Linux Software Blog A blog dedicated on bringing Linux tutorials and how-to's to the masses...Fri, 03 Sep 2010 17:31:33 +0000 Speed Dreams in Fedora, 03 Sep 2010 17:31:33 +0000Rob Speed Dreams is a fork of the famous open racing car simulator Torcs, aiming to implement exciting new features, cars, tracks and AI opponents to make a more enjoyable game for the player, as well as constantly improving visual and physics realism.

There are a bunch of RPM’s packaged for Mandriva, but I can confirm that these work Fedora, also.

Note: All 3 RPM files are needed to be downloaded and saved to the same directory.

32 bit 64 bit
Base Download Download
Robots Download Download
Data Download Download


rpm -ivh *.rpm
Synaptics Tap to Click in Fedora 13, 09 Aug 2010 22:15:02 +0000Rob you own a laptop with a synaptics touchpad, you may have an issue whereby tap-to-click is not enabled, in Fedora 13.


> su -c "gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf"

In the first Section, add two additional lines immediately before EndSection, as such:

Section "InputClass"
Identifier "touchpad catchall"
Driver "synaptics"
MatchIsTouchpad "on"
MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event/index.html"
Option "TapButton1" "1"
Option "RBCornerButton" "3"

Save, and reboot !

Screencast: Gnome 3 on Fedora 13, 27 Jul 2010 10:52:56 +0000Rob caved. Having lived with (and loved) the KDE 4 series from 4.0, I came across one too many Gnome 3 previews to not try it myself. Below is a screencast of how I’m finding it…


  • Pretty stable! (which is excellent as Gnome 3 is due in September UPDATE: Gnome 3 delayed – March 2011
  • After 20 minutes, I found the UI very intuitive
  • Gnome panels no more! I always found icon layout in the panels a little clunky
  • Smooth effects. Ignore the video glitches, the 3D effects are very elegant
  • Responsive. I am told to expect all Gnome apps using Gnome 3 libraries to run considerably quicker than those using the 2.** libraries
  • Brings parity between the Gnome vs KDE argument once again. It was my feeling that the KDE 4.3+ series had elevated KDE as the king of desktop environments


  • It is quite different from all previous Gnome UI’s. So any casual users, or novices might take longer than 20 minutes to adjust to the Gnome shell
  • It took me slightly be surprise when I click on an application icon when that software was already running. Just like in MacOSX, it just brings the existing software instance to the front of the screen. So, remember to right click the icon and “New Window”
  • The UI isn’t very configurable. e.g. I could not find a way to change the colour of the top bar. However, this may change before it “stable” release in September
  • Lacking some eye candy. I’ve used wobbly windows with kwin for a long time, and with compiz before that. There’s just something intuitive about wobbly windows. Maybe that’ll land before September, too?
  • So as far as I can tell, the only way to launch software with your mouse is to the “Activity Layout” (mouse to top left corner). In the past, there were simple right click options “add to desktop” and “add to panel”. I’m yet to decide if I prefer the new method, though it may well be true that I do indeed prefer it
Howto: Install Nvidia driver for Fedora 13, 28 May 2010 23:31:00 +0000Rob you’re wanting to use the nvidia proprietary driver, rather than the nouveau driver provided by default in Fedora 13, then do the following:

1. Add this to the end of the kernel line (without quotes) in /etc/grub.conf -> “rdblacklist=nouveau vga=0×318″

2. Command:  su -c “rpm -Uvh”

3. Command: yum update

4. For 64bit Users, Command: yum install kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.x86_64

5. A) For 32bit Users, Command: yum install kmod-nvidia xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686
5. B) For 32bit Users using the PAE kernel, Command: yum install kmod-nvidia-PAE.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686

6. Reboot, and you’re done !

Note: If this doesn’t seem to work for you, in step one, instead of “rdblacklist=nouveau”, try “nouveau.modeset=0″

Download Osmos – An Indie Linux Game, 17 May 2010 20:23:57 +0000Rob folks over at Hemisphere have ported their creation, Osmos, to the Linux platform.

[vimeo clip_id="5892502" width="500" height="300"]

It’s a great game, and they have blogged about their experiences of the porting process here.

They need your help, to make the Linux version a success. It’s really easy – go download the game !!

(There’s even a demo release to tempt you…)

Ubuntu One Music Store, 02 May 2010 22:43:07 +0000Rob I installed Ubuntu 10.04 for a friend. I am a loyal Fedora user, since the days of Fedora Core 6. I enjoy reading the feature lists in the build up to each Fedora release. But… I have to say, installing Ubuntu 10.04 was an absolute joy. It was intuitive, fool proof, and so simple. The last time I installed Ubuntu was 8.04. I can, without question say that the installation procedure for 10.04 is light years ahead of previous releases.

The implementation of the gnome desktop environment in 10.04 is also impeccable. It is incredibly polished, great new colour scheme, and with the various features new in 10.04, I really felt that love had gone into the implementation of this distribution.

I played about with the installation for an hour or two, and I came across Rhythmbox. WOW! Unbelievable. I’ve used Amarok for years, but if I were a Ubuntu user, I would swap in an instant.

