Category: Other OS


A lot of entertainment news has hit Linux over the years.
From XBMCbuntu some years back to the up and coming SteamOS, Linux is the place to be.

But as I was watching boring old standard TV a few weeks back, with my laptop by my side and the Wii (yes, I like the Wii) next to the TV, I thought to myself: ‘What if I had one place that would rule all of these’.

I mean, XBMC is great for all those movies, and the Wii is great for the old reliable games, and those great titles for the PC are on steam, why don’t I combine that.
The thing is, all of these products are perfect in what they do, but they don’t do all of it (though modern consoles have tried).
But ultimately, all of these can run on Linux. This would be the glue that would bind them.
So if you are intrigued into building the perfect entertainment system, then please read on and follow my journey.
Please note though, that this isn’t a guide, more of post that should spark some inspiration (though there may be an actual guide in the future.)

 

So my goals were simple.
1) I should be able to watch movies
2) I should be able to watch TV Shows
3) I should be able to listen to music
4) I should be able to play console games
5) I should be able to play PC games
6) All should be integrated
7) All should be controlled with a controller (wherever possible)

The first few goals are very simple to do, but the latter (controller), that would be a real challenge, especially considering not all PC games are controller compatible, especially when things must be typed in.
The main aim with the controller would be to play Crusader Kings II with a controller (note that this game is entirely played with a keyboard and mouse for obvious reasons).

Before I begin, it’s worth noting that you need to have some hardware, but the limit is entirely up to you, just note that the better hardware, the more you gain.
In my case I had a spare all-in-one computer, since I wanted to just have that by the bed to be lazy. But, if you are going to use your widescreen TV (you want that right?) then you might opt for a fairly small and not so noisy computer. Something you can hide away behind the TV.
For what I will describe, the Raspberry Pi won’t cut it, unless you are willing to sacrifice some things.

For my Linux platform, I chose Ubuntu 13.04.
My reason is that it is out of the box compatible with most Linux applications, requires least amount of set up and I’m a big Ubuntu fan.
You could also opt for XBMCbuntu which is an Ubuntu spin-off with XBMC as it’s focus. It uses XFCE as it’s Desktop environment (which you will almost never see), so you save on that juice.

After I installed Ubuntu, my first step was to install XBMC.
If you don’t know what XBMC is, let me give it a well-deserved introduction.
XBMC stands for XBox Media Center, and started life of as that, a media center for the original Xbox.
But it soon stood all on it’s own, and is the best (in my opinion) open-source media center which sports not only those features you expect out of the box, but also add-ons created by many people to make it even more powerful.

XBMC is available for free here: xbmc.org

Once XBMC was installed, I first created two folders inside my Videos folder: ‘Movies’ and ‘TV Shows’.
I threw my collection of Movies into the movies folder, and TV shows into it’s corresponding folders, and each individual movie was placed in it’s own folder bearing the name of the movie. For instance ‘Zodiac.mp4’ would go into a folder called ‘Zodiac’ which was located in the Movies folder I had created earlier.
For TV Shows it was essentially the same, except, all episodes of a season were all dropped into a folder with the name of the TV show, not in separate season folders.
I will explain why in a moment.

After this, I dropped all my Music into the Music folder.
I didn’t bother with Pictures.

Once that was done, I selected Movies on the main screen and was asked for a ‘source’ for these files.
At this point, I used XBMC’s file manager to navigate to the Videos>Movies folder, and then, I selected the option that the movies were in the folders by their respective name.
I did the same for TV Shows.
After that was done, it automagically added the movies and tv shows to the list and they were now selectable through the ‘Movies’ or ‘TV Shows’ option at the home screen. And because the titles were in their right folders, it got all the information from the internet, so I was able to see a screenshot, and description of the movies in the list. NICE!

My next step was gaming – retro-style!
I wanted to be able to play all those old classics.
From the original Mario on the NES, Final Fantasy III on the SNES, and even Gran Turismo II on the original PlayStation.
For this to work, I began with the easy bit.
I created a folder in my Home folder called ‘ROMS’, and in there I created the folders ‘NES’, ‘SNES’, and ‘PS1’.

