Ubuntu’s Koala Has Good Karma

It’s not like me to gush over operating systems. Particularly looking at what we’ve dealt with in the past. If we’re lucky, we got stability in an OS, but usually at the expense of it looking terrible. This year seems to have caused things to change, however. With the release of the Windows 7 RC, Microsoft has restored a good amount of the faith that it lost after churning out the load of crap that it called Vista.

The open source community is never far behind, and Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.10 operating system is a work of art. Seriously. I would frame it and mount it on my wall if I could. Unfortunately I can’t, so all I can do is gush about it and tell people about all of it’s amazing features. Non-techies: just smile-and-nod your way through this post :).

Ubuntu One

Cloud computing is all the rage these days, and Ubuntu has jumped on the bandwagon by presenting One, a personal cloud for the synchronization of files across multiple Ubuntu computers. Set up your account, get your 2 gigs of free space, move files into the Ubuntu One folder, and let them sync. Easy as pie.

ext4 Filesystem

Following in Fedora’s footsteps, Ubuntu has set ext4 as 9.10’s default filesystem. Although you won’t make the switch if you upgrade, fresh installs will feel the warm glow of ext4 during their install.

Uncomplicated Firewall

One of my main complaints with Ubuntu’s previous setups is that it fails to include a firewall by default, and that has been remedied in 9.10, with the introduction of ufw, the uncomplicated firewall. No more sifting through the iptables’s man pages to figure out how to add a simple allow rule; ufw makes firewall management easy.

Faster Load Times with Upstart

Another popular trend recently has been the goal of reducing boot times as much as possible. Fedora Project made waves as they aimed for a 20 second boot time from BIOS to login page. Although they were a little short of their goal, they made some important headway, showing that not every single scrap needs to be loaded and cached on boot. Ubuntu has carried this forward and has made a similar goal. Although they don’t mention any specific time-related goals, they made the switch to Upstart, which makes the loading page look smooth and cuts the boot time significantly.

Overall, I’m really happy with the progress Ubuntu has made. Although a lot of previous versions have fallen a bit behind on the times in exchange for having a stable system, they are catching up with the times and even pushing the envelope with new ideas. If you were looking for a reason to switch to Linux, put this one at the top of your list. If you’re not convinced, download the LiveCD and try it out without installing (although your performance will suffer since it’s loading from a CD…duh…).

Thanks for giving this a read, everyone. If you like what you see, or have any suggestions for further writings, drop me a line in the comments section below and give me a vote on Reddit or Digg. I read each and every one of your comments: I promise :)


Over the next few weeks, there will be a lot changing in my life in many different aspects. I expect it might be an interesting experience.

As many of you may know, I run a site called H2H Security Group, which has been an ethical hacking knowledge base. Over the past few months, there has been little-to-no contributions to it, and it doesn’t seem reasonable to keep the site up and running without any participation from other members. My interests have also shifted (matured, if you will) to encompass development-related topics rather than hacking, and I believe that another style of site would suit my interests more than this one. As such, I have decided to take down H2H. It was a hard decision to make, but I believe that my knowledge and expertise would be more suitable in a development site. Therefore, rather than simply removing a part of myself from the internet, I have decided to replace it with a development site. I realize that there are a lot of them out there, but this is something that I am much more passionate about, and will coincide much more with my interests in web development. Hopefully I will be able to attract more people interested in topics similar to this.

H2H spent a lot of time up and running because of its members. Specifically, I need to personally thank Aaron Goldsmith (aka AltonRashmire) and Sam Jenkins (aka Satal Keto) for their donations, dedication, and hard work. Their support, both technically and monetarily, has meant that H2H has survived for much longer than expected. They have earned both my respect and my friendship, and I will no doubt keep in touch with them, hopefully on my new development site.

One thing that certainly held H2H back was the hosting I went with. I have been with Lunarpages for 2 years now, and I have decided to move on due to lackluster tech support (a phone call I made to them which was not toll-free resulted in me yelling at the person because he was completely unaware of the DNS exploit which resulted around that time which crippled my site) and significant downtime as of late, which has been severe enough to even take down their own site. Add to that the additional costs for simple things like installing SSL certificates, and you have one unhappy customer. I am now starting a web hosting company with a few friends, which will be an eco-friendly web host. If you are looking for a good deal on hosting, contact me; mention this blog post, and I’ll take $1 off per month, which works out to 20% off (this offer good until the end of September 2009). I’ll bring you more information on the new host when it is purchased.

