viernes, 25 de noviembre de 2016

MX-16 Metamorphosis RC1 Is Out!!

This is the release announcement by Anticapitalista:

Ahead of schedule, MX-16 release candidate 1 is available for further testing.
We have quashed many bugs and added improvements since the first public-beta1.
eg Horizontal panel now defaults to the bottom rather than the top.
The dev team hopes that, with additional feedback, the final should be ready very soon.
Please help us by testing and reporting any issues that crop up.

Get it here:

Torrents here:

64 bit -

32 bit -

It is built on the reliable and stable Debian Jessie (8.6) with extra enhancements from the antiX live system and up to date applications provided by the MX Linux packagers.
Just like previous versions of MX, this release defaults to sysVinit.

Available in 32 and 64 bit.
The 32 bit version ships with 2 stable 3.16 Debian kernels (pae and non-pae), while
the 64 bit comes with the more recent Debian backports 4.7 kernel to cater for newer hardware.
All kernels have been patched against the Dirty COW exploit.

Both iso files weigh in at around 1.2GB in size.

What does MX Linux ship with?

* Xfce4.12 is the desktop environment.
* Latest Firefox 50 for browsing and Thunderbird 45.5.0 for email.
* VLC 2.2.4 caters for videos and Clementine 1.3.1 for playing and managing your music.
* Full LibreOffice 5.2.2 suite
* Shotwell 0.24.1 digital photo organizer
* Pepper Flash Player - browser plugin
* Chinese and Japanese fonts included on the iso
* gimp 2.8.18
* grub-customizer 5.0.6
* gscan2pdf 1.5.1-1 GUI to produce PDFs or DjVus from scanned documents
* mx-clocky attractive desktop-agnostic analog clock
* mx-debian-backports-installer
* openjdk-8
* samba shares
* smtube - watch youtube videos without using a browser - ideal for low-powered laptops.
* Security: Passwords and Keys 3.14.0

Further improvements and enhancements to running Live from a usb stick or frugally from a hard drive.
New! - live-kernel-upgrader - as it says, upgrade the kernel and remaster a running Live system
live-usb-maker - new cli tool to install a full-featured live environment to USB device that boots legacy and UEFI!

miércoles, 2 de noviembre de 2016

Open Source Is not an Unknown Concept Anymore

I remember when, several years ago, Mechatotoro and I started to use Libre Office and moved to .odt for all our word processing needs.  Some colleagues did try to force Microsoft file formats on us in spite of the university's approval of ODF.

But slowly, more people have come to understand that open source is here to stay and that closed source is neither better nor safer. At the end, most of the complaints by closed-source defenders can be reduced to the following:

1- They are used to X and don't want to learn anything new.

2- They want to use open source but are locked into closed source.

3- They think closed source is better because X has more features. [Which, by the way, most people don't know about or don't really care for because they don't use such features and probably never will.]

4- They had a negative past experience with open source and did not care to update their knowledge.

5- They don't really know what they are talking about but pretend they do. 

6- They simply prefer closed source as a personal choice.

In spite of all that, I've noticed that more students know about ODF and some of them are using Libre Office themselves nowadays.

An interesting case happened a few days ago: a student who wants me to direct her thesis is interested in using Twine, an open source tool for writing interactive texts.

The world is changing.  Many just don't really see how it is doing it.

martes, 11 de octubre de 2016

Microsoft does not Need Windows Anymore? Interesting idea...

Eric Knorr of Infoworld published an article in which he claims that Microsoft, moving its focus to the cloud, does not need Windows any longer.  Apart of trying to portray Microsoft as an open company (which it clearly is not), that idea makes me think of several interesting questions:

1.  If Microsoft does not need Windows anymore, why is it pushing Windows 10 so aggressively and in many cases using deceitful means?

2.  If Microsoft does not need Windows anymore, then users don't, either.  That's some happy news!  :D  Users should ditch that platform that its producer does not need nowadays. 

3.  If Windows is about 10 percent of Microsoft's revenue, there must be something hidden behind the aggressive Windows 10 push.  Microsoft wants something worth much more than that 10 percent.  What could that be?  :P

4.  Why would someone want to paint Microsoft as an open company that does not need its flagship product?

5.  If Microsoft does not need Windows any longer, does that mean that this time it will actually produce something innovative instead of simply buying popular software?

I guess the problem with Surface Pro 3 and the market share decrease of Windows 10 last month might be related to this idea of painting Microsoft as a problem-free company.

miércoles, 14 de septiembre de 2016

Three Concepts Many Tech Journalists don't Seem to Understand

When I read articles about technology, I notice that journalists seem to confuse some concepts, take others for granted or are plainly biased about them.  These three seem to be the most common examples: 

1.  Computer malware

Whenever they write about an Apple virus or a Linux one, they are very specific about the OS.  However, when it is a Windows problem, journalists usually call it "PC" or "computer" malware.  Why not calling it what it really is, a Windows-related issue? This complaint is not new; although it has been repeated over and over, these tech journalists don't seem to learn.

