October 26, 2021


Sunday, June 25, 2006
There are a few pictures now available that you guys might like to see.

The first one is a family picture we had taken. We think it came out very nice. A full size version is here.

A few weeks ago, we went to a company party given by Christian's employer. It was at Schlitterbahn in Galveston. It was very fun, although I don't understand how they afford that stuff. Pictures from the event are here.

Also, Neo has baseball pictures and a picture of his class at swimming lessons in his folder for June.

Things are good here in Friendswood, although with Christian and I both working with NASA, things can get pretty hectic as we get closer to the flight. We are dealing with it pretty well me thinks.

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Monday, June 05, 2006
Many of the readers of this website probably aren't familiar with Linux. Many of you probably don't even know what it is.

For those that do, I just wanted to let you know about my experience with the latest release of Ubuntu Linux (6.06).

I first heard about Ubuntu from my brother. He mentioned that he had tried it on his laptop and was very happy with it. After reading about it on the web a bit, it was obvious that Ubuntu has been generating a lot of buzz in the Linux community as one of the first truly easy to use Linux distributions where things "just work". Having used many of the Linux distributions out there, I can honestly say that Linux has a long way to go before people can ever say it "just works" the way they do about a Mac, for example. But nevertheless, Ubuntu has made huge strides towards a Linux distribution actually usable by the masses.

Installing Ubuntu was easy on my Dell Dimension 9150. The install disc is a Live distro with the option to install to the hard drive. Installation was easy and straightforward with no glitches.

The only things that didn't work after the installation was my video card, and my sound card. I should rephrase that. Both of them worked, but not correctly. My video card was working and showing good graphics, but the 3D acceleration was missing since it was using the generic vesa driver. Secondly, my sound card was detected and making sound, but only the bass frequencies for some weird reason. Everything sounded muffled.

The graphics problem is not really their fault. Basically, to get an ATI graphics card running in Linux, you need a driver. And the drivers that ATI releases are not open source, and therefore not included with the distribution. I don't blame Ubuntu for that. And installing it was easy enough. Just selected the fgl driver package to be installed from the package manager and hit install. After some quick changes to my xorg.conf, I had full 3d acceleration. Pretty easy for me, but for the average user, probably a nightmare.

The sound thing I haven't fixed yet. I haven't been worried about it because I don't need sound when I'm doing my work. Once I figure it out, I will post it here.

The thing I like about Ubuntu is the package management and intuitive settings. For example, I wanted to install an ssh server. So, I opened up the package manager, searched for ssh, and hit install. After it installed, I wondered how I might disable it. So, I looked under the services menu, and sure enough, it automatically added it to the list with a simple checkbox letting me know it was enabled. That was it.

I can honestly say that this is one of the first Linux distributions that I am fairly impressed with. These guys are going in the right direction. One downside is that it is debian based, so all of those people familiar with red-hat will have to learn a few new tricks to learn how to configure and get around in Ubuntu.

Another nice thing is the flavor of Ubuntu called Edubuntu. This is a Ubuntu release packaged with children's themes, games, and education programs to help children learn about many things, including using the computer. I am running an older version of Edubuntu on Neo's computer and he loves it.

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