Archive for the ‘software’ Category

The websites typically use archaic technology, and proprietary fonts. So bengali news-sites do not work with my system by default (Ubuntu Linux).

However, now that I am fishing for interesting news for TwoCircles.net for the election season as a volunteer, I needed to fix that problem. And AH, fixes were close at hand.

For Aajkaal.net, and Bartaman, all one needs to do is to go to their help pages and download and install the true type fonts. It’s very simple, really. Just browse to this page, click on the two links for the .ttf files, on the download dialog box, choose to open with font installer, and then click install. Then go to the homepages and refresh the page with F5.

Anandabazar patrika is a bit different. To be able to see their page, you will need an extension called Padma which is available for both firefox and chrome.


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I wrote yesterday that I couldn’t install Ubuntu on my new netbook because the keyboard will not respond. Well, it seems there is a fix.

I found a BIOS patch on Acer’s website that solves the issue.

Here is what to do:

  1. Start your netbook on Windows 7.
  2. Go to this website.
  3. Select “Netbook -> Acer Aspire -> AO521 ” You should see a table with different downloads below your selection now.
  4. Click on BIOS.
  5. Select the first update that says “Fixes Keyboard issue in Linux.
  6. Unzip the downloaded file in the same folder and go to folder BIOS_Acer_1.08_Windows\WINDOWS\
  7. Finish anything else you were doing on the machine. Close all other programs before you proceed. This is important. Once the installation starts, it won’t let you do anything.
  8. Double click on the EXE file there. The installation should start, and then the system will reboot automatically.

You should be able to work with Linux now.

I am now going to try out two flavours- OpenSUSE and Ubuntu and to completely remove Windows from this machine. If you want to do this, make sure you create a system image on an external disk and a recovery disk. Otherwise you won’t be able to get your windows back if you want.


Quick note: It is a 64 bit processor, so it is better to use the 64 bit version.

Update on Operating System: I tried SuSE and it seemed to crash during installation.

Ubuntu is mostly working fine except for three glitches I found:
1. System fails to come up after a “suspend.”
2. The audio jack does not work.
3. Battery status is not shown in the status bar.

I will try to bring this to the developer’s attention. Not only for the improvement of Ubuntu, but because this is one of the few AMD netbooks out in the market.

UPDATE II: Acer support is so unresponsive!

Now for some fun.

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Ubuntu on My Netbook

I recently bought two inexpensive netbooks, and tried Ubuntu on both of them.

The first one, Acer Aspire one AO532h-2588 worked out of the box with Ubuntu 10.04. Everything.It is probably the cheapest netbook in the market. It is good for my purposes. I am not planning on playing games with my netbook. Company claims battery will last 8 hours, it actually lasts for only about 5 hours.

It is, unfortunately an intel based machine, so when I wanted another netbook, I opted for an (Acer aspire one) AO521-3782. At it’s heart is the processor AMD Athlon Neo K125 @1.7GHz.

The new netbook is a completely different story. I haven’t been able to install Ubuntu so far. I could boot up from CD, but then my keyboard and mousepad stops responding. Hopefully somebody will do something about it. I tried looking for any hints to get the chipset (AMD M880G) working. But no useful information so far.

On windows, however, the new netbook works just fine.The battery lasts for about 4 hours (official claim 5 hours.)

Although the processor is 64bit, they ship it with 32bit Windows Starter, which is a shame. Nevertheless, I’m not paying for an upgrade.

If I can get it working with Ubuntu, I’ll remove windows from this one.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the second one is AMD based. (AMD Athlon Neo K125 @1.7GHz.)

UPDATE II: I tried OpenSuSE (Live CD, 11.3) and faced the same problem.

UPDATE III: Problem partially solved.

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Karmic Koala is here

Ubuntu 9.10 has been released!

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This is good.

Alan Lord, a FOSS computer consultant based in the UK, has announced that Amazon UK honored his request for a refund of the Microsoft license fee portion of the cost of a new Asus netbook PC that came with Microsoft Windows XP. Lord details the steps that he took to obtain a refund of 40.00 GBP for the cost of the EULA, complete with links to click to request a refund.

For US Residents, this is worth checking out.

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This is Ubuntu!

This is Ubuntu!

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Windows and Mac are US manufacturers. Their codes are secret. So little chances of Operating System development in your country. Which means you are seriously dependent on them for giving you the program and every security patch. Linux is open source. You can adopt it to your needs. Local s/w knowledge flourish because local programmers can see the codes and change them. Your foreign currency reserve does not deplete. In fact you need less foreign currency (read USD) reserve.

Because they are closed sources, you don’t know what they are doing behind your back. For example if they may be putting in a little bit of software to send every keystroke and every screenshot back to the US, in every piece of software sold in Iran. That’s a serious issue. On Linux you can find that out.

The prices are funny. Inside the US Windows is sold at lower prices ($10-$40) in one thousand and one pretext (educational discount blah blah blah) whereas it is sold at higher prices ($100 minimum) in our countries. Add to that the fact that the dollar value is inflated (i.e. the purchase power of $1 is less than it’s equivalent in, say, Indian or Pakistani rupees) then you realize that MS is actually ripping us off with a price tag of at least 20 times higher than inside the US.

Linux is free, and is good enough for most purposes- especially for home use and for server use. The office sofware packages are not as powerful as MS yet (as Faraz pointed out sometime ago) but for the average user like me it’s enough.

What you can do:

– Try Linux. Try Ubuntu/Kubuntu/SuSE

– If you own a company/lead an office. Introduce Linux. Trying to change an OS overnight gives people familiarity shocks. It  most of the time does not work.

– If you are an educator, yay! Introduce Linux to your students. Encourage them to fiddle around with it. For those who are so inclined, to even write their own extensions to the existing programs.


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