XFce’s nifty graphical installer

XFce’s got a great new graphical installation method. A GTK2 front-end, it automates:

  • dependency checks,
  • configuration of multiple subcomponents,
  • the entire build process,
  • the actual installation.

Here’s the screenshot gallery:

Get the installer from here. The installer also helpfully defaults to installing XFce into your home directory hierarchy if the script isn’t running as root.

I wonder if there’s such a cool way to install GNOME. Some sort of a graphical front-end to GARNOME. This’d be able to present a nice configuration menu, a la “make gconfig” for the kernel, then use wget in the background to fetch needed packages from the Internet. This is something I’ve always wanted GARNOME to be able to do: download packages at one go before beginning the build, as opposed to fetching a package at a time, building/installing it, before getting the next one.

Another one of my articles on OSNews.com!

Today, OSNews.com published an article I’d written two weeks ago. This is article number 4 in the OSNews list. Here’s the link:

An analysis of HP’s future strategy, post Carly Fiorina.

I didn’t actually intend this one to be a 4-page, 3000-word article – I started taking notes to find why Carly was fired. There were rumblings about this within IBM a few days before her resignation. I also wanted to find out if IBM was vulnerable to the same threats that HP faced. After all, I surmised, we’re pretty similar in size and product range. Well, things were a lot more complicated than on the surface.

So what’re you staring at the screen for? This is end of the post! Enough said! Go read the article! Yeah, now!

Where have all the family feuds disappeared?

We don’t read much about the Ambani feud these days. And does anyone even remember the high-stakes, high-tension, high-visibility Lodha-Birla spat? In both these cases, news channels went over the board bringing every second of drama straight into our homes. Business magazines devoted their covers, and a good chunk of their pages, to discussing what might have happened, and what could transpire. Experts on these topics apparated from thin air, reporters learnt all sorts of tidbits from dozens of “sources close to the family”. In short, for a few weeks after news first broke about these fights, they formed a significant part of our daily lives. Only to completely fizzle out of public view days later.

So why do things wind down so dramatically? Why does the print and television media lose interest in these sordid affairs so quickly? Is our collective attention span as a nation so fickle? When a month ago, hours were spent discussing what Anil Ambani’s strategy against his brother might be in the future (whether or not there were enough facts to reach any sort of informed opinion), we now run the risk of missing out even if Anil does come out with such a strategy.

I remember both the Indian Express and the Times of India devoting a full page for detailed analysis of the different terms involved in the prospective messy legal battle between the man to whom Priyamvada Birla bequeathed her wealth to – R. S. Lodha, and the indignant scions of the Birla family. What the Hindu Succession Act was, what defines a Hindu Undivided Family, the matter of how a person writing a will is judged to be sane or insane, and the entire hierarchy and individual holdings of the Birlas. Wow! But if a newspaper is willing to spend so much time, money and manpower into a news item, surely it must also have the perseverance to pursue the matter. If the matter goes to court, the public needs to know what’s going on. If there’s a hint of an out-of-court settlement, good investigative journalism must bring it to the notice of readers. That is what separates responsible journalism from mere sensationalism.

And that is what crazy competition in the media seems to be doing to quality content. In the mad scramble for TRPs, to grab the last split second of a viewer’s attention, print and television media now try so hard to make news interesting, that the objective of enabling readers/viewers to build an opinion and reach a conclusion, is lost. By flitting from one “hot” issue to another, our national media fails on two important counts: keeping a check on the people in the spotlight, and giving viewers a complete perspective on the origins, happenings and most importantly, eventual conclusion of an event.

I have a new MP3 Player!

My cousins Anil and Sameet, who live in Canada, gifted me the Creative MuVo Micro N200 portable MP3 player! This has to rank as one of the best gifts I have ever received! Guys, you rock!

The photograph above is about 1.5 times the actual size of the player!

The player’s about the size of a cigarette lighter: 6.5cm x 3cm x 1cm. Incredibly light, and very sleek. It has a 512MB flash drive, runs on a small AAA cell. Creative claims that it has 15 hours of battery life. What’s more, you can record music from any audio source (through the line in), record voice via the microphone and tune in to FM radio stations! Oh, man!

It interfaces with your computer via a USB, and transferring files is incredibly easy. Just plug it in, turn it on, and Konqueror (I’m using KDE at the moment) will pop up a notice saying a USB drive was found, and would you like it opened in a Konqueror window? All it takes is drag and drop after that. The only flip side is that you can’t right click and choose “Unmount” from the “Devices” tab in the Konqueror sidebar. The drive is, funnily enough, mounted with root permissions. This in spite of the fact that you can write to the drive as a non-root user. It appears as /dev/sda, so you have to “sudo umount /dev/sda” to disconnect it. Will find a workaround for this.

At the moment, I’m packing the player with as many songs as I can find on my ThinkPad! Will post more on how I’m using this player!