africa Photos tech ubuntu

Text Snippets Circling Around

Pêle-mêle off the top of my head:

Learnt yesterday:
The number of English-speaking Internet users is decreasing, currently at about 35% of total number of Internet users.

Shared yesterday:
Who writes about African technology developments? From the list, I follow White African, Afrigadget, and sometimes Google Alert points me to IT News Africa.

Photo processing software for Ubuntu:
I’m currently MacBook-less (there are plans to change this very soon), but in the meantime I’ve installed Ubuntu 8.04 on an Acer Aspire 5920. I tried upgrading to Intrepid Ibex, but I couldn’t get my LAN connection to work. Something to do with the MTU count. And I encountered 2 bugs during the install:

  • package update-manager 1:0.93.32 failed to install/upgrade: ErrorMessage: SystemError in cache.commit(): E:Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1), E:Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
  • package ubuntustudio-menu 0.9 failed to install/upgrade: there is no script in the new version

So I went back to Hardy Heron. Cost: most of my Saturday. Learning effect: priceless.

I’ve been scanning the Internet for Linux photo processing software, besides Gimp, Picasa and F-Spot. ‘Cos so far Canon’s DPP has not been ported to Linux. I guess I could use it via Wine. But between you and me, I’m just looking for a good excuse to get a new MacBook. Beyond that DPP (still) lacks a good straightening tool.

I tried BlueMarine ‘cos it sounded promising, but I quickly gave up. Not usable.

There are a couple of commercial tools to consider:

  • LightZone Linux
  • Bibble

In the end I tried Raw Therapee and downloaded Qtpfsgui for HDRs. Both of which are free and look promising at this stage.


BTW, this blog post is good example how I can trick myself into writing a longer text. Initially, I just wanted to write a few Tweet-like text snippets, a summary of various small items circling around in my head. Pêle-mêle off the top of my head.

Please feel free to comment. I would be very grateful for any Ubuntu tips and tricks, etc.

General tech ubuntu wordpress

open source morality

The benevolent dictator model

This article has been linked to from lots of WordPress sites, but I was just struck by the use of language… software is getting more religious and political comparisons.

General ubuntu

Feisty Fawn

Seven Nice Things About Linux Ubuntu 7.04 “Feisty Fawn”

blogafrica blogger blogging General Malawi-related tech ubuntu

Free Software for Malawi

Alex Antener presents a talk on his Malawi projects:

Freie Software – Eine Chance für Afrika, (in German)

Very interesting, and lots of screens with GNU Linux.

[update] The official recording of the talk is available online.

General tech ubuntu

Buying a New Laptop

I’m planning to purchase a notebook in the very near future. It should:

  • work flawlessly with Ubuntu
  • be mobile and quiet (not to heavy and big)
  • work with many applications at one time in GNOME / KDE with reasonable performance, i.e. mostly Web, email, Open Office, programming, DVD, music, (no gaming)
  • cost around 1500 CHF

I’ve browsed thru a couple of Linux laptop pages:

There’s tonnes of information out here… and I need help on the specs. Esp. with graphic cards and processors.
I guess, one way is to take my live CD and test my way thru…

What is your experience? Appreciate any help you can provide

General Malawi-related ubuntu

very south

One week vacation in Blantyre. It feels more like a month than a week. A lot has happened since I arrived at Chileka last Saturday.
I even managed to fall ill for a day and a half. I still feel a little bit of nausea. It’s a long time since I have been in Blantyre during the rainy season. It’s extremely beautiful but very humid. So far it has rained every single day. Everything is lusciously green.

Some stuff I’ve been doing:

  • Getting insight into the administration and management of Chombo Children’s Home, an orphanage for abandoned children in Blantyre. Chombo was opened in June 2005 and now has about 25 kids. And there’s a long waiting list. The concept is similar to SOS Kinderdorf and the extended family tradition of Malawi. Malawian “house mothers” takes care of the Chombo children in the traditional Malawian way.
  • I’ve met with local companies and NGOs that have donated food for Chombo children. I also learnt that a WFP feeding program has started providing a meal at all primary schools around Blantyre.
  • I’ve met 2 Social Welfare Officers of Blantyre City and learnt about the community-based approach Blantyre City is pursuing to take care of orphans. Before abandoned children are referred to an orphanage, these officers investigate and find out if there are any relatives who can take care of them. This week a new girl, aged about 9 or 10 years old, moved to Chombo Children’s Home. She was chased from the house where she was staying and slept outside for several nights, before trying to find shelter in another part of town.
  • I’ve installed Ubuntu Linux on laptops for administrative and management purposes at Chombo. And now I’m teaching how to use OpenOffice. Which is fun.

> More about Chombo:

Books I’m reading:

I finished reading “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith, and now I’ve started “Mukiwa – A White Boy in Africa” by Peter Godwin.

Comments at

I don’t have Internet access from here. So I don’t know if my cron job has published this. I guess that’s something I really would miss if I ever moved here. Broadband Internet Access. ADSL Flat Rate. Google Search for “How to treat distemper in dogs”…. As you know, comments are moderated at Which means it will take a couple of weeks before your comments will display at Unless I find an Internet connection…

yours truly,


General Photos ubuntu

Rhetorical question of the day …

What would computing be without progress bars?

I spent this weekend re-configuring my Ubuntu installation. It’s been about 6 months since I moved from Windows and I’m more than happy with Ubuntu and the Gnome desktop. I may try out Kubuntu sometime. Or try setting up an Ubuntu server.

I’m still a newbie user but I’m slowly getting the hang of things as I go along.

General ubuntu

Firefox 1.0.7 upgrade in Ubuntu Hoary

workaround for Firefox 1.0.7 upgrade:

execute sudo apt-get remove firefox firefox-gnome-support mozilla-firefox mozilla-firefox-gnome-support. Then, once that’s finished, run sudo apt-get install mozilla-firefox mozilla-firefox-gnome-support.

The Firefox 1.0.7 upgrade in Ubuntu Hoary

General ubuntu


i’ve continued my forays [1] [2] into the world of Linux distributions and have now tried Ubuntu.

Install works fine. After I figured out that I needed to enter vga=771 to start setup i encountered no further problems. Very straightforward.

linux vga=771

It’s based on Debian Sarge.

Ok, the next thing to do is upgrade to the new WP 1.5… but i’ll leave that for another geek day. The reviews sound very positive.

[update, Feb 21]
I’ve updated my blog to WP 1.5.

found a review of Ubuntu at Pro-Linux:

World Domination aus Süd-Afrika
(in German)
(why do I always find this kind of stuff afterwards?!)

[update, Feb 26]
And another useful link:
Unofficial Ubuntu Guide

[update, March 01]
Ubuntu at Cebit 2005 – Get a free CD at Hall 6 Stand J44.

[update, April 10]
Hoary Upgrade Notes

Upgrade von Warty auf Hoary