Trying to go back

Linux, it's a double edged sword. It's awesome, there's no doubt about that. But it hates every one of it's users. The constant fighting to get it to do what you want as a desktop OS. As a server it's great, but the desktop still has a long way to go.
Over the last few month's i've not used my desktop much. My desktop dual boots Windows and Ubuntu 10.04. When i eventually got to upgrading to 10.10, the graphics setup just failed and died. Someone with less Linux knowledge probably would have reinstalled, since even the repair stuff didn't work. I basically had to get into a console, uninstall my ATI drivers, delete my entire Xorg config, and reset everything up.
So in place of my desktop, i got a netbook ( semi-netbook really, dual core atom processor with NVidia 9400M processor, runs Supreme Commander 2 pretty ok ). It came with Windows 7 Home edition. Windows 7 is ok, i can live with it. It's a lot better than XP and they even implemented a Mac style dock better than Apple. I've wanted to install Linux on there since day one but everytime i try out a live usb, i get some stupid trivial issue.
First with Ubuntu 10.04, my sound didn't immediately work. Something silly was wrong and it was a setting i had to tweak, but i'm not going to return to the hell i've had on my desktop with sound issues - i eventually just bought a new sound card to fix an OS issue.
10.10 came out, so i thought, awesome! Let me try the netbook edition. Crashed on first boot, because it needed 3D acceleration to be active for Unity. I had a lot of trouble attempting to activate the NVidia driver from a live usb, so i gave up and thought, let me preview the default gnome desktop. My sound was working, but it still had the same annoying problems that 10.04 has on my PC. The message popups in the top right go invisible when you mouse over them, but are still there. I want to be able to click on them, but no, that's not an option. The OS social integration is awesome, but 60% of the time doesn't login when i boot up and has other strange issues. So i gave up for a while.
I used to love KDE. I still do, great technology! So last night i thought i'd check out the latest Kubuntu. And it's truly awesome, beautiful and functional. Still has the Ubuntu issue of not just being able to activate the NVidia driver on live booting, but i expected that. Now imagine a person new to Linux. Boot up the live stick, open the browser. It says, 'Hey, we can install some kewl stuff to improve your browser experience, like flash and a bunch of plugins'. Click ok. It responds with, 'Blah blah flashplugin-installer blah blah blah'. Click ok and it closes. That's just terrible. Clean boot of the recommended 32-bit version, and it can't even install Flash?
Now having had this problem with Ubuntu 10.04, i know that for some reason the flash installer keeps breaking with the package manager, and there's supposed to be some easy way of fixing it. So opening up KPackageKit as my package manager, i search for flash. No where to be found. Wait a go communicating with your users Kubuntu. That's where i gave up. I used to have the patience for it, and go to the adobe site or scour forums for answers, but i'm long past that.
If a live usb disk can't convince me that the distribution is easy enough to not get my hands dirty - like i have for the past 10 years - then i'm just not ready to install it. If Android is the only Linux i end up using in the next few months, it's because all the desktop variants can't get basic things right.


Intruder alert

Well, i've been away for a while, work has been keeping me busy. I have also been developing a Clock widget for android, and you can download it via this QR Code:

Otherwise, i have done some testing of Motion Detection software for Linux, and here is a brief overview of what i have discovered.

There appear to be 2 developed solutions, ZoneMinder and Motion


This seems to be the more well known and more established of the 2. It appears to have lots of binaries available, but sadly mostly for debian based platforms. If you need to compile it from source, it becomes a complete nightmare of weird dependencies, many of which i didn't know existed. It took several hours to get configure to run, and in the end, i could compile it, but it crashed on launch. Not very impressed. I also noticed that it was heavily perl based, and while i have no problem with that, it did make things more complicated than they could have been. That said, the screenshots show some fantastic features, and i'm sure that if you can get it up and running, it's a great - although possibly overcomplicated - piece of software.


This also had a few odd dependencies, but took no more than an hour from download to simple motion snapshots working. After working out how to set up the config file, i also got the built in webserver running. From here, i need to set up a remote viewing and config site and an email notification service, which shouldn't be too hard. Overall, this software is considerably easier to setup than ZoneMinder however not as feature packed. This does, however, do everything i need it to do, and has some nice extra features which i thought i might have to build myself. It may be simpler than ZoneMinder, but it is definitely extensible. It also includes setup for proper LAN security cameras and the built in webserver has some nice features. There are also some smart features such as automatically drawing a white box around the area of motion in the image.


If you just want to set up a simple motion detection camera for home, i recommend Motion, as the setup was simpler, and it does the basics really well. If you need a bigger solution, and potentially have a PC to spare just for this purpose, then ZoneMinder is probably what you want. In the end, i'm just really glad to see some motion detection solutions for Linux.