NimbleX – Kde4 and Koffice on a 400Mb iso

2010 Beta is out!


After a long wait a new NimbleX version is finally out. First of all keep in mind this is a Beta so many things will still have to be polished but nevertheless it has to be eventually released because your feedback is what will make it better.

Many things have changed hopefully for the better in the long run. First of all, after about 5 years, the ideea of keeping it limited to less than 200MB was dropped. There is a lot more in the distro right now so in the end it should make the user experience better.

Even though almost everything is new, we can still say the major changes include:

  • Kernel 2.6.33 with the latest squashfs and aufs2

As some of you notices NimbleX 2008 was quite stable but the aging kernel meant new hardware was unsupported. Now we should have a pretty good hardware support with good power management and some other interesting features most of which would just work out of the box behind the scenes.

  • XServer 1.7.5

Probably the most significant feature this new component brings for the end user is the possibility to run without a configuration file. In the previous version we used to generate the configuration file every boot but now the XServer does it automatically for us. Also I think it’s pretty significant that the new Intel chips which are found in most laptops should work well so 3D will be available on more machines than before. The new version of X starts faster than the previous one and brings several other advantages.

  • Many fresh libs where included

Besides the required dependencies, many other common libs where included because we all know one of the biggest problems when adding a new piece of software is satisfying dependencies. Users will have to worry about libs a little less now.

  • New applications

The bigger NimbleX 2010 now comes with OpenOffice insted of KOffice. A lot more of the KDE Games where added in this realease. Gimp, VirtualBox, Firefox, Transmission, GParted and others where updated to the latest versions.

  • New Desktop Environment

NimbleX was always based on KDE3 but that finally changed. KDE4 is now mature enough to provide an overall better user experience and it has a lot of nice features that will demonstrate it was time for a change. KDE4 is still far from being what it can be but i’m sure in time more good things will come.

On modern computers NimbleX 2010 Beta with the more demanding KDE4 will boot just as fast as before and for the older computers out there a much lighter Desktop Environment will be included in the final realease.

For final realease of NimbleX 2010 there are still many things to be done and those will most likely be posted on the forum where everybody could interract.

If you want to give it a spin get your copy from:

The screenshots of the NimbleX 2010 Beta can be found on the new website which is also Beta 🙂

Google Chrome 5 Released for Linux

From the Official Google Chrome Blog:

In our most recent beta release, we fired up all engines to bring to life our fastest version of Chrome to date.

Today, we’re bringing all this beta goodness to the stable channel so that it’s available to all Chrome users. We’re particularly excited to bring Chrome for Mac and Linux out of beta, and introduce Chrome’s first stable release for Mac and Linux users. You can read more about the Mac and Linux stable releases on the Google Mac and Chromium blogs respectively.

Today’s stable release also comes with a host of new features. You’ll be able to synchronize not only bookmarks across multiple computers, but also browser preferences — including themes, homepage and startup settings, web content settings, preferred languages, and even page zoom settings. Meanwhile, for avid extensions users, you can enable each extension to work in incognito mode through the extensions manager.

Our stable release also incorporates HTML5 features such as Geolocation APIs, App Cache, web sockets, and file drag-and-drop. For a taste of HTML5’s powerful features, try browsing through websites developed in HTML5 such as, dragging and dropping attachments in Gmail, or by enabling the geolocation functionality in Google Maps. We’ve also given Chrome’s bookmark manager a facelift with HTML5:

In recent weeks, we’ve been beta-testing Adobe Flash Player integration into Chrome. While Flash Player integration in the browser is not included by default in today’s stable release, we’re excited to enable this feature with the full release of Flash Player (version 10.1) soon.

If you’re already using Chrome for Windows, Mac or Linux, you’ll be auto-updated to this latest release soon. You can also try out these new features on our speedy browser now, by downloading Chrome from

See the original post here:

WebM and Webkit and Youtube

WebKitGTK+ and WebM

Gustavo Noronha

So you probably heard about WebM, right? It’s the awesome new media format being pushed by Google and a large number of partners, including Collabora, following the release of the VP8 video codec free of royalties and patents, along with a Free Software implementation.

It turns out that if you are a user or developer of applications that use the GStreamer framework, you can start taking advantage of all that freedom right away! Collabora Multimedia has developed, along with Entropy Wave GStreamer support for the new format, and the code has already landed in the public repositories, and is already being packaged for some distributions.

I just couldn’t wait the few days it will take for the support to be properly landed in Debian unstable, so I went ahead and downloaded all of the current packages from the pkg-gstreamer svn repository, built everything after having the libvpx-dev package installed, and went straight to a rather unknown, small video site called Youtube with my GStreamer-powered WebKitGTK+-based browser, Epiphany!:

Youtube showing a webm video in Epiphany

If you’re running Debian unstable, or any of the other distributions which will be lucky to get the new codecs, and support packages soon, you should be able to get this working out of the box real soon now. Check the tips on WebM’s web site on how to find WebM videos on youtube.

