Scribus in GNOME

A good tip for making Scribus to look good in GNOME :-)

My New 100% Free Software Desktop

The R300 free software ATI graphics card driver is apparently working quite well these days, with a few tips around the web making things look quite promising for the X550 card in my planned system.

I’m also getting a motherboard that is “work in progress” for the LinuxBIOS project, so I hope to be one of the first people to have a 100% Free Software desktop computer as soon as its ready to test out! The onboard network and sound cards seem to work with free software drivers already, which is perfect.

I’ll be using a good quality noise-dampening case and power supply, and a trusty Seagate harddisk and both DVD-ROM and DVD+RW disc drives for easy personal backup of the few too-easily-scratched discs I possess.

I have a nice big Dell 2407WFP screen, although it needs a pivot mount to be complete, and then after that I’ll need a good keyboard and pointer. I figure I’ll either get a Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, or a Maltron, and I’m quite happy with my mouse as it is.

Libre Graphics Meeting 2

The only free software conference dedicated to graphic design, the Libre Graphics Meeting, is in Montreal in May this year. The website just got a complete (and lovely) overhaul, so go check it out!

Top Microsoft Exec says Vista “is a pig”

A fascinating email (PDF) to Bill Gates from a Microsoft Exec says that Vista “is a pig” and the company has lost its way.

Magic.

Switching to gNewSense

Robert Vogel posted a great story about why he switched to 100% Free Software on the gNewSense mailing list today:

Gnewsense is working very well for me, and I wouldn’t be using it if it was not for the proliferation of problems that now are routine in proprietary software. I bought a Microsoft Media Center Edition about a year ago. It was loaded with advertisements, trial versions that time out, and applications which needed to be cleaned out. (It was a mistake to use the 60-day trial of MS Office. Because when I uninstalled it, I lost files including email.) As anybody would I installed a number of applications including Norton, Google desktop, Yahoo put a new toolbar on, and others. For one thing, doing this means there is considerable redundancy in the processing because I now had a firewall from MS and one from Norton, I have popup blockers from IE, from Norton, from Yahoo, and actually the applications are doing functions that I would never have agreed. For a long time, I didn’t know. Additionally these programs (like the MCE, or MS Office, or even MS XP) phone home. I would not install the MS application which verified the origin of my copy of XP. One day, for reasons that are still not clear to me, the machine would not boot up. I was still under warranty, so I brought it back. The hard drive got replaced. (So okay, I would need to reload everything.) Reload I did. But I won’t bother you with the new registration procedures, the long EULAs, the new subscriptions, the lost email rules, the ….you get the idea. My MCE is an expensive TIVO, and not much else. Then Connecticut decided to go to Diebold voting machines. The possibilities for abuse of Diebold machines are incredible. (See www.seconnecticut.com ) That’s when it became clear to me that software needs to be open, similarly hardware needs to be transparent, and there ought to be some basic diagnostics so that you know if that audio CD that you are playing has a root kit on it and that you can continue to use your DVD writer without concern that it will hang your machine. I now staunchly agree with RMS that DRM is evil, that the BIOS needs to be open, that hidden (i.e. proprietary) software cannot be trusted, and personally I am going to patronize only hardware that is open. In spite of that…we may be just a few years late getting to 1984.