1 – The Ubuntu One store. What a brilliant idea. Everyone loves music. And Linux users love open source software. People contribute in all sorts of ways – Writing open source software, submitting bug reports, or maintaining a blogging website like this one! I’ve always wanted a cheap and easy way to legally acquire music online, but to date, I’ve failed to adopt the usual channels. For a start, I can’t use iTunes because Apple don’t write software for Linux. I’ve tried, and even blogged about the Amazon mp3 Downloader for Linux here, and the problems software companies have with proprietary software. But today I have seen a genuine avenue for me to acquire music legally, and to pay a small contribution to Canonical’s efforts to deliver a stunning Linux operating system.

2 – iPhone/iTouch Compatibility. My friend has an iPhone. And, for one minute, put to one side all of the arguments for open vs closed technology. People want their iPhone’s, or any other device, to “just work”. And in Ubuntu 10.04, iPhones do work, effortlessly. In Rhythmbox, we were able to download an alum using the Ubuntu One music store, and push this to the iPhone to listen to it later. It was a really intuitive, simple process. It was like iTunes, just a lot better.

So what now? I’m a die hard Fedora fan. I write Fedora tutorials such as this, and tell people how great the distro is. But the maturity of Ubuntu 10.04 really caught my imagination today. I’m now at a crossroads. Do I continue with Fedora-KDE, or do I start again with Ubuntu 10.04 Gnome ? I want to start paying for music regularly as I used to (when buying CD’s from record shops). The great feeling is that I have a choice. I can choose from dozens of Linux distro’s, and the notion of freedom will forever be synonymous with Linux.

As it stands, I think I am going to wait until Fedora 13 is released. I will upgrade and give it a fair ride. If I feel like something is missing, I may exercise my right to move onto something new. I’m already writing my music album wishlist.

Microsoft Windows – Magazine FAIL, 13 Apr 2010 00:16:14 +0000Rob can’t quite believe I’m seeing this… An officially endorsed Windows magazine, and on the front cover of April 2010 edition it proclaims:

Revitalise your PC in One Hour !

Windows Magazine

Do I understand this correctly? Are Microsoft openly accepting that their beloved operating system degrades in performance over time… That full system re-installations are required for an adequate experience with the Windows OS? Surely general daily use can have no influence in the speed of a computer.. whether it be turned on for the 2nd time, or for the 10,000th time.

This is a commonly used argument used by Linux users, including myself. But rather than Microsoft running to defend its operating system against such damming criticism, they instead seem to acknowledges the problem… and even try to flog their poor users of an extra £5 for a magazine to tell them how to fix it!

So for people affected by the issue of system slow down due to wear and tear, let me share with you the options I feel are available to you:

Option 1. Limit your PC usage to once a month. Ensure that you send all intended emails, and that you check the news headlines for the coming weeks ahead.

Option 2. Use your PC every day. Watch YouTube videos, chat to friends on social networking sites, but remember…. on every 2nd Monday of each month “Revitalise your PC in one hour”.

Options 3. Avoid such nonsense ideas as “system reinstalls”, “virus checks”, and save yourself £5 on the magainze to buy a much more fulfilling monthly publication instead….. This option is achieved by…..

Switching to Linux. It’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make. It’s very easy, will save you hours of “system maintenance”, and will save you £££ through not buying the Windows OS, virus checkers, or costly trips to “PC Repair Shops”.

Here’s a good place to get started: Give Fedora Linux a try. Download HERE .

Study of High Level Languages: Pig, Hive, and JAQL, 25 Mar 2010 19:37:09 +0000Rob’ve published my results and findings for a project I’ve been working on for the last 7 months:

Comparative Study of High Level Data Query Languages: Pig, Hive, and JAQL


Looking at:

  • Scalability – [scale up; scale out]
  • Runtime
  • Ease of Programming
  • Computational Power

I hope you find it useful. Can I ask that, if you have any direct questions, please email me using my University email address, which you will find in the download link above.

My Life in Cartoon Motion, 19 Mar 2010 01:08:41 +0000Rob….(Courtesy of GIMP’s editing abilities).  A fantastic gesture from the Shepherd Neame Brewery , and I find myself with the worlds most legendary Ale pump clip….

For those who have never tried it – Next time you’re in an English pub that sells Spitfire Ale, you just have to buy a pint!

Spitfire Ale + Linux

Two pretty important things in my life...

Epic Gwenview plugins, 11 Mar 2010 18:05:28 +0000Rob love the new array of KDE apps that were introduced with the birth of KDE4. My favourite is the awesome Dolphin File Browser. I also really liked Gwenview – it was quite reminiscent of a typical MacOSX look and feel. Anway… I’ve been checking out the Fedora 13 artwork, by the amazing Mairin Duffy, and I was pleasantly surprised with a few of the plugins I found in Gwenview….

So, just like my Android phone (another story), I was pleased to see that I could send this proposed Fedora 13 wallpaper to all sorts of web services… Facebook, Flickr, Picasa etc… This is what I was offered:

Fedora 13 Artwork

Impressive eh?

On a side note – With all of the software packages now available for use with social networking site, I struggle to find a need to go on the websites at all these days… For Twitter there are literally 100’s of apps like Gwibber and Tweetdeck, and all sorts of services (like Gwenview!) for uploading and viewing content from Facebook. I can’t remember the last time I actually went to to tweet? (F.Y.I – I’m @thewonderer57 :-) )