The Linux Blog


Do you REALLY want Windows XP SP2?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 12:54 pm

Ok, I have my article back.

Well, I have had a lot of mentions about SP2 lately, so I just decided to blog about it.

It’s one of the most useless patches that Microsoft has released. My reasons are that the only thing that I truely liked about it was the fact that the booting bar changed from green to blue (blue fanatic here). Other than that, all of the "improvements" are aimed at your average “Joe” (I really do pity people who are named Joe and have this unfair discrimination against them… I wonder what the original Joe was like…).

First of all, yes, the blue bar is cool, but it was already blue in the Professional edition of XP. Second is that they finally added a popup blocker to Internet Explorer. This was much needed and desired by most, but they had to mess it up.

Going to the Apple website to download the iPod updater software fails, because Internet Explorer blocked a popup and a "potentially dangerous" download. So, you think to yourself, no problem, I think I will tell it to ignore this one. Ok, so you click ignore this one. Internet Explorer then reloads the page, but nobody at Microsoft though to implement the neat feature that resends the post data. Oops. (e.g. it doesn’t work)

Well, so maybe that idea failed, but surely enabling the firewall by default is good, well, for some. Not for me or about 75% of my friends. So, you then again tell yourself, I will diable it. Ahh! What’s that? There’s a new icon in the taskbar warning you that the firewall is off. No problem yet again, you will disable the icon and get on with your life. Oops, can’t get rid of the icon. In fact, after toying around a bit, you figure out that you cannot disable an antivirus program either, nor can you disable automatic updates, without, of course, getting the icon in your taskbar.

So, it’s not that bad, you don’t mind an icon in the taskbar (well, apparently, you aren’t me ;)). Don’t worry, it’s still "cool" looking :). So what else if icons don’t annoy you? Well, you have wasted 160MB of disk space (in our day, it usually means nothing, especially to those of us who have 250GB hard drives) and boot time is increased dramatically. In fact, some people (sorry, can’t remember how much it added to mine, but this is about accurate) report that their boot time increased by 14 seconds. Amazing.

And if you hold the position of that Service Pack 2 has less security holes, just remember that you can get the same patches for SP2 as for SP1. Also, you may recall that Microsoft is notorious for creating many, many new bugs when adding a small amount of new features.

Not that bad? I suggest that you try it out yourself if you feel so obliged, make your opinion, and let me know about it. Honestly, I am interested in what you think.

By the way, this post was not meant to offend or show a heavy bias. I have fully tested SP2 and people have backed me up in my opinions who are not aligned with Linux as I am. I’m running Gentoo Linux dual booted with Windows XP SP1.

Revision on December 18th at 10:11AM EST:

I have to boot twice into Windows before it actually boots. First time, it just sits there with a blank screen. I reboot and it works. Weird. :(

December 20th:

Also, try and think of Windows XP SP2 from a marketing standpoint. We have already determined it is mostly useless. So what is it good for? Marketing. Maybe someone was sick and tired of Windows. SP2 came out and they said “hold up a minute, they fixed it all!” Then, maybe even a few *NIX users thought “hmm, looks like they fixed something” and reinstalled XP.

It is the ultimate strategy. Microsoft may be corrupt, but they are not stupid.

Here’s the best and longest conclusion:

Do you want Service Pack 2? No.


Do you REALLY want Windows XP SP2?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 2:15 am

If you are reading this, look up on the page :). I have posted the article here.

This article is exclusive to Great Big Blog, check it out here.

It clocks in at 572 words and I think is worth the read (well, that is, with my 2AM brain switched on).

Yes, I am going to bed right now. It’s 2:15AM EST. Goodnight people.


Ok, so Alex removed it from the database. Stay tuned, I will get a copy from Nathan and post it here only.

I would have appreciated it if… Alex… would have given me a copy by e-mail or something instead of just placing it for trash. Good thing Nathan was smart and set a deleted flag to 1 instead of fully pruning. :) Oh well, staff hates me, not my fault.

