Results tagged “linux”

retired radiators
The [PDF spec]( includes an option to cause PDFs to open full screen when users open them. I'm a fan of the feature because it maximizes screen real estate and creates a simple, focused, experience for the PDF readers. Using this option is one of my two essential tips for creating an impactful newsletter targeted at being read online. The other tip is to use a "portrait" format document, to match the shape of most screens. Many PDF viewers respond to PDFs that are set to open full screen, but a number of PDF generation tools don't provide you option to set this preference when creating PDFs. I ran into this with [Xournal]( which is a nice application for Linux-based tablets, but offers no PDF export options. So I found a way to update a pre-existing PDF to set the preference to have it open full screen by default. The key here is that PDF is a text-based format, so preferences in it can be updated manually by opening and editing the file according to the PDF spec, or the same effect can be accomplished with automated tools. In this case, I found that I needed to update a line that started like this: << /Type /Catalog After `/Catalog`, this is all that needed to be added: /PageMode /FullScreen I automated this with a simple script that I named ``. It works for the simple case when no "PageMode" has been declared, as in the Xournal case. I don't expect it would update the PageMode properly if it was already declared. For a safer solution consider opening the PDF in a text editor to manually set "/PageMode /Fullscreen" on the initial `/Catalog` line. Alternatively, you could use a formal solution like [PDF::API3::Compat::API2]( which appears to have the features needed to solve this with Perl. Here's the contents of my little script to automate the update: #!/bin/sh # usage: file.pdf # The file will be modified in place so that it opens full screen. # The current approach is naive... it assumes no Initial View has been defined. # by Mark Stosberg perl -pi -e 's?<< /Type /Catalog?<< /Type /Catalog /PageMode /FullScreen?' $1
computer hardware co-op launches
Richmond High School student Jonathan Ulrich helped to set up and test a thin client lab.
This is an open letter to the Richmond, Indiana Community School system. There is a school board meeting coming up to discuss how to fund technology upgrades with a dwindling budget. I strongly suggest the school system consider Linux thin client labs as part of the solution. Thin client labs are made with low-cost, low-power, low-maintenance stations and have many advantages. A Linux thin client lab is already being used successfully in the area. Four years ago in Brookville, Indiana a thirty-seat thin client lab was set up at St. Michael's School. Initial costs were kept low through low hardware requirements and the use of free, open source software. The lab is still in use four years later. Minimal maintenance has been required, including zero virus/spyware/malware infections due to the use of Linux. Thin clients don't need a hard drive, which are at the top of the list of the common parts to fail in a computer. Instead, every workstation pulls all the software it needs from a single server, meaning there is a one computer to maintain software on in the lab, not thirty. So St. Michael's unplugged the hard drives in their machines, cutting down on noise in the lab, and well as reducing the energy consumed by the lab. I recommend checking for yourself on this success story. For the administrator perspective, contact the Principal, Ken Saxon at (765) 647-4961. For the IT perspective, contact Mike Heins, who set up the system and maintains it: (765) 328 4479, (also at The use of Linux in Indiana schools is not new, either. In 2005 the state of Indiana launched a state-wide initiative to put [Linux on the the desktop of 300,000 Indiana high school students]( Locally, Northeastern High School has made significant use of Linux. I've already hinted that thin clients have lower power requirements and can be lower maintenance. The hardware needed for thin client workstations is not special. In fact, old desktop hardware that would otherwise be discarded for being slow is ideal. In a thin client system, the performance is determined by the server, and the workstation needs just a minimal amount of resources to connect to it. With these principles, I built a four-seat demonstration lab at my church, using three computers so old that a local computer store gave them to me. I paid only $50 for a memory upgrade for the server. As a thin client lab, these old computers came back to life and performed like modern desktops, although they ran Windows 98 in their former lives. Because a school lab setting is ideal place to deploy a thin client network, there are several projects that focus on exactly this, and give away the required software. These include [K12Linux]( and [Edubuntu]( Both are exceptionally easy to try out and install, from personal experience. Pursuing thin client now is a strategic move that works towards the goal of the City's Comprehensive Plan to be a "Sustainable City". The plan is fiscally conservative and technologically advanced, with low impact on the environment and energy bills.

My town runs Linux

re-using and recycling with the bakfiets Many of the key organizations I deal with in my daily life now run Linux on the desktop. First, let's taken as given that I run it home and work and my wife runs it, too. Many other organizations in Richmond, Indiana have switched over to Linux on the desktop as well: * My church has three computers, one for the pastor, one for the office manager and one for the hardware recycling program. They all independently chose to run Linux. It's a popular choice in the congregation as well, as with more than a dozen systems in use by members ranging from 4 years old past 64 years old. * My doctor, Kurt Ritchie, runs his business exclusively on Linux * My lawyer, [Thomas Kemp](, runs his law practice primary on a Linux-based groupware solution now, and travels with a Linux laptop * My grocery store, The [Clear Creek Coop](, runs exclusively Linux on the desktop. They bought a Dell laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed. * My bike shop, Ike's Bikes, now runs exclusively Linux on the desktop. * A local high school, North Eastern, runs primary Linux on the desktop, as part of trend of over [20,000 Indiana students running Linux]( * A local college, [Earlham](, features Linux labs * Local graduate schools, Earlham School of Religion and Bethany Seminary, also use and promote Linux on the desktop * A local computer store, System Solutions, has had a stack of Linux install disks to give out, and pledges interest to support Linux more in the future, citing frustrations with Windows Vista and Windows malware problems in general. Those are the commercial desktop Linux desktop uses I can think of off the top of my head. Among home users, I've found that a number of people are installing Linux themselves now, from farmers to bloggers. Microsoft may still have majority share on the desktop here, but in my world they are losing ground fast to the [benefits of open source software]( Who has switched in your world?

As part of my switch from Mandriva Linux to Ubuntu Linux, I had the opportunity today to contribute some improvements back to both operating systems.

Having just used Mandriva on this laptop, I knew it was possible for the sound to keep working after a suspend/resume cycle, but it quit working after the Ubuntu switch.

Since Mandriva's solution was made available under an open source license, I was able to review it adapt to work with Ubuntu, and Ubuntu can easily and legally accept this solution, if they choose.

The Ritchie family had a classic computer problem to solve. They had a used digital camera which didn't "just work" with either Linux or Windows in their home. The photos from the camera showed up on both, but didn't download properly on either.

They needed help from a geek.

After an afternoon of conversation and pie, the camera was working flawlessly with Linux, and no better on Windows. Here's why.

couch by bike

Over the weekend I continued my exploration of Linux thin clients.

Now that I had a proof-on-concept system working, I spent my computer time using the thin client, to see if there was anything to observe from "real life" use.

The performance was perfect. I could not perceive any lag time compared to sitting directly at my server computer.

The memory usage was also impressively low. I ran a second KDE desktop on the server, and the system reported "42% memory free", and I have only 256 Megs of memory!

Sharing the 700 Mhz CPU also seemed to be no problem. I could launch an application on the server, switch to the client and continue to work without a slow down.

With a server with "real" specs, I could see how a single machine could comfortably run a whole lab of computers.

Finally, I decided to compare the boot times of the server and the thin client.

The server took 3 minutes to boot to the graphical login screen, while the thin client took only one minute. Another win for thin client users!

I also appreciated the absolute silence of my thin client. There was no hard drive to whir in the pizza-box sized machine, and no fan to run because of the lower power and processor requirements. A totally quiet computer was easy to adjust to!