Goodbye Firefox, Hello Google Chrome – Firefox vs Google Chrome on Kubuntu

Since the inception of Firefox, it has been (more or less) the defacto standard browser for a wide array of corporations, groups and people. It quickly rose to be the dominant browser due to it’s open source nature, it’s speed and it’s ability to properly display a web page. There are plenty of other reasons (like it is/was much more secure than IE6 … no clue how it stacks up to IE8 though), but one of the most important reasons was it’s add-ons/extensions.

With extensions anyone could go in and create an extension for Firefox which augmented some functionality, added something new, removed something they didn’t like and completely redesigned the interface. Heck, now-a-days Firefox is still THE browser to use when creating webpages simply because of it’s power extensions  such as: SEO-Firefox, FireBug and YSlow just to name a few.

Users finally had a (really) great free alternative to all other browsers. Opera and Netscape really didn’t compare back then, though I here the latest Opera is rather nice. But the battle raged on mostly between Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. It is a real David vs Goliath battle here folks. Though there was a new comer to this ancient struggle.

The ever benevolent (as benevolent as any rich and powerful US corporation could be … which isn’t much) Google announced, a while back, it’s plans to create a browser. Rumor upon rumor spread and eventually it was actually released. And it did surprisingly well.

As of this writing Google Chrome is up to version 5.0.375.99 in the Beta (or so). It’s based off of the Chromium project which is open source, while Google Chrome isn’t technically 100% open source. Either way, it’s a extremely fast and powerful browser which makes headway each and every month.

Why the switch:

I love Firefox and have been using it for a long long time. If anyone asks which browser I recommend they use I say Firefox. BUT, I myself have switched over to Google Chrome (in Linux) for several reasons (in no particular order)

1) Google chrome is simply much prettier. They eliminated the usual window borders from the Xorg display, which is nice. Of course, if you prefer your Metacity or KDE borders, you can enable all that jazz too. But I really prefer it without. It gives my browser more space to actually display a site!

My website is blue, and Chrome is by default blue. Works for me. Plus, it was the first browser (which was popular) to include styles/themes/whatever you wanna call it that can change the look of the browser by default. Which is cool. I don’t use it (yet), but it’s nice to have albiet useless except for putting my companies own logo in it.

2) Google Chrome starts up significantly faster. I have found that on a cold startup (meaning after a reboot or a normal boot up in the morning) Chrome will open almost instantly, but firefox will take up to 10 seconds to load! Yikes! That ‘could’ be because of all the extensions I installed, but either way it’s slow (to start).

3) Easier bookmark manager. Before I comment on this, I gotta say this: I really dislike both bookmark managers because they all suck and are boring. Firefox has it right, I think, with the tags and all but it was kinda cumbersome. They all need some automated way for this. Anyway … Chrome bookmark manager is easier to deal with and less bitchy than Firefox’s, except that if you close it and open it again all the bookmark folders are open. Which is annoying. Overall, still much easier to organize bookmarks in Chrome IMO.

4) MUCH better and faster extension/plugin handling/managing than Firefox. In Chrome, if I install an extension I do not have to restart the whole bloody browser each time. In firefox, you do … it’s annoying as hell especially since on average I have at least 20 tabs open.

4.1) Chrome installs extensions/plugins lighting fast. Firefox installs extensions rather slow.

5) Chrome actually displays websites correctly on a widescreen display in Linux unlike Firefox. This has been a real troublesome thing for me in Firefox. On my widescreen laptop, no matter what distribution of Linux I used Firefox would always display the wrong font sizes. Usually too large. And using the browser ability to shrink fonts didn’t fix any styling or display issues. It really sucked.

6) It ‘seems’ to navigate websites a bit faster. This one is completely unscientific, but it just seems like a faster browser overall. Just my 2 cents.

7) Takes up less screen space. Related to #1.

8) Chrome opens new tabs/pages from within other programs MUCH faster. If I click a link in my e-mail, it opens up within a second or so in Chrome, there is a small delay before Chrome catches the link and then starts opening it. Browsers have that. But with Firefox this delay was just so unbelievably slow. this is also the main reason I tried switching in the first place.

