Thank you and good bye

Since November when I first created this blog, I have been amazed by what I achieved and I hope that been able to help as many people as possible in that time (we have had over 4000 viewers in 5 months, not as many as some other blogs but more than I ever expected). Despite this several things have happened meaning that I have been neglecting it recently and so I believe that it is no longer the best place for me to express my thoughts, hopes and other similar material going into the future. This most important one of these is probably the fact that I no longer use openSUSE – whilst it is an excelent distro, the progress that Ubuntu has made in the 8.10 release plus my changing needs as a user has meant it is not the most compelling option any more (for me at least). I also want to use the blog for posting more general thoughts in which I am currently marred by the very tight focus I decided on when creating it.

for my new blog see, happy reading.


Video editing on Linux

Kdenlive 0.7 on Ubuntu

Kdenlive 0.7 on Ubuntu

In the past video editing on Linux has been a bit of a no-go area as the only program for it which was sufficiently stable endured (after researching more I found many accounts which said otherwise) and had enough features was Cinelerra which although an excellent professional tool has an interface that would scare of all except the most committed users. In the past I have widely avoided the field, my most recent attempt around 6 months ago leaving me with the conclusion than any usable video editor for Linux was doomed to crash every 5 minutes (kino, I’m looking at you :-)).

But last week I became involved with a local community project involving compositing several videos and interviews; I decided that it would be the perfect oppertunity to see if much had changed. My first attempts were at using Kino, Lives. Open Movie Editor, Pitivi and Avidemux; most crashed frequently and none made it easy to split the videos as I needed to. Then I tried Kdenlive 0.7 beta as quite a lot of people had positive things to say about it. I was amazed; it actually worked :-).

It has an attractive kde4 interface (don’t let the kde4 interface put gnome users off, it still functions fully and the default KDE style fits in well with most gnome desktops), many features and best of all, it hasen’t crashed once! It allowed me to seamlessly import my videos (from the arcane WMV format), add titles/overlays + transitions and render in a variety of formats, all with the minimum of hassle. The only problem was a bit of sync troubles with the audio and video (if anyone knows the solution I would be glad to hear). It looks like Linux video editing, while lacking polish in some respects, is finally in a usable state. At last we can join Mac users in mocking Windows Movie Maker!

My script for configuring file associations in wine


I have just written a script which should help everyone who wants to configure which programs wine uses to open certain filetypes (e.g. you can set all .doc files to open with The script is written in bash and uses zenity and sed.

Look here for more info:

I’m back!

First I wish to apologise for my recent lack of posts; I have been very busy and so neglected the site. Also I have been wondering if I will be able to continue seeing as I have switched back to Ubuntu recently with the release of Intrepid.

In the meantime a lot has happened including the release of 3.0 which I hope to review. I think in the future I will continue to maintain this blog and post more releases about the upcoming OpenSUSE 11.1 release; lets see whether it will be enough to convert me back :-).

Trying out KDE4.1

KDE4.1 Desktop

KDE4.1 Desktop

In the past I have been somewhat of a Gnome fanboy, so it was with some level of trepidation today that I tried KDE4.1 and I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised.

While it does not feel as polished as Gnome it features lots of interesting new features and many powerful applications; I am growing particularly fond of amarok as it has the best iPod support of any media player I have used and allows a lot more flexibility. While not nearly as powerful as compiz the comositing support in kwin allows some neat effects and feels faster (it might just be my imagination). I also like the power of dolphin as a file manager, it has a lot more options than nautilus.

To add KDE4.1 to an existing openSUSE 11.0 install via one-click you only need to click this button:

Learning OpenGL

I have found a great site with some useful OpenGL video tutorials:

OpenGL is the graphics layer which is used in games such as Doom and Quake. It allows you to create 3d effects and do other useful stuff.

about go-oo



If anyone has noticed that starts quicker on openSUSE than most other distros that is because they use go-oo, a specialised version of the program which is funded by Novell which includes a lot of interesting features. Go-oo is not really a fork of as most of the features are available in standard but it is just not built with them by default and while it has accepted some patches these are available to upstream.

Go-oo feels more polished than as it’s icons better fit into openSUSE’s color scheme. It also adds some amazing transitions to Impress and adds support for some other file formats such as Works, SVG and word perfect.

OpenGL Transitions in impress

Why people don’t like Novell

Recently people have been been criticizing Novell for their deal with Microsoft and mono, I feel they do not see the benefits to the community which these bring.

