Linux is easier to install than Windows

Just what the world needs – another “Linux is better than Windows” post…

I installed Windows 2000 last night. I hadn’t done a Windows install in a while and I remembered what an awful process it is. Ah, the famous Windows 56 step install.

Install. Reboot. Install chipset drivers. Reboot. Install Intel Application Accelerator. Reboot. Install ethernet drivers. Reboot. Install video card drivers so I can get something beyond 800×600. Reboot. Get SP4. Reboot. Get IE 6. Reboot. Windows Update – get 20 security patches. Reboot. Windows Update – get more stuff. Reboot…After everal iterations, there’s nothing left to get (well at least until tomorrow) and you have a system with Internet Explorer, Notepad, and Calculator.

Compare this to Ubuntu, where I boot into the Live CD and have a working environment and then click Install and one reboot later I’ve got a functional and secure system without hunting down any drivers (I have pretty boring hardware; folks with fancy ATI & Nvidia cards or wireless may go through some pain to get their toys working in Linux – life is hard on the bleeding edge in Linux) . And I’ve got OpenOffice, The GIMP, MySQL, Apache, PHP, Python, Ruby, evince, GnomeBake, XMMS, Firefox, Thunderbird, Evolution, etc…

How to build QEMU on Dapper?

I wanted to build qemu-0.8.1 and the latest kqemu kernel module, but I haven’t yet figured how the heck to reconcile these facts:

  • When you run ./configure on a Dapper system, QEMU complains that gcc4 is not recommended. I can disable that check and build with gcc4, but then the build fails with a super gnarly error about register spilling. So it seems that I have to use gcc3.
  • The kqemu kernel module needs to be built to match your kernel and thus must be built with the same compiler that the kernel was built with.
  • My kernel was built with gcc4:
    marc@tbird:~/qemu-0.8.1$ cat /proc/version 
    Linux version 2.6.15-25-686 (buildd@terranova) (gcc version 4.0.3 
    (Ubuntu 4.0.3-1ubuntu5)) #1 SMP PREEMPT Wed Jun 14 11:34:19 UTC 2006
    

    As a result, I can build qemu and the kernel module with gcc3, but I can’t load the kernel module:

    marc@tbird:~/qemu-0.8.1/kqemu-1.3.0pre9$ sudo modprobe kqemu
    FATAL: Error inserting kqemu (/lib/modules/2.6.15-25-686/misc/kqemu.ko): 
    Invalid module format
    
  • Any ideas on how to make this work?

    Update: Chimpoid has the answer below! Just build qemu with gcc3 and the kqemu module with gcc4. Works great.

Belkin F1DK102U USB KVM switch: A piece of crap

Got a chance to try out the Belkin F1DK102U USB KVM switch last night. I’m having trouble thinking of a time where I hated a product so quickly after removing it from the packaging. It took less than 5 minutes for me to be ranting and raving about this thing.

The first thing that is immediately apparent is that the switch button itself is a thin little bar and feels really cheap
and not sturdy. I also discovered quickly that because of it’s thin bar shape, it easily gets stuck. The next thing I noticed is that it has some kind of circuitry for auto-switching when it doesn’t detect a proper signal on the input. However, the circuitry is over-zealous because it will switch in the middle of a GRUB boot menu or the Ubuntu 6.06 live CD menu, which is actually when you most need it to be working. Then one notices that upon switching, the video switches over right away but then there’s a good 4 or 5 second delay for the keyboard and mouse to become functional. Frustrating. Next one notices that the switch button often does not work – it isn’t clear to me whether it works every 1 out of 3 times or if it’s just that once you switch there’s a delay of several seconds before you can switch again. Either way, I don’t care. It sucks.

This is going back to the store tonight and hopefully I can find something better, though I’m not optimistic as there doesn’t seem to be very many options at Central Computer and I’ve noticed that KVM switches in general tend to get really bad reviews on Amazon and Newegg. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to make a good KVM switch.

Anyone have a KVM switch that they would recommend?

Yahoo! Messenger for Mac 3.0 Beta 1 released!

Features:

  • New look and feel for OS X (Cocoa)
  • New features including Avatars, sounds, and display images
  • Coming soon: IM with friends that use Windows Live™ (MSN) Messenger
  • Stealth settings
  • Conferencing
  • “New IM” indicator in the OS X dock and support for Growl
  • Organize your contact list into groups
  • Unicode support
  • Webcam support, compatible across PCs and Macs
  • Custom Status messages, including links to music tracks
  • Animated sign-in, sign-out, and contact list
  • All new sound effects!
  • Alerts for Yahoo! Calendar, Mail and Personals