GNU’s not Unix? If not then why not?

The GNU/Linux family of operating systems (e.g. Debian, Fedora, KDE Neon, Kubuntu, LinuxMint, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Xubuntu et al) are not permitted to use the UNIX trademark. Instead, they are described as "unix-like". In fact, the "GNU" in GNU/Linux (c/w the "G" in GIMP) is a recursive acronym meaning GNU's not Unix. In a nutshell, the GNU/Llinux family of operating systems do all sorts of clever unixy stuff, but they cannot legally call themselves UNIX. Whereas Apple's OSX is  UNIX. In fact, most releases of OSX are amongst the few OS's that are actually certified as Unix. Which means it… Read More ►
Joomla to Wordpress migration graphic

Joomla closedown

As you may have noticed, quite a lot has changed here on Garfnet over the last few weeks. Biggest change of all is the decision to dump Joomla as our main CMS in favour of Wordpress. I will go into more detail about the decision in another post. Suffice it to say that Wordpress is significantly less hassle to maintain than Joomla. And a migration of this sort, on a site this size, is no mean task. So it was not a decision that was made lightly. Anyway we have moved all the content from the old Joomla site and… Read More ►

Setting up a home studio

When we moved home a few years back, one of the most significant parts of our specification was a detached property with enough space for a reasonable sized home studio. We were looking for a place with a rectangular downstairs room, with no internal obstructions, roughly 6.0m x 4.0m, c/w a cloakroom on the same floor with toilet, basin hot+cold water and sufficient room for models to change reasonably comfortably. I based my studio size requirement thus... Absolute minimum 5.0m x 3.0m (Calculation basis: paper rolls are 2.72metres wide; camera needs to be 2-3 metres from model; model needs to… Read More ►

Surely Ubuntu Linux is only for a minority of geeks & programmers?

Minority interest? Yes. Only used by geeks & programmers?  Not necessarily... Ubuntu is a minority interest insofar as it only has a fraction of the users that M$ Windows has. Moreover, despite great improvements in recent years, some configuration issues with Ubuntu are still a pain. However I disagree that you need to be a programmer or a geek in order to use it. And generally speaking, installing Ubuntu on most systems is actually pretty straightforward and generally a lot faster and easier than Windows. Ironically, in my experience, new computer users with no knowledge of computing at all, tend… Read More ►

My Ubuntu sound system suddenly stopped working. Can I restart it without rebooting?

Sometimes your Ubuntu sound system can stop working. Often this is caused by a media player plugin in your web browser. You might also notice that your computer goes very slowly and that if it is browser-related, then the browser will perform at a snail's pace! As a Linux user, you will no doubt consider rebooting to be a personal failure! It's also annoying if you have loads of apps open, as I usually do. However, restarting the sound system whilst keeping your system alive is actually pretty straightforward. Here's how... 1. You need to find out what sound-based process(es)… Read More ►
Ubuntu-chrome logo

How do you install Google’s Chromium browser on (K)Ubuntu Linux?

Unfortunately the new Google Chromium open source browser is not included in the Ubuntu software repositories yet. Therefore installing it is a little more complex than other Ubuntu applications. But it still takes less than five minutes. Here's how... 1. You need to tell your system to connect to the appropriate software repository. That is, you need to add a line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file similar to this:- deb {your version of Ubuntu} main Where {your version of Ubuntu} could be hardy, intrepid, jaunty or karmic. There are several ways this can be achieved. Probably the simplest and most… Read More ►

What is the best media player for the GarfNet internet radio tuner?

The internet radio tuner is cross-platform compatible and should work on any modern operating system. If you are still using M$ Windows, chances are you will see the Windows Media Player above the station selector picklist. This is actually a fairly good player and should work fine on Windows systems. We use Linux and our machines use either MPlayer or VLC player. I am a big fan of the French-developed mulit-platform VLC player and as a standalone media player it is a "must-have" application regardless of whether you run Linux, Macintosh or Windows. But as a media-player-plugin, the Hungarian-built Mplayer… Read More ►

What is LAMPP?

