Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My new project: easy application Installer for Linux

I was playing recently with Qt4, trying to iprove my skills and to create a really useful program - an application installer. Here is screenshot of what I've done.

I really like how Mac OSX installers look and I was inspired of them. And I strongly beleive that the installing an application sould be strightforward and simple process, that does not require any special skills nor root (admin) privileges.
Also, installed program should looks like a single file, or icon, and installer must hide any required libraries, dependencies etc.
What is required should be installed transparently.

Currently the work is in progress. Planned features are:
- Comprehensive ini file, describing the install process
- separate Bundle maker
- Drag application icon and drop it anywere at user's choice
- Beautiful graphics
- Applications should be bundled with all required libraries.
- Installer should detect the most famous Linux distros and do not install some libraries if they are preinstalled by default - Qt in Kubuntu for example.
- Installed application should check the internet (preferably the bundle  packager site) for newer versions available and offer the user to upgrade them.
- All application's binaries shoud by digitaly signed from packager
- Altough it is not shown on the picture, there must be an icon for Licence description file

If you are interested in and want to get involved, feel free to contact me.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

5 things you'll face when installing Arch Linux

Arch Linux logoArch Linux is very advanced and popular Linux distro, and as of time of this writing, it is at 7th position on Distrowatch (for the past 6 months). It features i686 optimization and recently adds a support for gcc 4.7, which gives to it very decent performance.

But, what you will face when you install Arch Linux?
Despite of the speed and simplicity you'll find it somehow dificult and not so polished. Let me list some:

1. Default Out of the Box  installation is targeted to users with very decent knowledge about Linux. Average user or beginners probably will not able to install it. There is no graphical environment by default too.

Synaptic Package Manager 0.61 on ubuntu2. No GUI for package manager by default. Default package manager is pacman - console based, but very powerful.

3. There is no web based service for building custom packages like Launchpad or OpenSuse build studio.

4. When installing mysql or apache or something so called daemon in Linux world, the package is not configured by default to start upon system boot. You'll have to do it by hand by editing /etc/rc.conf

5. Unlike Ubuntu there is a lot of updates every day. If you are a developer, it is quite impossible to stick with a particulary (stable) library version for some time, say 5-6 months. Worse, if you are ATI videocard owner, you have to manually hold an old version of Xorg. The later was fixed recently, but there is no waranty of breakage.

So, what to do if you want to try Arch Linux, but want to avoid the above too?

1. Try Chakra Linux (a kind of ArchLinux, now separate branch), Archbang, or Bridge Linux. You can also wait a month or two for my super polished arch based AmeOS.

2. There is a very complete wiki which can save you a lot of headache. Read it everytime you want to do some administrative task like install new driver or package, just because the packages in Arch are so fast moving target and you have to know all the latest configuration tips and tricks in order to get best optimized and fully (also bug free) working system
KDE 4 Current version: 4.7 Older versions: 4.0...

3. Try to install as much packages as you have in mind and do not update next 3-4 months. Then update your system at once. Read the wiki and news on main page before update. That is my preffered way.

4. Read about metapackages in order to install some Desktop Environment, like KDE, Gnome or XFCE.

5. Read my blog to gain more knowledge about Archlinux and make your life with Arch easier.
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Archlinux: recent update ends with broken VLC

VLC icon made with Blender
Archlinux update last weekend leads again to breakage. This time this, it is VLC affected, and probably a dosen of other apps using ffmpeg and x264 packages.

Arch Linux logo
The update from this morning says the VLC is comming with version 2.0.2-2, which is a rebuild against the newer ffmpeg and x264, though the updated package is not synced everywhere yet.

What to do if you have udpated and VLC is not working, saying "it has'nt support for audio or video format  mp4v"?
Well, there four things you can do:

  1. Search your local cache and revert the older versions of ffmpeg, x264 and vlc. Most likely you have deleted it, so procceed with p.2
  2. Install totem or smplayer, it certainly should work
  3. Grab the fresh PKGBUILD from Archlinux site and rebuild it yourself.
  4. Wait, like me, until all mirrors get synced (in about 1 or 2 days)

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Objective-C is now more popular than Java and C++

English: A selection of programming language t...

How the TIOBE index is drive by the iOS money making apps! This month Objective-C has become more popular even than C++. Both Objective-C and C++ started in early 1983 as successors of the C language. Now Objective-C more popular (thanks to the iPhone and iPad), but not as a direct competitor of C++ any more.

The TIOBE Programming Community index is not just an index about what is the best programming language, but an
Tiobe index in 2009
 indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors.

You should check the index  regularly to check whether your programming skills are still up to date or to make a strategic decision about what programming language should be adopted when starting to build a new software system. I'm glad to see my favorites - C# and Python are still in the top 10. Which are yours? And what position?
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