. No adware, spyware trojan or worms!

Seriously, Linux has come a long way the last 18 months. If you haven't tried it lately, then perhaps you should? And remember, only Micro$haft makes Windoze but anyone can make Linux. This means that in addition to the Ubuntu family of Linuxes, there is a tremendous diversity of Linuxes out there. So and there is almost certainly one to suit you and your hardware

Live long and enjoy...

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 January 2008 00:16
Another reason to be cheerful PDF Print E-mail
Written by Garfield Lucas   

Bad Vista No Littering logo from the Free Software Foundation

You can finally dump Windows!

Several people people have written in asking questions along the lines of, "why are you dumping Windows and using Linux instead?"

The answer is simply that we now have overwhelming technical, financial and perhaps most importantly, moral reasons for no longer wishing to use Microsoft software - if it can be avoided. Here are just a few...

Moral Reasons

I believe that in its attempts to protect its corporate interests, Microsoft is trampling over its users basic human rights.

  1. As a British National and an EU citizen, I morally object to being forced to pay to use the proprietary products of a large, monopolistic, foreign corporation in order to access and manipulate my data. I am not the only EU citizen with this view .
  2. I especially object to Microsoft's deployment of Digital Rights Management techniques, effectively criminalising its users before any crime has been committed.
  3. I resent the constant upgrades that force the purchase of new hardware,
  4. I further resent paying for new versions of software that still don't deliver what was promised with the previous version.
  5. I dislike having to waste valuable computing resources running layer-upon-layer of virus checker, spyware detector etc, just to patch gaping holes in Microsoft security.
  6. I bitterly resent having to "reauthenticate" software just because I have changed a hard drive or upgraded my hardware - thus effectively informing a foreign company, in a foreign jurisdiction of my computing activity.
Last Updated on Sunday, 25 January 2009 01:32
FHS (File Hierarchy System) on Unix-like operating systems such as Linux PDF Print E-mail
Written by Garfield Lucas   

The Linux file system can seem a little strange especially for those coming from an M$ Windoze background. This is my humble attempt at debunking it and perhaps making it a little easier to understand.

Several main differences...

There are some important differences between the DOS/Windows type file system and the system used by Unix-derived systens such as Linux and Macintosh OSX.

  1. Folder delimiter is a forwardslash  "/" not a backslash "\".
  2. Disk drives do not have drive letters. Instead they are mounted from within the file hierarchy system.
  3. File and folder names are case sensitive.
  4. Files and folders are hidden by adding a preceding dot.
  5. File and folder permissions are completely different.
  6. Unixy folks often refer to "folders" as "directories".
  7. The shorthand to access the current user's home folder is ~/ In my case ~/ is the same as /home/garf

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 July 2009 12:51
Can I get my scanner | printer | copier | teamaker | etc. working on Linux? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Garfield Lucas   

ImageThese days, seems a lot of folks are ringing or emailing me asking how to get their printer|scanner|trouser-press|etc. working under Linux. Surprisingly, some devices actually are very easy indeed to install under Linux. For example, almost any laser printer that has Postscript will work with the generic Linux Postscript driver.

As chance would have it, I don't use inkjet printers at all becase I prefer lasers. Any of these with either PCL5 or PCL6 (Hewlett Packard) or PS (Postcript) emulation all work without a hitch.

However, at time of writing, scanners can prove a lot more problemeatic and all-in-one printers|scanners|copiers under Linux can seem darned near impossible. In some cases you need to decide which of its many functions are important to you?

Good advice

You need set aside some time to research your device. These are some sites I found after a few minutes of Googling, that offer rsome easonably well-written, practical advice...

There are dozens more, if you keep searching.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2009 14:04
Metric versus binary (computer) prefixes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Garfield Lucas   

Why does my 120 gigabyte hard disk only store 111 gigabytes?

The size discrepancy comes from the fact that manufacturers always use figures which show their product in the best way. Some would argue that it also stems from a cultural issue in the sense that many in the the US-led computing industry appear reluctant to join the rest of the planet in adopting & understanding the metric system.

Normally, the metric prefix 'kilo' means 1000 or 10^3. But in computing parlance 'kilo' has been taken to mean 1024 or 2^10. The metric prefix 'mega' means 1,000,000= 10^6. However in computing terms 'mega' means 1024x1024 = 1,048,576 = 2^20.

A new ISO standard attempts to work around this problem by adopting a new set of computing-specific prefixes - where 1024 bytes should now be referred to as 1 kibibyte (or 1.024 kilobytes). The table below details these prefixes...

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 00:08
Legal & Technical PDF Print E-mail
Written by Garfield Lucas   


Please do not steal material from this site. If you want to use something then please ask. Unless stated otherwise, all material on this site is copyright © Garfield Lucas, all rights reserved.

Recommended browser

  • This site is generally quite "standards compliant" (though we had to bend the odd rule here and there) and should work fine in almost any modern web browser. However it seems the best browser to view this site with is Mozilla Firefox. There are versions available for Linux, Macintosh OS 10 & Windows.  I think that for both security and usability, it beats the pants off M$ Internet Explorer! And it uninstalls cleanly if you decide you don't like it. Mozilla is available for free download from...

Viewing this site

  • This site is designed to be viewed on a nice big screen with as many colours as your computer can muster. It will just about run on an 800 x 600 pixel screen but won't look very nice and some pages may break up. It is better viewed at 1024x768 pixels, or bigger @ 16.8 million colours. Pages auto-size to fit screen resolution (though the pictures don't!) It seems to run OK on Windows, Mac & Linux in almost any modern browser. There were some issues with early versions Apple's Safari web browser. But I think a lot of Mac users are using Mozilla. Mozilla certainly works pretty well on my G4 Mac
  • Programming, HTML coding, creation of static content, all undertaken by Garfield Lucas, using fairly simple HTML and a smattering of Javascript.
  • Dynamic content for the main site is managed by Joomla content management system .
  • The dynamic image library (GarfNet Pictures+Media) runs on Coppermine.
  • Mr Goose's blog uses Wordpress.
  • I have generally only used JavaScript where necessary and appropriate.
  • There are no pop-up or banner advertisements, trojans or any such other irritating nonsense on this site.
  • I've tried to make all links to other sites clearly identifiable as such.
  • Site uses CSS (cascading style sheets).
  • Site runs on Debian Linux (Lenny) version 5.
  • Webserver software is Apache version 2.2
  • The back-end database is MySQL version 5 and is used for storing dynamic content.
  • Site uses PHP (Pretty Hypertext Preprocessing) version 5.
  • Static part of site uses 'frames'.
  • This site uses ISO 8601 date format (CCYY-MM-DD). Unfortunately not all our contributors have quite caught up yet and some dates within their contributions may be in one of the older formats.
  • Similarly, this is a metric site and metric units are used throughout. If you have difficulty understanding the metric system then you might find our units converter handy.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 21:04
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