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Monthly Archives: March 2010

SimplyPuppy-ultimate

G’day,

Yes that’s right, an Ultimate Edition. I’m doing this as I’ve convinced myself that SimplyPuppy has turned into something that I would like to run myself – I use a KDE version of 3.01 – but I reckon I would be happy to have an IceWM version running. So in other words this is a very selfish release as it meets only my needs.

The base will be SimplyPuppy in its most up-to-date format. The additions I would include would be:

  • OxygenOffice
  • Firefox 3.5+
  • Tuxguitar
  • additional Wbars
  • Amarok
  • Nicotine
  • KDE Games
  • twitux or gwibber
  • Icepak
  • 3D based games
  • gDesklets – to be turned on/off from the User Control Panel
  • an updated Gimp + Thunderbird (Sunbird would be awesome)
  • Konqueror File Manager (may need kde-base)
  • Gnucash (if I can get this working in 3.01 would be an achievement! – So far only working in version 4.1.1.
  • plus LMMS + Ardour + other audio applications
  • torcs and pivoxy for the upcoming national internet filter
  • extended Help files for additional programmes

I will still be keeping an eye on system resources as I don’t want idle Ram to exceed 50Mbs. Minimum system requirements will be 400Mhz PIII with 192Mbs with a 3D capable Graphics Card – still a light and old system.

Yes its a huge project and will release this but I expect only a few uptakers as I expect it will be in excess 1.2Gbs; perhaps way more!

But on a more positive note I will be more motivated to develop SimplyPuppy further and there will be on-going beta testing on my behalf.

I will be starting this as soon as my interest in TLC begins to diminish (I don’t want to experience burn-out as happens with a number of dead Community Edition projects)

Cheers

Martin

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SimplyPuppy-0.44-2b

G’day,

Ok! Finally added one of the final pieces to the Software puzzle – Printing!

Unfortunately it will need thorough testing and I have only access to a few printers so I expect a number of bugs to rear their ugly heads.

Programmes:

  • hplip-2.8.7
  • hplip_dependencies
  • Imaging-1.1.1
  • libdbus-1.3
  • net-snmp-5.4.1-i486
  • Python-2.5.2
  • reportlab-2.0
  • plus cups-install-v0.3

Using the cups_shell script I have sucessfully installed a printer (albeit HP) from scratch.  It is only a 5 step procedure so hopefully it can be done with few glitches to the user.  Well time will tell!

I have modified the User Control Panel to include Printer install instead of the Admin Control Panel.  I need to complete a Printer Installation Help file for this procedure.

For the moment all programmes work with these additions – however briefly looking at gcompris a speech engine was missing from an activity and Japanese characters were missing from kiten.  Alas, these small isues will need to be resolved and I hope that the alpha testers will be giving feedback and solution suggestions.

Cheers

Martin

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2010 in TLC CE Linux

 

Additions…

G’day,

Well Kmymoney appears to work well – it’s a more graphical orientated financial environment that is just as easy as Homebank – I need to test this on an old machine – but Koffice applications work on an old computer.

Kmymoney came in a .sfs file and was very reluctant to be mounted – had to use a livecd of newyearpup to mount then extract it.

Made minor aesthetic mods + forgot to add the xsane packages for 0.44b.

Initial testing of an autoconnect for eth0 didn’t work – will need to look at John Biles’ TeenPup to see how he was able to work this problem out.

Currently remastering for 0.44-1b.

btw. The b suffix means that the msg and initrd.gz modified file for noram have mastered into the iso.

The remaster came to 645.9Mbs – so it’s getting large and close to the limit of a single CD.

Cheers

Martin

PS. Remember during remastering that a pristine /root/.packages is required.

Next task is to get an easy to use printing protocol.

Additions: add 3DCC; ATI/Nvidia graphics drivers and Package Managers to Administration Toolbox.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2010 in TLC CE Linux

 

SimplyPuppy-0.44b

G’day,
Ok! I have added some new ideas for programmes – but this will hopefully enhance the users experience.
1. xsane-0.9995.pet dependencies required:
a. libgphoto2-2.4.1
b. libltdl-1.5.24
c. sane_backend-1.0.19
d. sane_frontend-1.0.1
This has a very complete scanner driver suite

2. removing epfd PDF reader replacing it with kpdf_3.5.9-3_i386.pet dependencies required:
a. kdelibs4c2a
libpaper1_1.1.23nmu1_i386
kpdf is a superior PDF reader and will allow the user to see and read PDFs much easier than epdf.