WebM and Html5 vs Adobe Flash

As you probably know, a Google I/O conference was held today and a lot of blogs said they will announce big things. And big it was: Google officially announced the release of an open source, royalty-free video format called WebM which will be using the VP8 codec Google aquired from On2 as well as Vorbis audio.

The WebM launch is supported by Mozilla, Opera, Google and more than forty other publishers, software and hardware vendors.

For now, WebM is not part of the HTML5 specifications but support for it will be added by Chrome, Firefox and Opera, as a part of the tag (update: Internet Explorer 9 will also be supporting VP8). Most probably today’s snapshots of Chrome(ium), Opera and Firefox already include this. You can already download patched FFmpeg or DirectShow for Windows (Gstreamer support coming soon) from HERE. There is also a patch for MPlayer.

WebM is already part of the YouTube HTML5 experimental feature – all the 720p or higher videos uploaded to YouTube starting today will be encoded using WebM (but also in H.264). However Google claims (according to Mozilla) to transcode all YouTube existing videos into WebM sometime soon.

How will Adobe handle this? Well, Engadget points out that Adobe is rolling VP8 support into Flash Player, but hopefully websites such as YouTube will start using the HTML5 tag instead of Adobe Flash by default.

Original Source:

Linux Sis Graphic Card Progress – No More Sisfb

Crunchbang Statler

Well, As my laptop uses a Sis graphics card:

Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 661/741/760 PCI/AGP or 662/761Gx PCIE VGA Display Adapter

I have always had to have the “video=sisfb” argument in Grub to load the sisfb (Sis Frame Buffer). Otherwise I fell victim to the “Bad Colour Depth” bug.

I have just installed the latest Sis driver “xserver-xorg-video-sis_0.10.2-3” from the Debian sid repos on Crunchbang Statler (Debian Squeeze) and removed the sisfb argument from Grub2 and have a beautiful shiny desktop with no colour problems whatsoever

For those who are curious, some photos can be seen here:


I have installed FreeBSD alongside Staler on this laptop and have been faced with the same Sis bug, unfortunately, there is no sisfb module available for FreeBSD, so I have been looking for other solutions. Quite a giant leap  into a new OS, not juts trying to fix the bug, but looking into the possibility of porting a new sis driver.

At the moment, my FreeBSD install has the 0.10.2-2 driver, so I am really hoping we get the 0.10.2-3 driver soon. I will be emailing the maintainers to see how that stands as I feel that porting the driver myself is going to be way out of my depth. However, the FreeBSD forum members have been very helpful and provided me links to guides.

I have a very, very nice FreeBSD Open Box setup now, all built from the base up (netinstall) from ports which took 5 days to compile and configure everything. I don’t want to have to abandon it for the sake of a Sis driver upgrade.

Fingers crossed.

Dual-Booting FreeBSD with Linux

Well, my other post outlined my first experiences with FreeBSD installation and setup. This post regards my dual-boot setup with Crunchbang Linux. If you run Linux and want to also try FreeBSD, this post may provide you with some insites and some basic information. I am very new to BSD and have relied heavily on the feedback from other BSD users.

Also, with Linux/Unix there is always more than one way to skin a cat. They way I have done things may not be the best way, but they work for me. I have learned a lot in the last week, and am very comfortable using a BSD system now. There is a learning curve, but nothing a Linux user can’t handle without the help of Google, The FreeBSD forms and the BSD users on Fossunet.

What system am I using?

Acer  Aspire 3004
AMD Mobile Athlon 32bit 3000+ (1.8Gb)
Sis Graphics card (64Mb)
Broadcom Wireless Network Card
1280X800 Widescreen Monitor

It has an 80Gb harddrive which is split into two partitions.

Partition 1: Has Crunchbang Statler installed on Ext3 inside an Extended partition which also has 1Gb Swap.

Partition 2: Has a single slice with FreeBSD 8 installed and also has its own Swap partition.

The Installation

Partitions and Grub2 Bootlader

Linux on the first partition with Grub2 installed to MBR. FreeBSD on the second partition with no Boot Loader as we will just add it to Grub2 from Linux.

I booted to Linux, opened Gparted, and deleted the spare 40Gb partition to leave 40Gb of free space. This will be used by FreeBSD as it asks you where to install itself.

Install FreeBSD from the PcBsd netinstall iso, see my other post for more info: HERE but the only thing you need to make sure of is that you choose FreeBSD, No PcBsd Bootloader and only install BSD-Ports as an extra package.

Add FreeBSD to Grub2

Grub2 has special files that you can add “Custom” additions such as un detected Linux OS’s and Unix based systems such as FreeBSD.

sudo nano /etc/grub.d/40_custom

And add this (remember I have only two partitions)

menuentry "freebsd 8.0" {
set root=(hd0,2)
chainloader +1

Now you have to update Grub2 so that it retrieves that info and you can now boot to FreeBSD

sudo update-grub

First Steps With Your FreeBSD system

More to come………

Linux to FreeBSD – Experiences

Linux to Unix

So I decided to checkout a BSD. After starting up fossunet and joining I got drawn to BSD by Klanger and regexorcist, who have been a great help with links and advice y the way, thanks guys.

