Wednesday, May 8, 2013

English Vinglish

English Vinglish is the story of a neglected and belittled housewife/entrepreneur who decides to take English classes while she is in New York.

It helps you understand how people feel when dealing with a language barrier, and the kind of value/stigma that Indian society puts around a good knowledge of the English language.

This is the only movie that required both French -> English and Telugu -> Translation I ever saw.

It is a good clean family movie that I really recommend.

For Rebellious Screen Backlights

I had a problem on every Linux distro I ever used on this specific laptop. The light setting wouldn't change, no matter how much I pressed on the designated buttons.

On the #korora IRC channel, I got this very good tip from csmart I thought I should share:

As an administrator, open /etc/default/grub, and then locate the line that starts with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX. On that line, inside the quotes, add "acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor" (no quotes) and then you need to refresh your grub information and finally reboot.

You can get more information on the Arch Wiki.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

openSUSE is Configuration Torture

I was having a lot of crashes with Linux Mint 14 on my laptop, so I considered trying a distro I didn't try yet. So I went for openSUSE. I regret it.

First, you notice that the wi-fi isn't enabling. This is very weird, because the live CD had it working out of the box. I had to turn on some option in YaST and then things went back to normal. This was a warning of things to come...

Then, there are crazy instructions to install JDK. Your eyes may bleed. So I did what any self-respecting geek would do, I installed the RPM from Oracle, and put together a script to automate the alternative-setting. However, that script isn't perfect and it gave me trouble trying to build LibreOffice.

The pain wasn't over. There are 3 interfaces to set up an HP printer - YaST, the KDE gui, and HP-Setup. Which one should you use? The right answer is HP Setup - not obvious. But if its a non-HP one, then you have to use YaST.

Note that you may need to reconfigure your firewall if you have a network printer. Instructions to do so are pretty unclear, and there is no wizard/magic GUI to do it for you.

Then, there is the fact that the SSH key/password daemon is not supplied out of the box. You need to install ksshaskpass. But the official package doesn't install. But, lucky you, the unofficial one does work.
But that doesn't make it enabled yet, you need to mess with many configuration files.

TrueCrypt doesn't work out of the box, so you need to mess with another configuration file.

Skype didn't work out of the box either, I had to manually pick the audio settings.

And, weirdly, I don't see any pop-up telling me to install updates, which the live CD was showing. No, you need to install an applet for that. But wait, it conflicts with Apper. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? Oh, and even funnier: YaST doesn't update all the repos you have set up, so you end up using two package managers. Double WAT!

If I wanted this kind of pain, I'd have installed Arch. And I'm doubting that Arch may be more sane...

I seriously can't recommend this distribution for my friends and family. The ease of setting up a printer in Ubuntu/Mint and Fedora is leagues ahead of openSuse. And as a sidenote, I'm not sure I actually got my printer to work reliably yet.

And about those stability issues? Well, I got a few crashes and freezes too...

My gut feeling right now is that I'll install Mint 15 when it is released this month.