The next step was to get the emulators.
There are a lot to choose from, and to find the one best suited for you, have a look on Google, but here is what I used.
For the NES I installed FCEUX.
For the SNES I installed ZSNES.
And for the PlayStation I installed PCSX.
For more emulators, try this site: http://www.zophar.net/linux.html

Whichever emulator you install, please make a note of where the binary gets placed. They tend to install them in a few different places but if you are unsure, try searching for it using the search feature in Nautilus File Browser, or Google. You will need to know this later.

Ok, so next we go into XBMC and I then selected Programs, then Add-ons.
A list appeared with a few add-ons that were installed, but I selected ‘Get more…’
In that big list that appears, you will want to look for ROM Collection Browser.
Select it, and select install. That’s it.
Next time you go to Programs, it will appear in the list.
So, that’s what I did next.
The thing is, right at that moment, we have no games, and no emulators to even run them on, so it will be blank.
You probably will find that on the first run, it will ask you to create a collection. If not, press ‘c’ on your keyboard and create a new collection.
Here it will ask you some questions, most of which you can leave empty, but you will want to select the correct collection type (NES, SNES, PlayStation) and select the source.
One thing I found unclear, so I will try and save you some confusion is that the screens for the location of the emulator and the roms is identical, and it makes you think it didn’t take your first imput.
So, keep a close eye on the top when you get to this step.
If it asks for the emulator, then that location of the binary you wrote down comes in here, just browse down the location of the binary and click it.
Then when it asks for the location of the ROMS, select ~/ROMS/NES for instance. This is where our games will be.
The rest can be left as it is for now.
It will also ask you for extensions of files.
Have a look through the ROMS or copies of the games you have, and type the asterisk (*) followed by a dot (.) and finally the extenstion. Do this for both upper and lowercase. So for instance, I had two type of files, ones that ended in .bin, and those that ended in .img.
So, here I entered this: *.bin, *.BIN, *.img, *.IMG
Linux is case-sensitive, so by having added both the upper and lowercase, I stop the chances of the files not being added.
Any files inside the ROM folders that don’t have these extensions, will NOT be added to the list.
To add a game at a later date, press ‘c’ on the rom list screen and select ‘import games’, then click on the down arrow on the small box that comes up to change from ‘ALL’ to either ‘NES’, ‘SNES’, ‘PLayStation’ or whatever list you have added and whose game types you want to add.
To make a new list for a new type of console, press ‘c’ and opt for a new collection.

But, the console games aren’t entirely ready just yet.
The problem is that if you start the game now, you might find the controller not to work.
So that’s what I tackled next.

Outside of XBMC, open the emulator, and usually at the top where you have file, edit etc, you want to look for an option for joypads.
Open that up and configure your joystick.
I can’t really help you here since I don’t know which emulator you use, but it should be straight forward.
Whilst you’re there, also set the option for full-screen mode since that was my next step.

Okay, at this point, go on, test it out.
Inside XBMC, open ROM manager, press up on your keyboard to set filtering options, select a game and press enter.
If all was well, like with me, XBMC should go into windowed-mode and a full-screen game should appear.
If you want to go back, simply hit ESC and XBMC goes back to full-screen.

Okay.
Next step was for all those PC games.

This is easy, install Steam if you haven’t already done so, and click on ‘Big Picture’ in the top-right hand corner.
Now Steam looks more like a media center, and next I clicked on the gear at the top to enter the settings, clicked on controller, and then the option to edit the controls.
Just click on the list and configure each button, and at the end click done.
Steam is now compatible and can be controlled with your controller.

But I still have to use my keyboard and mouse when using Crusader Kings II.
I went ahead to fix that next.
For this, I went for AntiMicro.
This application basically maps controller buttons to keyboard input, or mouse input.
I simply created a ‘Crusader Kings II’ profile, then pressed a button on my joypad to see which button that was (it lights up the button you pressed), and mapped that to keyboard keys. I did the same for the digital sticks to map mouse movements, tested, and done! Then saved the file.
Now Crusader Kings works perfectly fine (still not the same as keyboard and mouse but that’s expected).
I could do this for every game I want and fire it up when I play.

