domingo, 30 de enero de 2011

How to install Libre Office in Mandriva 2010.2

Mandriva (the distribution) comes with Open Office and, apparently, the company behind it has not voiced its support toward Libre Office, as many other Linux companies already have (including the Mageia project) (Read here the list). Of course, the similar circumstances that triggered the existence of both Libre Office and Mageia might be a little embarrassing for Mandriva (the company) to admit right now.

That is, nevertheless, of little significance for the end user and, if that end user happens to be a Linux beginner, those internal tensions within the Linux world are pretty much incomprehensible.

Let us assume that you are a newbie running Mandriva 2010.2. (like me, I guess). You know that Linux distributions have differences; for example, while Debian uses packages named .deb, Mandriva requires packages known as .rpm.

You also know that Linux distros have a different release schedule. Therefore, you have to wait until mid 2011 to get a new version of the distribution and to find out if Libre Office will replace Open Office. But you want Libre Office to run in your Mandriva 2010.2 system right now, so you go to the download section of Libre Office and are greeted by many different links. As you know how to read (something you learned as a child and have been practicing ever since), the many links do not scare you away: you discover that you need to locate first your language and the appropriate packaging (for Mandriva, you definitely need RPM.

So, you download the file... now what?

Installation of Libre Office in Mandriva 2010.2

You need: The installation file, your root password, and self confidence.

Once you have the file, you right-click on it and select "extract here, auto detect subfolder". Then you get inside the newly created folder and go inside a sub folder called RPMS.

the following step is not for the faint of heart as it requires use of the TERMINAL!!

Yes, the above is sarcasm. I've read too much about how complicated and inconvenient it is to use the terminal...well, not in this case. I could do it and, believe me, I have no training in programming.

Once inside the folder RPMS, go to the window menu and click on "tools". Select "open terminal" to deal with the friendly black screen.
1. Type su
The terminal returns: password:
2. Type your root password (you have it, don't you?)
The terminal returns: [root@localhost RPMS]#
3. Type urpmi *.rpm and relax while the computer does its own thing. Once it's over, you will see the same prompt ([root@localhost RPMS]#)
4. Now, close the terminal (Boy, that didn't hurt, did it?)

Double click to open the folder called desktop-integration.
Once inside this folder, go to the window menu and click on "tools". Select "open terminal" to deal with the charming black screen. YES, AGAIN! But you are not afraid, are you?
1. Type su
The terminal returns: password:
2. Type your root password
The terminal returns: [root@localhost RPMS]#
3. Type urpmi *.rpm and see what the computer does this time. It might give you a warning about some dependency-requirements not met. Before you freak out, READ. It's about SUSE and Red Hat. You are using Mandriva, so just say yes to continue and relax while the computer does its own thing. When it's over, you will see the same prompt ([root@localhost RPMS]#)
4. Now, close the terminal (Boy, that was enlightening, wasn't it?)

After this, your OFFICE menu in Mandriva will display icons for Libre Office.
No, having both Libre Office and Open Office does not imply that the two office suites fight like cats and dogs within your computer, in case you are wondering.

My only complaint about Libre Office so far is that I haven't been able to use SCIM (the input method editor) to enter text in Japanese. That's a big concern for me. I hope to find a solution soon. In the meantime, I'll keep Open Office for that purpose... or Abiword.

lunes, 24 de enero de 2011

My Netbook running Pardus 2011

So I installed Pardus 2011 as a third booting option in my netbook. I'm running Mandriva, Mepis, and now Pardus (Yes, no windows in my netbook) and I must say that it is working perfectly. I haven't had any plasma crash and everything looks nice. I even used the new Firefox to find pictures (Pardus picks up the wi-fi without any problem) and the GIMP to modify them. The result was this simple wallpaper ;-)

There are certain points that one has to notice:
1. Mepis can access the Pardus home partition, but Mandriva can't.
2. Pardus and Mandriva handle KDE effects better than Mepis does.
3. The Mandriva control center is still the most centralized and user-friendly tool for handling everything in the system.
4. Mandriva has access to Pardus through Samba
5. Mepis helped me make room for Pardus because Mandriva would not resize the home partition.
Well, I'm happy with the three operating systems. They have very interesting features and their stability is certainly notorious.