LAMPP is an abbreviation for Linux | Apache | MySQL (database) | PHP ((Pretty) Hypertext Pre-processor) | Perl (programming language).Today, many Linux distributions come with Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl & Python anyway - or they are very easily added from the distributions software repository.If you want to run LAMPP on Windows then a LAMMP package such as XAMPP is a good idea. This is available for free download from the Friends of Apache website. Note: if you use XAMPP be sure to read the security advice on the XAMPP site... Read More ►

Which CMS has GarfNet chosen and why did you choose it?

Editor's note: this article dates back to 2005 and is VERY obsolete. It is here for historical interest only. Currently we are evaluating a number of quite different Content Management Systems. For the main part of the site it was a battle between Joomla & PHP-Nuke. Both are good systems. However Joomla's administration tools are a lot better, and much less idiosyncratic. GarfNet Pictures is managed by an excellent CMS called Coppermine. We plan to integrate Joomla & Coppermine eventually. Mr Goose chose another excellent product for his blog, called WordPress. And we are heavily experimenting with a dedicated educational… Read More ►

Would you use Debian on a desktop or laptop PC?

Yes and no! Debian is great but there are other Linuxes that are easier for the end-user to configure. My current favourite is Ubuntu. In fact if you have an old PC lying around, say a Pentium c/w 256MB or more of RAM and a few GiB of hard disk space then you could do a lot worse than installing Ubuntu on it. I've done this for several friends, who have all found it perfectly adequate, 100% reliable - and totally Micro$oft free! The live CD is particularly nice because you can boot & run Ubuntu from the CD to… Read More ►

Didn’t you use another Linux at one time?

In 1995 our ISP set us up on a server running FreeBSD. Then in 2005 we built our own server, moved to Linux and chose a 'live CD' product based on Debian Linux called Simply Mepis. At the time, if you wanted a quick out-of-the-box solution with a minimum of messing about, I think Mepis was the best of the Linux distributions for the non-nerdy. It had everything you need for a basic user, including which will open & save most Micro$oft office documents. Mepis, like many of the newer Linuxes boasts loads of other nice features too, such… Read More ►

Why is GarNet using Linux?

Our old server ran since 1995 with only a handful of reboots. Needless to say, it was not an M$ Windows machine. It was a FreeBSD box and it served us well. When our ISP said we could build our own server, we had two choices; 1. Windows 2003 Server with IIS (Micro$oft Internet Information Server) or 2. Linux with Apache webserver.M$ software would have cost an arm and a leg, whereas Linux & Apache is free. Thing is that I'm a tight-wad - the sort of guy who buys his shoes from Tescos! Therefore there was no contest here… Read More ►

What happened to the New Millennium ezine?

The 'Milly' as we affectionately called it was an experimental but slightly dysfunctional quarterly ezine that ran from 1995 December 27th through to 1999 December 25. It's quirky but honest view of the world attracted contributors & readers from all around the planet.The New Millennium was a big project, undertaken on a shoestring budget. It resulted in a huge site, run by a team of enthusiastic writers receiving and trying to answer stacks of emails from all around the world. All of this became difficult to manage especially as the project failed to generate any revenue!My father, David Lucas was… Read More ►

Cleaning a camera CCD with a vacuum cleaner and a Lens Pen

I had Fuji S1, S2 & S3, all of which had dust magnets for sensors! They would get dirty even if I did not remove the lenses, simply from the air that got sucked in by varying the focal length of the lens. However, I cleaned them quite successfully with a vacuum cleaner. However there are some important caveats. Most importantly,  do NOT use the cleaner to dislodge the dust. You are more likely to suck out the shutter mechanism. I never did this but a colleague did. Instead, use a fine carbon fibre brush such as a "Lens Pen"… Read More ►

Is Linux a “disruptive technology”?

If you do a google search for "disruptrive technology" and the word "Linux", you're likely to get over 50,000 hits. Trouble is that many of the articles that appear are quite old, often going back as far as 2001 and further. A lot has happened in the last few years... For a start, today we have very good Linux for desktops. By all accounts desktop Linuxes were pretty crap back in 2001. Windows 5 & 5.1 (2000 & XP) were actually reasonably good products in their day. Besides, the full horror of MS's now infamous security holes, virus vulnerability and… Read More ►