The exciting moment came when I installed AutoKey for XBMC.
With this add-on, I was able to start Steam right from XBMC, and when it closed, it would come back to XBMC. Therefore, all integrated.
The details of which I got from here: Integrating Steam and XBMC

But for some bonus points, there was one factor that would limit people, so allow me to share.
I am obliged to say that I tell you this since knowledge is power and all that.
So that out of the way, let’s add even more crunch.

What you might want to do next is add 1Channel to XBMC.
1Channel is an add-on that allows you to watch any movie, or TV Show through XBMC from the internet.
It saves space on your hard-drive, and it still has support of those descriptions and pictures.
If you want to add it, it’s probably better to follow the guide here since it has pictures and does a great job at explaining.

With all this done, I accomplished all my goals.
And since I also mapped AntiMicro for XBMC, I can stay in bed and watch a movie, play a game, listen to music and even talk to my friends without leaving my bed.

Now all I need to do is build a servant robot and I’ll never see daylight again.

I hope to find the time to actually build this again and record the steps, but this was more a sharing of my ramblings.

So, why not have a go too, and show all your friends

Since there seems to be some misinformation, misunderstanding and general confusion about viruses on Linux, I hope to be able to explain a few things.

As we all know, a virus is a program that has malicious intent.
There are many forms in which they appear, but there is not reason for me to explain the ins and outs of virii, so let’s crack on with the issue at hand.

I will be looking at the difference between the Windows OS and Linux OS (specifically Ubuntu). I would use Mac OSX too, but eventhough it’s a Unix operating system, I have not used it enough to be able to speak about it confidently.

Let me start off by dispelling one common held belief.

It’s often said that the reason for a lack in viruses on Linux is because such a small amount of users worldwide use Linux, it is better for virus programmers to target Windows than it is Linux.

Every part of this statement is false.
If you are a clever virus programmer, you are better off targeting Linux than you would be Windows.
Windows is a Desktop operating system which could render home users and businesses useless.
Whilst this seems a great idea, it’s not very clever.
Since the majority of worldwide servers run a Linux distrobution, targeting them would be far more interesting, since they are connected more vitally to others than any home computer or single business.
For instance, if you were to target a virus to the server of a major internet company, instead of it irritating the people in head office, you are now shutting the company down.

But Linux isn’t just servers and a few home computers. There is the Android OS, many car computers, robots and even space systems are running Linux.
In fact, I actually believe more people on this planet use Linux than any other OS.
Actually, if you are anti-Linux, I think you most likely are using Linux many times a day.

So with that myth dealt with let’s actually look at the real issue.

Let us look at the system structure on a Windows OS and it’s security, or lack of.
And I’m not just talking about anti-virus here by the way.

At it’s core, the file structure begins at the hard drive on which the OS is installed, this is usually C:
For comparison purposes, we will call this point ‘root’. Since everything starts from this point, root is possibly the best word for it.

From root, you typically find (on a 32bit system) the Windows folder, Program Files folder, Users folder, and perhaps some others.

When you enter the Windows folder, and head on over to the System32 folder, you will find a lot of files.
These files are the core of a Windows system.
If you have ever encountered the annoying Blue Screen of Death or unrecoverable system crashes, the most likely place where things have gone wrong is in this folder.

Now simply open a file which is vital to the system with Notepad, and change something and save it, or delete a few files (by the way this is for illustrative purposes, DO NOT DO THIS, I will not be held responsible) and congratulations, you have just broken Windows.
Simple isn’t it?

Let me just say before I get told how wrong I am, that I am building this on Windows XP and perhaps Vista. I have never used Windows 7, and Vista was extremely brief, so I expect things to have changed.

What this comes down to is simple security.

It’s all well having anti-viruses but if your system is so easy to tamper with, it’s like lying awake at night with a baseball bat in case burglars come in whilst leaving your front door open. You are more or less prolonging the inevitable.

Now let us look at Linux.