Stay tuned, I have the article and am fixing a few mistakes in it.

Microsoft to Charge for Spyware Removal

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 1:42 am

WASHINGTON (AP) – Microsoft Corp. disclosed plans Thursday to offer frustrated users of its Windows software new tools within 30 days to remove spyware programs secretly running on computers. But it might cost extra in coming months.

In a shift from past practice, the world’s largest software manufacturer said it may charge consumers for future versions of the new protective technology, which Microsoft acquired by buying a small New York software firm. Terms of the sale of Giant Company Software Inc. weren’t disclosed.

Spyware is a category of irritating programs that secretly monitor the online activities of Internet users and can cause sluggish computer performance or popup ads.


Sounds to me like Microsoft is running out of income for the moment. Think about it a minute.

Most people who have switched to Windows XP have already switched. Microsoft dove into the console market with Xbox, where it is losing money. Microsoft went into office, where it is losing market share slowly, while still maintaining over 90% of the market share. Microsoft is into almost all they can get their hands on and have dominated everything (I will save my near-monopoly speech for a later time) that they touched. They need something new, something to sell, something that will make money for them.

Enter spyware into the factor. Since they already have a much market share in the other businesses they are into (as in, they won’t gain market share, the only way to go is down), they need to sell something new. Much, much later on (after the evil Palladium or Next Generation Secure Computing Base or whatever they plan to call it later on is implemented), something will happen to Microsoft, which will either be a fall that causes them to charge per month on the use of their operating system or they do it without that.

There is also the theory of Microsoft purposefully putting in bugs and implementing ActiveX just so that they can do this sort of thing later. They may be extremely corrupt, but not that corrupt. Maybe later, but as of now, their code is beyond repair, it is their fault (almost anyone will agree), but they didn’t do it on purpose.

Yes, this was published and written after 1:30AM EST. :)


Wallpaper (again) for December

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 8:42 am

Here we go with my Windows screenshot. Nobody wants the Windows wallpaper, as it’s ugly and really only applies to me. If you want to see it without icons, check out my “I Am Cool” post.


By the way, on the Linux one, I am using a wallpaper (e-mail me if you want it, I am too lazy at the moment) that isn’t found in many places. The plastik theme is pre-loaded into KDE. The superkaramba themes are all found on


Weird (clickable as well) (and no, the server was using default gravity and such; I minimized the game and came back and it was like that, weird):

A Weird Counter-Strike Source Screenshot


December Screenshots!

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 11:23 pm

It’s that time again! I was looking for a good Christmas wallpaper, but haven’t found one yet. It’s basically the same as last month’s, except that I use the “plastik” theme now.

Screenshot (Linux)

I will try and get a Windows one tomorrow, which is actually a tiny bit different, but that’s all for now.


Finally Got Rid of an Enormous XP Annoyance!

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 2:21 pm

On the agenda today, I FINALLY found out how to get rid of a huge annoyance. I hate Windows XP Service Pack 2 (click here for my post at Google Boards about it).

Anyways, there was a notification that wouldn’t go away telling me to install SP2. I decided today to click it, go to custom install, uncheck it, and pressed close (would have been next if I had checked something). In a split second, a magnificent box popped up with a checkbox if I did not want to be notified of this update again. I excitedly clicked it (wow, the drama!) The icon reappeared, which angered me. No problem, it was now to install an IE fix.

Now, the icon is here telling me to reboot, but assuming it goes away, I’m happy.

Also, Gentoo has managed to make a few bugs during the installation process about equivalent to the previous one. Neither is a big deal but both annoy me.

That’s all for now. Nothing important or exciting.


GIMP 2.2 Preview

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 12:05 pm

The GIMP has recently released The GIMP 2.2-Pre2 to the public. Keep in mind it’s a pre-release and is probably very buggy.