2.  Linux vs commercial software

Without getting into the GNU/Linux naming debate, it seems that many journalists make the distinction between Linux and commercial software. Does that mean Linux is not commercial software?  There is nothing in free software preventing it from being commercial. In fact, many businesses are carrying out their commercial activities thanks to Linux.  Why don't these journalists also say "restricted" or "limited" software to refer to proprietary software, just to be fair?

3.  Fragmentation

I've read this word a lot of times in tech articles when writers are talking about Linux.  However, isn't Windows "fragmented" as well?  How many versions of Windows 7, 8, and 10 are there?  What about MS Office?  Is Windows 10, with its versions Home, Pro, Enterprise, Enterprise LTSB, Education, and mobile not fragmented by the same principle? Who can defend the idea that MS Office 2016 with its multiple versions:
  • Microsoft Office Home & Student
  • Microsoft Office Home & Business
  • Microsoft Office Standard
  • Microsoft Office Professional
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus
does not represent fragmentation?  Why don't these tech writers complain about the unnecessary differences and confusion that so many versions cause to the consumer?  The many versions of Linux have never caused me confusion: I call that "variety"!  :P

I really wish tech journalists were a bit less biased (or at least more precise) whenever they publish their articles.  Maybe I'm asking for too much.

Are there any other frequent misconceptions in tech articles I missed?  Feel free to tell me in your comments.  Thanks!


miércoles, 17 de agosto de 2016

I Spotted ODF in the Wild this Week... Twice!

This week has been full of surprises.  The new semester has started and with that, much of what used to be paperwork is becoming digital files.  When I entered the platform to obtain the lists of my students in the courses I'm currently teaching, I realized that it now had two options to download such lists: "as a pdf file" or "as a spreadsheet."

Since I didn't want to have anything to do with .xslx, I went for the pdf.

But later, when I told Mechatotoro about it, he entered the platform and gave "spreadsheet" a try.

"I love these people!," I heard him say.

Instead of a .xslx file, the guys who added the feature did honor the university's migration to free software and made .ods available for download!

And just a few minutes ago, my editor sent me an e-mail.  Actually, the mail was directed to all the authors who work with her, and she wanted us to check the list of the available books and their corresponding prices to rule out any mistake.

I must say that I almost fell off my chair when I saw the attached document: another .ods file!

Yes!  I literally heard a choir of angels singing.  I am still hearing them!  ^__^  

viernes, 29 de julio de 2016

Mom's New Computer: a Zombie PC!

Mechatotoro and I bought a new desktop PC for our mother, who wanted to replace her old box.

We went to the computer store and asked for a barebone rig.  The guy was quite amused to hear about people who did not want to add Windows.  He was a bit puzzled when he heard we would load Linux to it.  I guess he would fall off his seat if he knew the computer was not for us, but for our mother!

Then, we made a test.  Just to check for compatibility (new PCs come with UEFI, which does not play fair with Linux all the time), I took my outdated live MEPIS 11 pendrive and tried to install the OS.

About 5 minutes later, the installation was done and the store guy was amazed at the speed of the process.  "Linux has improved a lot these days!" was all he could say.

But remember: this was Mother's computer.  She should not be using an old MEPIS 11 OS to power her brand new PC.  Now, I have nothing against MEPIS 11: after all, I am typing this on my MEPIS 8 PC.

But the idea of the new computer was also having a new OS.  "What about Windows 10?", I asked her.  To put it diplomatically, let's just say she did not like the idea.

Then, after some thought, we installed MX-15.  Mechatotoro then customized the desktop with a full theme of THE WALKING DEAD that he designed for the occasion (Yes... Mom's a BIG fan of that show.)

The result?  Our mother couldn't be happier with her new spooky PC!  That surely gives a new meaning to zombie computers!

When I see Mom sitting happily in front of her computer, I think that all those people who claim Linux is too hard and that only computer geeks can use it are still living in the past, and a very distant one, by the way.  They might have missed one --or several-- important upgrades.

Too bad for them!  While they catch up, our mother will be using her zombie PC that runs MX-15 (an OS she had never touched before) and does EVERYTHING she wants.

What about Mom's old computer? Mom gave it to Mechatotoro's daughter so that the 5-year-old girl may use PicarOS (a GalPon MiniNo edition special for kids) to her heart's content.

Everyone's happy!  :)

martes, 5 de julio de 2016

The New Fullscreen Windows 10 Upgrade Nagging Reminder

Most people I've talked to have reactions to constant "upgrade to Windows 10" nagging windows that range from anger to desperation.

I wonder how they'll receive the new fullscreen "reminder" from Microsoft. This one:

I guess they will not take it very well, either.  If they complained about a small window, a fullscreen interruption will probably make them rabid.

But why being so negative about it?

Here are some examples of interesting and positive ways to take your Windows 10 nagging screen.  :P