3. I am considering adding the BOINC client in Education – I believe it will increase the quality of Educational material included – also it’s a good cause – using your computer’s idle time to conduct scientific experiments.

4.  I need to test gcompris-int_216.sfs as this is a complete package and may work!  And it did work! We now have a more complete educational suite

5.  Due to kpdf’s kde libs dependencies I will try kde’s educational suite
a. kdeedu-3.5.10-i486-2.pet
Well this package works brilliantly – even kstars works well!
I feel this is truning into something special and increases its usability for students.

I have increased the number of XMMS skins on offer and dropped the VU Meter as default.

I will then remaster for 0.44b; as further experimenting/testing on Printing will be needed and there is a good case for a system stuff-up.

I’m currently experimenting with different set-ups for Printing.  Just trying to sort out the easiest route that the home user must go through to get their Printer working – as this will most likely be the case that they will have to independently set this up.

Unfortunately Puppy does not have a full auto-detect Printing System (alas this is not the Ubuntu system) – it only has a semi-automated detect system – a number of set-up steps are still required – but I’m hoping to reduce the steps to a maximum of 5.

For Printing there will be a large repository of drivers; including a very large number of HP printers.  Using a number a different protocols I hope to negotiate a path to Printer installation that’s user-friendly.

Xdialog control panels for both User and Admin – these won’t be fully operational for some time – but will be included in their partial state.

Cheers
Martin

NOTE: Abiword can convert .doc (and a number of other formats) to .txt but I’m not sure if this is possible to do in a script.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2010 in TLC CE Linux

 

SimplyPuppy-0.43-2b

G’day,
I am now implementing systems that enhance the system – rather than major installations.
I added hotpup.pet (37kbs) this needed modifications as proposed by MU with the inclusion xscreensize to negate icon overlap. I also enhanced the icons associated with the media/disk it finds.
I tested the idea of an additional wbar but was a little dismayed as it used more than twice the resources required. I am experimenting a single larger wbar located at the top with additional launchers. I deleted the shutdown launcher as it is also present in the taskbar, menu and desktop. The changes to the top wbar uses extra resources but only an acceptably fractional addition.
The GtkBasic-Screensaver daemon was using significant resources to run around 5mbs – so I replaced it with PuppyBasicScreensaver which uses about a third of the resources. Added bonus will be the reduce the iso footprint to allow expansion of educational suites.
Running Conky also adds to the resource usage so I have removed it from .xinitrd and have added a launcher from Wbar – the user has the choice whether its on or off.
Considering creating a launcher to allow windows-shadows through xcompmgr (looks really cool) – just a kernel though at the moment.

As you can see; a few cosmetic changes but seriously looking at reducing idle resource usage. This will increase the speed, lessen the chance of taxed resource crashes, for heavy resource programmes such as KOffice – which works now but better response time will be a bonus.

With these tests on my old crappy computer I estimate that it should be easily usable on a 200Mhz 128mbs computer – most likely even less.

For the desktop functions I am creating a gtkdialog script to handle the several desktop options such as conky, window shadows and I will place an analogue clock on there as well. This will free up room on the wbar.

After investigating and installing scanner support + additional HP printer drivers + xwin modifications and CD autoplay; I will remaster SimplyPuppy-0.42-2b.

Tried xonclock as a removable analogue but was unable to get rid of its entry in the tray. To remove PuppyBasic-002 and analogueclock packages.

Unable to get gcompris working with DRI activated – drop out of X on execution – this can be added to an educational CE Edition.

I will only add Scanner support and that will be the end of the additional programmes for this edition. Any expansion will require additional work on the Help files. Already the Help files has become a significant work-in-progress – any further entries will delay the release day even further.

I believe the current configuration easily meets the criteria set out at the beginning of this project.

Will add a few tools for user and administrator but this is customised xdialog programming. Will also test SimplyPuppy0.36’s installation dialogue to see if they will work on version 3 of Puppy.

