Monday, October 16, 2006

OK Adobe, Put Your Money Where Your Flex Is

Allow me to be "that guy" for a minute. Given the issues with the Framework session at MAX, I decided to check on my schedule for MAX and see what's going on. Now let me remind you again that I just switched from Windows to Ubuntu. You probably already know where this is going.

So the MAX scheduler is in Flex 2. Flex 2 requires Flash Player 9. Guess what isn't available for Linux yet? Yep, so I can't access the MAX scheduler.

Now I understand that Windows has the biggest install base by a long shot, and that the Mac is a very distant second, leaving Linux at the bottom of Adobe's list. I get that. BUT (and I think this is a big BUT), the talk Adobe's been putting forth is how the OS is becoming irrelevant, that RIAs will give us the desktop experience in the browser on any platform. There was even an article in the New York Times about the end of the importance of the operating system. I also said in a recent comment to one of my posts that I think it's fantastic that Flash video is taking off, which is again making the OS (and browser for that matter) irrelevant. As long as you have Flash, you can view anything on the web.

Now I'm not becoming some sort of Linux nazi. I'm really not. But I do think that if Adobe wants this OS-irrelevant future to come to fruition--and I think they do--they need to ensure that anyone on ANY platform (not just the "big two") can access Flex-based applications. Otherwise the choice of OS matters quite a bit, and we're only one OS choice better off than where we started.

I know that Flash Player 9 for Linux is in the works, but it would be nice if there was more of a commitment to release current Flash player versions for all OSes simultaneously, or at least in fairly short order. Without that commitment, we're still quite limited in our choice of operating systems, which is what RIAs are supposed to allow us to avoid.



you can use a HTML version here

This will work for another hour:

I'm not sure if you saw my previous comment, but I made the point that I had to drop Linux for Windows because work is moving me to do some Flex work and Windows is a requirement.

Worse then there not being a Flash 9 for Linux is the fact that there NEVER was a Flash 8.


Yep Eric, saw your previous post and I think that's lamentable. You won't hear me griping that they need to make their *apps* available for Linux. I think it would be great, but from a business standpoint I totally understand that there isn't much of a market for their tools to be available for Linux. It is pretty sad, though, that still to this day if you want to use Flex Builder you have to use Windows. The Mac version is in the works but hasn't come to fruition yet.

What does irk me is that the apps that we build with said tools can't be used on anything but Windows or Mac, and until recently it was Windows or the PPC-based Mac. Again, I realize that Linux is a very small part of the OS landscape, but it's a bit irritating that Adobe's version of "write once, run anywhere" in reality means "write once, run on Windows ... and other OSes when we get around to it." It's the web, folks--OS shouldn't matter.

Thanks James! I hadn't seen that screenshot, so that is indeed a beautiful sight to behold. I anxiously await the release.

Hey Matt, I hope you were able to get your scheduling issues worked out. Stephanie and Rom at Adobe were *extremely* helpful to me and my coworker. Let me know if you need contact info - though I did see your post on Ben's blog so I am sure he will get you hooked up! ~Jen


Flash Player 9 for Linux prerelease is available on Labs now:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Running Ubuntu!

Yesterday I finally made the switch to Ubuntu on my ThinkPad T60p. It went extremely smoothly overall, and I'll be sure and report my progress of getting settled into the new OS.

As I stated in a comment to a previous post, I used Versora Progression Desktop to migrate my Windows files to Ubuntu. I backed everything up on my Linksys NAS but Versora claimed they could move all my Outlook email directly to Thunderbird. I say "claimed" because even though the Versora software seemed to run on the Windows side just fine to create the migration file, it chokes when I try to read it in on the Linux side. I'm hoping their support will get back to me but we'll see. As an alternative, there is a PST file reader for Ubuntu so I may try that today.

Ubuntu detected all the hardware on my system perfectly, including my wireless chipset. The only manual configuration I had to do was to my X11 config file to tell it to use a different video driver that would support the fantastic 1600x1200 resolution on my ThinkPad. (As an aside, this ThinkPad has the most beautiful screen I've ever seen on a laptop, and that includes the Powerbook I had last year.)

The ColdFusion installation was very smooth as well other than connecting it to Apache, which I guess I'll have to do manually since it choked during the install process. I did get the typical C++ compatibility library error that seems to pop up on most Linux distros, but when I installed CF on Fedora previously I was able to install the necessary packages to get around that error. No such luck here, but the only issues that will cause are that I can't use C++ CFX tags, nor can I use Verity, neither of which is important to me. For details on installing CF on Ubuntu, see this link. It covers Debian but Ubuntu is a Debian-based distro, so other than the C++ libraries the installation process is the same. In all honestly you just execute the installer and you're pretty much good to go, just tell it to use the built-in web server because it didn't like Apache (on my machine anyway).

