Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ohio LinuxFest

Ohio LinuxFest is coming Sep. 30!

I absolutely loved it last year. It looks like I won't be able to make this year... *weeps bitter tears* - unless, that is, one of you would like to babysit a ten-year-old? No? Bleah, Saturday events are not parent-friendly. (Actually, I did meet one attendee last year who brought his ten-year old. I can't imagine pulling that off with ours, though.)

But anyway, you can give me some comfort by going yourself and having a fantastic time. They've promised extra Linux-newbie stuff this year, too. It will be better than Cats; you will want to see it again and again.

Qnxo price weirdness

Let me say, first off, that I deeply appreciate everything Steven Feuerstein does for the Oracle community.

But the marketing of Qnxo has just gotten weird. My boss asked me for my wishlist for the software budget, and I tried to put Qnxo on it. On Qnxo's "buy it" page, I got
Qnxo is, for the time being, available only on a trial basis. The trial version offers the full range of Qnxo functionality and will work for 30 days after install. If you would like to continue using Qnxo after that point, please visit the Support page and fill out the Contact form. We will then provide you with a key that will enable Qnxo for use until the end of 2006. If you have any questions, please also submit your question through the Support page.
I thought refusing to give customers a straight up-front answer on a price was a hallmark of $10K+ software. Last I heard, Qnxo was $175.

If it were open-source, I'd dive in and use it. If it were proprietary with a clear price, we could decide whether to buy it. But this? I'm supposed to make it a part of my development process based on the hope that, when we're ultimately given a price, it'll be acceptable? I don't see how anybody can do that. I know we can't.

[EDIT 09-09-2007: Steven himself (!) just notified me via his comment that Qnxo is now QCGU, and it's free of charge. Thanks, Steven!]

Monday, September 11, 2006

dual-boot Ubuntu/Windows

I have a new laptop from my boss! A Dell XPS M1710; it feels a bit like an SUV of laptops... it weighs more than I do, comes with an on-board fusion reactor, and emits a menacing red glow from around its edges. It's just chock-full of gigabytes and megahertz and stuff. I will never complain that my boss skimps on our hardware. I think I need a mule to carry it, though.

Anyway, since I'm torn between my love of Linux and my workplace's Windows mandate, I decided to make the machine mirror my split. I need a dual-boot Windows/Ubuntu machine. Since this is the first time I've done so, I'm really glad it was on a clean machine... it was not as smooth as vanilla Ubuntu.

Here's what I did. You should skip step 2.
  1. Found good documentation on the Ubuntu wiki
  2. Let standard Ubuntu installer attempt to shrink the main Windows (NTFS) partition, to give me room for Linux partitions. I ended up with partitons of type "unknown". Oops!
  3. Re-installed Windows from its CD, this time setting its NTFS partition up with about 1/3 the total disk space and leaving the rest uncommitted.
  4. Followed the instructions from the "Issues with Windows XP and NTFS" section of WindowsDualBoot: created a System Rescue CD, booted from it, and used run_qtparted to redo the partitioning.
  5. Created a single physical partition - the last one of the four I'm allowed.
  6. Within the final physical partition, created a linux-swap partition (4 GB for my 2 GB of memory). Divided the rest of the disk between an ext3 partition for Linux root and a FAT32 partition for data that Windows and Linux will be able to share.
  7. Started the Ubuntu installer again; chose "manually edit the partition table", and assigned the swap and ext3 partitions to Ubuntu.
Accepting the defaults, my FAT32 partition got labelled "sda5" under Ubuntu and "e:" under Windows. Sure enough, both OS's can access it OK.

Success! One dual boot laptop, hooray! (Yes, I know, if I'd been really bold, I would have used Xen to run both OS's virtually. Maybe next time.)