Internet Explorers 6, 5.5 and 5 on Linux

This is a pretty sweet and easy set up for web developers on Linux. Just download and double-click and IEs4Linux takes care of itself. It is running IE using Wine. Apparently this is the same old Internet Explorer application surrounded by some programs that allow it to run on Linux. They warn about security issues and not using it as your primary browser, but I honestly don’t know who’d think of doing that. Anybody that is using Linux and goes to the trouble of getting this to run IE on it isn’t going to use it for recreation.

How does it work? Looks good to me. For troubleshooting anyway. The fonts are weird but that’s expected. IE 6 gives me lots of bold type and the IE 5s don’t have that problem. They’re just not anti-aliased. These IEs also run as fast as they would on Windows as far as I can tell. Actually, on my Pentium II 266MHz laptop, they load faster than Firefox.

How do you get it? Well, no need to comprehend Wine, thank god. (Has anybody else noticed that there is no explanation on their site to even attempt installing a Windows app on Linux?) Just go to IEs4Linux and follow the instructions on that page. You will have to install Wine and Cabextract and then finally run their IEs4Linux file. You will be in IE heaven soon! Now, if only they had a set up package for OSX.

OSX: Mounting Digital Cameras, Getting and Deleting Pictures

Initially, these cameras were being used with a WindowsXP box. The camera would be connected via USB to the computer, it would mount as an external drive, the files would be copied to the computer’s hard drive, the files would be deleted from the camera drive and the camera would be unmounted and turned off. When the camera is used to take more photos the compact flash disc would be empty and ready for another shoot.

Well, our department changed a bit and the main photographers for the company were now two OSX users. It seemed like a waste of time to continue using the now vacant WindowsXP box just to pull the files off of the camera. I’m all about diminishing silly myths regarding OSX and its support for external hardware. “Puhshaw! Of COURSE it works with a Mac!”

So, we plugged in the camera and tried it out. Everything worked as expected. Once the files were transferred, we hit the ‘Delete’ button on the finder (or Command-Delete or dragged the files from the camera’s folder to the trash) and unmounted the camera and turned it off. Everything’s cool.

When the next shoot was began however, we realized everything wasn’t cool: the files from the previous shoot were still on the camera. Sort of. There were no existing images to browse through, but the available picture counter wasn’t showing its usually capacity. So, we plugged it back in to the Mac and to our surprise the folders on the camera showed that they had no contents. Where were these mysterious files? Well, an obvious clue if you noticed is that those files you thought you had deleted reappear in the Trash when you remount the camera.

To make a long story short, this is an excellent example of how OSX handles deleting files. It was a little frustrating, but after thinking about the process I realized that it’s really a great method for saving people from deleting the wrong file. Here’s how it works:

When you tell OSX to delete a file on any drive you’ll notice that the files are quickly removed (unless it’s a network drive. In that case, after telling OSX to delete the file you will be reminded that the files will be completely deleted and asked if that is indeed what you had intended.) This process is quick because the files are simply moved to a folder on the same drive named ‘.Trashes’. The specified trashes directory is hidden on every drive. Any file whose name starts with a ‘.’ will be hidden in OSX and all Linux OSes as well. This is a little confusing since anything you trash on any locally mounted drive shows up in the ‘Trash’ on your dock. The Trash would seem to be one location on the computer, but in reality the ‘Trash’ is a collective display of the contents of all .Trashes folders in all locally mounted drives. If you’d like to see these hidden files in Linux it’s usually an option under ‘View’ in the file browser. OSX’s Finder doesn’t have that option for the general user, but it’s easy enough through a simple command in the Terminal or the use of an AppleScript to run the Terminal for you. Anyway, here’s what you need to see hidden files in OSX.

This method works flawlessly as long as your mounted drives do not get moved or unmounted very often. You know that those files won’t be deleted until you remove them from the Trash. So, the secret to working with any digital camera or external drive is to move the old files to the Trash and be sure to empty the Trash before you unmount the camera or drive. That action will completely delete the files. No more mystery files on your camera.

Now, this brings up an issue with using OSX’s Trash as a holding place for files you are not quite ready to completely delete. If you want to delete files from your camera those files will be permanently deleted as well. To avoid interrupting this method of using OSX’s trash I create a folder inside my home folder and I name it ‘Not Quite Trash’. I then drag it to the dock and set it right above the ‘real’ Trash. This way you can still drag files to it just like the ‘real’ Trash. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.

Finally, I have to say that OSX should probably ask the user about what to do with the contents of the Trash that are associated with any drive they are attempting to unmount. That would make the above post completely unnecessary. However, Xubuntu 6.06 doesn’t even have a trash mechanism. You just delete the file and it’s gone forever. Definitely getting some use out of my ‘Not Quite Trash’ folder on this system.

Ubuntu 6.06 on 1.6 GHz G5

I received a shipment of Ubuntu discs today from France from what I can tell. I have already downloaded Xubuntu and Ubuntu 6.06 so it wasn’t too exciting. However, I have not tried Dapper for the PowerPC processor. The last shipment I got was Ubuntu 5.1 and the stack included two PowerPC install discs upon my request. It was interesting to try out on the original iMac and seemed to work pretty well as far as live-cds go. However, I could never get my G5 to boot 5.1. It started out, but soon locked up. It may have been an error in the discs, but whatever. Dapper boots though. That’s all I needed to be impressed. I would really like to see how snappy it is once it’s installed. Needless to say I haven’t yet got up the nerve to install it on the G5.

One issue that jumped out at me was the maximum screen resolution of 1024 x . It would be nice to go a little higher. After looking around in the System Preferences I got the impression that, if you are hooked up to the internet, the system would go search for video drivers specific to the machine’s video hardware. So maybe that isn’t much of a concern. I just haven’t read much about running Ubuntu on Apple hardware. Maybe someday I’ll at least get so bold as to make the G5 a dual-booter with Ubuntu.

So check it out. Let me know if you are running Dapper on a PowerPC and what your impressions are.