Beyond that, I installed Thunderbird, Skype, Audacity, Gaim, Eclipse, CFEclipse, Subclipse, and Subversion (for the command line tools), and I'm in pretty good shape. Ubuntu installed a whole lot of great apps as part of the installation process such as, so all in all the migration was really, really smooth.

So what do I notice so far? First, it's just a whole lot of fun to mess with, and I feel very good to be free of my Windows shackles. Second, the machine is insanely fast. It boots up very quickly and after you log in, it's literally about 2 seconds before the hard drive stops spinning. On Windows it was more like 2 minutes. Now granted this machine is a 2.something GHz Core Duo with 2GB of RAM, but it performs quite notably better with Ubuntu than it ever did with Windows. Lastly, time will tell, but I didn't have any "oh but I can't do ..." moments after moving over. I do lose things like the Slingbox player, the TiVo Desktop software, and Napster, but that's about it.

My next step is to dock the machine and see how that works. I also ordered a new dual-DVI video card for the dock (the Advanced Dock for this machine can take a "short" PCI Express card), so we'll see how that works. The card I ordered uses the same chipset as what's in the ThinkPad itself (and the laptop itself is no slouch--512MB of video RAM on an ATI card), so it should be pretty smooth.

The only huge issue I have at this point is that I can't connect to SSL-enabled SVN repositories, so if anyone has any thoughts on that, I'm all ears. I get a "cannot perform propfind" error and did everything I found on Google related to this to no avail. I'm sure it's just an SSL version package for Java that's causing the issue.

I'm now officially Windows free (I use a Mac Pro at work), and it feels pretty darn good. Linux has come a long, long way since I used it as a desktop OS several years ago, and Ubuntu is darn easy to try out with their Live CD, so if you're curious just download it and give it a shot. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say over the coming weeks as I get more oriented to the new environment.


Congrats! I used to run Ubuntu a few months ago, but my home desktop gave up the ghost. My Laptop (an HP) has a Broadcom wireless card that isn't supported in Linux yet (they refuse to give up their drivers...). So I'm envious.

I have a not so new Compaq laptop that I use occasionally for web browsing and "experimental" installs (my main computer is a Dell desktop). Problem is it's been freezing pretty consistently since I got it -- a problem I've always suspected was related to Windows (vs. a hardware issue). Inspired by your post, I downloaded and installed Ubuntu on it this weekend. I had a similar experience -- all hardware was detected perfectly (including an old wireless PCMCIA Linksys card I use to connect to my network) and I was off and running. Much faster, and (so far) no freezes. Sweet.

I used and loved Ubuntu for about 6 months up to this month. I had to ditch it, though. I can't deal with being stuck on Flash 7. I've been pushed into doing a Flex project and Flash 7 will not be an option.

I did a lot of blogging on issues I had and how I got through them. You should take a look if you get stuck with anything.


I ran Ubuntu for the first time from CD last night just to get a feel for it. After that I decided to format a 2nd drive & try it out for a while. Anyone else easing into this & have suggestions?

Matt, which video card did you buy for the docking station? I can't seem to find any half-length dual-head PCI-E cards that are reasonably priced OR offer reasonable performance.

Max--it's been so long ago that unfortunately I don't remember. All I remember is that I got it from and it was about $120. :-) Sorry, I know that doesn't help much but since I'm not running this setup anymore I just don't recall, and I don't have the video card any longer.

Ubuntu releases new versions every six months, and supports those releases for 18 months with daily security fixes and patches to critical bugs.

Ubuntu Finland[1] was awarded Finnish Linux User Group's 2008 award at the HP Linux Forum[2], in Helsinki, on 8th of May. The award was received by the team contact of Ubuntu Finland, Timo Jyrinki, and was given by the Finland's Minister of Communications, Suvi Lindén[3]. The award also included 2000€ in cash for Ubuntu Finland's usage.

Ubuntu releases new versions every six months, and supports those releases for 18 months with daily security fixes and patches to critical bugs.

I did get the typical C++ compatibility library error that seems to pop up on most Linux distros, but when I installed CF on Fedora previously I was able to install the necessary packages to get around that error

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Might Be Time For Ubuntu ...

