Fedora 9 is gold!

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, Fedora 9 is officially released! At least, the official torrents are available. The main site doesn’t seem to be updated yet, but then again, it’s not 10 AM, either. I’m grabbing the x86_64 DVD build on one server and the i386 on the other, so I hope to be seeding by midday.

Update: The Fedora Project site now reflects the release.  I should really be getting back to work now…

Fedora 9 – Why it’s so awesome

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Okay, I know that title is a pretty pretentious statement by itself, as much of Fedora 9’s awesomeness isn’t unique to it. So, I’ll grant that much of the coming awesomeness is related to Gnome 2.22, which is not limited to Fedora 9, nor is Pulseaudio, Upstart (props to the Ubuntuees for that), or a plethora of other things. So, in reality, Fedora 9’s awesomeness is a celebration of Free & Open-Source software and its universal community.

The following is pretty-much ripped from the wiki. The witty banter is added by me. Also, I know I’m not the first (actually, I hope I’m quite close to the last) to have done one of these things. What follows are the features that I consider to be cool and important, but this list is obviously by no means exhaustive or even appropriately representative of Fedora 9. It’s simply a list of what I think will make Fedora 9 so awesome, in shaaʾ Allaah.

Okay, that should be enough flame retardant for now…onwards!

Continue reading “Fedora 9 – Why it’s so awesome”

Tapeless HD camcorders

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

I’ve been keeping my eye out for tapeless (e.g., hard drive or flash memory instead of tapes) HD camcorders for a while, because of the obvious flexibility of being able to transfer the recorded video directly rather than “recording” it via IEEE 1394 (i.e., “FireWwire”) – while an IEEE 1394 link is definitely fast, any tape-based camcorder usually only transfers the video at regular playing speeds by actually playing the video.

Having said that, here are a few that have caught my eye:

The important issue, of course, is how easy is it to work with the video once it’s recorded.  Most of the video formats are MPEG-4-based, usually the controversial AVCHD.  There are some advantages & disadvantages, of course, but ffmpeg really helps with most of the issues.  I’ve been playing a lot with it (ffmpeg) this past week, and the sheer flexibility of it is astounding.  I think the woes of multimedia flexibility under free operating systems is slowly going away, as even the GUI applications (avidemux, PiTiVi, Kino, etc.) are at a level of refinement I wouldn’t have expected.

Naturally, I am loath to use nonfree versus free solutions, so I am pleased to let you know that there are many free software codecs available through ffmpeg – that is the topic for another article, perhaps.

Obviously, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but I’m really excited to dive into open-source content creation!

Updated with relevant linking and a few spelling fixes.

Hello Fedora Planet & People!

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Hello!  I know I’ve already had a few posts show up on the Planet already, but I wanted to at least acknowledge the fact that I am now, as opposed to having been previously not, a member of Fedora Planet!

I am an avid Fedora user – I have been using Fedora somewhat since FC5 and regularly since FC6.  I run Fedora on my laptop (which I am using to compose this post), on my main PC at home, and also at my workstation at work.  I won’t go into why I love Fedora (and free software in general) too much here, but I guess that fact is obvious given the circumstances under which you are reading this.

I’ve considered joining the Fedora Planet for a while as a decently high percentage of my blog posts are related to Fedora and Free Software in general, with the rest being related somehow to technology, society, community projects, and/or religion.  Only my “Fedora” category is subscribed to on the Planet, but you’re all more than welcome to puruse my blog if any of these other topics interest you at all.

Incidentally, I will do my best to not spam my Fedora category with topics that would not be of general interest to those subscribed to a Fedora blog aggregator.

As for my own involvement with Fedora, I really am best categorized as a user and an advocate, more than anything else.  I am hoping that in the near future my contributions can go beyond mere evangelization and bug reporting into actually bug fixing and contributing.

As for myself, what may interest most of you is the fact that I am a web developer.  I work primarily in the classic LAMP stack, with the majority of my work comprising writing PHP & working with MySQL.  I’m trying to broaden my horizens somewhat, including learning Python so I can start writing some useful GUI applications or even basic scripts that can be rolled out to a large number free software users.  We’ll see how that develops.

