Friday, December 18, 2009

What I want from 10.04

Only two things really: More bug fixing and more hardware regression testing.

I think the Ubuntu community at large would take very kindly to pushing the release back to 10.06 so that there would be a couple of solid months of doing nothing else besides testing and fixing.

I really want Ubuntu to succeed. 9.10 was way to buggy to be a proper release, and I'm afraid that Canonicals commitment to a regular schedule will trump making it as solid and bug-free as possible.

Consider that Windows 7 had what seemed like almost a full year of beta testing, a couple of extra months to make Lucid the best Linux distro release to date would be a refreshing and appreciated change.

Consider it, please.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Demagogue

From Merriam-Webster:
demagogue: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power

There is probably no better description for what it is that Rush Limbaugh does.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Afghanistan Decision

I don't know what Obama has decided, but I'm very very worried. Its a terrible decision to have to make, and it will haunt his presidency either way. War is a horrific thing, and I can never really truly support a war, even if I think it is necessary. But I don't know if what is about to happen is necessary. I don't believe its largely about combat missions (though I'm sure its implied), but more about patrolling, providing security, and building a strong army/police force to combat the Taliban. Nonetheless if he increases troop levels, it will become a defining moment of his presidency.

Not only he is going to have a very hard time with the base of his party, but it might taint all the good that he is trying to do (and prevent much of it if - and when - we get mired in a long, violent struggle). The Republicans will continue to lie about him - relying on the stupidly inane memes that Democrats don't support our troops, that he's cutting the military budget, that he hasn't done enough to secure 'victory' (for whatever the fuck that is). They lie about him constantly, will continue to do so, and there is nothing he can do to change that.

I know Obama made the war in Afghanistan a part of his candidacy, I was slightly troubled by it then, but I'm especially troubled by it now. I even admire his resolve to keep to his commitments, but I'm sure this alone is not enough to go to war. No doubt this would be a promise that would be joyful to break if the conditions no longer called for it. I know the mission has changed - and being very explicit about what the mission is is of utmost importance. If its no longer about tracking down the Al-Qaeda terrorists that attacked us - and how can it be since Al-Qaeda has largely moved from the region? - then is it mainly about preventing the Taliban from regaining control (and thereby being a safehaven for terrorists)? Or is it about Pakistan somehow? And if so, wouldn't it just be better to support them directly? Sure its all of the above, but fuck, is expanding the war effort the best way? There are lots of nasty and corrupt regimes out there that don't like us very much - but that doesn't justify sending troops in.

I was very impressed when Obama came out not that long ago and rejected all of the proposals that were presented to him regarding Afghanistan. It was a sign of real leadership to demand something better, and not simply choose from a list of bad options (like Bush the 'decider'). But was a better option really presented? If not, then despite all Cheney's blathering stupidity about 'dithering', he should continue to work to find the best possible option even if it takes longer than his detractors say it should. I will listen closely what he has to say, but I'm already scared by the rhetoric being used - 'finish the job'. I can only interpret this as meaning that we need to secure a truly democratic government (as opposed to a merely corrupt sham) that has both broad appeal to the populace to engage with and also has enough power to sustain itself from incursions of the Taliban. But even when I put it in words it sound idyllic, and have a hard time believing that we can 'finish' this - even if we are there for a lot lot longer. And they know we won't be there for a lot longer. And we shouldn't be. Fuck.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brief Review of Karmic and Hopes of Lucid

Karmic Koala is out! I've been using it though the beta release, and overall I'm really impressed. There are a LOT of changes under the hood, which has given rise to some unfortunate instability, but the direction the distribution is going in seems to be good. There are the beginnings of a visual refresh going on as well - I hope for more in the future! The main annoyance I have is the large number of serious bugs that came in Karmic. For example, I couldn't burn a CD from Rhythmbox (it has subsequently been fixed, but for a couple of weeks was an annoying regression). There are also reports of data loss do to the switch to the new ext4 filesystem (bug report here) - this makes me very worried about switching to ext4.

For the rest of this post, though, I want to discuss what I hope for in the next version of Ubuntu, codenamed Lucid Lynx. Given that this is an LTS release, I think that, along with the normal package/application updates, the main foci of this release should be: (i) being as stable and as bug-free as possible, and (ii) provide a more thorough revamp of the look and feel of the desktop.