Finally, I start my new job in a week and a half, at the Manitoba Information Protection Centre. I have been looking forward to this for quite a while, and I expect it to be an amazing experience. This will certainly be a great learning experience, and definitely be a great source of income, which will be needed to fund my technology addiction.

That’s all for now. More later. Sorry for not following my schedule. I’ll work on that.

Testing Out Fedora 11

A few years ago, I made the switch on my laptop from Windows to Linux. If I had to summarize the experience, I’d say it’s been…well…an experience. It’s had its ups and downs as I tinkered around with more distributions than I can remember (I can think of 7, not including different architectures). I initially made the switch because the recovery disks I had burned for my Windows installation weren’t working, and I needed a suitable alternative, preferably one that wouldn’t bust the bank and would be easy to use. Linux satisfied (and in some cases, excelled) in both of these.

After much deliberation and testing, I finally decided on the Fedora distribution, which I am still with to this day. Ten days ago, they released their newest distribution, Fedora 11 (Codename Leonidas), which added a whole slew of new features. Although I only have a day or so with the new distribution, I’ve tested a lot of the new features. They are nicely separated into both Technical and Non-Technical.


20-Second Boot Time

The first problem anyone seems to have with computers is that they take too long to boot up. Fedora 11 helps a lot with this by aiming for a 20-second boot time, from the time you start your computer until the time you log in. It was about 35 seconds for me on a 3 year old laptop, but regardless, that’s a huge improvement over, say, Vista’s 2-minute boot. If 35 seconds isn’t fast enough for you, you might want to loosen up your schedule a little.

Improved Touchpad Support/Features

The one complaint I always here about touchpads on laptops is that people accidentally click on things while they’re typing, moving the position of the cursor and inadvertently typing in the middle of a previous paragraph. The newest upgrades to the touchpad drivers are amazing. You have the option of disabling the touchpad while typing, and enabling or disabling mouse clicks by tapping on the touchpad.

My personal favorite, however, it the addition of Multi-Touch scrolling. Rather than having to run your finger along the side of the touchpad, two fingers can be used to scroll. You also have the option of enabling horizontal scrolling. The best part is you don’t need a touchpad specifically designed for multi-touch; it works great on mine without any problems.

Nice Graphics

Ok, although a little technical, I’m still putting it in here because who doesn’t like smooth-looking graphics with direct acceleration? Enabled from the kernel level, direct acceleration worked right out of the box for me, which means desktop effects work without any configuration. Those who are a little more tech-savvy can obviously look into the coveted Compiz installation.



Yeah, that’s right: the ext4 filesystem is now standard on Fedora. The filesystem now supports filesystems over 1 exabyte and files up to 16 terabytes in size. If you’re going to be creating filesystems or files that large, you don’t need to read this review. There are a whole slew of improvements made over ext3, which should make for an overall more reliable experience.

2.6.29 Kernel

The new kernel runs great for me. There’s been a lot of new features added, and far more than I can go into depth with. I have yet to have a crash yet, so that is always a good sign.

GNOME 2.26.1 and KDE 4.2.2

Those that have seen the older versions of KDE (ie. pre-4.0) I’m sure remember how “immature” it looked. I always got the impression that it was geared for pre-teens. KDE 4 changes all of that, and makes me seriously reconsider using it. Not only does it look nicer, but everything is well laid out in the menu, and the desktop widgets are integrated into the Desktop Environment. GNOME looks as regular as it always has, but makes some good strides in menu locations and the included applications.

Firefox 3.5b4 and Thunderbird 3

I have been waiting quite a while for both of these to appear in a distribution. Firefox 3.5 is great so far, and Thunderbird looks very promising as well.

Smaller Footprint

Gone are the days of yonder when a Fedora installation was a 3.5GB DVD download with the inability to test it out beforehand. Fedora has reduced the size of the installation media to a staggering 690MB LiveCD, reducing bandwidth usage and and letting you try the distro out before installing. This is one of the best things Fedora has done, and I’m really glad they made the switch.


I’m so far really happy with this new release. It’s been stable and a lot of new features have been added which helps affirm my decision to stick with Fedora. If you happen to be considering making the switch from Windows, I recommend checking it out. The LiveCD allows you to try things out before installation, which will let you test the waters before plunging in to the deep end.