But it’s not all peaches and creame!

I use Chrome more or less exclusively now, but I wish it have some things that Firefox had. For one:

  • Bookmark tags.
  • More marketing/programming extensions (like FireBug … even though I think there is a FireBug like extensions for Chrome now).
  • More stability, it seems to also be a bit more unstable than Firefox. Kinda odd, can’t describe it really. Though it crashes for some reasons, but very rarely. Firefox practically never crashed though. Then again … I am using Chrome Beta on Linux.
  • The bookmark bar was somehow changed. It sucks, this option really blows in Chrome. I use my main bookmark bar a lot, in Firefox is was actually decently pretty and what-not. But in Chrome it sticks out like a sore thumb. Bleh … Maybe I need a new chrome style?

Have you had any browser changing experiences? How about your thoughts on Chrome? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know what browsers ya’ll are using these days!

Screencasting in Linux With RecordItNow & PulseAudio

Screencasting has been a general pain in Linux. No more. The new application RecordItNow solves many screencasting issues and best of all, it really does ‘just’ work. It’s easy to use and it’s free. Here is my first screencast using RecordItNow about screencasting in linux.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

XBMC 9.11: Camelot Finally Out!

XBMC has finally hit it’s latest milestone release: 9.11 Camelot. This release marks a great step forward in the media world. Why? Because this release offers plenty of space to create plugins, skins and plenty more.

If you are using Ubuntu or any variant of it, you will already have the update ready in your repository. Simply update the source list and upgrade. In Kubuntu, KpackageIt should handle it nicely. If you don’t have it installed yet, head over to XBMC’s download page to get it.

Here are some of the highlighted updates in this milestone release:

  • Improved skin framework
  • Better support for multi-monitor displays
  • Updated FFmpeg libraries
  • Added Flash support
  • UPnP support
  • Updated and added a lot of scrapers for music and movie information

There are more changes of course, you can read all about this release at their blog here. Also, don’t forget to head to the skinning page to download our choice of great skins here.  Plugins are also essential so grab some good ones here.

Install TweetDeck in Ubuntu Karmic x64 Easily

TweetDeck is a favorite Twitter application of many users. Why? Because of it’s grouping features, functionality, customizability, great looks and it runs on just about any major OS.

For us linux users, there is a version which you can pick up from TweetDeck.com. Though, to my dismay, you need to install the Adobe AIR plugin first. This is done rather automatically so it’s not much of a hassle, but it still is rather annoying and I would rather have the ability to install via apt or a .deb file. So in-order to install TweetDeck on Linux you not only need Adobe Air, but also Flash; and we all know how fun that is.

After downloading from the “Download Now” flash button, it will install TweetDeck and launch it if you want. This will work fine. The problem is if you want to start it up by yourself. You might get this error:

Error loading the runtime (libadobecertstore.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory)

Even if you find “libadobecertstore.so” on your computer you will still get that error. The reason is simple. TweetDeck is a 32 bit application and if you are using a 64bit Ubuntu, it will use the 32 bit libraries that you installed. From this post on OssRamblings, they describe all the lib32 steps you need to take. But if you’re a regular user of x64 bit Ubuntu you probably have installed a lot those anyway.

So all you probably really need to do is this:

sudo cp /usr/lib/libadobecertstore.so /usr/lib32

And that’s it. This should be done after installing Adobe Air. Also, just for good measure do “sudo ldconfig” to reload the libraries.

Automatically Add XBMC To Your Ubuntu Repository List

A few people been wondering how to easily enable or install XBMC on Ubuntu. It’s rather easy and I have said how to do it before. BUT Ubuntu Karmic makes life a bit easier if the repository used the PPA system.

