Smoothwall Firewall project

Thursday 25 March 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 beta 1 disk utility improvements

As I'm sure you have read on the web about the many improvments that the next release of Ubuntu is going to bring to the Linux desktop that include:

Really fast boot speeds
Openoffice 3.2
Firefox 3.6
Ubuntu One cloud disk storage
Ubuntu One Music store
New fonts, themes and window layouts
Support for iPhones
New versions of all the main components of the desktop

There is one utility that has had a upgrade in the user interface, and it really works for the better, and that is the disk management utility.

If you look at the picture above you will see a really streamlined user interface which gives you a very modern feel about the tool and offers al lthe information 99% of most users will ever need , and all the commands easily position there to help.

You can now mount/umount a drive, format, edit, benchmark and delete all from a very readable and approachable interface. You can see at a glance what filesystem a drive is using and how it is split up into it's various partitions.

You also get a really decent view of the disk controller hardware that is installed on you box.

This will not change the world by itself, but it shows that it is not just the headline applications that have been given the once over for this release, and they all fit together to make this as user friendly as possible.

Friday 19 March 2010

VMware Workstation 7.1 beta

I have just started beta testing VMware workstation 7.1 on Ubuntu 9.10 and have found that performance is not all that it should be. To be fair several other better testers have also discovered this , and the VMware team have started the investigation to get this fixed.

I have successfully installed the Alpha 3 version of Ubuntu 10.04 to test this release, and although some of the VMware tools did not work perfectly, I was able to bring up the virtual machine and have an initial look at the new OS.

Anyway, here is a list of the changes that are taking place for the new release.

The VMware Workstation 7.1 Beta includes several new features and hundreds of minor improvements. Some release highlights include:

OpenGL 2.1 support for Windows 7 and Vista guests: The addition of hardware accelerated OpenGL 2.1 support to the WDDM driver enables many more graphics applications to run inside of your virtual machines.

Improved graphics performance: Significant enhancements have been made to the VMware WDDM driver that have produced benchmark results that are up to 80% faster. The updated driver also produces smoother video playback and addresses many reported rendering issues. Of course games run better as well!

8-way SMP support plus virtual disks up to 2TB in size: The virtual hardware continues to become more powerful to meet the needs of Workstation customers who are running server class applications.

OVF 1.0 support: Including the OVF Tool with this release enables users to easily import or export virtual machines and vApps and move them to vSphere or up into the cloud.

Direct Launch: Blur the distinction between running native and virtual applications by launching an application installed in a virtual machine directly from the start menu or taskbar of the host system.

Automatic software updates: These VMware applications can now detect when a new version is released and are able to update at the click of a button.

Fedora 12 virtual machines: We are excited about finally offering support for running one of the most popular Linux distributions on the planet!

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Why I love environmentally friendly cars

Alas, you may be thinking that I have turned into a tree hugging Greenpeace activist, but the truth is a lot more selfish I'm afraid, let me explain.

While I was walking to work this morning down the lovely tree lined road called Hammersmith Grove - which you might note is very environmentally friendly , I noticed just how many fuel efficient vehicles there where running around. They came in all shapes and sizes, like the Gwiz, Toyota Prius, Swatch Smart car and loads of little scooters. They all run on electricity and steam apparently , so not consuming loads of petrol, and this is the marvelous part of this process. I'm sure it is good for the flowers and trees that surround this area, but it also leaves significantly more petrol for my 4.2 Ltr V8 supercharged Jaguar. Now , I can't claim at any level that she is environmentally friendly in the fuel using stakes, but she certainly brings a smile to my face on nice Sunday afternoons whizzing down the beautiful country roads of France.

Anyone who knows me , will have concluded long ago that I'm a bit of a petrol head, and have owned a range of vehicles, which include everything from a Yamaha FS1E moped at age sixteen to a 6ltr V12 XJS Jaguar, and pretty much everything in between.

So, as I see it , this is a very equitable arrangement, in that people who worry about these things can run around looking particularly smug in their Duracell powered mobile shopping market trolleys , while leaving all that lovely petrol for me to use in my Jag. If you have ever owned a car like this, then you will know just how much they love that black gold. In fact when I take her for a spin on the weekend, she drinks petrol like a Jaguar who has not seen a watering hole for the last fortnight. Which is good for the French exchequer if not my bank balance.

I'm absolutely positive this is not a Politically Correct thing to do or think, but since when did that bother me ;-).

Monday 15 March 2010

Some issues while Checking Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 Alpha 3 in Virtualbox

I have been keeping up with the latest development builds of what will become Ubuntu 10.04 and all has been going reasonably well until the latest kernel install today. It appears that some of the code has been pack-ported from the latest upstream kernel - 2.6.33 - to the latest kernel in lucid - 2.6.32-16 - and it is causing an issue with Virtualbox.

After checking the forums, there is a kernel patch to fix this - see here

Basically, you need to edit this file -

This code is installed with the Virtualbox tools that you must install before this file will be appear on the hard disk.

See the picture below:

Once you have edited this file and saved it , run the following command

sudo /etc/init.d/vboxadd setup

This will stop the problems with kernel crashes and the graphics not working correctly.

If you are also having problems with the mouse disappearing, then you need to turn off the visual affects in

Menu -> System -> Preferences -> Appearance

Set it to none, and the mouse will come back to life.

This is shaping up to be a great release, and once a few rough edges have been removed it will be an extremely useful addition to the ubuntu family.