Nicholas Petreley

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Top Stories by Nicholas Petreley

(LinuxWorld) -- I still use Ion as my default window manager, but I have occasional bouts of homesickness for KDE and have been tempted to return to it on several occasions. The main thing holding me back lately is that I've always compiled and installed a custom version of KDE, and one of the more recent snapshots of KDE source code wouldn't compile properly on my system. I haven't found the problem yet, but since then, I've discovered a couple new ways to get recent versions of KDE installed more easily on my system. Here's the conundrum: I run the unstable branch of Debian. Yes, I know that can be dangerous, but the stable and testing branches of Debian tend to include software that's more out of fashion than my 1970s wardrobe. That would be just dandy if outdated versions of software, like bell-bottoms, ever came back into style. I don't anticipate the trend begi... (more)

The Outlook on Evolution & Aethera

(LinuxWorld) -- Given the kinds of comments I receive in e-mail, people who feel they cannot switch to Linux on the desktop seem to fall into one of three groups. There are those who say they need Microsoft Word and Excel, others who say Quicken is the deal-breaker, and still others whose corporate lives revolve around Microsoft Outlook. Now, the glass-is-half-full way to look at this is that I don't hear anyone complaining about the lack of a good Linux desktop environment anymore. Indeed, the situation has reversed. If anything, Microsoft is now in catch-up mode, especially w... (more)

Two stupid PHP tricks

(LinuxWorld) -- In the face of a slowing economy, it is increasingly difficult to justify spending any time working on my non-profit site VarLinux.org. I posted a notice stating there will be no further progress. Yet even after making it "official," I can't seem to stop myself from working on the site. Perhaps I have some secret hope it will blossom into a successful project that makes money instead of sucking the food out of my children's mouths. Or perhaps I find it therapeutic in these trying times. Regardless, working on this site continues to be educational, particularly in ... (more)

Adding eye candy to your desktop

(LinuxWorld) — To each his own, but I like eye candy. For all their benefits and power, X11 and X Window System managers have been among the most drab and poorly rendered graphical environments for years. Recent versions of XFree86 began to support anti-aliased fonts, which helped. But that's pure protein. It's good for you, and it helps you get your work done. Only recently has XFree86 begun to add the sugary content that we shallow folks crave. You'll have to get XFree86 4.3 to enjoy the sweetest improvements. This version supports custom-animated cursors, and it's reasonably ea... (more)

Time for a new installation paradigm, Part 3

(LinuxWorld) — This is the third article in a series calling for a new installation paradigm for Linux. We have a few more technical issues to address, but it should be useful to start by summarizing the goals so we can keep them in mind as we study the problems. Software installation should meet these minimum requirements: Installation should be easy enough for grandmothers and kids, but flexible enough for professionals to customize as needed.Installation should consume as little time as possible.Installations and updates should not break anything on your system, be it securit... (more)