Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chrome on Linux, and fonts

I really like Chrome as a browser, but I just haven't been able to use the thing on Linux because the fonts never looked right. I set my system for one font rendering, to make my Linux (GNOME) fonts beautiful and easy to read. But Chrome never picked up the new preferences.

I googled it today, and found a discussion from earlier in 2010 (sorry, lost the link) that mentions the problem, and the solution.

The problem: Chrome uses a different method to get font preferences. It uses a method that no other Linux (really, GNOME) apps use. So changing your font preferences in GNOME do nothing for Chrome.

The solution: Edit your ~/.fonts.conf file (this is probably a new file for you.) Add these lines:

<match target="font">
<edit mode="assign" name="antialias"><bool>true</bool></edit>
<edit mode="assign" name="hinting"><bool>false</bool></edit>
<edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle"><const>hintnone</const></edit>

You may need to edit the settings manually to match how your GNOME preferences. But after I did this, things looked a lot better for me.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Windows v Ubuntu

PC Pro ran an article recently that I found very interesting: Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 10.04. It's a good comparison of two desktop operating systems. I happen to prefer Fedora, but Ubuntu is a very nice distro as well.

I'll give PC Pro this: they give credit where credit is due. From the intro:
However, something rather extraordinary is happening in the Linux world. Amid all the distros that have come and gone over the years, one finally has the potential, the momentum and the commercial backing to at least challenge the Windows hegemony.

Ubuntu 10.04 is the most mature, user-friendly and feature-packed Linux desktop OS to date. From the Wubi installer – which installs the operating system with the ease of a regular Windows app – to the built-in music store, online backup service and comprehensive driver support, Ubuntu 10.04 has the unmistakable demeanour of a mainstream OS. It even looks nice.

The review compares entertainment and bundled apps, performance and mobility, drivers and compatibility, and suitability for business.

If you don't want to read the whole thing, I'll spoil the ending:
  • Linux: 38/50

  • Windows: 41/50

Windows just barely squeaks ahead, only 3 points ahead. The tone of the article's conclusion is very encouraging, as well:
Our overall scores show a narrow victory for Windows 7. Does that mean we urge you to remain firmly entrenched in the Windows camp? Most certainly not.

[..] And with a new version of Ubuntu never more than six months away, more new features are just around the corner.

Ubuntu is clearly an operating system on the rise. If we repeat this feature in a year’s time, will it have closed the gap? We wouldn’t bet against it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Microsoft hates "open"?

You may recall from 2001 when Microsoft CEO referred to Linux (and open source in general) was a "cancer". Remember a few weeks ago, when Microsoft reversed this position and declared they love open source. Microsoft had finally come to its senses in regards to Linux.

In an interview with Network World, Microsoft's general manager of their interoperability strategy team said: "We love open source [...] We have worked with open source for a long time now."

That was quickly reversed.

Brazil's Folha.com ran an article last week in which president of Microsoft Latin America, Hernán Rincón, was quoted saying:
"When you can not compete, you are declaring open. This masks incompetence. [...] When convenient, the companies say they are open. They use it for their own benefit." [translation]

Oops. Seems like this guy didn't get the memo.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Linux in Exile is not dead

My last post on Linux in Exile was 2 months ago. You may have wondered if the blog died out, maybe I stopped writing new entries. It hasn't, and I haven't. However, my activity was necessarily "paused" while some important events happened

I have moved on to a new organization.

What with interviewing, transitioning my old role to someone else, moving out of the old house, relocating the family to a new city, settling into the new home, and starting my new role at a new organization - Linux in Exile dropped in priority a bit. But I'm back.

However, things have changed slightly.

What would you call the senior-most IT officer at a "satellite" location, with lines of authority back to (but not reporting to) the Chief Information Officer? Different organizations refer to this position in different terms: "CTO", "Assistant CIO", "IT Director", etc. However you'd refer to that position title, that's me in this organization. I manage my own IT staff, and direct the IT strategy for this organization.

I also set IT policy for this location. We're a fairly independent branch, effectively our own shop. The "lines of authority" to the CIO basically are there to effect organization-wide IT decisions, but otherwise the IT strategy here is my responsibility.

People running Linux on the desktop is part of the culture, here. Looking across the organization, Linux is definitely part of the desktop IT ecosystem. So it's no surprise that as soon as I arrived, I installed Linux on my laptop - dual-boot with Windows 7. Finally, I'm running Linux at work again, rarely booting into Windows. So I guess you could say that I'm no longer "Linux in Exile", the original reason for starting this blog.

However, I do plan to keep writing new blog entries. I'm dual-boot with Windows 7, so I still notice lots of things in Windows that just seem out of place from Linux. And I intend to keep writing about them.

Expect more updates from me very soon. Please be patient if new posts aren't exactly timely. I'll try to get back on a schedule, but blogging may be erratic until I'm truly settled in.