The old way to add a repository to your source list was to go through the command line or through your favorite gui tool. Through there you had to add the full path to the repository and then add the security key. Now things are simpler:

From the command line you only have to enter this one command and it will take care of everything for you:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa

And … that’s it. It will add the correct repository for you and add the security key. Fun! After you add the repo, don’t forget to update:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get -u dist-upgrade

With this you’ll get all the latest and greatest XBMC updates to your front door and no more security issues! Hurray.

edit: You can access information about the team-xbmc ppa here.

edit2: Also more info about PPA’s and XBMC in the PPA’s here at the XBMC forum.

XBMC Beta 2 Now In Kubuntu Karmic Repos!

Rejoice! The newest latest and greatest version of XBMC is almost out. Their latest release, which hit the repo’s early today morning (for you us in the EU) or late last night for ya’ll back West, is the Beta 2 release.

What is in this glorious Beta 2 release? Well, just like in the Beta 1, it uses (or at least has) their newest theme called “Confluence”. They report that they have fixed around 200 new bugs, a few of which are just some translation fixed and very minor things. But non-the-less 200 in such a short time is great.

Should you upgrade? Oh yes. Why? Because since they started on Beta 1 the XBMC crew as been working tirelessly on bug fixes. Since the release of Beta 2 they have stopped (“frozen” as they call it) any development of new features. So they are no focusing on ironing out the wrinkles.

Update: XBMC 9.11 Camelot FINAL is now out. Read all about it here.

Directly from their page:

As always, head on over to the download page for the latest and greatest. The Ubuntu PPAs will be updated soon. Give it a go, and be sure to submit quality bug reports if you have any issues. Also, please keep great the translations coming!

Be sure to test it out and let them know if anything goes wrong. IF you are using it be aware that it IS beta software (testing stage software) so it can randomly die on you. Though, from my experience so far with Beta 1 and now Beta 2 it is rather darn stable.

So, if you have Ubuntu or any *buntu for that matter, you can get it from the PPA’s. For me, the updated are ‘blocked’ through KPackageIt, so if you have a similar situation just update from the command line by doing:

sudo apt-get -u dist-upgrade

If you don’t have the PPA’s added, you can read about how to add them here: XMBC 9.11 In Ubuntu Karmic Repositories.

One thing I recommend you check out / do … is go get yourself some plugings and extentions installed in XBMC. There are some pretty cool toys to be had. Though, that is also one thing the XBMC people have to fix. The plugin installer ‘thing’ isn’t ready yet. It has a few issues, nothing major. Mostly cosmetic and information issues, but everything will install just fine as long as it’s marked compatible (or the like).

Dropbox on Kubuntu Karmic 9.10 in KDE! No Nautils needed.

Dropbox is a wonderful website. Syncing your file automagically over the net. It even supports the iPhone AND linux. Now how many applications can say that they actually do support all major/popular operating systems?

The dropbox software is rather easy to install in the Linux flavors of Ubuntu (not Kubuntu), Fedora 9 and 10. There is also a source code download button, but we are not interested in that since it required Nautils.

What is Nautils? It’s the Gnome file manager. Kubuntu uses KDE and thus Konqueror and/or Dolphin. Getting it to work for us in KDE is simple.

I got the original tutorial from here. Here are the steps and a few highlights:

  1. Download Dropbox binaries (in tar.gz form).
    1. for x86 users: http://www.getdropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86
    2. for x86_64 users: http://www.getdropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64
  2. Extract the downloaded file, at the time of this writing the file name was “dropbox-lnx.x86_64-0.6.571.tar.gz”
    1. To extract from the command line: tar xzf dropbox-lnx.x86_64-0.6.571.tar.gz
  3. The .tar.gz file extracts to a hidden folder named “.dropbox-dist”. So move this file to your $HOME (your home) directory
    1. To move it to your home directory via command line: mv .dropbox-dist ~/
    2. If you use Dolphin or Konq., you won’t be able to see the folder unless you have “view hidden files” enabled.
  4. You need to start the Dropbox daemon for the first time. The dropbox daemon is called “dropboxd”
    1. To start it from the command line: ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd
  5. Now we need to add it to our autostart. Two easy ways, command line and System Settings ways.
    1. For command ling way: ln -s ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd ~/.kde/Autostart
    2. Gui way: Kmenu -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Autostart -> Add Script  … and now navigate to ~/.dropbox-dist and select dropboxd

After all is said and done, you’ll have a nice little dropbox tray icon. After starting the Dropbox daemon for the first time, it will allow you to connect to an existing account or create a new one!