Here's the KWIN desktop grid effect in Pardus

I've also discovered that having three Linux systems is helping me organize my writing production.

viernes, 21 de enero de 2011

PARDUS 2011 is here!

It's 7AM, Costa Rica time (Yes, this blog is written from Costa Rica, Central America, not Japan or Spain, hahaha). Pardus has already crossed the Caribbean sea.

For those of you were waiting for Pardus 2011, the waiting is finally over!

However, you must have realized that the link provided both in and the front Pardus page does not work for downloading the .isos. Well, in the Pardus project page I got "pick a download" but nothing was displayed.

You have to go here:

I could get the images there and I'm presently downloading them... whoopie!

I installed it and it's running perfectly. That's all I can say because the installation was as simple as I had previously posted here.

Son las 7AM, hora de Costa Rica (Sí, escribo este blog desde Costa Rica, América Central, no desde Japón o España, jajaja). Ya Pardus atravesó el océano Atlántico.

¡Para aquellos que estaban esperando a Pardus 2011, la espera finalmente acabó!

Sin embargo, ustedes se deben haber dado cuenta que el link en y en la página principal de Pardus no funciona para descargar las .isos. Bueno, en la página del proyecto Pardus se leía "Elija una descarga", pero no se veía nada para escoger.

Usted debe ir a:

Desde ahí, pude acceder a las imágenes y estoy en este momento descargándolas. ¡Yupi!

Lo instalé y funciona a la perfección. Es todo lo que puedo decir ya que la instalación fue tan simple como lo dije aquí.

jueves, 20 de enero de 2011

Network made easy with Mandriva

At my office, I decided to install Mandriva because I got tired of waiting for XP to load and the antivirus ritual made me waste a lot of valuable time.

However, I had a problem: the three computers in the office were part of a network and I could not share resources with my co-workers because I did not know how to see their computers.

I remember I tried to install a home network in XP once. Following the assistant, I had to copy some files in some removable media and install them on the other computers, etc. but I never got the process working. This failure made me a little shy. After all, if one cannot set up a home network in XP, doing it in Linux is impossible, right? Wrong! I discovered yesterday that I do not have to do anything beyond the ordinary for a simple computer user; it is only a matter of knowing where to go and having the login information. Yes, Mandriva saw the other computers all the time and I did not know!

All I had to do was to open MCC, go to Shared Resources, access Windows Shared Resources, and then hit Search servers. All the available servers in the faculty were displayed. Then I merely opened Dolphin, went to Network, and then to Samba Shares to locate the appropriate computers in my network.

Once there, I entered the login and password of the Windows users and... PRESTO!
I was able to share files with the Windows computers.
If I had known before this was so easy to do in Linux...

The funny thing is that the "powerful" Windows 7 computer is constantly having connectivity problems and, occasionally, fails to see the XP computer. My station (the computer running Mandriva 2010.2, of course) has access to both Windows computers and their resources, but their malware does not have access to my system ;-)

jueves, 13 de enero de 2011

Pardus 2011 RC, impresiones de un usuario común

A Linux comúnmente se le atribuye la mala fama de ser un sistema operativo para gurús de la informática y, en el mundo de Linux, muchas personas creen que la única distribución fácil de usar que existe ostenta nombres de fauna africana. Sin embargo, existe una distribución Linux muy agradable que, a pesar de ser relativamente desconocida (al provenir de Turquía), puede ahorrar a los usuarios más de un dolor de cabeza: Pardus 2011.

Este interesante sistema operativo aún no se ha lanzado en su versión final, pero está disponible para ser probado como un RC (candidato de lanzamiento, en inglés) en dos DVDs. Hasankeyf (su nombre de código) da al usuario la posibilidad de elegir un DVD vivo para probar el sistema y un DVD de instalación.