The deal with Microsoft seems to be win-win for the community in my opinion; Microsoft have pledged to add full Open Document Format to office, this means that in the future users will be able to freely share files with office users instead of using Office’s awful proprietary format. Many people have suggested that Office’s ODF support will be extremely poor; I believe this is unlikely as ODF is a standard meant to be implemented (unlike OOXML), it is less than a tenth of the size and with Novel’s help if Microsoft are even slightly serious about implementing the standard all the need to do is put in a tiny bit of work to get very high fidelity support. Microsoft are also recommending SLED (possibly the worst thing they could do for it PR wise), meaning that enterprises can deploy it whilst being supported. They have also said they won’t sue the users of Novel Linux over patents (in a decidedly patronizing manor, but then they are Microsoft) that can’t be a bad thing.

And what will Novel do in return? They will make Linux run better within Microsoft’s virtual machine technology and help make Windows server run better under Xen. Either way this means more Linux (virtual) servers used within enterprise. They will also make their identity management solutions work better with active directory, this will mean that it is easier to deploy Linux within within Windows networks once again meaning more Linux within enterprise. And all of this code is open so any other distro can use the knowledge.

Novel have also been critisised by many over Mono. While many assume that mono is some how not open source this is definetly not the case, you can download the code today from if you want (the fsf even started a similar project called gnudotnet first). Many people also think that it is just a way of porting Windows programs, it is not; it allows developers to use the C# language which they may already be familiar with if they have programmed on Windows (nothing wrong with converting Windows programmers to Linux). While some argue that the Microsoft implementation will always be slightly newer so mono won’t be able to attract developers they are forgetting how awesome Linux is, HAL and the massive amount of libraries available make Linux the much better development platform. While people use submarine patents as a reason not to use mono that same reason is being used against ogg; patents are a tool of extortion, we should not let the fear of them make us loose valuable code.

A PhD in horribleness

Dr Horribles's sing-along blog

Dr Horribles's sing-along blog

Dr Horrible’s sing-along blog; a new short released online seems to be popular on planet gnome (a release of tomboy was even named after it), considering this I was surprised to see that it was only downloadable via iTunes (though you could watch it online). I though that this would be an excellent opportunity to try the recently released Wine 1.0. I have previously attempted to run several games and iTunes in previous versions of wine with mixed levels of sucess; I found that while most older games (AOE 2 and AOE 1) ran almost perfectly, newer application seemed to be possible to get running but didn’t work for me.

Wine 1.0 is an amazing step forward in functionality, all I needed to do as install Wine from the repos with YaST or the command

su -c ‘zypper in wine’

then I could run the 32bit Windows installer ( just as I would on Windows (except it took less than a tenth of the time) then I then I had a working copy of iTunes.

iTunes main window

iTunes main window

It was nearly fully functional, it allows you to play music and use the online store; however there were a few small problems:

  • It runs much slower than a native application; this is most notable when scrolling.
  • Unless you launch winecfg and set it to disallow the window manager to control wine windows some buttons won’t work.
  • It causes to screen to do black for a few seconds when starting.
  • It is a bit prone to crashing.

Overall great job to the Wine developers and keep up the good work. When I had installed iTunes I discovered that the download was only available in the USA. I still feel that Banshee is a much better music player than iTunes but it is nice to know that Linux users now have another option.

Package management with zypper

While openSUSE using YaST for graphical packagement it also has an excelent commandline tool called zypper which has similar functionality to Ubuntu’s apt-get but some extra tools which can be really usefull.

To launch zypper in shell mode (all future commands will be passed to zypper as options, so instead of typing zypper in you only need to type in):

zypper shell


zypper sh

zypper shell

zypper shell

Some basic tips for using zypper:

  • To search for programs use search or se
  • To install programs use install or in
  • To remove programs use remove or rm
  • To refresh repos use refresh
  • To specify the type use -t <type> (e.g. pattern )
  • Use + or on the end of an install or remove to do 2 actions in one action (e.g. in emacs -vim to simultaneously install emacs and remove vim)
  • Use source-install or si to install the source of a package and all build dependencies (si -d for build dependencies only or si -D for source only)
  • To list any updates use list-updates or lu and update or up to install them
  • Use exit to leave the shell

For more help on the zypper command use:

man zypper

or look here: