Saturday, November 18, 2006

Well, round two on blogging yourself into debt...

Well, my last blog entry was about how I blogged myself into debt by actually having too many people read my blog. Imagine that, too many people doing what you want them to do. I still think there is a problem on the server that I was operating on, due to the fact that with only one blog posting I was still using nearly 1 GB an hour of traffic. For the non-technical that is about the same that a decent DSL line will allow in an hour.

So anyway, the bandwidth continued to grow and my bill was looking more and more every single hour, with nothing published, so I contrinued to call to express my worries. Well, it seems the communication had already moved up the food chain so that when I was on for the second time on the 17th of Nov, another person picked up declaring he was from the Office of The President. What that meant, I didn't really know, but it was sounding a bit more promising that someone from legal or security might sound. He stated that I was one of the first people to use this product from godaddy and one of the most popular in way of traffic and visitors. They wanted to work with me to figure out what was happening and to see if they could provide me enough bandwidth to keep my site operational without these monster bills. They also stated they were going to credit back the bill for the bandwidth up to that point. They agreed that it would be not a viable product if there was a bandwidth limit for blogs, when I could get a free site (and have at called and not worry about this.

I am still a bit cautious about all of this, I mean unless they create tools to allow bloggers to see the traffic they are generating, then there is no way to see where the trend will cross the bandwidth limits. This simple, but necessary, network engineering tool would be the first step in me not worrying about whether or not.

The biggest irony in all of this to me was that I was on, the CEO of godaddy reading his blog while I was on hold, and he just published an article talking about the methods of business that basically was titled "The secret John D. Rockefeller used to build Standard Oil. It's simple. Putting it to work in your business." In this nice little post, he talks about knowing exactly what your product is costing you, what is working, what is not, so on and so forth. This is exactly how I try to function in my wireless career, knowing exactly what each component of our network does, needs and how it affects surrounding pieces. However, this is exactly the tools I am missing from this quick blogger to do what he is talking about. They limit your bandwidth but provide no tools to monitor that bandwidth. I can see IP addresses of people who hit my site, but not on a daily or hourly basis. It also combines the IP hit from a single address into a tally instead of telling me how, when and where. I can't see how is printing each article, just how many people total have printed them. I can't even see the amount storage each posting is taking, even though I have a limit of 300 MB. For the longest time, even with a ton of pics in my postings (I deleted those from the posts, you can see them at I was at 0.00 MB of storage.

So my opinion is that this is at most an Alpha product and should be tweaked with many add ons, which really are not add ons but fundamental tools for the blogger to have, if they are going to place limits. If they want a product similar to blogger, wordpress, or others, they need to not worry about it, see how successful they are, they re-evaluate periodically to see where they are spending too much and where is the product being successful. Hey, they sounds a lot like Bob's posting. I guess he knows how to do it, let's see if his company can put it into practice for this.

Thanks for reading this, hopefully we will keep everyone up to speed on what is happening.



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Linux XP 2006 - From Russia With Love????

So the other day I was reading the Weekly review on and was checking out a recent tidbit on Linux XP that seems to have caused quite a stir on their site. Seems that for the past 7 days, Linux XP has surpassed Ubuntu for number one on their list. To quote Ladislav

"So why did so many of you click? Is it the catchy name or the attraction of a Linux system resembling a more familiar environment? Or maybe just plain curiosity? And if you downloaded and tried the new release, what do you think of it? Is Linux XP likely to remain on your computer? Have any of you paid the license fee? If so, why?"

So I decide to download and see what I think of it. Personally, something this hyped has a lot to live up to, so let's see how they did.


Download Here
Kernel - Kernel 2.6.15
Desktop - Gnome
FAQs -
Cost - FREE to try, doesn't work very well, 30 boots then it crashes, so really $39.99 for Key ($39.98 in Canada)
Special Features - Look and feel of Windows, LDAP support, full media support out of the box and that's about it really

Nitty Gritty:
Installation ( )

Since this is really a repackaged version of Fedora, it is no surprise to see Anaconda used to install. Nothing new here, so if you have ever installed Redhat or Fedora you will see some familiar things. First thing I did note was that the splash screen was fuzzy. Not a great start folks.

Next the splash screen is nice and colorful, but reminds of my neighbors in Redmond. I mean I know you can try to make software look like what people are used to, but to really try and steal a name comfort like this too, splash screens and everything, does this mean there is no unique look and feel to this?

Ok, so we are right into Anaconda here, same silly logo.

So the first thing here is to setup my disk, which you can do automatically and then manually with disk druid. Now, I absolutely hate disk druid for many, many reasons, but again being a Fedora clone, this is what you get. For my VMWare install I used the automatic, but for my personal laptop I used disk druid since the auto didn't work. So far negative two on this so far, not going so well.

So even though you select Automatic, the tool then goes and asks me a question. Hmmm, not very automatic, more like manual with no chance wait, I can delete everything here. Not the best option for a newbie. So for those who don't know, what you want to do here is based on what you already have on your system. If you have windows, you will likely need to select use free space, which will resize windows and create a Linux partition next to it. If you already have a multi partitioned drive, then you can use Keep all partitions and use existing free space. The others are just stupid, as they will either wipe out the entire hard drive, or wipe out all the Linux partitions (non NTFS ones), which both are going to end whatever might exist already. Three negative, one cute logo....

Now, I don't exactly get where this was automatic on anything, minus that it took my VMWare drive and created a EXT3 partition for my main, created a small boot partition and then a swap drive. But in my case, none got labeled, so I had to manually edit each and assign their relative usage. Big gets "/", little gets "/boot" and medium gets "Linux-swap". Arrrgggg....

So here you need to select/set up your boot loader. In my laptop it did see my Windows partition and add that, but it didn't see any of my other Linux distros. I did add them and used what it calls "default boot" for each, but that just added a chainloader line to grub. Um, that really doesn't cut the mustard folks, so only my windows partition worked. Now, most newbies only will have the one probably, so this isn't a killer, but for anyone with a debian Linux distro, this means your system will have to be reconfigured after you get into this one. Minus four, and I am really starting to hate that logo.

So now on to network, where my options are to do DHCP (which 99% of you will need) or Static IP. You can edit the configuration of your NIC, but not many will need to do that. However, this did not see my wireless or make any attempt at configuring. Minus 5. Logo sucks.

Ok, I know where I live on the pretty map....make sure you select UTC if your machine is set that way.

Pretty basic here, root password. But wait, the dialog on the left says that "once the installation is completed, create a non-root account for my general use...are you kidding me? I will need to create my user account after I log in as root? Um, did these guys miss the class on Linux Security 101? That means unless you directly take them to this, the likelihood of someone creating a separate user account is about a snowball's chance in Miami. Minus 6.

That is it folks. No place to select what packages, or system type. Now, for a newbie this might not be so bad if they have never install Linux before. But, what is the goal of this install? No user account? Didn't find my wireless card? Cannot select any package type for desktop or laptop? Compared to other products similar in class, mainly Linspire and Xandros, this install really is overly basic and extremely dangerous. This is my first 2 Pennie install, in that it doesn't do what it needs to do and can do too many bad, bad things. Some people may like it, but for me this doesn't do what it needs to do, nor what it should do, or instruct people on what it could be doing along the way. But they do have pretty screens to watch while it installs.

Based on how many packages need to be installed? Don't they know, they restricted me from selecting any....

We will learn that this is very misleading once we launch the program. Seems you get a 20% ride on the free bus, and if you want any packages you need to pony up $40.

Ok, so I am not pleased with what I have seen so far, but things can only get better, right? I am afraid I won't ever know. Why? Read on....

Starting (

So there are about 500 distros out on Some charge a fee like Linspire, Xandros, Novell, Redhat, etc...but even those have demos that allow you to install for a short period of time, say 30-60 days. This one is supposed to be the same. It states that you can boot for 30 cycles, which is odd because if one never reboots, they get the system forever. Free Beer, right? Wrong.

The look and feel is very similar to Xandros for me, however they are using Gnome and not KDE. On their website they state...
"Forget about KDE. KDE is for hackers and that is why it sucks in end-user oriented distribution.We are not supporting it in any way. You can install it from Fedora repositories and use it on your own risk."

Hmmm, ok. Guess we see how they feel.

When I clicked on the Start button and then selected Office, I was surprised to only see Dia there. There is no Openoffice as claimed by the website and then even in the install pretty pictures. Where is it I wonder. Well, it isn't there. Period. It didn't get installed. So I then go to the control panel to install it.

When you click on the pretty Application icon (this is very well laid out, but honestly I am not going to make a big deal out of that) you get the option for Install or Update.

Um, not to be picky, but you cannot select Next. So party is over folks. Sure, I am more than positive I could take the time and download RPMs and install them manually, but obviously they don't want me to have a fully functional machine until I cough up the money. Now, I realize that people want to earn a living. But if you want to compete in Linux offerings one has to give away Free as in Gratis, not Free as in Beer. Sure, keep your 30 boots for the trial version, but let me be fully functional without having to hack my own Linux system. What is the point then, I am worse off than I am with Windows.

I can honestly say this is the most disappointed I have been with a distro for a long time. You may love it. It might jump right out and get you to pay the $40 and use this. But there are so many better options out there where I could give $40 to any distro and know that my contribution is for something I like, rather than something I might like.

Bonus Stuff ()

Um never got anything bonus minus the loss of a $0.50 blank CD, an hour downloading the distro (use torrent or you will wait until the Soviet Union comes back to power). Sure it looks like windows XP. I hate windows XP. I am the guy that makes my XP on my work laptop look like Windows 2000.

Overall ( )

Well folks, if you want to give this a shot, be my guest. If you speak Russian, you got a great package to play with. But in my opinion if you want to spend $40 for an OS, this is not the one to invest in. Xandros offers so much more, so does Linspire. What they are trying to do I am not sure. Why there is so much activity on Distrowatch for this, I really don't know. I do know that the hype is not worth my time, nor will this be spending any more time on my hard drive. Anyone want to buy my CD? Click on about 4 of my adds, do some searches and follow threws and email me and I will send it to you =)


KnoLinuxGuy (Kevin)

How to blog yourself into debt

Well, this story is about the downside of blogging. Most articles you read are on how to create a website, drive traffic, blog for free, blah, blah, and of course blah...

So I had already purchased a website for my wireless consulting company a few years back at called knowireless. Catchy name huh? My wife came up with that one. So when I started to blog about wireless on, I decided to look into using my account and created a new one for linux I called The idea was to review various distributions and help new users on which one would be best for them by showing them the installation process with graphical screen shots (which was my undoing) and hope that a couple of people would come over to Linux and enjoy it as much as I do. But I digress.

So for about three months I created a total of 16 posts with pretty cool pictures. I published these via, a website that really shows all the decent linux distros and helps people keep track on the ever growing process of the Linux/Open Source movement.

Well, in only two months I had over 70,000 people review my articles and over 90 feedbacks on the blog. In the little survey, 95% had positive things to say about the work I was doing. I even made a few bucks via google adsense along the way.

Well, as things were ramping up even more in my opinion (I was looking to branch into writing about Linux on Apple PPC machines) I got an email from godaddy stating I had a bill for a bit over $312 because of the bandwidth of over 45000 MB. As I am a network engineer, I started to look for my website's statistics of traffic, usually listed after the website with a '/stats'. Much to my dismay, there are no stats for the product that godaddy calls 'quickblogger'.

I called and asked about this, and they stated they would escalate this issue, as I don't think that the 70,000 reads would generate this level of bandwidth, and I got an email basically stating due to my graphical nature of my website and since it was so popular, I had actually used this much bandwidth. They still can't show me this usage, because it just isn't available, so just trust them.

Since then I have restarted my account under this address, using email posting from my gmail by copying and pasting to the email composer, then emailing to the link I created in the settings for email posting. I then went to my POS godaddy account and deleted all of the graphics off the site. I won't be posting any new blogs there, only here.

So if you ever plan on starting a blog, I would suggest using a more reputable site like,, or others that are really set up to support blogging rather than some hosting company that just wants to milk you beyond what they offer which is a miserably small amount of bandwidth. I guess they never expect you to be able to support traffic. Who knows. Stay away from, do not use them.

I am still planning on moving forward with my linux website. I hope to learn from this and move on. If you feel sorry for me, click on a few adds either at, or here on, so I can't take some google money and help pay my bill.

Thanks for reading and hopefully from my mistake you won't repeat it in your blogging life.

Best wishes



Freespire 1.0 - Free is in the name for a reason

The history of Freespire is like a movie plot, with nuances of a Phoenix rising from ashes, Rocky, Mission Impossible and a bit of Ground Hog day all wrapped up in a single OS. Born as OS to directly rival Windows, the original name of Lindows sparked some concerns in Redmond and many lawsuits later a new name was born: Linspire. Now many in the Linux community did not like the approach taken by Michael Robertson and gang, likening the distribution to a bad copy of Windows and a poor Linux distribution to boot. I for one gave them a shot just for the fact that they stood toe to toe with the giant in the northwest and won (MS may dispute this, but if you just have to change a name after all the publicity created, hell sign me up).

So earlier this year Kevin Carmony announced to much fanfare that the Linspire company was starting an OpenSource project call Freespire. The news took some by suprise, while some on the inside of Linspire figured it was inevitible. With Ubuntu gaining so much ground in the community and openSuse drawing more attention to Novell, something had to happen. Freespire would be coming soon. After a few decent Beta copies, on August 9th, the first version appeared.

I had tested many of the Alpha and Beta releases, so the final production version was just icing on the cake. I am very pleased with the overall performance and look of Freespire, so lets get too it, shall we???


Download Here
Kernel - 2.6.14
Desktop - KDE 3.3.2 Freespire Enhanced (An older version, but extremely stable
FAQs -
Cost - FREE!!! However CNR Warehouse does come at a cost of $19.95 for basic service per year $49.95 for Gold
Special Features - CNR and the options for Propriertary codec version or an OSS free version, and did I mention FREE!!!!!

Nitty Gritty:

Installation (

The way to install an OS tells a lot about what you get later. I simply feel that if they can't get this part right, how are they going to get anything else correct. First impressions are everything and I think that some people really need to spend more than an hour getting this right. Freespire basically has the same installation routine as Linsire 5.0, but it worked well there. There is an option for running the install disk as a Live OS and also an addition of a Parition manager in the boot manager from the disk.

I always suggest booting the system in Live mode whenever it is an option so that you can get an idea of how the OS will run with your hardware. It isn't fool proof, but odds are if it doesn't load in the Live mode, it won't run after an install either.

I am not a big fan of the partitioning being seperated from the installation, as most newbies won't understand what this is, nor how to do it, nor is this version very user intuitive. Basically this alone reduces on Pennie from the score. If your system is already partitioned, this isn't a big deal, but for Windows crossovers this will be a huge negative. We will walk you through using this feature later if you need help, but the one thing that always shines on Freespire/Linspire is the awesome user community. The only community as helpful and responsive I have seen to day would be Ubuntu.

This is an extremely informative welcome screen and lets you know to do what we just suggested and run Live before trying to install and the location for support. However, my only issue with that is that it assumes that you have another computer available to get to that site. I wish people would think about that when they make these suggestions in that many people only own one PC and just can't go to a website for support. A nice 800 number or 619 (San Diego) number for support might be nice, or an ability to have a help link on the screen with a simple wiki installation directions or roadmap would greatly improve the look and comfort for the newbie.

There are basically two options for the installation; Full and Advanced. Full is basically watch out below, here it comes option that just does what the coders think it should: Take over the world. If you have another partition of Windows or other Linux, I would strongly recommend that you do the Advanced option, although that is a bit of a misleading statement. The only options in the Advanced tabs are to choose which partition (if you knew to make one in the first place) and if you wish to have the MBR updated. Now there is a little blurb in the text there that tells you if you needed a partition created that you should have alread done so, or that you now need to reboot and select that option from the drop down. This reminds me of that MASH show where they were working on the bomb. "Cut the blue wire.....but first, cut the red wire next to the blue wire." You can't allow people to go down the road for miles only to then tell them of the exit. Now, the one improvement over Linspire 5.0 is that there wasn't even a partitioning tool there, so C for the effort, D for the implementation.

Once you get past that, either on the first or second go around (hopefully if you read this first, you will know to partition before you get started) you will get the "are you really sure you wish to do that?" question that just bothers me. I mean, the other option to take over the entire hard disk asks the same question. I get why they do it, but sometimes these idiot questions are a bit over the top. Oh well, can't have everything can you.

Then you are off to the races. Installation takes between 8-15 minutes, really depending on the size of your PCs hard drive and overall performance. Not bad and there are some nice little pictures along the way describing what you are getting into with Freespire.

The complete screen is next and reminds you to remove your installation disk so that you don't go through this again. It is not what I would call user friendly, but it is about average across many distributions. Three Pennies is a bit of a stretch, but other than the partitioning snafu, everything else is pretty clear.

Starting ( )

I never understand why people don't follow distros like Suse and spend some time on the boot screen. First impressions again, right? This one is so simple it is painful. One thing that has been noted by myself and others is that Freespire does not do a decent job of finding other distros other than Windows. I personally feel that this is due to their drive mapping in the OS, but more on that later.

(Note some of these screens are from Freespire's website as I was having issues with my screen capture function, I give them full credit, but for some reason they still have their Beta background snapshots up instead of updates}

I love the boot screens as it really keeps the eye candy alive while waiting for the system to boot. It is one of those nice features that some people forget about, but here is done well. What happened to the installation, I have no clue.

Once in the OS for the first time, the system will bring up the EULA for you to agree to. This is super simple and nothing in there should scare even the most paranoid out there.

Next the system will allow you adjust all your network settings, first your sound with a nice slider to adjust your volume, which is a nice way to test your sound against what the system chose for you. I have heard of some issue with JACK, but personally have no experienced them.

The desktop is pretty much plain old KDE, and since it is from the 3.3.2 variety, don't expect many bells or whistles but do expect the system to work. Firefox has been customized for Linspire, but you can install the generic from CNR once you get there.

The little icon in the bottom right of the toolbar is the CNR icon and you might see another with a Blue arrow moving or circles moving around the little running man. CNR is the repository for Linspire and the bread and butter of their offering. It is by far the most user friendly and complete listing of software available to Linux users. The "warehouse" includes free software, drivers, kernels, patches, and for sale pieces such as CodeWeavers, Win4Lin, games such as Cold War and other pieces that you can purchase at a discount, if your are a Gold Member. A regular member can get the Free software and purchase the other packages, just without the discount. Now in Freespire is one new avenue, which is that apt-get is more functional that before in Linspire and provides flexibility of other repositories such as Ubuntu's while offering the advanced offerings of CNR. I for one think CNR is what clearly sets Freespire/Linspire apart from the field and will for some time to come.

CNR is also availble to the user from the Launch icon structure in each sub branch. By simply selecting the CNR expansion, one can select the package they want and then CNR launches on that page and they have the option to install. Another neat trick is that you can install from the website for CNR and that too will launch CNR on your computer. The hits keep coming and coming for CNR.

As mentioned briefly before, there are two levels of CNR subscriptions: Basic and Gold. Pricing between the two options has a big gap, $19.95 for basic and $49.95, and the benefit of Gold is pretty small. There is a table to describe the benefit, but unless you plan on purchasing the kitchen sink, most newbies will be happy with the Basic plan to start with. As your needs grow, then you could look into Gold later.

One thing that really is nice for Freespire is the video and wireless support on PCs, especially laptops. In their efforts to truly support proprietary drivers, they really hit the nail on the head in that most video cards and wireless adapters work out of the box. Now having said this, my laptops ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 did not get full 1280x800 resolution, but that is the case on Linspire as well (I ask and ask, and still asking for some help, but have honestly been too busy to push it). Wireless is accomplished by pre-loading NDISWRAPPER drivers galour. This was no easy task and is a really good way to keep this out of the kernel and still allow some user flexibility without having to know how to add/remove kernel packages and modules.

Bonus Stuff (

The number one item that is bonus in Freespire, other than CNR that really is a Linspire leftover, is the packaging of the proprietary codecs and drivers in the base package and then an optional OSS version free for the FSF lovers of the world. I don't mind these free systems and understand those that want total control, but those people also should realize there are people in the world that just don't want to spend the weeks it can take to get one of those systems functional. Time is more valuable than spending money on packages or losing some controlls. I for one like the middle ground that FrQuick Blog: Blog Administrationeespire offers, in that they pay the bill for this through support from Linspire and donations so users just don't have to worry about it.

So everything really works out of the box, minus the DVD, but that can easily be obtained from CNR in a couple of different options. You can see those before you install on the Web CNR here. There is a package for PowerDVD that if you plan on watching movies will pay for the GOLD subsription with its $40 discount. This isn't some crappy fly by night DVD player but rather a CyberLink offering that works extremely well.

There are two packages unique to Linspire that Freespire enjoys which are Lphoto and Lsongs. Another project by Linspire founder Michael Robertson is, which probably helped spawn Lsongs, which is a truly simple music manager. I for one like Amarok, which is also in the warehouse, but that is personal preference.

The other project that sees itself in the Freespire offering is the Gizmo Project, or VoIP client that compares with Skyp. It is a SIP protocal user that really has some interesting offerings, including free calls to any phone that is registered with their system. Check it out and this works for Windows and Apple as well.

So wireless works, Video cards work (for the most part), MP3 out of the box, DVD with a couple of clicks and LEGALLY done, and a clean desktop that will keep the windows lovers happy and the KDE Linux lovers in the works as well. It truly is a desktop that fullfills The World's Easiest desktop Linux! branding that comes over from Linspire, along with the FREEdom and FREEprice that many Linux lovers expect in their distribution.

Overall ( )

So what do I think overall? (if you care, right ) Freespire is truly a distro that allows Linux lovers to get their hands dirty and the newbies to have their simplified desktop that functions 95% of the way MS does right out of the box. The installation is not the easiest by far, nor the lack of a partitioning agent built into the process. But knowing that before hand you will hopefully work through that mine field unscathed and get to the meat on the table: Proprietary drivers, CNR that allows packages to be found and installed in a single click, apt-get flexibility, and a community second to none.

So give it a shot and tell me what you think. You should at least try the live version and keep that around so that if you Windows dies you will have a way to get files off your PC. That alone is worth the time of downloading.