Be as stable and bug free as possible

This is essential. Application developers have come a long way in providing the necessary functionally for getting things done using free and open source software. By in large Ubuntu has done a good job of integrating these applications into the distribution in a stable, easy to access way. That said, there are plenty of bugs that plague the distribution, and it would be nice to see a concerted effort (more than usual) to eliminate as many of these as possible. I shouldn't have to wait for a subsequent update to burn CDs from Rhythmbox - it should work out of the box (and missing obvious stuff like this indicates a lack of quality control). A small bug that I find crazy annoying is that glipper dies most of the time I login. Really?? This bug was reported over a year ago, and yet never has been fixed. Is it really that hard to find a fix for an application that crashes every time I login? Annoyed, I am.

I think that the decision to sync with Debian testing rather than unstable is a good decision in that various communities can cooperate on eliminating as many of these as possible at the same time (and, as implied by the name, there will hopefully be considerably more testing as well). That said, given that this is the first time Ubuntu developers have decided to sync with testing I'm sure unanticipated issues will arise, and they should not be unwilling to change the release date from 10.04 to 10.06 to make it as stable as possible.

The main reason for this is that if Canonical is serious about partnering with the corporate world, they need releases that can be relied on for a long time to provide a stable computer platform. And Hardy was a failure in this respect - annoyingly buggy to an extreme. But to this day I have to use Hardy on my Mini 12 because this is the only version of Ubuntu that Dell supports on this netbook (I have come to hate GMA 500).

I'm also wearying of updating my computer every 6 months. I want a stable operating system that I can rely on for a year or two without problems or a need to update. This brings me to another problem I've run into. Some applications require regular updates to remain functional. Yahoo, for example, changes its IM protocol on occasion - breaking Pidgin. When this occurs, Pidgin should be automatically updated to restore the functionality before the change. I shouldn't be required to sync up with an experimental PPA to get it to work again (in fact, I don't even think I should be required to use the unsupported backports repo). And this should apply to any application that would have problems like this. Don't leave me less functional because I want to continue using a stable supported release over multiple release cycles.

Provide a more thorough revamping of the look and feel of the desktop.

If you nail down the bugs, I'll be happy. If you make the user experience more satisfying and the visuals more pleasing, then I'll be enthusiastic. I can already start seeing some of the work of the design team that Shuttleworth hired to work on the user interface (for example, i love the new icons). The colors are better, but haven't yet found a sweet spot, and the desktop feels a little to blocky rather than slick. I don't exactly have a lot of good ideas, but I'll know it when I see it. I for example really like the refreshed look of KDE 4, though I'm not really inclined to use it.

The 100 paper-cuts was an excellent idea. I hope this will be continued! It definitely improved the distribution in lots of little respects. Do it again! In fact I'd say expand the idea a little. Maybe target, say, 75 trivial fixes, 20 fairly simple (though not trivial) fixes (like this one in particular), and 5 larger fixes. If all of these were related to the user experience, then over the next couple of iterations of the release cycle, huge strides in usability will be made.

Once people see how slick, functional, and easy to use Linux is, they will realize that, with the exception of things like gaming, they have very little reason to stick with Windows and might even get hooked on Ubuntu

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fuck, lost a lot of pictures!!

I'm so pissed at myself. My computer totally crashed (because I was using a development version that wasn't very stable), and I forgot to backup my fucking pictures. I'm super pissed. For future reference, here is what I need to backup on a crash or before big updates:

Photos folder
Music folder
dev folder
.purple folder
.tomboy folder
.tmp2 folder
scribefire.sqlite file



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Splitting mp3 files on Ubuntu (esp useful for audiobooks)

check out mp3splt. Its not in the Jaunty repos, but it is in Karmic!

Tools lacking on Ubuntu

Here are some tools that Ubuntu, or Linux generally, seems to lack:

A good WYSIWYG html editor.
  • Up until about a year ago, I was pretty satisfied with quanta plus. Since then I have become increasingly disappointed with it, mainly because no one seems to be porting it to Qt4, or developing it substantially. What had such great potential seems to be languishing.
  • KompoZer crashes a lot - I'm waiting for the new version to come out (still in alpha), but I'm less than certain it will be better (and NVU is dead).
  • Bluefish - although its not a WYSIWYG editor, I still think it could be good if they'd ever release a new version that updates a lot of antiquated crap in there (like not knowing how to open a browser easily)
Decent blogging software
  • Mainly I use scribefire (I'm using it now) - its ok - but it only offers the simplest options for blogging. If I want any type of formating that goes beyond a bullet point, I've got to know my html (which it visually formats in a very unreadable fashion).
  • There is an extension for OpenOffice called Sun Weblog Publisher. With it, its possible to format your blog post in openoffice and then upload it to your site. Unfortunately, its closed-source, and only seems to be updated sporadically when someone at Sun feels like it. If I knew there were an active developer community, then it would make me somewhat happier, but it doesn't seem like there is. I expect it to become increasingly antiquated the longer its not updated (and I wish they'd freaking open-source it).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ubuntu LTS Support

