Posts tagged: Ubuntu

Perfect Linux

According to Brian Lunduke, Ubuntu 9.10 is almost perfect, and I concur.

Being a bit of a purist, I ran Debian for very many years but found their stable releases lagging behind far too much. This was largely due to their perfectly understandable view of it being ready only when it is right.

For a while, I ran their unstable distribution called Sid, based on the disturbed, hyperactive 10 year old boy in the film Toy Story. The idea being that Sid breaks things, and it certainly did. While it taught me a heck of a lot about linux (and the terminal), my computer was broken on a very regular basis.

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Vista Guest, Linux Host, VirtualBox, Host Networking – Bridge

One would think that it would be straightforward, work off the bat, or at least have some reasonable documentation. Unfortunately, no!

I needed host networking to be able to access network resources (Samba shares etc.) which does not work if the guest OS is on NAT :-(

Solving it was easy though… I assume Vista is installed as a guest with the guest additions and that your user account is a part of the vboxusers group.

On the linux host, first install bridge utils. I run Ubuntu, so it was as easy as:

$ sudo aptitude install bridge-utils

Next, you need to set up the bridge; again, easy on Ubuntu:

add the following section to /etc/network/interfaces

auto br0
iface br0 inet dhcp
bridge_ports eth1

Add the interfaces to VirtualBox

$ sudo VBoxAddIF vbox0 ‘shri’ br0

Within the VirtualBox Guest settings, choose Host Networking and fo the interface, choose br0

bring the interface up:

$ sudo ifup br0

and start your guest os… et voila, it just works…


We have never been shy about voicing our opinions or being controversial. While discussing some PR requirements recently with a potential agency, the question was asked about whether we would be willing to be controversial.

We are not necessarily controversial, just that we hold a view that is usually a little different from the mainstream views. It could be said that we bring the alternative to the mainstream.

But then, so did some world governments, bringing open source software into their work places, successfully or unsuccessfully in the last few years instead of Microsoft.

Someone recently suggested that we were anti-microsoft. I don’t think that is case. Microsoft has its place in a technology infrastructure. It is simply that its position is usually overrated or misplaced. As far as desktops for technically shy users are concerned, there is really no alternative but Microsoft Windows. I can hear the Mac users scream that Macs are also an alternative. Theoretically, yes but the fact is that they are too expensive for someone to dabble with it. This is precisely the reason that Microsoft Windows dominates the desktop market.

We support and use Linux. In fact, the majority of the desktops in the office run Linux (Ubuntu as it happens) but people who have a non-technical role use Windows. They could use Linux but Windows is better suited to their role.

This is not necessarily a cost-saving decision. Sure, we have saved thousands of pounds by sticking to Linux instead of using Windows but that is a co-incidence more than anything. In some ways, it is a testament to the skillset of the people who work at Kraya that they are comfortable with Linux. The mindset of Linux is in alignment with the mindset of a developer.

I used to develop in Windows and I often found myself fighting with Windows, whereas with Linux, it just fits. There are several reasons for this. One being that Linux forces you to understand what you (trying to ) do to a bit more depth instead of pretending its magically taken care of.

I am not, for one moment implying that developers who use or develop on the Windows platform is inferior or not as skilled. Simply that my experience was that the Windows platform made it easier to do things badly and more difficult to do things well.

Microsoft has done wonders in bringing technology to the masses and making it more accessible. However, there is still a massive barrier, even for people specifically in the technology sector to appreciate and use technologies which require a bit more experience or knowledge to use appropriately.

There are a couple of really good examples. PostgreSQL is a powerful outstanding database server that can easily compete with Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. However, very few people know about it and even fewer use it.

MySQL on the other hand is also an open source database server but is much more widely used and accepted.

It surprises me when MySQL is used when PostgreSQL is, from a technical perspective better suited. MySQL is faster than PostgreSQL at the cost of poor transaction managment (at best). For any system where data integrity is even remotely important, PostgreSQL is a better choice. However, since there are better GUI tools for MySQL and since it is easier to get the hang of, it gets chosen.

This give technology and people in that sector a bad name. Every tool or software has its place, and should be used in an environment where its strengths are displayed, not its weaknesses. We have instances where we use multiple database servers within one project. PostgreSQL for all the data integrity sensitive areas and MySQL for the speed sensitive areas. Sometimes you want integrity and speed. In these cases, you have to make a choice based on which is more important or layer the databases to use the strengths of both.

Metaphorically speaking, MySQL is a hammer, and PostgreSQL is a sledgehammer. Would you use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, or a hammer to crack a slab of concrete?

Before someone jumps down my throat, I am not suggesting that PostgreSQL is better than MySQL or vice versa – just that they both have different goals, different strengths and weaknesses. They have spent a lot of effort to converge and strengthen their weaknesses but not matter the amount of convergence, their core goals are still different that they will never truly be able to remove their weaknesses without giving up some of their strengths as well. One tool cannot be both a hammer and a sledgehammer…

Eclipse TPTP on Ubuntu (64bit)

I run ubuntu 64 bit (technically, I run an ubuntu 64bit vserver which I access from ubuntu 32 bit but thats not really relevant).

In the open source world, I expect that all things which are accessible as 32bit are also accessible and 64bit and ubuntu makes it automagic enough that everything just works. Yes, I run into problems with closed source software like Flash Player (recently resolved with flash player 10) and the Java Plugin but that is another story. I use Eclipse and wanted to do some performance analysis and benchmarking to find a bottleneck and installed the TPTP plugin; and ran into a problem. It just didn’t work.

To resolve it, I turned to google… In this instance, it turned out to be a distraction and a red-herring. It lead me in the direction of installing libstdc++2.10-glibc2.2_2.95.4-27_i386.deb which was difficult at best since there was only a 32bit version of the package and that wasn’t even in the standard repository.

In the end, digging deeper, I found that it simply missed the following shared object

All I had to do was install libstdc++5:

sudo aptitude install libstdc++5

and it worked… 😀

Now, I think that ACServer which Eclipse uses to do TPTP should not link to an outdated library but that is another issue…

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