My Chromium Extensions

Since I’ve been cycling continuously between the three browsers that annoy me the least lately (Opera, Firefox 3.6, and Chromium), I’ve been utilizing each browser’s extensibility to make it a bit more usable.

In a previous post, I discussed the various things I do to recent releases of Firefox to make it behave itself. In this post, I’ll be discussing the process I go through with the Chromium browser, namely with respect to extensions (since there really isn’t much one can configure in Chromium natively).

Continue reading

More Firefox feature assassination coming up

So in keeping with the direction the devs at Mozilla have been steering the Firefox browser, plans include more feature assassination (of course), this time in the form of obfuscating useful information — arguably the most important information for users of a web browser — in the address bar.
Continue reading

My Firefox 4 setup process

For the last year and some change, I’ve gone from using Opera as my primary browser to using Mozilla Firefox. I have a variety of reasons for this switch, and it was a somewhat gradual one, but as I detailed in a recent post, despite it being my browser of choice, I still feel that it has a lot of shortcomings, and as such, it needs a lot of tweaking out-of-the-box before I find it usable.

So this is a writeup of the things I do to Firefox — in this particular case Firefox 4 — immediately after I install it. It used to be a much shorter list, but these days it’s getting more and more involved, so this writeup is as much for my own purposes, as a checklist of sorts, as it is to share my thoughts with others on how to tweak Firefox 4.

Continue reading

Peppermint Two: Faster, slicker, and easier than ever

It’s been a little over a year since I reviewed the first Peppermint OS, and while I liked the first effort on this new project, I’ve been really looking forward to Peppermint Two. Well, my wait was over as of last week, so I was able to kick the tires and get a good feel for it after installing and using it for a few days.

And it didn’t disappoint!

Continue reading

OpenOffice.org is dead to me

With Oracle demonstrating yet again that they just don’t get it, and with The Document Foundation now truly forking OpenOffice.org into the new “LibreOffice“, we’re beginning to see where the lay of the land lies for the future of open source where documents, presentations and spreadsheets are concerned.

I think it’s a good idea for those of us in the open source community to make sure our voices are heard on this pivotal point in this project.

Continue reading

No 64-bit version of Firefox 4.0?

I got up this morning and saw this, which led me to a pretty serious WTF moment, all before having my morning coffee.

From the article:

Mozilla’s Director of Firefox, Mike Beltzner confirmed the fact that an x64 flavor of Firefox won’t be added to the existing x86 version, per the 32-bit/64-bit Internet Explorer 8 model.

Firefox users should not despair though. Fact is that Mozilla hasn’t given up on delivering a 64-bit version of Firefox, just not with Firefox 4.0.


This implies that maybe there will be a 64-bit release for Firefox 4.1? Maybe? 4.2? 5.0? Will there be one at all? Ever?

I think that they should probably be a little more open about when there will be, and why there’s a delay.

Continue reading

How do you cloud?

“Cloud Computing” is one of those buzzword terms that’s been driving everybody nuts for a while now, at least from what I’ve seen. But what does it really mean to people? Often when a term gets thrown around enough to become a “buzzword”, it starts losing its meaning because people grow numb to it. Once that happens, you get pushback from people, even people to whom the buzzword applies.

Computing in “the Cloud” is one of those terms. Like the term or not, Cloud Computing is here, and has been here for a while now, and if you’re like most people on the Internet, it applies to you in at least some way, whether you admit it or not.

Here’s how it applies to you, and how it applies to me.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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

An Eye-Opening Experience

Most of us who are familiar with Linux are familiar with the advantages of running Linux as a desktop OS. We frequently bemoan the fact that others don’t know what we do about the reality of Linux on the desktop, and we seem to be hampered by difficulties in spreading the word outside our own circles. Recently, I was able to get outside the circle of Linux users and perform a live demonstration of Linux (and LXDE) to a group of professionals in a conference setting. Here’s my story.
Continue reading