I'm beginning to get frustrated with certain aspects of the Ubuntu development cycle, and in this post I'm going to try my best to spell out my complaint and what I think should be done about it.

My Complaint

First, let me say that I'm a huge Ubuntu fan. Since Gutsy (when I first started using Ubuntu) each of the iterations of Ubuntu has made large, important strides to becoming a preeminent OS. Many of the things that annoyed me about the desktop experience have been have been fixed or minimized, and with the release of Jaunty I've had very few complaints about things not doing what I want/expect them to, very few crashes, and less annoyances than at any other time using a linux based OS. As I've written before, Jaunty is the first time a Linux vendor has released a distribution that I'd pretty much recommend to anyone. As you can see, I'm a very happy user.

So my complaint then isn't about the great work being done on Ubuntu, its rather an end-user complaint about what the distribution requires me to do to use the latest and greatest releases of software applications. In particular, my complaint is specifically about LTS releases. Take Hardy, for example. Hardy, being an LTS, has three years support, whereas the non-LTS releases (like Intrepid, Jaunty, and Karmic) only have 18 months support. In both cases the support is pretty much limited to security fixes and does not include application version updates except through the Backports repos. Even then, the Backports repos offer a limited number of application updates often not including the application updates that I most desire (like the newest versions of Openoffice), and they are accompanied with the proviso that they are not supported by the Ubuntu team. This the background, now let me get to my complaint.

There are two main types of Ubuntu end-users, which I'll refer to as enthusiasts and lay-users. The enthusiast does not mind reinstalling or upgrading to a new version of Ubuntu each release cycle. In fact, they often start early with one of the alphas to watch the progress of Ubuntu development (this is what I do). They are generally careful about backing up their data and they generally are more familiar with the risks of updating than lay-users. Lay-users, on the other hand, don't want to have to worry about reinstalling or upgrading an OS, they just want what they already have to work, and they want to be able to easily update certain applications when newer versions come out. Not only are less aware that updating can go wrong in any number of ways, and often do not properly back up their data, they don't want to spend hours updating, and they definitely don't want to trouble-shoot anything when things go wrong. But the only way they know how to get new versions of applications is if they upgrade or reinstall.

This is where LTS releases come in, or at least where I think they should come in. Given their extended support they would be perfect for lay-users - except that their support is way too limited. Security patches are needed, but they are not enough. LTS releases also need to be able to allow for the easy installation of new versions of programs. This way lay-users can install an LTS version of Ubuntu, and then not have to concern themselves with the six month release cycle of the Ubuntu developers. They can live content with it until a new LTS version is released.

Solutions?

In my view, LTS releases should work in the following way. As it does now, an LTS release should offer a stabilized API for developers to work with along with a continuous supply of security fixes for the supported software, but it should also widen what it considers supported software for an LTS release to include newer versions of important programs that are released through the LTS lifecycle. I'm thinking of certain programs in particular, ones like OpenOffice, Firefox, and Pidgin. There should be an option to upgrade to the newer version of the programs, but no compulsion to do so. In other words, Ubuntu should offer a way to update to the newest versions of certain programs (which programs can be a mtter determined by demand) without relying on more risky options (one's they don't often even know about) like installing PPA repos, using getdeb, or waiting for backports to offer it (which it may never). Various versions of these programs need to be officially supported in an LTS release so that users can gain the benefits of these updates without having to upgrade their entire OS or rely on less safe deb repos. In this way, lay-users can be happy with an LTS for years without becoming frustrated that they are not getting the latest applications developers have to offer. Let the developers worry about the changes in undelying OS, this is largely invisible to most lay-users anyway. Lay-users care mainly about the applications, and they want an easy way to keep up with new releases of them.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Lakhdar Boumediene

I hope he does sue the US government - and I hope to hell he wins. This is so outrageously unacceptable.