Finally, I love comments and constructive discussions.  My blog is ad-free, does not link to google-analytics, and I host it on my own dedicated server, so jumping to my site should be reasonably painless.  I value a quick-loading site as much as the next guy.  Thanks for reading, and here’s to the start a beautiful friendship!

P.S.  If you see any non-English on my site, it’s likely to be Arabic.  I have a terms page that has translations of some of the more common phrases I tend to use in my normal speech.

Shell History Meme

I got tired of seeing everyone on the planets (Fedora & Gnome) showing-up in Liferea doing this, and I was left out.  So here’s mine from work:

[basil.gohar@escapdv01 ~]$ history|awk '{a[$2]++ } END{for(i in a){print a[i] " " i}}'|sort -rn|head
265 ll
210 cd
101 time
86 dbrestore
79 exit
28 su
24 vi
18 ssh
17 ping
16 less

“dbrestore” is an alias for a script I use to…well..restore DBs.  One that is not on here that was the first time I ran the script is my “search” alias, which is a wrapper for find & grep that searches the contents of PHP files (since that’s what I spend all day working on).

I’ve even added a GNOME category.  Maybe after this I’ll start posting more Fedora- & GNOME-related topics, and increase my chances of getting listed in the planets…

I’ll update with my home laptop & PC results after I get home tonight, in shaaʾ Allaah (notice I’m using “ʾ” to mark an Arabic hamzah in my transliteration…more on that later…in shaaʾ Allaah…;) )

Family blog

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Last week my wife & I have decided to start our own family blog to track family’s Islamic development.  As a result, I will most-likely be posting my personal- and family-related musings over there rather than here, allowing HidayahTech to remain more tech-oriented.  That doesn’t mean there will be a complete dearth of such posts here, but I hope you get the picture.

While the family is generally personal and focused on my family, we are aware that it is public (anything with a URL should be considered as such), so feel free to visit, read, and even comment if you are so inclined, as long as you feel there benefit to doing so.

WordPress 2.5

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Alhamdulillaah, WordPress 2.5 has been released.  I’ve upgraded my personal blog (this site), the Columbus Dawah blog, and my new family-development blog (more on that later, in shaa Allaah).

WordPress 2.5 (Brecker, apparently), is chock-full of new features that I cannot hope to explain in one short post here, so I’ll invite you to visit the link above to see the new stuff.  Of specific interest to me is the new photo gallery feature, which I hope to be trying out soon, in shaa Allaah.

Coinciding with the upgrade to 2.5, I’m also trying-out a new theme for my blog.  Comments are most welcome!

WordPress customization

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Yesterday I had a implement a small, custom template for WordPress. As a result, I had a chance to see the innards of WordPress in a way I never really did before. Let me just say that now I’m really excited to actually go through and write my own custom theme for my personal blog – a task I never really seriously contemplated until now.

My projects running on free software (and how to better integrate them)

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Software that is free from proprietary restrictions (a.k.a, free-and-open-source software, which I will refer to as simply “free software” for the rest of this post) has become exceedingly important in my life for both philosophical as well as practical reasons. Not only do I truly believe free software to be inherently better in every way for humanity than proprietary/closed-source software, but I have become increasingly incapable of working with non-free software. Now that free software solutions run the gamut of nearly everything I have a need for, I have all but eliminated non-free software from my essential stack. Having said that, I have a special interest in web-based free software as this particular realm of software has become crucial not only to myself, but to nearly all projects in which I am involved.

Continue reading “My projects running on free software (and how to better integrate them)”

Trying out blog applet in Fedora 8

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

I’m trying out the gnome-blog utility again inside of Fedora 8. I had a bit of a challenge at first because when I tried to input my blog URL, it was trying to force the directory to be */wordpress/, which is not how my blog is setup. Alhamdulillaah, once I figured-out I had to append the xmlrpc.php (not xml-rpc.php, like I was trying at first), it stopped trying to force my hand.

Oh, and it seems the word “blog” is still not included in whatever dictionary gnome-blog uses for spell-checking (a nice feature, I might add).

