JC Web Concepts

Dotfiles

Setting up a new computer can be a tedious and tiresome process. I am not the person that has an exact image of my machine, so when things go wrong I just load that image. I would never have something like that because when I am ready to re-install, I want to start as clean as possible.

At some point I went ahead and starting backing up my dotfiles in Github. This starting to make things easier but it was still a problem. I still had to install all the apps I needed to do things. Then the problem was, what and how do I install these things again. So then I watched a video by another developer by the name of Nick Nisi. He built a script to not only get his dotfiles but also it started moving things to where they need to be. Take a look at the video below where I talk a little more about this topic. You can view my current dotfiles here.

Elementary OS

So some of my Twitter followers have started to talk up, using a Linux OS called ElementaryOS. Its suppose to give you the look and feel of OSX. So after some many tweets, I have decided to install this in Virtualbox and give this a look over to see if its possible to replace my Windows/Mac environment. I have used Linux before, mostly and Arch/Ubuntu guy. So lets dig in and talk about some of things I liked and disliked.

Installer

As soon as the GUI came up for the installer I could feel the Ubuntu. Now there is nothing wrong with this at all. The install went very smooth and had no issues going through it

Playing Around

Got to say after logging in, I really liked the look. You can instantly tell that this is a nicely themed Gnome desktop manager. I love the keyboard remapping to open the application menu to Win key + spacebar. The dock at the bottom makes it look like a Mac desktop

Terminal

I really like the font and theme of the terminal application.

A picture of the terminal on Elementary OS
A nice transparent terminal with nice looking fonts

The Ugly

So there were some ugly things that came up The performance in Virtualbox was not good at all. Maybe this OS is just destine to not be virtualized.

The Verdict

I want to install this as a main OS and try to drive this and see how it goes. It has potential but really want to see how it works when you have a retina and non-retina display. That has been my biggest issue with all Linux distro. The support for multiple different DPI screens is a challenge to work with

Dual Boot MacBook 5,2 and Gentoo

One thing that I have always wanted to do was dual boot my Mac computer so I could run Linux on real hardware instead of emulation. This tutorial is going to show you how to accomplish this. A thing to note is you can do this with any Linux distro. Also the Mac that was used in this tutorial was a 13 inch White MacBook 5,2 version.


Things needed for this process:

  • Boot manager: rEFIt
  • Gentoo minimal ISO: Gentoo x86
  • USB Keyboard and Mouse
  • Wired Internet Connection

Partition HD

Mac already installed

  • Open boot camp assistant
  • Set the partition size to the size you want
  • When this is done go ahead and click quite and install later
  • At this point you are done with partitioning your drive

Mac not installed

  • Turn on your Mac and hold the option key down until the selector comes up
  • Insert your Mac CD in and wait for it to show. Click on it
  • When the CD is loaded you will want to open disk utilities in the menu  up top
  • Click on your hard drive and then on the right click the partition tab
  • Under volume scheme you want to select two partitions
  • !!!!! Need to work on it ending of this part

You are down with the drive partition now. We now need to move into the boot loader tool that is going to help us along the way

rEFIt

  • Now go ahead and install the rEFIT application
  • Note: There is nothing fancy with this install
  • Now reboot to verify that the boot loader app comes up. If it does not try rebooting again

You are now done with the boot loader and we are now ready to install Gentoo

After downloading and burning the ISO file to a disc you are ready, you are ready to start. Plug in your USB keyboard for now, insert the gentoo disc you burnt and restart. Remember to hold option key down so you get the option to boot to your CD. Now I am not going to go thru all the steps to install because this is well documented on Gentoo’s website. This can be found here!

So lets highlight the sections that you need to make some adjustments since you are not doing a typical dual boot on a regular PC

Boot parameters

When you get to the book parameters, you will want to type the following: [bash]gentoo maxcpus=1 vga=791[/bash]

Partition table

Here is the partition setup I have and you are welcome to follow it. Now yours might be different but should be close. If you are a cfdisk fan like I you will need to open your sda parition in fdisk, to delete the partition created by apple. Also do not worry about the warnings about unsupported GPT table. Its ok, so here is what my partitions looks like after I am done setting up the partitions that the guide tells us too

  • sda1 – GPT
  • sda2 – Mac HFS/HFS+
  • sda3 – Linux root
  • sda4 – Linux swap

fter you are done with this you will want to type the following: modprobe hid-apple This is done so your drivers get loaded for the apple keyboard. At this point you can remove the USB keyboard. When downloading the stage3, make sure you download the i686 one Now I do not use the genkernel. If you follow the install guide you use ext2 for the boot partition. So for some reason the kernel does not have this enabled so that is the only thing at this time I enable, beyond what is already enabled. After you exit you will want to back up the .config file. I like to do this so I can keep my kernel config files backed up. When you are setting up your grub or lilo, you want to make sure on the kernel line that you add the following: [bash] maxcpus=1 [/bash]

After Gentoo install

After you are done installing and you reboot you will want to leave your reboot until you get to the rEFIt menu. It does take a little bit to get to it so do not be too concerned. When you get there select the partitioning tool. You will get an error but that is ok. Hit any key and shut off your Mac. Now turn it back on and when you hear the ding hold the option key. Select the hard drive that says Windows. you should boot into Gentoo. If so then clap your hands. Log in as root and restart your computer. Try going into your Mac OS. If you can then you can go to rEFIt site and get the uninstall directions. Congratulations, you have just installed and got Gentoo somewhat working on your MacBook.