7½ Years For Being Muslim ~ The Story Of Lakhdar Boumediene

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 Review and the Future

Jaunty is very good. Its the first version of a linux distribution that I'd pretty much recommend to anyone to try (with only a few minor caveats about possible hardware issues and the fact that Linux users still can't watch netflix). It has made vast improvements over Hardy from a year ago. Its stable, snappy, and quite a number of annoyances that I onced experienced have been fixed or minimized. Below I go through these in more detail. Now, though I want to focus on what I hope for the next version of Ubuntu (codenamed "Karmic Koala").

Cloud computing is the wave of the future, so I'm very happy this development cycle is making this a focus. But I'm doubtful they will go far enough to really make a lot of difference for most people. What people want now is to be able to sync up there data with various computers they possess and with online services they rely on. To this effect:
  1. Evolution needs to sync seamlessly with Google calander, email, and contacts.
  2. Evolution also needs to sync seamlessly with services like "Remember the Milk". Tasque does this ok presently on Linux, but it has a way to go to be really polished
  3. Tomboy needs to be able to sync across multiple computers. Yes, there is the beginning of such functionality already built into it, but its hard to set up, and even when it is, it doesn't sync automatically.
  4. Thank god for Dropbox, an excellent program that should be further promoted
Certain features need to be implimented consistantly:
  1. I really like the new notification system, but programs like Firefox and Amarok have not been made to use this system.
  2. Pulseaudio is MUCH better than it was a year ago, but it still causes problems on occasion. Hammer out the rest of the details so we can move on!
  3. Wireless connectivity has also improved greatly, but I still sometimes have problems connecting (or dropping) when those people around me on a Mac or Windows have no problem. On occasion I've had to abandon Network Manager altogether for WICD, which sometimes works when the former doesn't
Either switch to better programs, or put money towards the impovement of certain obvious deficiencies.
  1. Its time to give up on Rhythmbox, Banshee is fast outgrowing the maintainance only iterations of Rhythmbox. That said, if Banshee doesn't include a watch folders option in the next release, I will totally take back this claim.
  2. Tracker Search Tool is my least favorite program on Ubuntu. It sucks so bad it hurts. But Beagle is a memory hog, so at present there doesn't seem like a good search tool on linux (esp one with tens of thousands of files like mine).
  3. Evolution is not a pleasure to use. I'm waiting for Thunderbird 3 to come out and put real pressure on Evolution developers to make it a better program. It needs to seamlessly integrate with online services. A makeover is really overdue as well.
  4. Multimedia editing is slowly progressing overall. A year ago I couldn't find a video editor I liked, whereas now I'm quite a fan of Kdenlive. Audacity didn't work at all, but now does. Keep up the good work here!

Reviewing Previous Annoyances

In February 2009 I had this to say about my hopes for 9.04 (Jaunty), and in April 2008 I had this to say about my hoped for Intrepid. Its time to reevaluate both of these and see how Ubuntu 9.04 measures up.
  • A GUI wrapper for utf: gutf is pretty good except that I still haven't figured out how to set up internet connection sharing with it. But Firestarter works fine, so I'm going to mark this one off the list.
  • Two-way synchronization between evolution and Google Calander: Calander synchronization is there, but I don't quite trust it until its been tested and advertised by developers.
  • Advanced Desktop settings already pre-installed (or some simplified version of it). NO. Still an annoyance, but I've gotten bored enough with configuring it that I no longer do
  • Tracker Search Tool needs to have a phrase search. NO. HAHA, tracker isn't even included in Jaunty. And that is for the better. Tracker Search Tool still sucks ass.
Bug fixes and Feature Requests:
What I want to see included in the next iteration of Ubuntu:
  • OpenOffice 3.1 - This should be there. Every major improvement of OOo is an important step, though I wonder when they will finally get to beautifying the program and optimizing the speed
  • Firefox 3.1 - This should be ready I believe (though I'm less than certain) - it should be a pretty big improvement.
  • Hopefully most of the rest of KDE applications will be ported to QT 4. I'm looking at you: Quanta Plus and K3B
  • Amarok 2.1 - Amarok 2.0 was somewhat of a disappointment, but it did leave lots of room for potential. Version 2.1 is the first major step to actualizing that potential, it looks like a very good improvement
  • Songbird 1.2 - Until it makes it into the Repos, I'm not holding my breath
  • Moonlight 2.0 - I doubt it will be ready in time, but when this comes out it will be huge. There will be no reason we cannot finally get Netflix on Linux.
  • Last time I evalutated Ubuntu, I lemented that there wasn't a decent ebook manager out there for linux (eKitaab still doesn't work). But now there is a program that is in heavily development that looks really good called calibre. It looks to become one of the best cross-platform ebook managers around. Kudos to the developers.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

fstab (for future reference)