DVD instalador de Pardus 2011 RC

Tras arrancar el DVD, se puede ver un felino en la pantalla: es la pantalla de inicio de Pardus. A continuación, el usuario tiene la oportunidad de seleccionar el idioma. Yo seleccioné "español" y la traducción es bastante agradable. El siguiente paso es leer y aceptar las licencias de código abierto.

Después de esto, hay un paso opcional que no he visto en ninguna otra distribución: Pardus revisa la integridad de los paquetes de software para asegurarse de que no se producirán errores de instalación. Eso es muy agradable para los principiantes, en mi opinión ...¡Para un novato que trata de instalar un sistema operativo en su equipo, nada es tan aterrador como un mensaje de error debido al software dañado!

A continuación, Pardus selecciona la mejor disposición del teclado y el usuario puede probar las teclas. El siguiente paso es seleccionar la zona horaria.

Hasta este punto, el proceso no puede ser más sencillo. Sin embargo, lo que viene es una operación delicada: crear la partición. Pardus da al usuario las tres opciones habituales (uso de todo el disco, utilizar el espacio libre, la partición personalizada), pero son un poco confusas y no hay imágenes como en otras distribuciones para captar la idea. Aun así, uno puede aventurarse. Yo seleccioné la tercera y fui intuyendo cómo salir del proceso sin mayor problema.

Pardus procede entonces a preguntarle si usted desea instalar un entorno KDE estándar o si prefiere personalizarlo. Elegí la opción por defecto (KDE estándar). Pardus, a continuación, muestra un resumen y siempre se puede volver atrás si es necesario. Si usted decide continuar, el sistema instala el grub y los paquetes de software. Mientras tanto, uno puede leer algunas diapositivas informativas sobre Pardus y el software de código abierto durante unos 15 minutos. Los de los delfines eran bastante interesante!

El sistema le indica que la instalación se ha realizado correctamente y le pide que reinicie su computadora. Al hacerlo, su nuevo sistema operativo está ahí. Sencillo, limpio y listo para ayudarle a crear su cuenta de usuario. Uno escribe su nombre y contraseña y, como una divertida nota al margen, antes de que pueda seguir adelante, el sistema, muy educadamente, le dice que "antes de que podamos seguir adelante, tenemos una pregunta: Te acuerdas de tu contraseña, ¿no ?". Me parece que eso es mucho más agradable que simplemente espetarle al usuario "¡No olvide su contraseña!".

Antes de poder utilizar la computadora, uno conoce al Kaptan, un asistente de configuración eficaz que le guiará en el proceso de personalización del escritorio. Así, usted puede elegir el tema de KDE, el conjunto de iconos (yo elegí el juego oficial de Pardus), si desea o no que el escritorio se comporte como KDE 4 o KDE 3, la cantidad de escritorios virtuales, el menú (Lancelot, Kick Off, o un menú simple están disponibles) y su Avatar de usuario.

Luego, usted puede interactuar con Smolts, un resumen del sistema que le enviarḉa su información a alguien por ahí en el ciberespacio. Una vez más, si usted está preocupado por su privacidad, este paso es opcional.

A diferencia del DVD Vivo de Pardus, uno puede conocer a Pisi, el gatito lindo que es el administrador de software de este hermoso sistema operativo y, por lo tanto, muchos paquetes de software están disponibles para usted a través de las patitas de este mini-felino.

He probado el rendimiento de esta distro de Linux y, para ser una versión candidata, me pareció impresionantemente estable y eficiente. Por tanto, estoy esperando con avidez para descargar la versión final.

Sólo un pequeño consejo para principiantes que usen Mandriva Linux (como yo): si uno tiene un arranque dual (Mandriva-Windows), al instalar Pardus, se pierde el acceso a Mandriva porque el grub de Pardus no le permitirá ver a Mandriva. Del mismo modo, después de restaurar el grub de Mandriva, no se puede ver a Pardus. Estoy seguro de que debe haber una forma para crear un arranque triple, pero ahora mismo eso se encuentra más allá de mi limitado conocimiento.