Linux begins at it’s root, actually known as root.
Root in Linux is not given a letter like in Windows, rather it’s symbol is a forward slash (/).
From this point, all the file structure starts.
Linux does not like to throw every important file in one general folder.
Every type of folder holds it’s specific type of file.
For instance, all the configuration files are held in /etc, and /usr hold application files.

However, it gets a little more complicated than that.

For those folders you always need an administration password.

There is also a folder in the root directory called /home.
Within this folder you will find folders named after the different users of the computer.
Going into these folders will hold all the personal files such as pictures, music, videos, etc etc.
But typically, hidden away are separate copies of configuration files and applications.
These do not require a password.

This serves multiple purposes.
Firstly, if for an application such as Emesene (a Linux Windows Live Messenger application) you have individual configuration files within your own home folder, it means that each person has their own login name shown, and other users aren’t shown.
Secondly, if something does not require the use of important administrative programs, then it would make more sense to have it in the home folder.

So let’s now look at how viruses can be made and how easy with each OS.
Technically speaking, if I wanted to just cause damage and nothing else, all I would need to do for Windows is to create an application that deletes files in the Windows folder.
Then I would have achieved my goal and usually without problems in security.

With Linux it’s a different story.
If I wanted to create damage, I would first have to think of where the damage has to be done.
If I simply wanted to damage users files, then I could write a script that deletes things in the users directory because that requires no administrator passwords.
However, it would make no change to the OS which would still run just as well.

If I wanted to damage the system and render it useless, then I rely on skill and the user being somewhat naive.

Firstly, I could write a script that would empty the harddrive.
Funnily, if you are running Linux, whilst still using it, you could empty the harddrive, although most Linux distributions no longer allow you to run the script needed, which for obvious reasons I’m not going to supply.

The issue with this is no matter whether you create a cunning app, or a script, it requires administration rights. Which in debian based systems is sudo and more server style OS’s as su.
They will then be asked for their password.

Now if someone is naive and hasn’t checked the code and just runs it, of course it will do damage.
But usually someone will have checked the code and warned others.
If they aren’t naive they won’t run it.

Also an added bonus that Linux has is their ideals for OpenSource.
Most software is written using scripts (like Bash) or languages (like Python) which most times have the sourcecode easily obtainable and open to scrutiny.
Meaning that the chances in passing a virus in even complex applications is very very small.

But you might also be wondering how anti-viruses work.
Even though that is slightly irrelevant to this article, I do want to explain.

Anti-virus software is not all magical with it’s ability to know what a program does and therefore stop it in it’s track.
In fact, it works totally different than that.

If you have anti-virus software you will have noticed that you hear that a database has been updated, or is not up to date.
What happens is the people who work for companies like Norton, and AVG, find out there is a new virus on the loose.
They scrutinize a copy of this virus and how it reacts.
Then they record it’s patterns in a database which is sent to you.
If you catch that virus it checks the database to see if it matches any in the database and then stops it.
So this also means that if you are the first person to get the newest most evil virus ever, your in trouble since it isn’t in the database.

Now there are many anti-virus software on the market for Windows, but only a couple for Linux.
Most of the basic reasons why I have outlined.

But there is also the point of arrival for the different OS’s.

Windows users are used to getting their software from a website, where, if we are honest, anybody could have created it for whatever purpose and even under different guises.

Linux doesn’t approach software this way.
Linux uses package management. Ubuntu uses the Ubuntu Software Centre, and Debian uses Synaptic for example.
These package managers are thoroughly checked so that you know that whatever software you download is safe.
Sometimes you download software from websites but this isn’t always encouraged, and usually someone warns you if it’s not safe.

Now these are not all the reasons for the reason why Linux viruses are rare, for they do exist.
But they are the most basic reasons.

My advice:
If you cannot find a piece of software you are after in the software centre or Synaptic, and have to download from a website.
First ensure it is safe by seeing what others have to say about it.
If someone promotes a script (as I have for Paltalk and Lotro) first see what others have said about it, and then if you have not enough information, read through the code, or have someone else read through it, to ensure that it’s safe to use.
And obviously, if a script or program asks you for your password, don’t just jump in and give it, find out why it needs it.

If you don’t follow technology developments, this may have not been on your radar.

