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 ►

Another update: Raspberry π4 for Zoneminder part 3

Raspberry π4 for ZoneMinder Part 1 - Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder Part 2 - Update: Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder Part 3 - Another update: Raspberry π4 for Zoneminder (you are here) My π4 Zoneminder has been running for just over two months. Overall I'm pretty happy with it. The main issue I had was that the current stable version of Zoneminder 1.34.x was not available for the ARM64 version of Pi OS in the Debian repository. At time of writing, most of the current release of Pi OS is in fact Debian version 10 (Buster), and it comes… Read More ►

Update: Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder part 2

Following on from my last article, this is Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder part 2. Now I have had time to set it up and test it for a while. Firstly, I decided to abandon the ARM64 version of Ubuntu on π because it seems slow and clunky. Basically it seems the current beta ARM64 Raspian "Buster" is actually better than the allegedly tested LTS ARM64 Ubuntu 20.04.1. It's a heck of a lot faster too  and the Pi-specific tools actually work as well. And while I remember it, apparently Raspian has been rebranded as Raspberry Pi OS now -… Read More ►

Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder

This is a overview of my adventures experimenting with a tiny Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder GNU/Linux-based security system. Raspberry π4 for ZoneMinder Part 1 - Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder (you are here) Part 2 - Update: Raspberry π4 8GB for Zoneminder Part 3 - Another update: Raspberry π4 for Zoneminder Background I have been running Zonemnder GNU/Linux PC-based servers both for my home and for a few customers for several years. It's worked pretty well too. In fact, my wife and I really like our system. She shares certain cams with her folks back in Hungary. And my… Read More ►

Remote shooting using “IP Webcam” software.

Folks considering remote shooting via smartphone may wish to experiment with Pavel Khlebovich's "IP Webcam". Basically it's an amazingly clever and full-featured app that allows you to control the camera(s) on your smartphone with a remote computer, using standard internet protocols. I initially got into it because it plays nicely with Zoneminder. Thus any of my smartphones can be used as security cameras. I use it quite regularly on my rooted Ulefone 3w. to stream video to our Zoneminder installation. But it actually does way more than that. For a start, it offers several different methods of displaying video… Read More ►

Ulefone 3w ruggedised smartphone

I recently purchased an unlocked Chinese Ulefone Armor 3W. - c/w  Mediatek chipset, 8-core 64-bit CPU, dual unlocked SIM slots, 256GiB TF slot and 10700mAH battery. I have quite a soft-spot for cheap generic Chinese phones. Of course, one has to choose the product quite carefully. You need to ensure your preferred device is not hobbled, or encumbered with masses of bloatware. If you want to make the device really useful then one also needs to be prepared to a little work oneself - especially if you wish to root the device. Because of its high power and relatively low… Read More ►

Backups: NAS vs external hard disk

Discussion came up on a forum to which I belong whether it is better to use NAS (network attached storage) or external hard drives for backup. My answer is why not use both? Effectively I have three NAS servers. One is a media server. The others are purely backup - though they can quickly be repurposed as a media server if the first one were to suffer a catastrophic failure. I also have a number of external drives too. But in all cases they are devices I have chosen to build myself, rather than buy off the shelf. Here's why...… Read More ►

Virtual backdrops and wallpapers

Freebies to beat those lockdown blues This is a collection of virtual backdrops and wallpapers that you may download, manipulate and enjoy, for free. These images were created by capturing and saving a large number snap-shots of an open source music visualisation application for GNU/Linux called ProjectM - not to be confused with a 2008 computer game with a very similar name. I originally created these as desktop wallpapers for computer systems. A purpose for which they work pretty well, even if I do say so myself. However, as a keen photographer I discovered they could also be deployed as… Read More ►

What is a WebP image file, and how do I open one?

Seems there is quite a lot of buzz about a "new" image format called "WebP"  that is seeing increasing use on-line recently. Although it is attributed to Google, WebP was not strictly a Google invention. It was originally developed by On2 of New York as part of its VP* series "Truemotion" video codecs. Google acquired these technologies when it took over On2. VP8 went on to be the core of Google's WebM video format. WebP is not particularly new either. It was originally released in back in 2010. Whilst the libwebp code library has been freely available under a BSD… 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 ►

Novatech X16 Pro | Clevo W76TUN review

My first introduction to the Novatech *16 Series was in the Beginning of October 2009 when I bought one for my mum & put Ubuntu 9.10 64 bit c/w Medibuntu multimedia thus saving eighty-five quid (or more) Microsoft Tax. My mum is in her seventies and she really does not like computers at all. Interestingly, she says she prefers Ubuntu to Windows - mainly because she does not have to bother about virus checkers and all those other security annoyances that seem particularly scary for elderly users. She also like the fact that she doesn't have to pay for any new… Read More ►

