Developing concurrent distributed systems (M362)

I’ve just started this Open University module. From the module description’s computing requirements:

If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

I started with the OU in 2008 and it’s good to see things have changed – back then it wouldn’t have mentioned Linux at all.

Joking aside things are changing. Algorithms, data structures and computability (M269), which I’m taking concurrently, has Linux software available with instructions on how to install and configure. I can understand why M362 staff would want specific versions of NetBeans and the JDK installed – the forums are already filling up with questions about various incompatibilities and conflicts and that’s just with Windows.

Fortunately the University has a Dreamspark Premium membership – so I was able to download Windows XP and a license key to install in a VirtualBox instance.

Virtual Box running OU software

I hope we continue to see progress with regards to platform neutrality – I’d like to spend more time learning computer science and mathematics and less time worrying about my choice of operating system.

Samsung RV511 backlight and Fedora 20

Put Fedora 20 on my Samsung RV511 yesterday, everything worked out of the box except the backlight. Using the keys or the slider moved the animation but didn’t change the brightness – which was set to nuclear eye ball toasting mode.

Both the slider and the key combinations change the values in /sys/class/samsung/backlight. I know that the ACPI BIOS can provide interfaces but not always methods to control brightness, so I added acpi_backlight=vendor to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX entry in /etc/default/grub and the back-light is working fine.

Don’t forget to grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg.

Fedora from an Ubuntu point of view

In the interests of not becoming blinkered to one distribution, I thought I might give Fedora 11 a whirl.  Not having used Fedora since FC4, I was surprised to see the adoption of a live CD installation and relieved to avoid a DVD size download.  Just like Ubuntu it’s well polished, perhaps more so with graphical grub.

Continue reading Fedora from an Ubuntu point of view

Huawei E1550 on Ubuntu

Update: I’ve rewritten this article for 10.04.1, please post comments there and not here!

Update: You no longer need to install udev-extras in Ubuntu 10.04.

I picked up a Huawei E1550 pre-pay mobile broadband dongle, £39.99 with 3 Mobile including 3Gb usage (note it’s not the device they’re picturing).

I’m on a course next month so that’ll do fine, I have no reception at home and am not away enough to warrant a contract.

It appears to identify itself as USB storage, to install drivers on Windows then flip-flops to a modem.  Nice idea, terrible implementation, even in Windows where it installs drivers every time you use a different USB port (it’s often wise to try such devices in Windows – so you don’t chase your tail with a faulty device).  Pretty sure it’s the autorun program that’s flipping the device.

Continue reading Huawei E1550 on Ubuntu