I've been reading and hearing a lot about Windows Vista lately, and I think I'm about at the tipping point. Between the performance pig that it is, and the fact that it's getting more and more intrusive and paranoid (I'll spare you the details ... check out slashdot or any number of tech podcasts for more scary info), I just don't know if I can stick with Windows anymore, so XP may be the last version I'll run as my full-time OS on my home machine. (Yes, there's the Mac option; I use one at work now but I really love my ThinkPad.)

As I mentioned before I was pretty floored by Ubuntu when I stuck a live CD in my ThinkPad and it detected literally everything including my wireless, ran my LCD at full resolution, etc., so thanks again to Dave Shuck for coming to the CFUG meeting with the live CD and forcing me to try it. I've also used Fedora on and off as a desktop OS in the past, but Ubuntu has a polish that Fedora still can't match in my opinion.

So when I thought more about switching, I started thinking about all the software I use on Windows. After a semi-thorough assessment in my head, I think the only thing I'd miss is Adobe Audition, which I use to edit and mix ColdFusion Weekly. After listening to a lot of podcasts about Audition I was really looking forward to upgrading to Audition 2.0. That being said, I only use about 1/1000th of what's in Audition, so Audactiy will actually probably be adequate, and it's what Peter uses when he edits the podcast so a) it works, and b) I'm sure I can hit him up for help. Or of course I can run Windows in a VM on Ubuntu, or dual boot which would probably be better for audio editing.

There's the omni-present SQL Server issue as well, but I'm not sure I need SQL Server on this machine anyway, and again, there's always VM. Napster just popped into my head as well, but again, VM will handle that or I can ditch Napster. Some other stuff like TiVo Desktop and miscellaneous other applications I just don't think I'd miss.

In terms of what I actually use 99% of the time, Firefox and Eclipse are both available, and I'm MORE than happy to quit using Outlook and go back to Thunderbird for email. Between the native availabilty of software I like and already use, the VM and dual-boot options, and CrossOver Linux, I'm starting to be convinced that the host OS matters less and less.

I was just saying the other day that I still didn't think Linux made a good desktop OS. But when it comes down to it, I'm a developer, and I'm a bit of a Unix server junkie anyway (not expert, but not dangerous!), so I don't need the hand-holding that average Joe computer users do. I also think Linux has gotten dramatically better on the desktop, even within the last year. Between these factors and the fact that I think the direction MS is taking with Vista is pretty morally reprehensible, it may be time for Ubuntu. I don't want MS controlling what I can and can't do with my computer.

So ... this weekend may be the weekend to do it. I need to do some testing of a couple of things (want to make sure my docking station works and drives my monitors correctly, for example), but if all goes well I may finally make the move. I'll either have a great success story or a whole lot of cursing in a future blog post. ;-)


I have Ubuntu 6.06 LTS in my laptop, and i'll be very happy to quit off my physical win xp partition. i like evolution, firefox , gimp, monodevelop, netbeans (mobility pack) and i'm really happy!!!

Just Try IT!!!!!!

Do it! I know you want to join the rest of us Windows detractors. ;)

I switched for pretty much the same reasons, though I have been using Unix variants for the last 9 years or so. I've long been a critic of Linux on the desktop, but I've been on Ubuntu for..hmm.. about a month now with no major issues. In fact, it's kind of annoying to me to have to use Windows at work now...

Also, academically Windows bothers me because it's one of the few operating systems that you can't find out intimate details such as the process scheduling algorithims it uses, memory paging algorithims, etc. (Yes, I'm geeky enough to tell you about most of those details for FreeBSD at least...)

It's looking good--even my Logitech Web Cam and Canon Scanner will apparently work well with a minimum amount of screwing around. I was all set to give the live CD a go last night but I can't find the one Dave Shuck gave me and I didn't have any blank CDs at home. Quite a bummer to realize that at 12:30 a.m. :-)

Go for it! I've been a Linux user since 1998 although I currently use primarily Macs. I'd probably still be pretty much using Linux if I wasn't into video. And I'm a big fan of Ubuntu as well since I started out on Debian. I use Windows XP at work everyday and can't stand it. I actually have installed VMware Server and I run Ubuntu inside of it. I just feel more productive in Linux than Windows.