I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but here is a list of the major changes:


Previews for transform tools

Previews for many plugins that didn’t have them, and improved previews for many that did.
Preview now can resize and contain a navig window like the imagewindow.

Many user interface changes to improve layout of dialogs, and comply more closely with Human Interface Guidelines.

Greatly improved drag-and-drop between GIMP and other applications.

Improved ability to copy and paste between GIMP and other applications, including OpenOffice and Abiword.

New file open/save dialogs. The open dialog does automatic thumbnailing, using embedded EXIF thumbnails if available.

Much content covered by the help.

A new script interpreter, Tiny-fu, which will eventually replace Script-fu.
Shipped separately

A new keyboard shortcut editor, allowing shortcuts to be defined for many more things than before, including many actions that don’t have menu entries.

Interface for controlling various parameters with a variety of devices. Allow keyboard, mouse wheel, MIDI controller, etc to be used as a GIMP controller.

New plugins: neon, cartoon, photocopy, softglow, dog, retinex.

Tools dialog lets you customize which tools are shown in the Toolbox, and their order. (You can add color tools to the Toolbox.)

A full list of the new features is found here.


The GIMP is used the most as a native graphic manipulation application in Linux, but is probably used even less than Photoshop is used in WINE.


GameCube Linux

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 9:47 pm

GameCube Linux is a pretty nice attempt at getting Linux running on your GameCube.

Since the GameCube doesn’t have a hard drive, if you want a file system, you have to use a remote one run off of a computer. Other than that, it runs pretty well. Some people have run KDE on it, but it looked quite distorted, so maybe that can be fixed somehow. You can, however, run text-based applications easily. (mpg321 works and plays sounds from your TV)

Isobel provides a method for both Windows and Linux users to run Linux on their GameCube with a filesystem. You will need Phantasy Star Online and a broadband adapter to get it all functioning, however.

It also looks like Gentoo will have some kind of way to run it’s software (namely Portage) on the GameCube.

I have run Apache with PHP/MySQL on my GameCube and played MP3s as well.


November 2004 Desktop

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 9:13 am

Well, here they are. My desktops for November (wow, I typed December about 3 times already when renaming the files and typing this, before erasing it), that is.

Windows XP Home:

Nothing special here. Wallpaper Just a Kill Bill (Linux look too) wallpaper with Gates on the end (added by me).

Gentoo Linux:

Now here’s something special. All (Super) Karamba themes found here. It’s a Gentoo Linux wallpaper with a nice theme also from the link above. I have a cron job set to do nightly updates.

Basically, it turns on automatically at 1AM (set in BIOS), the cron job executes at 1:05AM (gives it 5 minutes to boot, which is safe for if it has to do a fsck), which is:

emerge sync && emerge -uD world && rm -r /var/tmp/portage && mkdir /var/tmp/portage && rm -r /usr/portage/distfiles && mkdir /usr/portage/distfiles && shutdown -h now

So, it shuts down after it finishes updating. I’m working on getting it to only run if the computer is idle (I wouldn’t want it turning off on me once it finishes updating).

Next step would be to check for kernel updates, build them, and automatticly apply them.

Anyways, those are my screenshots for this month :). If I find a cool new look before next month, I may or may not post it until then, so look out next month. I also might love the look so much that I keep it next month too ;).


Annoyances With XP

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 4:52 pm

What’s really bothering me in Windows at the moment is this little icon that says there are updates available. (referring to SP2) I keep the updates on ‘download and notify me’, but shouldn’t there be a way to ignore certain updates? I know you can AFTER you install SP2, but I don’t want it.


Firefox 1.0 Is Out

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 9:49 am

Rejoice! Firefox 1.0 is released!

Get it!

I’m running it right now and am about to emerge it on Linux too once my World of Warcraft beta download finishes :).

Firefox home.

By the way, check out the feature in the advanced settings to open all links externally clicked in a new tab! :) I love it…

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