Media and Linux

This is part 6 of my using Linux for everything blog posts. Some time ago, if you wanted to listen to music or watch videos, you ran into issues. Today’s Linux has changed all that. Honestly the only issues I have had is that my iTunes purchased content cannot be played. This is hugh since I do a lot of purchasing of music on iTunes. If you do not use iTunes then this is not an issue. So with this being said I would say that I could not make the switch to Linux fully since I would lose the ability to watch my movies and listen to my music. Maybe someday this block will not be here.

Graphic Design and Linux

This is part 5 of my using Linux for everything blog posts. As a web developer I started to use Photoshop. As I started to use Linux I realized that I could not use Photoshop to its fullest. So I then heard of GIMP. It is a nice tool and it can get the job done. I just did not like the interface that came with it. I also missed some features that were in photoshop. As GIMP has grown it has started to become an app I could see myself using. So for this part I would feel comfortable switching to pure Linux.

Web/Java/Selenium Development and Linux

This is part 4 of my using Linux for everything blog posts. As of right now my main job is writing Selenium automation using Java and my side job is web development. So could Linux handle all of this with no issues. The answer is no and I will tell you why. As a web developer selenium developer I need to test sometimes against Internet Explorer and or Safari. You can look in my previous post to read the reasons to why this is not possible for me to emulate. Other than that I can install Eclipse and Java in Linux with no issues. So writing my code I can be in Linux. Web developing in Linux I again have no issues. I can pull up VIM and I will be just fine. Even though I might miss TextMate since I have recently fell in love with it.

Browsing and Linux

So this is part 3 of my replace Linux everywhere blog. In this part we will be discussing web browsing. So looking at browsers the only major browser that is not in Linux is Internet Explorer. Now yes I could install Wine or some other emulator to solve this. But this is not going to solve this issue. Using Wine there is something in me that states are we really seeing Internet Explorer. Now the only reason I need internet explorer is for work. With me at the time doing QA work I need to test the quality of a website in Internet Explorer. Now to be honest I have the same issue in Mac so Linux is not alone here.

So, is there something I am missing here? Is there an solid option that would allow me to get the real Internet Explorer experience? Look forward to hearing your comments.

Email and Linux

So continuing on with my series of the question if Linux can replace it all, we are going to talk about email. For me I use e-mail at home and at work. For home I use Gmail and at work I use Exchange. So with Gmail I have nothing to worry about but with Exchange well there might be an issue. I have tried using Evolution and it is very close but it just fails when it comes to Exchange. Now maybe it has changed since I last used it but man, when I tried to bring down my exchange account it just froze up. This was running Ubuntu 10.10. Now to be honest it was running in Parallels on my Mac which might be the cause. Though I am not sure it is. I have talked about it with a few others and they have stated the same issues. So am I missing something? Is there another app that can save the day? If so please comment and or send me a tweet.

Replace Linux Everywhere

So a colleague and I have a long commute and we are always talking about Linux and technology. We listen to podcasts after podcasts and in my mind I have been thinking about something. Could I replace everything with Linux? I am talking about computers, tablets, and or cell phones. I guess first let me show you a small list of what I currently do with my computers.

  • Email
  • Browsing
  • Web/Java/Selenium Development
  • Graphic design (Small amount)
  • Media
  • Work
  • etc…

    I could go on with some more but this is a good list for now. I would find it very difficult to switch from my Mac to Linux. Now I know I am pretty much using Linux but it is fine tuned and very hard to call Linux/Unix anymore. Please I am not trying to write more blogs about Mac vs Linux. I want to use these next few blog posts to possibly learn about Linux apps that might make it easier to replace other computers with Linux. So what are the people’s opinion on this? Do you think you could replace your computers, tables, and or cell phones with a Linux device? Please stay tuned to my blog as I will make posts for each bullet points I specified above.

RabbitVCS SVN Client Linux

If you have used SVN in the past in the Windows world, you are probably pretty use too TortoiseSVN. It is a nice tool that integrates itself into the Windows shell. In the Linux world you probably were using the command line to do these things. Hey I understand I was doing that on my work computer when it was running Linux. I have something in Linux that will get rid of this. RabbitVCS is a client that integrates itself into Nautilus. It is pretty close to being a clone to Tortoise and I really like it.