Cheers
Martin

Things to remember – add the various licences that have been installed with the open and closed source programmes to the Help files. Shouldn’t be a big issue as we are not-for profit – closed source + proprietory developers take little, to no, note of these being placed in a distribution as long as it entire distro remains “free”. That why Ubuntu and Fedora come with a lack (or none) proprietory software pre-installed yet Vector Linux and Sabayon have them included.
Also, important to include contributors (including Puppy Forum members whose help ideas were used), collaborators and testers.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2010 in TLC CE Linux

 

SimplyPuppy-0.42-1

G’day,
Installed SimplyPuppy-0.41-2b onto a very clunky and stubborn 400mhz 64mbs computer. It worked! But I was concerned with the RAM usage which was up around 50%.
Ran the Top command and found that the Timidity daemon was running and using 5mbs.
Did a test of tuxguitar and it crashed as it used too much resource for this computer.
will uninstall these two.
With Timidity gone it did lower the Ram usage by 10% – which is very handy.
TuxPaint also crashed but will keep it there as it may work with 128mbs – also it’s such an important developmental, play and educational tool for the kiddies.
Surprisingly Koffice worked – a little slowly but the delays were manageable.
I will play with wbar – moving the administration functions to the bottom and adding another wbar up the top for a quick launch for other programmes – suggested by Toady. Also, a wbar button to turn conky on for the session (have it off by default). But these changes won’t see the light of day yet!
He also informed me that Numlock wasn’t “on” when using the liveCD.
His other suggestion I’m of two minds – that Opera works well but we should have an IE theme to make the user a little more comfortable. I actually find IE more confusing than this configuration. I have use the KISS formula for the set-out – most functions are available on the tool-bar – I did forget to add the tab bar. Anyway – testing will nut this issue out. My 2 cents – I have used this configuration with a number of computer illiterate people and they’re able to use it in short order.
Altered the admin wbar – removed reboot (function is already there with shutdown) – and added puppyinstaller.
Will remaster for SimplyPuppy-0.42 after these modifications have been made.
Not going to add many more programmes (just scanner support) – but I am going to work on the Help files. Expect development to slow down as I have a number of other projects which I have neglecting.
Cheers
Martin

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2010 in TLC CE Linux

 

Additional developments

The continuation of SimplyPuppy’s development.
Apologies for the delayed update; development is still continuing.
The issue that’s been bugging me is that if this Distro is for low-end computers and for families who are crisis then it makes sense that it have a simple but complete office suite – I believe that abiword and gnumeric are not enough to meet this need. The only open source office suite I have is open office and it is a resource hog! OpenOffice is a great suite but is not suitable for the uses of this distro.
I have installed koffice-1.6.3 (plus libstdc++6.0.8_to_6.0.9 – library dependency). At this point it appears to work well and has all the necessary components that a secondary school student may require.
The other question is that it has limited MS compatibility. However, the Abiword and Gnumeric programmes that are still included have this capability. My only concern is if they need to read a .ppt file…… Not sure how to tackle that! Need to investigate kpresenter a little more.
The big test will come when I install this on a low-spec, low-resource machine and see if it still works.
I am getting a bit of distortion through XMMS but that might be my sound card – haven’t used this laptop much for multimedia. But with the EQ it is easy to alter the setting to negate the distortion.
Games installed include:
gsudoku; zaxxonrr; xrick; moon-lander; njame-1.21; pingus-0.7.2; 5ball-0.41; PokerTH-0.6.3; viruskiller-1.0; starfighter_1.1; supertux-0.1.3; ace of penguins; gnuchess-5.0.7; linxtris; tkhearts; tkyahtzee; euchre; xcheckers-2.2.3; Xmahjongg; gtkpool-0.5.0; lbreakout2.

For educational material I have included:
tuxmath
TuxPaint-0.9.20 + TuxPaint-STAMPS
tuxtype2

Additional programmes to round the distro:
audacity-1.3.2-beta + WxGtk-2.6.3 (Library)
xpdf-3.0.1-base
xpdf-3.0.1-utils – for reading pdfs
wine-1.1.24 + cabextract-1.2
I have not included gecko yet.

Dict – online dictionary
Installed TuxGuitar + Timidity++ (required midi output engine) – tuxguitar looks awesome and is a great selling point for linux – but am unsure of it’s resource usage as it uses java!!!! Needs testing

Modified the Welcome sign as it interferes with frugal installation thanks Toady – lack of visibility.
Added koffice as a cascading menu entry.
Altered some menu entries as it would not launch the programme.
Remastered for SimplyPuppy-0.41-2b (added modified msg + initrd.gz) – total size = 537mbs

Have not altered xwin yet….
Cheers

Martin

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2010 in TLC CE Linux