Soon it’s time for the release of Windows 8, now despite the changes in it’s interface and the new applications it brings with it, there is another technology that is causing a scare in the industry: Secure Boot.

In a nutshell it’s like this: Currently most of us are familiar with the BIOS screen at bootup which enables you to change boot order and other things. But this is old and outdated, so in order to make your system not to be infected by malicious code and the like, there is Secure Boot. Great right?

Not really, this works with keys, for instance Windows 8 will contain these keys that Secure Boot recognises and allows the OS to be installed. However, it will not recognise Linux, meaning that by default you can not install Linux. Microsoft also wants all Manufacturers that wish to ship Windows 8 to have Secure Boot switched on by default.

As you can expect, this caused RedHat Canonical and many others to come out and try and fight for a solution.

The obvious solution is to have an enable/disable switch at boot, but according to Microsoft this is up to manufacturers. But considering this makes the idea of Secure Boot useless, so don’t expect to see that happening.

So Microsoft came up with a ‘solution’.
They are considering placing the switch inside Windows 8, but that only means dual boot, not just Linux.

My thought on this is that the obvious market plan by Microsoft could work against them.
If so many of us refuse to buy windows 8 pcs, then manufacturers will lose too much money, and maybe then we will see the switch. Or perhaps we should put the hands in our pockets and set up a Linux fund to pay for the creation of complete Linux Computers.

What do you think?

If you have read previous posts on this site, you will have seen my posts on Diaspora.

Diaspora is an open-source social network created by students at NYU (New York University)
The social network was built with one thing in mind: Security

Firstly it worked by means of pods, that’s to say that you hold your information locally without it being on some database somewhere but connect to the general network.

Secondly it used an interesting revolutionary idea where you created categories which you placed your various contacts into.
The good thing about this is that you could make for instance a ‘family’ category and a ‘work’ category.
You probably wouldn’t want your boss to know what you have to say in your spare time, so you are able to send posts but select which categories they are sent to, giving you control.

You are probably wondering what on earth this has to do with Google Plus (G+/Google+). Well, let me tell you.

Google Plus: An original idea?

Well anyone who hasn’t discovered Diaspora will probably think that Google Plus is a new original idea created by Google, those who know Diaspora will know better.

It’s pretty safe to say that most features on Google Plus were ripped and renamed from Diaspora.
But before you get angry at Google Plus for that, that’s the beauty of open-source, copy and improve, exactly what Google Plus did.

Google Plus vs. Facebook

Everyone is calling Google Plus a Facebook killer, but that’s not entirely true. It definately could be, but there is an important factor that has to be taken into consideration.

Let’s have a look at Facebook’s features first of all so we can see what the most popular social network has offered us:

  • Post your latest status updates
  • Join groups based on interests
  • Play games
  • Chat
  • Let the world know where you are
  • Show off pictures/videos/music
  • Mobile application for Android, iPhone and Blackberry and a mobile site for all other phones
  • Content security (very basic)
  • Being in control of who may add you
  • Messaging
  • Liking a post
  • Replying to other posts
  • Updates by mail

As you can see, and already know most likely, Facebook has a lot to offer, but look a little deeper and you will find some things that may either make you feel a little unhappy and sometimes downright annoyed.

First of all, the privacy settings; they are basic at best. You pretty much can show all, or nothing to people visiting your profile.
Then there is the fact that if someone sends a request to become your friend and you accept, they can see your other friends unless those friends have privacy on their profile.
The problem with that is that there are some people who after adding you think it’s okay to add people they found on your profile eventhough they don’t know them (yes I’ve had those people).

What about when you send a reply to a post and the thread turns into a discussion about a McDonalds meal? Well, you receive a message every minute on things that simply don’t concern you. I know you can change it but still worth mentioning.

Then there is the problem that when you post a message EVERYBODY sees it, which in my case has caused me not to post at all from time to time.

Basically it comes down to this; If you join Facebook, you plunge deep into a social web, you either share with everyone or you don’t and that’s not good to me.

But lets take a look at Google Plus:

What does it offer?

