December 1st Meeting Notes - openSUSE 12.1 - LinuxMint 12 - PDF Edit

Another good meeting! With 9 present, Martin Torres led off with about a 2 hour presentation on openSUSE 12.1 and KDE. Martin has a 6 year old laptop and was having difficulty finding a current version of Linux that supported his VIA video chipset (older versions worked fine). openSUSE not handled his video fine including some effects, but in the out of the box install from DVD, it also supported his new "micro" USB D-Link Wireless adapter which allowed installing from wireless. Called micro because they look a tiny bluetooth USB adapter. There were a few quirky things with this new version of openSUSE KDE, including KDE's Network Manager which prevented Martin from connecting to the Library's wireless network and would crash if Martin tried to remove a non-public secure network that it was trying to connect to; very strange. It had worked fine for Martin on his secure home network. Martin had just reinstalled openSUSE 12.1 the night before and had not been able to get the post release updates and fixes from openSUSE; some of the issues that came out in demo may have been prevented since it has been 3 weeks since it was released and usually there are a lot of updates in those first few weeks which fix many things. Martin gave us a great tour of the desktop including the plasmoids and gadgets along with the various system configuration utilities available in openSUSE. 12.1 comes with a great selection of software pre-installed including a rich set of photography. One of the photographic tools was an HDR tool for merging bracket photos which he demostrated. There is also good support of Camera Raw as well. You can get more information and download links from Distrowatch for the Live Desktop CD's as well as the full Installation DVD's. Clint then spent about 45 minutes giving us a tour of the new LinuxMint 12 release. The team at LinuxMint, has done an awesome job of moving forward and keeping the same GNome based desktop appearance that LinuxMint users have come to enjoy and appreciate while at the same time moving forward with the Ubuntu 11.10 base, Linux kernel 3.x, and GNome 3.0, even including using the GNome 3.0 shell from the LinuxMint desktop by clicking on a small panel icon at the top left of the screen. And while LinuxMint 12 continues to provide the most "windows" desktop replacement in terms of support of multi-media, DVD, and ease of use, there are a number of programs and font support that can be added to make it the perfect desktop which you can find at LinuxMint 12 Perfect Desktop - Page 3. The only issue Clint had found in using LinuxMint 12 was configuring network printers. Apparently, in making the printer utility easier to use some function had been removed. The work around on this was to configure the printer manually using the CUPS web portal at http://localhost:631, login with your user ID, where you can the modify the printer or delete/add in order to get it working. Also, one logged into the CUPS web portal, you can see the error which you don't see in the desktop printer utility. A good tutorial on CUPS can be found at CUPS in a Nutshell (openSUSE). One of our group had a question on editing PDF files in Linux. It was thought that this might be possible using LibreOffice 3.4.4 or Scribus but neither application was up to the task. Further research at the meeting found PDFEdit which is available for installation from the LinuxMint 12 repositories using the Synaptic Package Manager. PDFEdit appears to be very capable full featured PDF editor but does have a learning curve. We also talked briefly about voice recognition on Linux which took us to this resource and a short of discussion of what is available. Dragon Naturally Speaking is still the consumer level program for voice recognition but is not free and runs on Windows. While Dragon can be co-erced into working on Linux using Wine or possibly CrossOver Office, co-ercision is not an option and can be challenging. The evening closed a few minutes befor 9 PM with a comment from Clint that he had just changed over to Clearwire 4G Wireless broadband due to a recent incident with CenturyLink. Apparently, a couple of days earlier in the week, a CenturyLink Technician had disconnected Clint's phone service which included his DSL connection while working on Clint's neighbor's phone connection. Clint called CenturyLink and they refused to anything about it other than issue a repair order for it to be fixed by 6 PM the following day. Apparently, when CenturyLink acquired Qwest, they also changed Qwest's "Spirt of Sevice" to CenturyLink "No Spirit of Service." CenturyLinks two day repair policy is unacceptable and Clint relies on his Internet connection always being available and after exploring the various wireless options and data plans, determined that Clearwire offered the best and fastest service available. While not as fast as his old DSL connection, he has found Clearwire to be comparable and even offers 1 MBit upload service (faster than his old DSL landline service). This conversation then turned to routers and using DD-WRT upgraded routers. Our next meeting will January 5th at the Boise Public Library! We will be meeting in our usual meeting location, the Gates Meeting Room, on the first floor of the Boise Public Library! at 715 S. Capitol Blvd, at our usual time of 6:30 PM. The Gates Meeting Room is what was the Gates computer lab, located in the rear of the library on the right side as you enter through the main doors, behind the Audio CD area. As always, if you have something that you would like to present to the group, even a problem that you are having and would like help on solving, let Clint know. We should have plenty of time for open discussion and Q&A time. If you have something to share, show, or something you would like help with, feel free to bring your computer and we'll try to get you connected at the library. We hope you are able to join us. Just a reminder, our meetings are open to public and there are no membership fees.