Drupal, is it the Right CMS for You?

There are two CMS provided under the Web-Developer Server Suite: Drupal and Joomla. But which do you use? This is the question that has been asked on our forums since the inclusion of a CMS webapp group into the Suite.

My usual response goes along the lines of “Joomla is easier to use; Drupal is more powerful.”

While the above statement is completely true, it does no justice differentiating the provided choices in a real way. Especially if you require something a little more custom in nature.

How Drupal Will Save The World really drives it home. Though I’m not referring to the article itself, but rather the comment section.

Simply put: Drupal is more powerful, but the learning curve is quite steep considering that good documentation is almost non-existent. I’m sure in the future this will be corrected, but for the time being, you better know your PHP and have a good head on your shoulders if you want to get into the more advanced capabilities of this CMS.

For anyone starting out with Drupal I recommend getting a copy of Pro Drupal Development as the first step.

And for anyone that just wants something simple, consider CMS Made Simple.

HowTo: Change VMWare Player Guest OS Display Resolution

Here is one useful bit for anyone running, or thinking of running, a local test/development environment under VMWare Player version 2.0 with a guest OS Linux install.

I’ll assume you have installed VMWare Player and a VMWare Appliance similar to CentOS v5. After which, by default, the resolution will be limited to modes “800×600″ and “640×480″.

Here is how you fix that problem…

Step 1: Install X and GNOME, if not already present.
yum groupinstall "X Window System" "GNOME Desktop Environment"
[Note: to install KDE, substitute the “GNOME…” string with “KDE (K Desktop Environment)”]

Step 2: Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You should already have…

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "vmware"
EndSection

Add the following “monitor” section…

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
HorizSync 1.0 - 10000.0
VertRefresh 1.0 - 10000.0
EndSection

Modify the existing “Screen” section…
Note to replace the following “1600×1200″ string with the highest resolution your monitor can handle.

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes "1600x1200" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Step 3: Start X
startx

Ubuntu’s Endgame, Adding Insult to Injury

It’s time for all the fans that rallied behind the idea of Dell providing Ubuntu, or any other Linux distribution, to follow through and purchase a system

Scratch that, they have all disappeared!

Some choice quotes from the same exact fanbase-type “users” that posted to Dell’s IdeaStorm:

“I don’t know how I feel about the “for advanced users and tech enthusiasts” bit. Seems like it undermines my stance on what Linux is about. Dell will not be getting my business until they change.”

“Ubuntu is great, but until it can play all Windows games at near the same performance, I don’t believe it will ever be “better” for my uses.”

“I would definitely pay $50 for a Windows license and a better video card in the Dimension, even more!”

“I’m disappointed that they only offer shitty models and options.”

“I’ve NEVER liked or bought any DELL products, and NEVER will. Why would I want to save 40 bucks on something I would never buy…”

“I love Linux, Ubuntu, and the open-source/GPL movement, but I like to put my systems together personally.”

“If Ubuntu was anything BUT a technical nightmare to configure, what would be the reason to buy one of these? Yes, it installs really easily. Getting it to WORK is next to impossible.”

“You get a computer with an OS you can ***download for free*** pre-installed. Wow!”

“I’m not really interested in buying a PC with an OS, as much as buying a PC with no OS installed.”

How the tides have turned! Not that I, or anyone else, should be surprised. This was to be expected. After all, our fanboys are our biggest hindrance… They talk the talk, but never walk the walk.

Something to consider: once you price the exact same XPS 410 [Vista Home Premium] and 410n [Ubuntu] system, take into account that Dell is offering free shipping on the Vista system, while the Ubuntu system will cost $30 to ship — you are saving only $10!

[I’ve taken the comments from digg and slashdot, and have slightly edited them for better readability]

Ubuntu’s Death Rattle

Having just posted my thoughts on the Dell/Linux sham, it hit me… This must be the sound of Ubuntu’s death rattle.

Having failed to turn a profit year after year, Canonical/Ubuntu has put all of its remaining energy into this deal: from the website re-design with the focus on Dell, to the recent video/talk marketing efforts made by Mr. Shuttleworth.

