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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Suse 10.3 first contact...and loving it

Since joining Overstock, I have been working with open Suse 10.3. I was a bit apprehensive about a Linux based distro as my general purpose development environment. I have always developed on Windows with cygwin to satisfy my *nix cravings. My adoption of Suse 10.3 has been rather pleasant. With Open Office, I don't really miss MSO, most of my day to day work is just fine. Would be nice if there there is a good equivalent for Visio. Maybe there is one, I gotta.dig. For mail, I have not yet graduated to using a linux client but instead use rdesktop and work with a Outlook client. There is something about Outlook that I have always liked. Grouping messages by people under folders is a big attraction for me.

During my early career, I was first a vi user, then after persuasions from my architect, I had shifted to using emacs as my core editor. Most of my j2ee development was done using emacs with jdee . Overtime, with the advent of IntelliJ and Eclipse, I left behind emacs as my preferred j2ee ide.

Now that I am back to *nix env, I am waiting to return back to using emacs (I am not saying goodbye to Eclipse or other IDE's, just want to use the nice features of emacs where applicable). Sadly, I do not remember the commands. Its a learning curve all over again...:-)

One of the major issues that I had with Suse and linux running out of perm space. The default memory settings in the eclipse.ini file are hardly sufficient. I had to tweak the setting to now get eclipse running smoothly.

I have to mention one very interesting thing. While working at my earlier company, I was provided with a Lenovo T60 laptop and I bought a Laptop bag from Best Buy. The strangest of coincidences, I am now working at Overstock with a Lenovo T61 laptop that is a dead ringer for the T60 and to add to this, the laptop bag provided to me looks exactly like the one I had bought from Best Buy at my earlier company. The goose pimples are in full bloom..:-)...

Anyway, I enjoy working with Suse in the office and wanted to install the same at home on my old machine. I got that working. Then my desire to see the eye candy of special effects popped its head. I went about getting my ATI driver installed etc, a big help from some of the on line sites especially this one

I then went ahead and installed compiz-fusion and now my desktop rocks. Wobbly windows, rain, fire, minimize, cube etc...whee haw..its not boring anymore. The eye candy is so much better than Vista's Glass. Vista has such a high requirement of the computer to run glass. I am running compiz-fusion on half the machine with no visible performance penalty..

On the laptop, wireless was a breeze. My passwords are nicely managed by KWallet and connecting to my hope wireless was only a a few clicks. Regarding battery management, I was pleasantly surprised at how long I could go on with the Lenovo T61 on battery life with Suse.

I have two of my favorite browsers working smoothly, Mozilla and Opera. So all nice there.
One gripe that I have is with the lack of an SVN application like Tortoise for Linux. There is kdesvn but its far from being able to compare with Tortoise. I wish a better client surfaces. Additionally, I really hope Toadsoft gets a version of Toad for Linux. I have always liked their client for ease of use but do not see them moving to get a linux version. Sourceforge has a linux database client called TORA but my previous experience with the same has not been very positive.

I am using KDE as my window manager. Its pretty good, waiting to use KDE4 though. Cant wait to try Konqueror and its integration with the desktop or using Plasma. Open suse has some KDE4 packages but I am a bit paranoid about installing the same at this point.

I like YAST as an administrative tool. Personally feel Mandriva's administrative tool is far more intuitive to use. Find myself issuing a lot of "yast -i package-to-install".

My main computer is running Vista, I don't think I will remove that at this point in favor of Suse. Primary reason is the wife is not comfortable and she definitely wears the pants in the house (sheepishly ;-)). Also I need to make sure I get the following to work easily before I can plead a case:

1. Printer
2. Scanner
3. R/W to my external USB Hard drives. When I plugged them it, read was fine, but could not write.
4. Audio + Camera detection
5. Burning CD/DVD

Wish Novell's stock was doing better as well...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Plugin Dependency Management in Eclipse YOXOS

So I have said "Goodbye" to RAD. Am now working with simple eclipse with Plugins. I have always enjoyed working with the Eclipse IDE but I must confess that one of the things I have been rather disappointed with is the Eclipse update feature. When trying to update or install, I often find myself with an Eclipse Dialog stating, "X need to be installed before this plugin can be installed". Now where can I get "X" from? Maybe the error message is indicative of where the plugin is but have not seen it so far. I almost am paranoid about updating especially when I see the message to the like of "If you proceed with this updated, part or parts of the installation will be unusable"..

What I want is automatic resolution of dependencies, in order words, if "Plugin A requires Plugin B", if its obvious, go ahead an fetch Plugin B as part of the install. If "Plugin B" will cause installation problems, show me options such as:

1. Use version X.Y of Plugin A as that will work with the rest of the plugins
2. Remove Plugin X and install its latest version X.Y that will make the new plugin work

etc etc etc

I found this neat Eclipse Distro called YOXOS from the Eclipse site. This Eclipse Distro contains a very nice plugin that manages dependencies amongst plugins nicely. Additionally, its "FREE" ;-)

Once can also configure a custom version of Eclipse and use that for download or sharing. This feature is accomplished via PROFILES. There are also predefined profiles that are available for download.

So I tried to install many plugins and features and it was awesome to see the Dependency manager figure out the dependencies and provide me with an installation that was sane....

I am liking this distro a lot....maybe Eclipse 3.4 or Eclipse 4 will do something similar...Will update more based of what I find...Great going...