Thursday, June 28, 2007

How a hospital opted for SimplyMepis...

"What?! The last time you're on PCLOS 2007 and now you're using yet another distro?! "

Ok, that's a bit exaggerated but that's what my friend told me when I told him that I am using yet another new Linux distro.

Its SimplyMepis 6.5.02! SM 6.5 is an Ubuntu based Linux distro being led by a certain Warren Woodford. Its official site is at other relevant sites are its Wiki, Guide, and Community Forum.

Its KDE based much like Kubuntu and PCLOS. Why SimplyMepis for me?! Here's what happened...

A hospital here in Tarlac sought my services thru my friend Jag Talon. They will migrate to OpenOffice, while half of their PCs will be installed with Linux. Actually, they would want to install Linux in all their PCs if not for an already developed hospital system they are currently using... oh well, that's another story.

I was supposed to install PCLOS 2007, but along the way the installer seems to fail in some machines... to the point of not being able to boot up to its live installer. And then I asked them if they would want to try on Ubuntu but they said that they would like to have something that looks close to Windows XP without much modifications... which is KDE of course.

I need Kubuntu! But I don't have one at that time. I only have PCLOS, Sam Linux, Xubuntu, Bayanihan Linux 4.0, Ubuntu Feisty and of course SimplyMepis 6.5.02.

Sam and Xubuntu are good but I don't think they will work well for these Linux newbies. PCLOS was my first choice, but alas, it won't boot right on a nice PIII 256 RAM ATI Video Card laptop owned by their boss. It seems to have problems detecting its screen, thus, it won't boot on a Live CD environment.

Down goes PCLOS 2007 :-(. And so I tried SimplyMepis... it flawlessly booted. It even detected the correct screen resolution plus the wifi card.

They were actually sold with SimplyMepis but I still insisted to try on an Ubuntu Feisty Live CD. To my embarrassment, Ubuntu Feisty took *years* to boot... a far cry from how fast SimplyMepis Live CD booted on the same laptop. And besides, they don't really like Gnome.

To make the story short, 17 PC desktops at Ramos General Hospital are now on SimplyMepis 6.5... and so is my office PC so that I can relate to what I am teaching them.

They even requested me to customize Mepis so that it would look as closest as possible with Windows XP and so here is my best imitation of Windows XP desktop look:

I am now compiling a few newbie KDE tips that I plan to post here when I have the time. Some of them are really simple but are often overlooked... and may already constitute as an annoyance to many new Linux users.

So far, Ramos General Hospital is happy and contented to migrate to Linux and It saved them around P350,000.00 and are already looking forward to the development of custom FOSS solutions in the future.

Which makes me ask... anyone interested to develop an accounting software (FOSS of course!) for them? Email me ASAP!

Monday, June 04, 2007

A cool object dock for KDE

One thing that "amazes" me on a MAC desktop is its object dock wherein the icons actually zoom in a parabolic way when you hover your mouse pointer on it. I thought it was exclusive for MAC then so I didn't bothered looking for a Linux equivalent.

Now that I am on KDE, I found out that there is ksmoothdock. Ksmoothdock is a cool desktop panel (like KDE's kicker) for KDE 3.2 and above with smooth zooming (2 modes: normal & parabolic). Its aim is to provide a cool alternative/complement to kicker. As it is intended for KDE/Linux, its behavior will be like that of kicker.

Here's are screenshots:

Neat! I am using the Aqua Fusion Icon Theme the Baghira window decorator. Perfect for Linux (KDE) enthusiast who would want a MAC twist to their desktop look. :)

Friday, June 01, 2007

TIP: Undo wrapped text on your KDE desktop icons

An initial bad impression I had on KDE is that it wraps the text under a desktop icon that sometimes it even automatically shorten the text... it looks darn ugly to me:

I've tried searching the KDE Control Center for a solution only to get zero results. I later found out that the solution is really simple. Right click on your desktop (not on an icon), then hover on the word Icon and then left click on Align to Grid. You may also right click on Lock in Place to prevent accidentally messing up your desktop icons.

And dyaran...

No more wrapped texts under desktop icons while icons are neatly aligned. Simple does it!