Novatech/Clevo E16 & X16 Wireless Networking under Ubuntu Linux

This was actually rather annoying. These days one rather expects wireless networking to work "out of the box". Anyway, seems the fix is reasonably simple. These instructions are very specific and therefore need to be followed exactly. They assume you are using the 64 bit version of (K)Ubuntu. I'm also assuming you are using Firefox to download the driver file.which is called:- • rtl8192se_linux_2.6.0010.1012.2009.tar.gz and that you save this file to the default location i.e. your Desktop. OK, here's what you do, once you have downloaded the file onto your Desktop Open a terminal, by clicking the Applications|Accessories|Terminal menu item.… Read More ►

Trying to buy a PC without Windows part 6 – Lenovo

IBM is not one of Microsoft's biggest fans, particularly after it was well-and -truly shafted in the OS/2 fiasco. So it seems very surprising that its subsidiary Lenovo refuses absolutely to provide any refunds for unwanted Microsoft Licenses, thus completely ignoring the Microsoft EULA. 2009-11-26 12:57 Good afternoon Garfield Unfortunately we are unable to advise the cost of the Operating System License as this is a bundle price including our OEM costings from MS. Kind regards Lenovo Sales Team Read More ►
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Trying to buy a PC without Windows part 5 – Acer, the most shameful response so far

On 2009-11-26, I wrote to Acer UK to establish what its policy was regarding the Microsoft Tax. This was its response:- Hello, Thank you for contacting Acer. Regarding your enquiry, The value would be £33.95 for vista home premium. This can only be refunded within 30 days of purchase and to get it refunded you would need to send the laptop into the acer repair centre to have the HDD formatted.  This would not be covered under warranty so would cost £51.99.RegardsJonathanAcer Technical Support Team This is one of the most shameful responses so far and justifies raising the matter… Read More ►

Struggling to make Ubuntu look good

Editor's note: This article is old and outdated. Blubuntu was eventually fixed in 2010. KDE4 also went on to be really rather good too. That was until they messed it up again with KDE5, but that is showing signs of being rather good now (2018-12-27) too. Seems that Canonical has woken up to the fact that the basic Ubuntu looks, well, rather turgid. Fortunately help is at hand in the form of a theme called Blubuntu. Now, Blubuntu is a great looking theme - far more attractive than Ubuntu's default dung-like hues. Unfortunately, there is a bug in the package,… Read More ►

Stop software patents in Europe

Editor's note: this petition dates back to 2009 and can no longer be signed. However, you can still visit the site if you wish. The patent system is misused to restrain competition for the economical benefit of a few but fails to promote innovation. A software market environment is better off with no patents on software at all. Healthy competition forces market players to innovate. If you value your computing freedom then sign the petition to stop software patents in the EU. Sign petition now. Read More ►
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Upgrade to 64 bit Goosebuntu (9.04 & 9.10)(Jaunty & Karmic)

This is a relatively quick and very effective way to beef up your (K)Ubuntu installation. In other words, it's how to install all your favorite Ubuntu apps all in one go! Note this primarily applies to (K)Ubuntu 9.04 & 9.10 (Jaunty & Karmic), 64 bit versions. For (K)Ubuntu 8.04 please visit earlier (and possibly outdated) article:- Basically the list below contains most of my favouirite (K)Ubuntu applications complete with their code libraries. The name "Goosebuntu" is not entirely serious - it is just a name we coined in the office. However, the following apps will turn a standard (K)Ubuntu… Read More ►

Upgrading Ubuntu 9.x to Kubuntu 9.x

Firstly, as ever, please back up anything that is important - as you would with any major upgrade on any computer system! Then you can either use the Synaptic package manager or in this instance it is probably quicker to install from a Terminal window. First you need to ensure the system is fully up to date. Simply type one line at a time followed by the return key... sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade Now your system is ready for Kubuntu. Type... sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop This will install the Kubuntu desktop. The download will take a while because… Read More ►

Trying to buy a PC without Windows part 4 – eBuyer

This is the fourth article in a series of case studies illustrating the difficulty one has purchasing a PC in the UK without being forced to pay a "Microsoft Tax". We use Linux on all our PC's and have done so for several years. Therefore we do not need, nor should we be forced to pay for any Microsoft software licenses. This week we focus on eBuyer.EBuyer is another British "pile-em-high-sell-em-cheap" internet-based boxshifter that shifts a heck of a lot of PCs and laptops. We have bought quite a bit of kit from it over the last two years including… Read More ►

Update – Laptops Direct

We eventually did hear back from Laptops direct. Amazingly, its sales team openly admits that it ignores the Microsoft EULA! So nil penguin points! But if there were a category for honesty then it would get plenty of penguins! The emails are in reverse order and since I guess the sales person is just "following orders", his/her name and email has been withheld for privacy reasons:- Subject: RE: [Fwd: RE: - Sales Enquiry]Date: Tue, 14 Jul 2009 16:19:18 +0100From: [Laptops Direct salesperson] To: '[removed]' References: That is correct,[Laptops Direct salesperson]From: [removed] [mailto:[removed]]Sent: 14 July 2009 16:16To: [Laptops Direct salesperson]Subject: Re:… Read More ►