If this works out, then it will be a lot easier to update my blog while I’m at work, where I get most of my bloggy thoughts, rather than waiting until I get home, when I am usually too tired or busy to do anything. This is aside from the fact that there are a lot few formatting options available, but we’ll survive.

As an important note, I tried Drivel after I didn’t succeed at first with gnome-blog, and it didn’t support spaces in usernames. It seems to be related to the fact that it uses the username as part of a key (I guess for GConf?). I guess that’s an example of a poor design choice…

Let’s see what happens…

Discontinuing with DiscoverULife for now

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Well, my wife & I have decided, both mutually and with the guidance of istikhaarah, that we’re going to discontinue our participation with DiscoverULife for the time being. We both stayed in for exactly one month, which was always intended to be an evaluation period. As it turns out, given our current situation in terms of finances, schedules, and sheer difficulties due to our physical separation, we felt discontinuing for the time-being to be the best option. Alhamdulillaah.

Continue reading “Discontinuing with DiscoverULife for now”

Natural sounds with the H4

As alluded to in a previous post, I needed to find a replacement for my iRiver iHP-120. I ended up splitting my needs into getting two replacements – one device to replace the recording needs, and another to replace the playback needs. After some intense & extensive research, I decided on getting a Zoom H4 Handy. Below are some sample recordings of natural sounds taken from around my parents’ house.

Continue reading “Natural sounds with the H4”

100% Fedora 7 installations

Note: This post was originally written several weeks ago, and I’ve just been lazy in finishing it. I’ve been

Alhamdulillaah, with my move to Fedora 7 on my workstation in my workplace, I am now running Fedora 7 on 100% of my machines (excluding my Linksys router and iRiver, which are running OpenWRT & Rockbox, respectively). This means my main PC, my laptop, my secondary PC, and my work computer are all running the same OS. In fact, all but my laptop are running the x86_64 version, as well, so even the platforms are the same (though my PCs are AMD Athlon 64s and my work computer is an Intel Pentium D). Continue reading “100% Fedora 7 installations”

Using find & grep to search subversion working copies

Alhamdulillaah, I was able to write a very simple bash function that will efficiently scan an entire directory tree for files which contain a string and display those lines, along with line numbers, and highlight the searched term in the terminal. The result can be found below:

function search
    time find . -name '.svn' -prune -o -exec grep -inH --color -e "$1" '{}' ;

The search function takes as its only parameter the string for which you are searching. Three standard *nix programs are utilized – time, find, & grep.

Continue reading “Using find & grep to search subversion working copies”

Tutorial series – X/HTML Design Tips

Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

I’m going to start a new, easy-lifting tutorial series that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. It’s focus will be useful exploitation of the X/HTML standard for marking-up your pages in an elegant yet standards-compliant way. I will make an attempt to reference other excellent sources that exist throughout the webiverse wherever appropriate, but for the most part, a lot of these ideas have just come from my own exploration and experimentation with the specification.

Some of the things I will be covering in this tutorial series include (but are not limited to):

  • The usage of lesser-known but fully-supported X/HTML tags for common & useful purposes
  • Emphasis on a semantic presentation of content
  • Minimization of unnecessary markup
  • Strict adherence to both the spirit & the letter of the pertinent standards
  • Examples of how to exploit the synergy between pertinent standards (e.g., X/HTML, CSS, etc.)
  • How to avoid using deprecated tags, attributes, and techniques in favor of more sanctioned alternatives

Comments, questions, and suggestions related to the topics presented are always welcome, and I will do my best to answer them, but no promises are being made. Continue reading “Tutorial series – X/HTML Design Tips”

Fedora 7 Test 3 released

Alhamdulillaah, Fedora 7 Test 3 has been released. Torrents are available. I have both the Hidayah Online as well as Audio Islam servers in the torrent swarm for the 64bit DVD isos (hey, I have two 64bit rigs, only my laptop is stuck in the 32bit world). I’ll try to leave them seeding for a while once they complete, in shaa Allaah. I am contemplating posting up download mirrors from both servers as well, since bandwidth isn’t currently an issue, so if you read this and you’re interested, leave a comment (yes, comment bribing).