January 8, 2011

Request more users

I received mail earlier today from Google announcing support for DKIM for all Google Apps editions. My boss has always complained that he couldn't send email to or receive email from his boss, and the IT people at his boss' company always refused to check their in-house email server for problems and keeps telling me to check my email server for problems.

Occam's razor moment. An in-house email server with hundreds of users vs. Google Apps. What are the chances the problem is on my end? DKIM doesn't really have anything to do with inability to receive mails, but I like to throw acronyms at my boss, so, I enabled DKIM on Google Apps and set my DNS accordingly, and on another tab, I was doing user transitions to the new Google Apps infrastructure. While I was doing this, I suddenly noticed on the Dashboard I can request for more users. The request for more users button was disabled a few years ago when Google Apps started the Premier Edition (now simply called Google Apps for Business) and since I already have 200 users I never actually needed more users. (Unlike new Google Apps users that can only get 50 users, I've been using Google Apps since 2006 and started with 100 users, and I've requested for 200 users in 2007.)

To make sure I wasn't imagining things, I googled and found this TechCrunch article, which is exactly what my dashboard looked like earlier. And just to make sure I'm not dreaming, I immedidately requested for 100 more users.


January 7, 2011

Loving Linux Mint

(Continued from Part 2)

After trying openSUSE and Fedora and getting frustrated, I was almost ready to give up. Surely if people are trying to get Linux onto desktops, it should be easier than this? All those people that are saying Linux is ready for personal use must be delusional, or have really simple needs.

Anyway, my next was Ubuntu. Ubuntu is by far the most popular Linux distribution with a huge commercial backing. The installation screens of Ubuntu is also different from others in that it highlights Ubuntu's features instead of showing technical messages that most people probably won't understand.

Ubuntu has multi-lingual support built-in, but maybe because they don't have a lot of Asian developers, their selection of pre-installed input method are more than strange, to say the least, and the most commonly used Pinyin input, ibus-pinyin, isn't available by default, and none of those Chinese input selections in the screen below worked in a useful manner.

You might also think I'm easily discouraged. The thing is, I have no problems with using Windows or OS X in my daily work. I don't think Bill or Steve are the devil, and I use the right tool for the right job. I can easily learn to compile my own kernel or drivers, but I want to see how difficult it would be for an average person to get Linux going, without getting all frustrated.

Like Fedora, Ubuntu supports brightness and volume OSD out of the box, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggling using Fn-F5. Trackpoing scrolling and sensitivity can be installed and configured the same way as Fedora.

The big surprise was for Active Protection System, which I couldn't get to work in Fedora. In Ubuntu, both tp_smapi (called tp-smapi-dkms) and hdaps are available in the repo. After installing them from the repo, APS worked right away without additional configuration.

I was almost going keep Ubuntu when I went to uninstall Evolution. I don't use a desktop mail client, so Evolution is no use for me, but when I tried to remove it, Software Center also wants to uninstall ubuntu-desktop as well, which is probably not a very good idea. Evolution is just too integrated with Ubuntu to make a full and clean uninstallation possible.

Next and final in queue, Linux Mint.

Ubuntu and Linux Mint are almost exactly the same thing. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu but with somewhat different pre-installed applications and themes (Thunderbird instead of Evolution, Pidgin instead of Empathy, and it's green instead of brown), the partner repo is pre-enabled, and video codecs are pre-installed instead of auto-installation on first use.

Linux Mint's Software Manager is a lot like Ubuntu's Software Center. But it adds community reviews and stars, which sounds like a good idea at first, until you see the reviews for programs like Adobe Reader which is really useful for enterprise users like me, but typical "fanbois" would hate. I think this is Linux Mint's only drawback, and I wish there's a way to use the Software Manager without seeing those amateur reviews and scores.

In conclusion, I've been using Linux Mint for a couple of weeks now. As of this writing Ubuntu 10.10 is out, and I imagine a new version of Linux Mint would be coming soon.

(To be continued...)