Previous BSD Experience

I have experimented with various bsd’s before, but my experience lies with Linux, and  a few multiboot setups were borked due to bsd’s windows-like mentalitiy (ie “The-Entire-Partition-Table-is-MINE!)…. well the first partition anyway. 🙂

Minimal over Easy

After listening to advice and checking out various links, I decided to get the PCBSD netinstall iso, to install FreeBSD 8 to be precise. I knew that even if I took the easy route and got the Full install dvd iso, I wouldn’t be happy with a chunky desktop environment, and i’d be sure to do a minimal install. With Linux I like minimal. This means Linux base, Gnu tools, X and a window manager. My current distro of choice is Crunchbang Statler, Debian Squeeze + OpenBox. Previous disros all ended up with Fluxbox.

Deeper Linux

In the past I have built an LFS (Linux From Scratch), it took me 3 months of trial and error, a lot of reading and a few headaches, but I did it. It was a great learning experience, but I will never repeat it.

I installed Gentoo, Slackware, Debian Netinstall, Archlinux, all from the base up. Again, all great experience and fun, but once you have completed the challenge, you just go back to the distro that does what YOU need on YOUR hardware.

I helped out as a backroom dev on Dreamlinux, and also built Tota Linux with the LxH Crew, both of which I have now stepped down from.

At this present moment, my distro choice is Crunchbang Statler. It’s a mix of Debian + WM + Great Community. Crunchbang already has what I was trying to achieve with Tota Linux.

I was going to just stick with CB, but the distro-junkie in me, just wouldn’t let it lie! 😛


I have decided to wipe my 64bit lappie, and sacrifice it to the BSD cause 🙂

AMD Mobile Athlon 64bit 3000+ (1.8Gb)
Ati Mobility Radeon 9600 (128Mb)
Broadcom Wireless Network Card
1280X800 Widescreen Monitor

BSD Install

Using the PCBSD installer to install FreeBSD via ftp netinstall.

As soon as you boot the cd.iso, after a series of file-system integrity checks, you are presented with a gui installer which has 10 stages. Language, Keyboard, System, Disk, Users, Time, Components, Summary, Installation, Finished.

Each one is self explanatory, I chose to install FreeBSD with netinstall the dhcp configuration as I have the laptop plugged directly into the router. I also chose the default freebsd ftp repo mirror location. English + US keyboard, Use entire harddisk, add the PcBSD bootloader, added myself as a user. I have chosen to only install BSD Ports and BSD Source, even though you can add OpenOffice, Firefox and other apps etc. As I said, minimal base to get what I need via the commandline.

Installation Finished

Boot, hit F1, login as root, start installing.

Base Packages

Necessities: Xorg, Gdm, OpenBox, Wireless/Wpa, Ssh/Sshfs, Ftp, GnuGPG, Nano, Findutils/Locate.

Desktop + Net: Browser, Email, IM, IRC, Wicd, Tint2, Conky, Scrot, various network tools.

Package Installation

I was going to do my usual Arch/Debian routine and go Xorg minimal, package by package, but I have to admit that I am impatient to get to a desktop, soooooo…. installed the entire xorg set with all dependencies:

pkg_add -r -v xorg

pkg_add -r openbox

pkg_add -r gdm

Now I need to do a web serach for other apps to see if BSD has them in the repos, then i’ll try to login to the desktop.

*HINT* Synaptics Touchpad: Before spending an hour with xorg.conf, adding packages, copying other xorg.confs etc etc: READ THIS:

/me says “DOH!”

Synaptics Touchpad Howto

1. Create a file

X -configure

2. Move it from root to X11

cp /root/ /etc/X11/xorg.conf

3. Add this line to the end of the ServerLayout or ServerFlags section

Option “AutoAddDevices” “false”

READ MORE on Xorg:

Desktops Environments

As I have plenty of space and am curious to see what FreeBSD has to offer, I have decided to install Xfce4 (The only DE I really like) and Kde4. Basically to try something new/different while i’m at it. I have tried Kde4, and no, I don’t like Kde in general, but as I have said, i’m curious. Gnome is a no go as It has become too bloated for my liking, and it is reported to be a bit “iffy” on BSD.

How to Make KDE start with “startx”

After KDE has been installed, the X server must be told to launch this application instead of the default window manager. This is accomplished by editing the .xinitrc file:

For KDE3:

echo "exec startkde" > ~/.xinitrc

For KDE4:

echo "exec /usr/local/kde4/bin/startkde" > ~/.xinitrc

Now, whenever the X Window System is invoked with startx, KDE will be the desktop.

How to Make Xfce4 start with “startx”

echo "/usr/local/bin/startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc

Now, whenever the X Window System is invoked with startx,XFCE4 will be the desktop.

READ MORE on Desktops:

To be continued……………..