Para terminar, me gustaría recordar unas palabras que leí en las diapositivas de Pardus que, en mi opinión, resumen mi experiencia: "La experiencia con Pardus es un desfile de esplendor y poder de software libre y abierto". Nada puede decirlo mejor.

sábado, 8 de enero de 2011

Pardus 2011 RC, impressions from a common user

Linux is commonly de-famed as an operating system for computer gurus and, in the Linux world, many people believe that the only user-friendly distribution that exists is named after African fauna. However, there is a very nice Linux distribution that, despite being relatively unknown (as it comes from Turkey), can spare users many a headache: Pardus 2011.

This interesting OS is yet to be released in its final version, but it is available for testing as a release candidate in two DVDs. Hasankeyf (its code name) gives the user the possibility of choosing a Live DVD for testing the system and a DVD installer.

Pardus 2011 RC Installer DVD

The DVD boots and you see a feline on the screen: it is the Pardus splash screen. Then, the user is given the opportunity to select the language. I selected Spanish and the translation is pretty neat. The following step is to read and accept the open source licenses.

After this, there is an optional step that I have not seen in any other distribution: Pardus checks the integrity of the software packages to make sure that you will not get installation errors. That is pretty nice for beginners, in my opinion... For a computer newbie attempting to install an OS, nothing is as scary as getting an error message due to corrupted software!

Next, Pardus selects the best keyboard layout and the user can test the keys. The following step is to select the time zone.

Up to this point, the process is as easy as it can be. Nevertheless, what is coming is a touchy operation: partitioning. Pardus give the user the three usual choices (use entire disk, use free space, custom partitioning), but they are a bit confusing and there are not visuals as in other distributions to grasp the idea. Even so, one can manage. I selected custom partitioning and guessed my way out of the stage.

Pardus then proceeds to ask you if you want to keep a standard KDE configuration or if you want to customize it. I chose the default option (standard KDE). Pardus then shows you a summary and you can always go back if need be. If you decide to continue, the system installs the grub and software packages. In the mean time, you can read some informative slides about Pardus and open source software for about 15 minutes. The ones on Dolphin were rather interesting!

The system tells you that the installation was successful and asks you to re-boot. You do so and...surprise! Your new OS is there. Simple, clean, and ready to help you create your user account. You input your name and password and, as a funny side note, before you can go on, the system, very politely, tells you "before we can go on, we have a question: you do remember your password, don't you?". I found that a lot nicer than simply spitting "don't forget your password!"

Before you can use the computer, you get to meet the Kaptan, an effective configuration assistant that guides you through the process of customizing your desktop. So, you choose the KDE theme, icon set (I picked the Pardus official set), whether or not you want a KDE 4 or KDE3 desktop, the quantity of virtual desktops, your menu (Lancelot, simple and KickOut are available) and your user avatar.

Right there, you get to interact with Smolt, a system summary that reports your information to someone out there in cyberspace. Again, this step is optional, if you are concerned about your privacy.

Differently from the Pardus Live DVD, you also meet PiSi, the cute kitten that happens to be the software manager of this beautiful OS and, thus, many software packages are available for you through the little paws of this mini-feline.

I tested the performance of this Linux distro and, to be a release candidate, I found it stable and impressively efficient. Consequently, I'm avidly waiting to download the final version.

Only one word of advise for Mandriva Linux beginners (like myself): if you have a dual boot (Mandriva-Windows) and you install Pardus, you lose your access to Mandriva because the Pardus grub won't let you see Mandriva. Likewise, after I restored the Mandriva grub, I couln't find Pardus. I'm sure there must be a way to triple boot, but that is right now beyond my limited knowledge.*THIS IS SOLVED (Thanks to Megatotoro). All you have to do is copy the entry for PARDUS (which you find on the GRUB file of PARDUS at /boot/grub/grub.conf) into the GRUB file of Mandriva (/boot/grub/menu.lst), or the other way around.

To finish, I'd like to recall some words I read in the Pardus slides that, in my opinion, summarize my experience with this release candidate that works better than some final versions I have tried: "La experiencia con Pardus es un desfile de esplendor y poder de software libre y abierto". It cannot be more accurate than that.