Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Tagged: linux

High-Memory Instances and $5 Linodes image/svg+xml

We’re also introducing the Linode 1GB, our lowest priced instance ever at only $5 per month. We believe this will add a great deal of utility to our service.

This is good news, although I’m surprised Linode didn’t do this long ago — DigitalOcean have been offering a $5 droplet for some time. I wonder how long it will be before DigitalOcean up their $5 droplet from 512MB to 1GB?

Anyhow, I’m thinking a $5 Linode will be ideal for lots of applications, including cheap development servers and possibly even a small/personal ownCloud instance.

Got tearing with proprietary NVIDIA? Try this. image/svg+xml

If you’re using a reasonably modern NVIDIA graphics card on your Linux box with the proprietary driver, there’s a fair chance you may encounter that nasty thing called ‘screen tearing’. There is a little setting worth trying in NVIDIA’s blob driver called ‘ForceCompositionPipeline’ that can severely reduce tearing to a minimum, perhaps even completely. Here’s how to do it.

I recently installed a new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 in my desktop. The card is awesome, but it’s not supported by the open source Nouveau drivers under Linux (Ubuntu 16.04), so I had to install NVIDIA’s propriety drivers. This was not a problem and it only took a few minutes before I had the card up and running, however, it wasn’t long before I discovered that it was exhibiting some video tearing issues. Grrr!

I’ve experienced video tearing under Linux before and it’s always been a pain in the arse to get sorted. So, I was pretty happy when I found something that actually worked, first time. The gist of the fix involves adding this line to the “Screen” section of your Xorg configuration file:

Option  "metamodes" "nvidia-auto-select +0+0 { ForceCompositionPipeline = On }"

Once I’d added the above line and rebooted, the screen tearing was completely gone. Nifty!

First impressions of KDE neon

Last Tuesday I decided to start my search for a new Linux distribution to take along to the next Lincoln LUG meeting. Now, I’ve never really liked KDE distros and I tend to steer clear of them, but I decided to embrace something different and I chose KDE neon, which I installed on my X220.

Again, I’ve never really liked KDE, so you can probably imagine (or possibly not) my surprise when I found myself still using it a few days later. And, not only was I still using it, but I was also really enjoying the experience.

In many ways, the KDE Plasma Desktop is the complete opposite of what I have come to expect from a modern Linux desktop environment; whilst GNOME, Unity and Pantheon are somewhat configurable, it seems that Plasma can be tweaked to the nth degree. I’m not used to this level of flexibility and it’s unfamiliar ground, but I’ve found the experience to provide a refreshing change — in some ways it has reminded me of why I started using desktop Linux in the first place.

Anyhow, it’s still early days and I’m still finding my way around, but I can see myself using KDE neon for a while to come. Also, it’ll be interesting to see what my fellow LUG members think of it, later in the month.

Look before you paste from a website to terminal image/svg+xml

Most of the time when we see a code snippet online to do something, we often blindly copy paste it to the terminal. Even the tech savy ones just see it on the website before copy pasting. Here is why you shouldn’t do this.

I’m well past the point of copying and pasting random commands, that said, I’d imagine this could be somewhat scary for new Linux users.

On a semi-related note, I’m sure I noticed that the default terminal app in elementary OS alerts the user whenever they paste a “sudo” command. Seems like a sensible idea.

Finding an Alternative to Mac OS X — Part 2 – Bit Cannon image/svg+xml

An interesting follow-up to finding an alternative to Mac OS X. Reading this brought back memories of my own experiences with desktop Linux, but this struck home the most:

At this point the system was actively harming my productivity so I did what any rational person would do: blew it away and installed Arch Linux. I then compounded my lost productivity by constructing a GNOME environment I was happy with.

I dread to think how much time I’ve spent configuring and tweaking desktop Linux environments. Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve had fun doing it, but I could definitely have spent that time being more productive. I love Linux, but if you’re not mindful, it has the potential to be a real productivity sink.

P.S. I’m currently being unproductive with KDE neon.

elementary OS at Lincoln LUG

As previously mentioned, I attended Wednesday night’s Lincoln LUG meeting with a clean install of elementary OS. I also took along a bootable elementary OS USB key and managed to cajole a number of LUG members into giving it a try. I was interested to know what the other members thought of the distro, so I sat with them while they explored it.

Each member used the distro for between 10 – 30 minutes and although they only really scratched the surface, their initial impressions were positive. The look-n-feel of the desktop got a big thumbs up, it really is very pretty and nicely themed, and all the members managed to navigate around the system with ease, which is not surprising given that they’re all seasoned Linux users.

Some of the comments and observations that I found interesting were:

  • Obtaining a WiFi connection was the first thing that most of the members did. This worked without fail on all the systems and a couple of the members expressed some surprise that it worked out-of-the-box on their systems.
  • Some of the members commented on the choice of default applications that were available in the dock. The lack of a launcher for the file manager was highlighted as an example.
  • There didn’t seem to be any easy way of adjusting preferences in the default terminal application.
  • The App Store didn’t appear to offer many apps, which was very surprising given the Ubuntu heritage.

Again, the members really only scratched at the surface of elementary OS, but I did get the impression that given more time, they would have picked it apart. I know it’s a generalisation, but Linux users (myself included) can be a difficult group to please and I doubt any of the members will be switching to the distro anytime soon. Still, it was good to try something different.

More Linux

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try and use Linux more often, and to improve the Lincoln LUG website, and to not attend any more LUG meetings with a non-Linux machine. This all came under the heading of “More Linux”.

I’ve not started on improving the website yet, but I did have an idea that might go some way to fulfilling the other two requirements of my resolution; I’m thinking it might be a good idea to install a new distro (on an old machine) each month and take it along to the LUG meeting. If I do this, by the end of the year I will have installed and tried at least 12 different Linux distros.

I’m also thinking that it might be nice to allow others to use the machine too, so I’m going to physically label the machine with the system’s administrator (or root) username and password. I won’t have any personal data on the machine, so if a renegade LUG member attempts to bork the system, accidentally or on purpose, it really won’t matter.

Anyhow, that’s the plan. The first LUG meeting of the year takes place next week and I’ll be taking along a fresh install of elementary OS.

From OSX to Ubuntu image/svg+xml

One man’s retrospective after switching from macOS to Ubuntu. I’m not sure why I find these accounts so fascinating, maybe I’m just a geeky voyeur, but I really enjoyed reading this.

Anyway, I thought his switch from Unity to GNOME to Unity was quite interesting. I know Unity catches a fair amount of shit, thrown by the haters, but I think it’s currently the most polished and usable desktop environment. I love it.