Opera 10.60 for Linux: A rant

I’ve made no secret of the fact that despite my open source advocacy, I’m still a longtime user of the Opera browser.

However, the past year has been pretty rocky in that respect; Opera 10.10 for Linux was plagued with a lot of bugs, crashes, and performance issues, rendering it practically unusable, even for an Opera fan such as myself, and despite 10.50 being released for other platforms in March, the Linux world was stuck with the problematic 10.10 (and eventually 10.11) release until this week.

Finally, after such a long wait, Opera 10.60 was finally released for all platforms on July 1st, so I was finally able to ditch Firefox and Chrome and go back to my browser of choice.

Or was I?

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Thoughts on Google Chrome (stable) for Linux

As many of you are already aware, Google Chrome stable was released for the Linux platform on May 25th.

Google Chrome has been one of the fastest growing browsers, and a stable release for Linux has been a long time coming. I’ve played around with beta releases and found them so unstable as to be unusable as recently as just a few months ago, so needless to say, I was pretty interested in seeing what a release for Linux marked “stable” was like.

I’ve been using it as my primary browser since May 25th, so I decided I’d do a brief writeup of what I think of the experience so far.

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One year and still going

In May of 2009 after hemming and hawing about it for far too long, I finally just bit the bullet and created this blog and registered Linux-Critic.com. I thought at the time that it would be a good way for me to keep track of some of my Linux and technology experiments, a place for me to go when I think “okay, when I was messing around with $whatever, how the heck did I configure that?”.

I also thought it’d be a good way for me to share geeky techie information with some of my close geek friends, particularly the ones who are always tinkering around like I am.

Today marks a year since I made that “Hello World” post, and now The Linux Critic is averaging over 18,000 unique views per month, and I’m still finding a lot of enjoyment in creating content here, even if it’s just the occasional unproductive rant about something that’s bothering me in the Linux world.

Even though I haven’t always been as regular with posts as I probably should have been, a fair number of you have continued to keep an eye on what I and my contributors (Joe and Patrick) have to say whenever we do manage to post a new article, howto, review, or whatever.

For that, and for the wonderful comments many of you continue to post — the ones of encouragement and yes, even the ones of disagreement — I say “thanks!”, because it’s very validating.

Linux is a tinkerer’s dream, and we love it. I know you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be bothering to read this or anything else here!

But going back to my original stated purpose with this blog, Linux can be better, and only by continuing to tinker, continuing to find those weak points, and continuing to point them out can Linux get better.

When I started this, I honestly didn’t think anybody (other than my friends and myself) would bother to read anything here. I said it was very validating to have so many regular readers and so many commenters, and this is why. It makes me feel like there is a wider purpose to this, that all this tinkering and tweaking and evaluating and technology exploration and subsequent discussion can lead to something good. It makes me feel like I’m still on the right track, and that makes it all worth it.

So, a year into this, I say again thanks for reading, following, commenting, and paying attention. It’s appreciated!

But I’m not done here yet. I have a lot more to talk about, a lot more Linux to explore, and a lot more to discuss, so stick around and keep reading!

– Trent

6 things Microsoft needs to do before I’ll take Windows seriously

I’m an IT guy in what is still largely a Windows world. I’ve been managing Windows workstations and servers for a living since 1996 or so, and I’ve always been left shaking my head, wondering how, exactly, Windows is considered “enterprise ready”, especially when better alternatives — as development platforms, as workstations, and especially as servers — are widely available.

While the Information Technology industry hasn’t caught up just yet, I like to consider myself a bit more forward looking than that. The way I see it, Windows isn’t ready for the enterprise yet. Sure, it might be good for playing games, but for doing serious work? For securing customer data and transactions? For safeguarding your company’s future and productivity?

Not even close, not from what I’ve seen. Here are six things Microsoft will need to do before I’ll start recommending Windows as the “best tool for the job”.

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How to make Peppermint OS even faster with Openbox

A few weeks ago I posted a very early review of the new web-friendly Peppermint OS. In that review, I lauded the Peppermint team for achieving what I think might be the fastest graphical Linux distro I’ve ever tried, on any hardware.

The only things that get in my way of enjoying Peppermint are, unfortunately, the limitations imposed by the still-under-heavy-development LXDE desktop environment, which, while I’m still pretty excited about it, provides a few stumbling blocks to someone like me who likes to have more control over his user interfaces.

Well, for those of you out there who agree, I thought I’d do a quick writeup on getting the most out of Peppermint OS without having to resort to installing another desktop or window manager. Instead, we can make do with something that’s already integrated into Peppermint: the Openbox window manager!

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The opposite of Feature Creep

It’s time for a rant. Those sensitive to ranting should avert their eyes and go read something else today. But for those of you who enjoy such things, read on.

I have brought this up here and there over the past year on The Linux Critic, but I think it’s time I actually just dedicated a full discussion to it.

There’s a disturbing trend that I’ve been running into everywhere for a while now, and I feel that it’s worth a rant. I’m talking about the tendency of developers committing what I consider to be the cardinal sin of software:

Thou shalt not release a new version that has fewer features than the previous version.

This is the kind of thing that spins me up to no end, and I’m seeing it everywhere. It’s time more attention got brought to this problem, because it’s really running rampant.
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Peppermint: Ask and they deliver

Wow, got a lot of traffic on the review I posted Monday about the new Peppermint OS!

I wanted to post a quick update to that review, because things move fast in the new Linux distro world, and the Peppermint OS team is already moving on some of the relatively minor things I brought up.

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Peppermint OS: a review

What do you get when you combine the flexibility, versatility and ease of maintenance of Ubuntu, the blinding speed and simplicity of LXDE, and a focus on social media and the cloud?

You get Peppermint OS, that’s what! Brought to you by the same developer responsible for Linux Mint 8 LXDE Community Edition, and for resurrecting Linux Mint Fluxbox CE as well, Peppermint OS is a lightweight, fast, stable implementation of what Kendall Weaver’s vision of the perfect Linux distro might be for speed and the web.

And I think he’s onto something.

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New laptop

In my post last week, Time For A Linux Laptop, I discussed how my options were rather slim when it came to combining Linux, good processing power, and machines on the smaller end of the laptop scale.

The bar by which I had been measuring everything was the now discontinued Darter Ultra, by System76, which was what I had planned to buy this month, at least, until it vanished from their website’s selection of laptop computers back in the end of February.

Well, despite my lack of options, I’ve made a purchase, and it’s arriving today.

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Going back to Windows

Well guys, it’s been a good run, but I’ve decided that this Linux thing just isn’t working out.

I have been working on configuring Windows 7 machines for work, and I have found that it’s pretty much everything I could want in an operating system.

Linux is… well, it’s just not ready for prime time yet. Maybe in another ten years or so. Or if Microsoft comes out with their own distro, I might give it another try then. But until then, Windows 7 rocks!

I’m going to be formatting all of my Linux machines this weekend and I just bought Windows 7 licenses for all of them. This is going to be AWESOME!

So, as for this blog, keep checking back. I’m going to be changing its name to something else, obviously, I just haven’t decided what yet. Maybe “Windows Help”. I think it’d be cool to post Windows tips and tricks for the average user here, maybe something a little more in-depth once in a while for the more advanced user. I dunno. Still working on that concept.

At any rate, those Linux users who are still reading, you should give the new Windows a try. I was pretty skeptical, but WOW. It really blew me away. I’m done with Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Slackware, all of it.

Time to go mainstream!

Cheers!

– Trent