  • Post your latest status updates (More about this below)
  • Add people based on interests
  • Play games
  • Chat (also with mic and cam)
  • Let the world know where you are
  • Show off pictures/videos/music
  • Mobile application for Android, iPhone and Blackberry and a mobile site for all other phones (more about this below)
  • Content security (very customized)
  • Being in control of who may see what
  • Messaging
  • +1 a post
  • Replying to other posts
  • Updates by mail

Basically in a nutshell to those who only use Facebook and are slightly curious:

Google Plus can do EVERYTHING Facebook can, and more.

You can do all the usual that you can do on Facebook in pretty much the same way, but there are ways of accomplishing the task that is very unique.

First of all you don’t add people in one large group like on Facebook (your contacts)
Instead, you create categories (see where Diaspora comes in?) called ‘Circles’, and whenever you add a person you can add them in a circle of your choice.
When you post something new, you are provided with a little green box usually saying ‘All your circles’ which you can close and select the circles you wish to see the post. No longer will your boss know about your secret love for furry handcuffs (unless you want to).

But this also works as a private messaging place. It’s odd and not very obvious to be fair, but if you write a message and delete the green box and instead type in the name of your friend, it sends it as a message to him/her.
From there you can also add pictures or music or a video just like Facebook.

Next is the amazing feature called Huddle.
Facebook gives you the ability to chat to people individually, Google Plus takes it further by creating a huddle and inviting people to it. This means you don’t have to tell everyone about going to the local bar and asking if they want to come along. Simply open a huddle, invite those needed to ask and chat in a group.

If you like more a of a personal approach, why not create a Hangout, where you can have your friends join and you all chat with cam and mic, it’s a little like Skype but without the download and directly from your browser, meaning it can be done anywhere!

Privacy is intense, and so custom that you are in charge of pretty much everything.

By default, your circles are not openly viewable by everyone, only those circles that a person belongs to, meaning to a certain extent people can’t add others from your other circles.
But by going through your preferences you can even hide circles completely meaning they can’t see anyone in your circles.

But the greatest security feature when it comes to visibility is the fact that you can look at your profile and select what features you want to make visible and what you don’t simply by selecting that area of your profile. This means I can show what my hobbies are, but not my date of birth to people who haven’t added me or let my quote be seen by my family but not work mates. It’s extremely customizable to an extent that it feels that you are completely in charge.

Also you can decide what you are notified about and what not by email.

The +1 feature doesn’t need explaining other than that it’s like the ‘Like’ button on Facebook. The only extra about this is that it works outside of Google Plus too. If you are on a website and it has a +1 button, you can click it and on your Google Plus account it’s been added.

Photos and the like look amazing, they are categorized by which of your friends have photos from YOUR account instead of going through theirs, as well as looking nice too.

But, there is a downside in my opinion to Google Plus (it’s not too big though).

Since Google also has it’s own mobile OS (Android), they started with an application specific to Android, which absolutely rocks if you own one. They now also have one for the iPhone. But I have a Blackberry and you can only use the webapp for that if you have OS6+, and I don’t (if you don’t check out my post on how to get it working there).
It doesnt look as nice on the WebApp, although it doesn’t look bad either.

When I have to honestly say which I prefer, I have to say Google Plus. Their tons of extra features and handling of those we already knew, makes this just a little more special.

It is worth mentioning however that everyone can add everyone without needing to get permission. But in the privacy preferences you can opt for the visibility of posts etc for those who aren’t in your circles, so they can only see other things once they are in your circles. Kinda like letting them know you exist but from a distance.

BUT…There’s more

Google Plus vs. Twitter

Strangely enough, Twitter considers Google Plus more of a threat than Facebook does.

On Google Plus there is also a Buzz tab, which in case you aren’t familiar with it, is Google’s idea of a Twitter type micro blog.

It’s nicely integrated and can be connected to Twitter, but to be honest, is not as good as Twitter.

Buzz is pretty much a micro blogging application that allows you to post and receive posts, but it doesn’t really go futher than that.
I wish I could tell you more, but there simply isn’t. Although I have not really gone into it too much.

No searching, no trending (I think).

