Thursday, December 21, 2006

ubuntu + commercial software = uber ubuntu

A few articles ago, I had quickly mentioned a program called Cedega. I even recommended it without even trying it - so I figured I should spend the few dollars to give an accurate review of it.

When signing up for the software at, they have a three month required payment - a total of $15.50. After paying this, the next 3 months of updates are covered. If, however, you did not like the software and do not like the idea of playing Windows games in Linux, you can withdraw from the monthly payment plan after the first 3 months are gone. However, you will be missing out. I have tested many of my games with it, and found most of them to work superbly. Here are some games and their results:

*Please note this system is a Pentium D 2.67, 1gb DDR2 667 RAM, and an Intel GMA 950 - I believe Nvidia cards are better supported by Cedega

Starcraft (and Broodwar expansion):
Installs perfectly, plays perfectly (as in, no errors)

Medal of Honor Allied Assault:
Installs perfectly, plays perfectly - in fact, better than Windows, in my opinion.

Homeworld 2:
Cedega claims to officially support this title, but I have not had luck in getting the game to run. The install was fine, but the game never would launch.

Steam installed and updated perfectly, I could log in, re-download my purchased games, and launch them. However, Half-Life 1 does not play, and Half-Life 2 would be unbearable on my video card anyway, so I didn't bother with it. Half-Life 2 is officially supported and is one of the primary focuses of Cedega, so they will help you get your game running.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2:
Perfect Install, Perfect gameplay

Baldur's Gate 2 (with Throne of Bhaal expansion):
Installs and plays very well.

Note that with all these games, there are install and play notes from Cedega that will tell you how to get the best performance out with almost every supported game.

Primary Focus

Well, I have decided now that I would rather spend all my energies discussing and promoting ubuntu - the world's greatest operating system to all - Mac and PC alike.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A few good apps.

Hello all! There have no recent posts on here for one reason. I was distracted by the beautifully working Ubuntu Edgy operating system. Everything I once used in Microsoft Windows is already here at my fingertips. After I had gone through with the default install and set up of Ubuntu, I then set up and installed Scribus, Gnomad2 with MTP support, KMyMoney, Blender3d Modeller, and Acidrip. In the next few steps, we will first understand what these few programs are, and then we'll walk through the process of setting up these applications for Ubuntu Edgy.

Brief Description
1) Scribus - a desktop publishing application that can be used to create fancy emails, letters, cards, etc.
2) Gnomad 2 with MTP support - a program used to interface with the Creative Nomad Zen Xtra - of which I own. However, I had updated the firmware to PlaysForSure, which had then rendered my player very difficult to connect to from within Linux - which is my primary and only operating system now.
3) KMyMoney is a money management program similar to Microsoft Money or Quicken, featuring an easy-to-use interface.
4) Blender 3d - a 3d modeling application. Although hard to use, it is quite powerful in the creation of beautifully rendered art.
5) AcidRip - a quite useful little tool that can rip personally owned DVD's to a compressed video file, using a broad array of encoders to choose from, even including the H.264 encoder.

1) The most important thing for Ubuntu - what I consider to be the greatest commandment of the operating system - is to enable the repositories. The process is rather simple. Just click on System -> Administration -> Software Sources, and check the first four check boxes under the Internet heading. Click on Close, and then click on Reload after the message asks.

Ok, your first and hardest step is done. :)

2) Click on Applications -> Add/Remove... and then search for Scribus, KMyMoney, Blender, and Acidrip. Click on OK. Done.

3) As for Gnomad 2 with MTP support, you must download Gnomad 2 and build it. This is never a task that is needed in Windows, so I will explain how to do this, with the help of this thread at

a) Open up a Terminal window by selecting Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
b) Install these required applications with this command:

sudo aptitude install build-essential libnjb-dev libmtp-dev libid3tag0-dev libglib2.0-dev libgtk2.0-dev libxml-perl

c) Download Gnomad2 here to your home directory or desktop.
d) Extract the archive by right clicking on it and selecting Extract here...
e) Cd to the directory you extracted to, then configure and make the program with this command:

cd gnomad2-2.8.9
sudo make

If you, or anyone else happens to need any of these programs, I hope this helped.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The [almost] Greatest OS today?

Well, after having thoroughly read reviews, prices and watched conferences on the new and upcoming Operating Systems from Apple and Microsoft, I have concluded that the best OS out for a PC is neither (especially in considering the difficulty one would have in placing OSX on a PC). The greatest is actually Ubuntu. Ubuntu is an entirely free, Open Source operating system based on Linux. To learn more about Open Source, click here. In short, Open Source is based off a mentality to have freely developed software available to everyone.

Over the past few months, Ubuntu has evolved from something good to a truly spectacular operating system. In the screenshot, I have the latest Ubuntu Edgy installed - which only took 15 minutes to install ground-up.

Already out of the box upon installing Ubuntu comes Evolution - almost the equivalent to Microsoft Outlook... just better, the latest and greatest of Firefox - 2.0... the entire Suite, which eliminated my need for any office software; I even had database tools. There was also The Gimp installed - which is a fairly equivalent to Photoshop - a handful of games, music listening/ripping/burning sofware, and GAIM. Gaim is the best instant messaging client any human being could ask for, and what a better way to use it than to place it on the operating system for human beings.

After I installed Edgy, I grabbed Automatix2 - a tool used to easily install the most popular used apps to your system - by following In a matter of minutes, I had GoogleEarth, Exaile! music player, a number of developing programs, Blender3d - an opensource equivalent to 3dMax - and a web development tool. My computer had become a multimedia video/audio/image studio, along with a complete developer's backyard to write applications.

Gamers! You can also be excited! If you can't leave your Windows games, there are ways to play them in Ubuntu. Cedega offers a solution that can allow your gaming goodness to become a reality in Linux. The software isn't free, but it is worth it. What's even better is that some terrific games are already ported to Ubuntu. Nexuiz is one of those games. It offers the gaming fun of Unreal Tournament, with some of the latest graphics offered in games like Half-Life 2 (such as the bloom and HDR effects).

Low graphics settings - I was on a non-gaming laptop.

One more AMAZING plus to Ubuntu is AIGLX. It is incredibly easy to install something called Beryl, and it will then turn the computer into a 3d-fluid desktop environment, featuring a 3d multi-desktop, transparent window titles (which was a possibility before Windows Vista was even released), and many more cool effects.

The last and biggest thing that would have held me back from Ubuntu is a little thing called PlaysForSure. If you own an mp3 player other than an iPod, odds are it is PlaysForSure - and was MS's attempt at locking you in to Windows. But now it works, thanks to the release of libmtp2 and Gnomad2 (v 2.8.9+).

The ONLY thing that still is not enabled in Linux is the ability to play music bought through an online music store like iTunes or URGE.

At least not yet - the Open Source community is always changing, always growing, always supporting.