Rasberry Pi vs old Dell, P4

A random smattering of Raspberry Pi vs an Old Dell P4 machine.

Unfortunately I labeled the Rasberry Pi, Debian (it is running the debian image, at least).  You can view the full results at OpenBenchmarking.org.  Most people are not buying a Raspberry Pi for the performance :), but it is nice to know just how much slower the Pi is.

The dell can pull between 70 – 120+ Watts, while the raspberry pi can pull 5.   Unfortunately, in performance per watt, I think the P4 still comes in first most of the time.  (The total test time on the P4 was less than an hour, the Pi I left overnight).  I didn’t do much graphics testing, but the Raspberry Pi chip is physically better (not sure if it’s being properly leveraged though).

Ubuntu Community in Trouble?

I am looking at alternatives to Ubuntu, in particular I like:

  • Fedora  –  Gives me a cutting edge open source graphics stack. I really have been enjoying their implementation of Gnome Shell (with Tweaks)
  • Linux Mint – Great for everyday users and it comes with a very innovative and user friendly desktop, without trying to be “revolutionary”, it’s just evolutionary
  • LXDE – as far as lightweight and friendly environments go, LXDE rocks (Lubuntu, Linux Mint LXDE, and Fedora LXDE are all good products)

I know the biggest reason I’m searching for alternatives is “Unity”, which I think is a perfectly ironic name for something that is dividing the ordinary users into two more desktop camps, Unity vs. Gnome Shell.   If you asked users what more they want from Linux, they would say polish and a better office suite, not more desktop choices.  [To be fair to Canonical, they are investing more into LibreOffice, which I am very happy about 🙂 ]

The graph below is from Google Trends.  It tells the story of Ubuntu rising from obscurity and the predictable releases pushing the “buzz” higher and higher. 11.04 has had the weakest showing in recent releases and the drop after the release doesn’t seem to be a good sign either.  It will be very interesting to see how the release fairs tomorrow.

The worst part for me is that Unity and Gnome Shell aren’t very different from the user’s point of view.   They both are revolutionary in some of the same ways, and both make some stupid choices.  I think it’s mostly the stupid things that have forced the separation (along with the usual politics), these are the things I would like to see removed from both.

Gnome on Ubuntu has served as the flagship desktop environment for Linux for at least the last few years.  Gnome provided a solid usable desktop and Ubuntu provided an amazing amount of polish and things like OEM installs, etc. (along with everything else a distro does).  I will be very impressed with both Ubuntu and Gnome if they are able to compromise and reunite.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Windows Can’t Handle the Hardware…

How to run Windows XP truly seamlessly on hardware with few available drivers, by proxying it though Linux’s better hardware support.  Using Virtualization as the hardware compatibility layer.  [Used VirtualBox on Ubuntu for the impatient]

You can’t buy computers with Windows XP on them anymore, but some business’s want to keep using it. They don’t see the benefit in upgrading to Windows 7 and have roadblocks preventing them from moving to Linux.

What you need:
* Valid Windows XP License(s)
* Ubuntu Media and ability to get VirtualBox
* Removable media for testing (usb sticks, cdroms, etc)

1. Base Setup.  First off install Ubuntu.  I’m using the default edition (gdm needs to be installed).    Remove applications that won’t be useful for you. (I only left Accessories and Firefox).  Oh, and of course install VirtualBox, I suggest adding the repository from Virtualbox’s website.

2. Set up a Windows XP VM in the default account how you would like it.  Remember to give it the majority of the resources of the machine, but not more than let’s say about 80-85%.

3. Now it’s time to set up the ability to auto login to VirtualBox!
This file allows WinXP to be a session option along side Ubuntu/Classic Gnome etc.  With autologin and no password required, this is how we make that part seamless (options in Users and Groups).

/usr/share/xsessions/WinXP.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=WindowsXP
Comment=My Virtual WindowsXP
Exec=/opt/bin/WinXP
Icon=
Type=Application

4. Create the VM launcher script
This launches the VM and also keeps a very important script running only when the VM still exists…

/opt/bin/WinXP

#!/bin/bash
VirtualBox –startvm WinXP –fullscreen &
sleep 2
/opt/bin/AddUSB.sh &

while [ “$(pgrep VirtualBox)” ]; do
sleep 2
echo “Doing”
done
killall AddUSB.sh

5.  Create the USB adding script.

VirtualBox doesn’t currently have the ability to set up automounting of all USB media with no user interaction (at least with a Linux Host and Windows guest).  This script works around that by listing available usb devices and then adding them to the host.  Due to being run every two seconds it only introduces a small delay.  Installing “inotify-tools” is required.

/opt/bin/AddUSB.sh

#!/bin/bash

VBoxManage list usbhost | egrep “UUID:|Product:” | grep -v Mouse | grep -v Keyboard | grep Product: -B 1 | grep -v Product: | cut -c21- > /tmp/MountThese
for i in `cat /tmp/MountThese`;do VBoxManage controlvm ‘WinXP’ usbattach $i;done
rm /tmp/MountThese

while inotifywait /var/log/syslog; do
VBoxManage list usbhost | egrep “UUID:|Product:” | grep -v Mouse | grep -v Keyboard | grep Product: -B 1 | grep -v Product: | cut -c21- > /tmp/MountThese
for i in `cat /tmp/MountThese`;do VBoxManage controlvm ‘WinXP’ usbattach $i;done
rm /tmp/MountThese
done

Any comments/suggestions very welcome!

Duck Duck Go Search Engine in Ubuntu’s Firefox?

If you haven’t tried searching with Duck Duck Go, give it a try at duckduckgo.com

Learn more about how it protects your privacy and doesn’t track you.. donttrack.us

Learn more about how it gives back to free and open source software. http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/2010/11/help-me-start-a-foss-tithing-movement.html

I previously posted about trying to add Duck Duck Go directly to Firefox (that has stalled).   My proposal for Ubuntu is a bit different, I think it makes sense for us to replace Bing with Duck Duck Go.  Every search helps the company behind bug #1, in fact I would argue that including Bing helps them keep up their market-share.

If you like the idea of Duck Duco Go being added to Ubuntu’s Firefox search box above, please show your support! http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/28078/

Also, and just as important as the above, Duck Duck Go provides really awesome results!  Try a few… https://duck.co/topic/wow-queries-that-showcase-ddg