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# Use 'vol_id --uuid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
#
#
proc /proc proc defaults 0 0
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=7132a62f-0906-4831-bdc3-f8ba0427ca88 / ext3 relatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1
# none was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=c903185e-8b77-49cd-bdcb-f2e8bc4228bd none swap sw 0 0
/dev/scd0 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec,utf8 0 0
/dev/sda6 /media/storage1 ext3 defaults,errors=remount-ro 0 2
/dev/sdb1 /media/storage2 ext3 defaults,errors=remount-ro 0 2

Linux/Ubuntu Configuration

Here are the posts where I've provided tutorials on how to get things working on either Linux in general or Ubuntu in particular:

Accessing your Ubuntu Box from Anywhere

My fstab

Here are some quick troubleshooting tips I've encountered when using Ubuntu or the software on it:

Import Openoffice Spreadsheet into a Writer Table

Download Streaming Media on Linux

Useful Intrepid Repos

TOR Configuration in Ubuntu and Firefox

Restore and Backup Virtualbox VDI files

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Donnie Davies - Take My Hand

Donnie Davis. Remember him? Well, in 2007 he made quite the splash with his video "The Bible Says" (you can see it here). Well I just noticed that he's out with a new video. And wow!! The innuendo is much stronger than the last one, but I love it!



Here are the lyrics (as best as I can make them out):

Homosexuality .
Homosexuality.
Homosexuality is a heartbreaking and crippling disease.
But there is something you can do about it:.
 
Will you come ?
When you feel almighty power
When I reach out to touch you will you come?
Will you come inside the gates of heaven?
Into eternal glory will you come?

Are you bruised and broken
Poisoned with deceit
Do you stand for nothing
Shattered by defeat
Are you barely human
All but dead inside
Just a rotten soul
By your own design
Even though you're lusting for another man
Swallow all your pride
Reach up and take my hand

And in the face of evil
In the face of sin
In the face of Satan
In the face of men

Will you come?
When you feel almighty power
When I'm reaching out to touch you will you come?
Will you come inside the gates of heaven ?
Into eternal glory will you come?

Rising! Rising! Rising  up to heaven. Rising up!
Standing up! Standing up as one
Push it! Push it!  Push it is to righteousness?
When you feel it will you come?
Will you come?
Are you coming?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Ubuntu has been Breaking Lately

Over the past couple of weeks, I have experience a larger number of stubborn problems on my Ubuntu Intrepid machine. Here are just a couple of the problems I've been experiencing:
  • A number of annoying Firefox problems. Two in particular: (1) When I'm downloading files, sometimes firefox will tell me that its got just a few more seconds to download when in fact it has finished downloading. This is annoying because it leaves *.part files all over the place. (2) When I shut down firefox, it has become more frequent that it doesn't fully shut down, and instead I have to go into the system monitor to kill it manually.
  • VLC stopped working for me on *.mp4 and *.wmv files. In fact the only sorts of videos it seems to play consistently are *.mpeg files. And yes, I have all the codecs installed (so fuck off). I have to use mplayer instead.
  • When I insert my flash drive into the USB port, it no longer automatically mounts it. Instead I have to go to Places->Computer and double click on it, at which point it gives the following message: Internal error: No mount object for mounted volume. It nontheless mounts it. This bug has been reported here.
Intrepid, though an improvement over Hardy in terms of stability, still though isn't that stable. I'm really hoping that Jaunty will finally reach a real stable state (it should not be fucking hard to mount a flash drive).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How to import an openoffice spreadsheet into a table

The tip can be found here. Basically, here is what you do:
  • Create a new Writer Table with the number of columns and rows you need
  • In Calc, select and copy the range of cells you want to import into Writer
  • In Writer, use Paste Special below or above the Writer table (not in the table, yet). For 'Selection', choose either "Formatted text [RTF]" or "HTML (HyperText Markup Language)". This creates a temporary table.
  • Select and copy the contents of the newly created (but badly formatted) temporary table.
  • Paste the contents of the temporary table into the original table you created in the first step.
  • Delete the temporary table.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What I Hope Will Be Ready for Ubuntu "Jaunty Jackalope"