I _would_ say that all the eggs have been placed into the same basket, but if you look at the past, you quickly realize the rest of the eggs have already been broken and this is a last effort attempt to save a sinking ship.

Since the beginning, Canonical/Ubuntu has been burning millions per year, without seeing any returns — even with a userbase of 2-6 million, and a deployment on 4-16 million systems. And this Dell move is supposed to turn things around?…

Do the numbers:

Dell’s expected sales are at 20,000 systems per year. Who and how many are going to shell out $65 for 30-days worth of support? Zero. Maybe, at best, less than 1%. Same logic applies to the more expensive, yearly, support contracts.

This Dell deal is a joke that’s going sell a handful of systems and net Canonical a few more contracts, relatively worth pennies. Pushing Linux on the average Joe [who is just going to ship the system back] will also backfire. I mean, who else is going to buy these systems? The fanboys that started this mess in the first place? Don’t make me laugh!

And for Ubuntu, after Dell, where is there to go from here but down?

It almost sounds as if this deal was set up to fail from the beginning. If Microsoft is behind this move, they have done a good job of pulling the strings. It’s a sad day today.

Dell’s Linux Offer, still too early to tell

When Dell first announced that Linux was going to be offered as a choice on their home systems, many Linux fans rejoiced on the news. GNU/Linux was finally going to make headway in the desktop market, with Dell being the catalyst to displace the Microsoft Windows monopoly. And while everyone was quite happy about this event, I took an alternative view to the situation…

Some of you might have read my negative view-point on Dell’s Linux offer: that it will never work, or worse off, that it might be a set up move by Microsoft to further tarnish Linux. I made my statement, and have been patiently waiting to see the actual Dell offer before saying anything more.

Dell Offers Three Consumer Systems With Ubuntu 7.04

It’s finally here. Later today, Dell will offer U.S customers three different systems with Ubuntu 7.04 installed: the XPS 410n and Dimension E520n desktops and the Inspiron E1505n notebook. These systems will be available at www.dell.com/open by 4pm CST today. Starting price for the E520n desktop and the E1505n notebook is $599; the XPS 410n starts at $849.

Hardware support will come from Dell. Beyond that, users can turn to the Linux section of the Dell Community Forum. Users also have fee-based options for operating system support through Canonical, including 30-day Get Started, One-year Basic and One-year Standard.

I’ve prices two same systems…
XPS 410: Windows Vista Home — $889
XPS 410 N: Ubuntu Linux, no support from Dell or Canonical — $849

The support for the Linux system only comes from Dell’s Community Forums and can be purchased from Canonical at…

  • 30 days Starter Support: $65
  • 1 year of Basic Support: $125
  • 1 year of Std Support: $275

This offer is targeted “for advanced users and tech enthusiasts” and “we expect these systems to be less than 1 percent of our OS mix for the entire year which is ~20,000 systems annually.”

All in all, I am still a bit disappointed. Yes, you do [at this time, with no offers] get a system for a few dollars less than one with Vista, but what’s going to happen when the average Joe gets in on this great deal and finds out he can’t install iTunes, MS Office, nor his games, and nothing works as it should? Answer: Curse Linux and send the system back! And when Dell figures out that this model is either not profitable, or too small volume, what’s going to happen then? Answer: Blame Linux!

phpBB is dead… long live phpBB!?

Whoever created this headline got it exactly right.

phpBB is dead… long live phpBB!

In an not entirely unexpected email to the team, James “theFinn” Atkinson has, after a number of years inactivity even “behind the scenes” due to personal circumstance, has formally resigned as of the 30th of April, 2007.

The now newly independent phpBB still has the same active contributors and will continue to support the stable phpBB 2.0.x and develop the next-generation phpBB 3.0.x, with James having already allowed the transfer of the www.phpBB.com domain for a majority share of the financial assets that have been generated by the project via advertising to date, so as to minimize disruption to phpBB’s users.

A lot can be read between these lines…

For one, large sums of money are involved here. phpbb.com is a PR10/9 site and handles some serious traffic. And as the saying goes: more money, more problems.

Another is the restructuring of the ‘organization’… While new blood is always welcome, you do not want to lose the part of the team that has learned from making all the mistakes. Not unless you want to repeat your failures.