Now, no more worries about Nautils. Dropbox will automatically open your default folder viewer (probably Dolphin) when you use it. You can also easily browse to your Dropbox folder using Dolphin, Konqueror or even the command line JUST like as if it were a normal folder. Fun!

Happy Dropbox‘ing in KDE. Now if you need a direct to the sign-up page, please use my referral link. This way we both will get extra free space:  https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTMzNzE0NDI5

NVIDIA CUDA SDK Gcc 4.4 Problems Solved in Kubuntu/Ubuntu Jaunty 9.10: “/usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lglut” And __signbit/__signbitf/__signbitl/__signbitd “cannot be declared weak”

Nvidia’s CUDA is a great technology though it’s not without it’s problem. I’m not here to talk about CUDA and it’s up’s and down’s. The issue at hand today is installing the SDK in Kubuntu Jaunty 9.10.

See, the main issues here are that a) Jaunty is rather fresh and tries to use new technology b) Jaunty isn’t exactly the best coded OS out there, they have plenty of ‘quality’ bugs to iron out c) CUDA isn’t made for the latest and greatest, it’s made from stable sources!

Thus, if you’re a user of ANY *nix OS that has GCC 4.4 and/or G++ 4.4 you’ll have the following main issue to go around while trying to compile the SDK sample source files:

/usr/include/string.h:43: error: inline function ‘void* memcpy(void*, const void*, size_t)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/string.h:64: error: inline function ‘void* memset(void*, int, size_t)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/string3.h:49: error: inline function ‘void* memcpy(void*, const void*, size_t)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/string3.h:78: error: inline function ‘void* memset(void*, int, size_t)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/local/cuda/bin/../include/common_functions.h:59: error: inline function ‘void* memset(void*, int, size_t)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/local/cuda/bin/../include/common_functions.h:62: error: inline function ‘void* memcpy(void*, const void*, size_t)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/local/cuda/bin/../include/math_functions.h:412: error: inline function ‘int __signbit(double)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/local/cuda/bin/../include/math_functions.h:417: error: inline function ‘int __signbitf(float)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/mathcalls.h:350: error: inline function ‘int __signbit(double)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/mathcalls.h:350: error: inline function ‘int __signbitf(float)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/mathcalls.h:350: error: inline function ‘int __signbitl(long double)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/mathinline.h:36: error: inline function ‘int __signbitf(float)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/mathinline.h:42: error: inline function ‘int __signbit(double)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/include/bits/mathinline.h:48: error: inline function ‘int __signbitl(long double)’ cannot be declared weak
/usr/local/cuda/bin/../include/math_functions.h:442: error: inline function ‘int __signbitl(long double)’ cannot be declared weak
make[1]: *** [obj/release/convolutionFFT2D.cu.o] Error 255
make: *** [src/convolutionFFT2D/Makefile.ph_build] Error 2

With the main interst and annoying part being:

‘int __signbit(double)’ cannot be declared weak
‘int __signbitf(float)’ cannot be declared weak
‘int __signbitl(long double)’ cannot be declared weak
‘int __signbitf(float)’ cannot be declared weak
‘int __signbit(double)’ cannot be declared weak
‘int __signbitl(long double)’ cannot be declared weak

Well, what to do now? After a little bit of searching around I discovered the above mentioned facts:

  • CUDA is NOT made for GCC version greater than 4.3
  • Ubuntu/Kubuntu 9.10 Jaunty is NOT officially supported
  • Installing GCC 4.3 and 4.4 along side each other in Jaunty is useless in many ways
  • The fix is annoying, but easy to do

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