Back in April, when I was using Hardy, I wrote this about what I'd like to see in future versions of Ubuntu. Now that Intrepid is out, its time to re-evalute the list to see what made it and what didn't
  • A GUI wrapper for utf: YES. Its called gutf. That said, I still haven't figured out how to set up internet connection sharing with it :( Until then, I'll stick with Firestareter
  • Two-way synchronization between evolution and Google calander: YES (at least partial). In Hardy there was one-way synchronization. In Intrepid, although its somewhat hidden, its there. My Impression - not ready for prime time. For better or worse, cloud computing is going to be a big part of the way we do things. Google, of all companies, will be front and center in this.
  • Advanced Desktop settings already pre-installed (or some simplified version of it). NO. This still confuses me - if you are going to make compiz a default part of the Desktop out of the box, then why not have a configuration tool right out of the box as well.
  • Tracker Search Tool needs to have a phrase search. NO. This one really freaking annoys me.
Well, one out of four is a start. Now looking to the future, what do I hope will make it into the next release of Ubuntu (codename Jaunty)? Here's what I'm keeping my eye on:

Bug Fixes and Feature Requests
  • nautilus 'replace file' dialog box could give more information. This one has been a long-time annoyance to me. In fact, I've moved over to KDE a couple of times because of it (I've always eventually come back to Gnome, which I do like better, though KDE 4.2 is giving them the run for their money). No indication that this will be fixed in time.
  • Tracker doesn't search for phrases in enclosed quotes. Until this is fixed, Tracker is not very useful for my needs. That said, its doubtful it will be fixed in Jaunty.
  • Audacity does not mesh with PulseAudio. One indication that Ubuntu (or Linux distros generally) isn't quite ready for the general user is the fact that the main audio editor for the Linux platform doesn't play well with the way Ubuntu is designed. Apparently the UbuntuStudio people have gotten it to work, and the bug report page indicates that they have been able to patch it for Jaunty. Yay.
New Applications
  • OpenOffice 3.1 - Although version 3.0 is out, it didn't make it into Intrepid (which is fine by me, I'd rather have a stable nicely integrated version included rather than one that was rushed in at the last minute).
  • Firefox 3.1 - Can't wait!
  • KDE 4.2 - A huge improvement. This is looking really nice
  • Kdenlive 7.1 - My favorite video editor. The nice thing is that you can already use it on Intrepid
  • Amarok 2.x - The 1.4.x series of Amarok is already the most feature rich music player on Linux (and almost any platform), and Amarok 2 looks to be an even better audio player.
  • Songbird 1.1 - Actually, this will be out in about a month. The version I want needs a "watch folders" feature and the ability to play videos.
  • Boxee - If you are a Netflix subscriber, but only use Linux on your computers, there is a real sense in which you are getting

Other stuff (needed, though though it might not make me happy)

Ok, the software in this category I have a hard time getting excited about. Either it is not open source or its open source with strings attached. Nonetheless, its needed for a Desktop that works with more and more web applications that are popping up all over the place.
  • Adobe AIR
  • Mono 2 and Moonlight 1.0 - Unfortunately for Linux users, more and more sites are moving to Starlight in order to deliver a media rich web experience. I say unfortunately because Microsoft does not support Starlight on the Linux platform.
Dream List
  • A robust 2-way syncronization of Evolutio with Google. For good or for worse, the future is cloud computing. Cloud computing allows the synchonization of data from various workstations and mobile devices.... Evolution needs to make this front and center of their priorities. I'm afraid that Linux applications will lag behind their Windows counterparts.
  • Better video editors - Presently there are limited options on linux, and each of the options themselves have certain drawbacks.
  • Easier theming of Gnome - Imagine this: You go to System->Preferences->Appearance and, under the "Theme" tab, after not liking the few installed themes there to choose from, you press the "Install" button and it takes you to a window/site/whatever where you can look over other various themes that have been put together. You then are given the option of selecting one, and after doing so, it goes and downloads it for you, installs it, and applies it to your system. Easy as pie.
  • An ebook manager that works - as far as I can tell, the only ebook manager out there is eKitaab, but it is broken as hell.
  • Support for portable apps - Portable apps are becoming more and more important for me.

Debian Live CD

If you are interested in Debian (esp. because Lenny was just released - yay), but don't want to install it on your system, let me introduce you to the Debian Live website. Here you can download live cds of this most venerable of distributions.