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What's cool about skype

For Rob: (No, I won't both­er reg­is­ter­ing in a site to be able to post a com­men­t, so this is eas­ier).

With­out even con­sid­er­ing the po­lit­i­cal stuff, which I don't give a damn about, here's what I find nice about hav­ing Skype in Lin­ux:

  • You can use skype­out and call long dis­­­tance or in­­ter­­na­­tion­al very cheap­­­ly

  • You can re­­place your com­­pa­ny-wide phone sys­tem with it (or nev­er both­­er to in­­stall phones), al­though I pre­fer to use {g­nome,net}meet­ing or ophone for this sort of thing.

  • It does work from be­hind a fire­wal­l, which is what has­n't let me use MSN or sim­i­lar AV sys­tem­s.

  • Since it works on Lin­ux, I can use it.

Of course all this as­sumes Skype works as ad­ver­tised. But if you know of an al­ter­na­tive that can do all that, that would be even bet­ter!

I agree that for lo­cal call­s, if you have lit­tle need for a phone, it may make no sense. Some­times. In some places, lo­cal calls are free. Here, I pay by the minute.

Skype would save mon­ey in some cas­es, when I need to have a two-hour-­long talk with a clien­t.

In short: would I pre­fer to have a free, open source pro­gram that does all the above? Sure! (although I can't imag­ine how Skype­out could be free).

Would I pre­fer not to have Skype? Hell no!

So, while not ide­al, it's good. And if it's good... well, that's good, is­n't it? Then why gripe?

Package Management: APT for RPM

I have been a big fan of ap­t4rpm ev­er since I worked at Conec­ti­va (the guys who cre­at­ed the thing).

Man­ag­ing Red Hat and Fe­do­ra servers with­out it would be a PI­TA.

Sad­ly, I see lots of peo­ple who don't know about it, or know, but don't use it to its fullest. So, here's a few tip­s...

Shopping for a notebook

Ok, I want to re­tire my note­book. It's about to turn 10 years old, which is about 270 in note­book years, so it's time.

I've been re­search­ing a bit, and here's my re­quire­ments:

  • Cheap. About USD 950 would be fine

  • Smal­l.

  • Light.

  • Enough pow­er to run KDE de­­cen­t­­ly.

  • Should work with lin­ux. Noth­ing very fan­­cy, but it be­ing able to sus­pend would be nice ;-)

  • DVD read­­er, CD writ­er. DVD writ­er would be nicer but con­sid­er cost.

I've been look­ing ten­der­ly at a Av­er­atec 3220. It seems to ful­fill all the re­quire­ments ex­cept it seems not to work so well with Lin­ux.

Be­fore any­one say it's not pow­er­ful enough: My desk­top has a slow­er CPU (A Duron) and I like it just fine.

The screen is rather small­ish, but that's part of be­ing small and light, I con­sid­er the 12" screen a plus.

If any­one knows of a bet­ter sys­tem in this price range (the Av­er­atec can be found for about USD 890 or so), or of a cheap­er way to get one, please com­ment here!

Linux packages the not so easy way

Are you us­ing a RPM or DEB based sys­tem? Are you us­ing a pro­gram and can't find it in pack­aged for­m?

Are you tired of won­der­ing what pro­gram you don't use any­more in­stalled all that crap in /us­r/lo­cal?

Then this ar­ti­cle is for you. Learn how to cre­ate your own RPM­s, that you can lat­er unin­stal­l, up­grade, and share with oth­er com­put­ers and user­s, with­out much of a headache, thanks to check­in­stal­l.


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