I switched when Ubuntu Dapper came out - the live CD detected all my hardware so I made the plunge. I recently trashed my WinXP drive and haven't looked back since. I run Eclipse no problem, I have WinXP on a VMWare install but rarely use it... The only problem I have is my screensaver locks up my computer but I haven't really looked into that - I just don't run the screensaver :)

When I switched I bought a new drive to install Ubunut on - I'm not a big fan of dual booting - been burned a few times doing that... drives are cheap and when I was ready I just formatted my WinXP drive and added that to the mix.

Hey, that was me who brought you your CD!!!

And for what its worth, I haven't looked back once I switched to Ubuntu as my one and only OS.



Sorry Aaron--I didn't mean to give Dave undeserved credit! All the reinforcement is great so unless I see any major roadblocks I'll probably take a stab at it this weekend. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Also, on the Ubuntu installs I have done dual-head displays weren't enabled automagically. BUT! there are tons of easy to follow HOWTO's that detail exactly what to change in your xorg to start using duals.


Come on, you should have titled this post "Hasta la Vista, baby"

What amazes me about Windows Vista is the number of different editions they are offering. I thought Win XP Pro vs. Win XP Home vs. Win XP Media Center was too much, but now there's like twice as many options. It just seems like this would be a tech support nightmare for MS.

Support Person: "Tell me again which edition of Windows you're on?"
Microsoft Victim: "Vista".
Support: "But which version of Vista?"
Victim: "Uhhh, the Premium Home Ultimate Enterprise version? No wait, Professional. Or is it Windows M.E.?"

And as the family/friends computer guru, which version do I recommend to them when they ask? Maybe the Ultimate pirate version. :)

Bravo Matt--that's by far the most clever blog entry title I've seen in a long time!

To elaborate on why Vista is Evil with a capital "E", first, if you don't want cripple-ware you have to buy at LEAST the Ultimate edition, and even if you do, you can basically install it two times *on the same machine* and that's it. My annual Windows hard drive wipe would be out the, uh, Window. (Not as good as "hasta la Vista" I realize, but I'm trying.)

Second, Windows Genuine Advantage is apparently a huge mess in XP and it's only going to get worse. There's way too many false positives going on, and having to call MS and beg them to let me use a product that I freakin' paid for just because they mistakenly think I'm a pirate. Apparently if you DO get flagged, you're more or less locked out until MS deems you worthy and lets you back in.

Sorry MS, but I own my computer, not you, and MS having that much control over my machine just ain't gonna happen.

And another thing! Actually a friend of mine mentioned this, but I was thinking about this last night as well. Flash Video is making the move to Linux way more palatable than it would have been a few years ago. No longer do we have to care about whether or not they have a Real Player or Windows Media Player for Linux--it doesn't matter. As long as Adobe keeps up with a current Flash player for Linux (and Adobe, if you're listening, please keep up with a current Flash player for Linux!), Flash Video solves that problem in a very nice way.

Google buying You Tube was a big boost for Adobe, and I think a bit of a stealth shot to MS. The OS is starting to become more and more irrelevant as we move forward. I could go on about Flex as well, but I'll save that for another time. :-)

Matt, at least you know you have a good support group! For what it is worth, I installed Dapper on my laptop the 1st of June. I have not had to do any serious reconstructive surgery since. It has spun like a top and has only made me appreciate it more and more as I have used it.

Here are some links from my blog that might be helpful.

I installed Ubuntu last Year and was exited... But it also took my around 3 weeks and really a lot searching in forums to get my dual monitor setup running... with an ATI card...

than I had issue with my usb audio interface which never could be solved.

Next big issue was flash player... to do any flex stuff - also learning at home - a desperatly needed flash player 9 on linux.

Maybe somebody has news when FP 9 for Linux will appear...

Don't misunderstand me, I really, really like ubuntu and the philisophie behind it... but be aware of pitfalls.

Absolutely Daniel--it definitely takes more manual work to get Ubuntu up and running as compared to Windows because of the widespread hardware support for Windows.

I'm going to do another post on the process, but yesterday I installed Ubuntu on my ThinkPad T60p and so far, so good. I had to tweak my X11 configuration file to get the laptop screen to run at 1600x1200, and my middle button on my trackpad doesn't work, but other than that all the hardware was recognized fine (including my wireless chipset).

Software-wise the only problem I ran into thus far is a problem with SSL-enabled SVN repositories with Subclipse in Eclipse. I can get stuff from a term window just fine but Subclipse bombs. ColdFusion installed fine other than the Apache connector so I need to work on that today.

Today I'll be figuring out more of my peripherals like my USB headset, docking station, external monitors, scanner, mp3 player, etc. so I'll relay any info related to that as I get things going.