You can follow people on it but Google Plus is more based on it’s social networking rather than micro blogging.

Simply put, Twitter beats it hands down.

If Google Plus is so good, why is it not beating Facebook?

Simple, MySpace was once the social network everybody used but it was archaic in the use of HTML etc.

Then Facebook came along and everybody switched and got so used to it’s ease of use that the don’t want to switch.

Google Plus has the potential to kill Facebook, but it seems to much of a hassle to most people and they therefore don’t switch.

When Google makes switching all Facebook details to Google Plus easy, I’m sure we will see a battle between the two.

Conclusion

I now use Google Plus more than Facebook.

If you give Google Plus a chance, you will not look back, it has everything you already have and added features on top.

Google Plus is far better than Facebook but not on par with Twitter.
All in all, Google Plus is a fantastic product.

Let me know what you think.

Are you already on Google Plus feel free to add me by searching for ‘Arthur Moore’.

If you aren’t on Google Plus but wish to be, visit this link: https://plus.google.com/i/5RRoAsNAYio:C0LyucXjpoE

We all love it, the idea of open source and free software.

And if you look at Ubuntu’s own words they state about the OS that it is ‘free and will always remain free’.
A couple of years ago however Ubuntu also sold support for DVD, mp3 and the likes through Fluendo packages.
I wasn’t too bothered by this as it was neatly hidden away from direct view and well to be honest there were other ways around it to get this support through open source means.

Then, with the release of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid), we seen a new feature within Rhythmbox which I have reported earlier this year before the release.
This new feature was an iTunes style music store.
Using this, people were able to use their Ubuntu One account to purchase legal music much like people can do with iTunes.

Once again, this is no big deal if you don’t wish to use it, then you simply don’t.

However, the next move right now is coming for Ubuntu 10.10 (Meerkat).

This one does worry me a bit.
The Ubuntu Software Center will feature software which you are able to purchase.
Sounds like the same thing as all the other’s right?

Well that’s where I believe you are wrong.
I don’t mind putting my hand in my pocket for quality software, or high quality games. But the problem is the fact it is starting to surround us.
GNU/Linux is all about sharing, it is about open source and learning.

I worry that with the idea that paying for software on Linux is going to be in such plain view that it won’t be long before the list of commercial closed source software in the Ubuntu Software Center outnumbers the open source ones.

That is why I have a radical idea, and it isn’t my idea.
Why should we pay for this software on a GNU listed OS, let us pay for help on improving software, not for purchasing software so that eventually we become another Microsoft or Apple.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can vow that if we truly are headed down the road of closed source and paying options integrated into all parts of Ubuntu, that I will make a switch too, to another distro, one that upholds the Linux principles.

UPDATE: As many of you may know now, and others might not. The design of the ‘paid for’ apps have arrived in Meerkat. I am however, glad to announce that the designers have decided to separate the free from the paid by adding a specific paid entry in the menu. That’s a good compromise in my opinion

SuperOS

Have you ever had to reinstall Ubuntu and then having to get all the codecs, and then all the programs you want again. It’s a pain right? Or as a new user to Linux were totally gutted when you came to the discovery that MP3s wouldn’t play, DVD’s wouldn’t play and Flash and Java weren’t exactly easy to install.

There are many Ubuntu spin-offs that adress this problem. Take for instance Ultimate Edition.
The creator of Ultimate Edition, TheeMan made this Ubuntu spin-off work out of the box with all kinds of programs pre-installed. Only 2 major problems I noticed:
1) A lot of the software was unnecessary, so this meant you’d spend a lot of time uninstalling it.
2) When upgrading Ubuntu it would more than likely break your Ubuntu.

That’s where SuperOS comes in.
Previously known as Super Ubuntu, this is not an Ubuntu spin-off. It basically is Ubuntu with all the codecs and a few necessary programs pre-installed.
Think of it as installing Ubuntu with being able to watch Youtube, DVDs, listen to MP3s chat on MSN through aMSN and chat on Skype all straight out of the box. And best of all, because it isn’t a spin off, when it’s time to Upgrade…it won’t break your existing installation!

Check it out: SuperOS