Volume 52 May, 2011

Volume 52 May, 2011
Volume 52
Scribus, Part 5:
Links & The Scrapbook
Ladies Of PCLinuxOS:
Retroshare: The Secure Social
Network, Part 2
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
Video: Part 6 ­ DeVeDe
ts2mpeg & DVBCut
Game Zone: FunBrain
Basic Backup Plans
for PCLinuxOS
WindowMaker on PCLinuxOS:
Working With Backgrounds
Photo Viewers Galore, Part 1
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
Greek OpenFest
ms_meme's Nook:
Mr. Texstar
Forum Foibles: Bacon
Double Take &
Mark's Quick Gimp Tip
Plus more inside!
May, 2011
Table Of
Of Contents
Welcome From The Chief Editor
Scribus, Part 5: Links & Scrapbook
WindowMaker On PCLinuxOS: Working With Backgrounds
ms_meme's Nook: Mr. Texstar
Double Take & Mark's Quick Gimp Tip
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
Screenshot Showcase
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
Screenshot Showcase
Ladies Of PCLinuxOS: silverbirch
Screenshot Showcase
Basic Backup Plans For PCLinuxOS
Forum Foibles: Bacon
Video: Part 6 ­ DeVeDe
Screenshot Showcase
Game Zone: Funbrain.com
Greek OpenFest 2011
Retroshare: The Secure Social Network, Part 2
Screenshot Showcase
ts2mpeg & DVBCut
Photo Viewers, Part 1
Screenshot Showcase
More Screenshot Showcase
The PCLinuxOS name, logo and colors are the trademark of
The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine is a monthly online
publication containing PCLinuxOS­related materials. It is
published primarily for members of the PCLinuxOS
community. The Magazine staff is comprised of volunteers
from the PCLinuxOS community.
Visit us online at http://www.pclosmag.com
This release was made possible by the following volunteers:
Chief Editor: Paul Arnote (parnote)
Assistant Editors: Meemaw, Andrew Strick (Stricktoo)
Artwork: Sproggy, Timeth, ms_meme, Meemaw
Magazine Layout: Paul Arnote, Meemaw, ms_meme
HTML Layout: Sproggy
Neal Brooks
Galen Seaman
Patrick Horneker
Guy Taylor
Andrew Huff
Pete Kelly
Archie Arevalo
Mark Szorady
Darrel Johnston
Gary L. Ratliff, Sr.
Daniel Meiß­Wilhelm
Efstathios Iosifidis
The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative
Commons Attribution­NonCommercial­Share­Alike 3.0
Unported license. Some rights are reserved.
Copyright © 2011.
Welcome From
From The
The Chief
Chief Editor
Sometimes, it’s easy to get lost
among all that’s going on with
PCLinuxOS. In case you missed
some of the highlights, here’s a
brief rundown. To start off with, the Linux kernel has hit the
repos, amid reports of it being the
fastest ever. KDE 4.6.2 has hit the
repos, and the monthly bug
update (4.6.3) isn’t very far off.
Sproggy and Texstar have been
working on Xfce 4.8.1. Gnome 3.0
is being given a very close look.
Before long, new 2011 ISOs will
be coming out.
Several PCLinuxOS developers
have banded together to develop
a home­grown PCLinuxOS web
browser, called Hammer. It is still
in development, but you can get a
look at the alpha version (some
are calling it pre­alpha) by going
to the topic in the PCLinuxOS forum, as well as
follow the development process. They have made
amazing progress in a very short amount of time.
Plus, if you have any Python coding skills, you can
even join the team, since this is a development
project by the community, for the community.
On the magazine staff, Galen (gseaman) has taken
a break from his task of preparing the HTML version
of the magazine every month, due to other
commitments and demands on his time. So Galen,
thank you for all your hard work on the HTML
version of the magazine each month for the past two
years. You’ve done an outstanding job, and your
hard work has been appreciated
every step of the way. Meanwhile,
Sproggy has agreed to carry on
the layout of the HTML version of
the magazine each month. Let’s
welcome Sproggy aboard in his
new role with The PCLinuxOS
In this issue of The PCLinuxOS
Magazine, Meemaw continues
her look at Scribus. I continue my
series of articles on working with
video files, examining HandBrake
and DeVeDe. Patrick Horneker
continues his look at running
WindowMaker on PCLinuxOS,
focusing on working with
backgrounds in his latest
installment. horusfalcon starts a
series on backup solutions under
Archie completes the second part of his Retroshare
article. Stathis checks in from Greece, with a first
hand report of the activities at the Greek OpenFest
2011 conference. Meemaw starts a new series of
articles covering the myriad of choices available for
graphic file viewers. She also wrote another Game
Zone entry, this time taking a look at an online game
site that targets school­aged children.
We also get to learn about another of our female
PCLinuxOS users this month, where silverbirch is
interviewed for the recurring Ladies of PCLinuxOS
article series. Darrel Johnston fills us in on more
details surrounding the running of Icaros, in the third
part of his Alternate OS article on Icaros. Leiche
returns with an article about converting and editing
MPEG transport stream (*.ts) files into something
that you can work with on your computer.
Of course, all of your regular features are present,
as well. ms_meme is back with ms_meme’s Nook,
as well as another installment of Forum Foibles.
Mark Szorady is also back with another installment
of his Double Take & Mark’s Quick Gimp Tip page.
Of course, we feature 10 more exemplary screen
shots, in Screenshot Showcase.
So keep your ear tuned! There are lots of things
happening, and I suspect they’ll happen rather
quickly once they start coming down the pipeline.
Until next month, I wish each and every one of you
peace, prosperity, serenity and tranquility.
Using Scribus,
Scribus, Part
Part 5:
5: Links
Links and
and Scrapbook
by Meemaw
We've learned much in our short time with Scribus!
By now you should have most of your newsletter
finished, with only the finishing touches to add. We'll
cover a couple of those now, which should make
your work a little easier.
Many stories now have links to
websites on them. If your story has a
website associated with it, you may
want to provide the link in your
article. While it's not hard to format in
Scribus, it is not readily apparent on
the screen. In the default layout, you
will see a pair of 'shoe­prints' on the
left side of your window.
Click on them, and form a frame
around your web address. It will look
just like a text frame. Double­click on
it and a link window will appear. You
should choose 'External Web­Link in the drop down
box, and you will see a blank for your web address.
When you get the correct address entered you can
click OK. Also remember to lock your frame so it
doesn't go anywhere. NOTE: If you want the text to
be blue or something other than black, you will have
to change the color of the text in your story editor
and not in this window. It doesn't show it in the
illustration, but you need to make sure your web
address has the appropriate web service to use;
http:// for web pages, ftp:// for ftp sites, mailto: for
email addresses.
The toolbar up the side is the PDF toolbar. You can
insert checkboxes, button boxes and more from
there. Unless you are designing a fillable form or
something that requires checkboxes or buttons, you
may not use many of the tools there, but it is great
that they are included.
If you do several newsletters, you may have some
graphics you use all the time, although not in the
exact same place every time. Scribus provides a
Scrapbook to store some of these graphics. Under
Window > Scrapbook, you can build a collection of
your most often­used graphics, kept right there for
your convenience. When you first open it, you will
have an empty window. However, as you use
something and
decide to save it
you can select it,
right­click on it and
choose 'Send to
Scrapbook'. (The
default is called
You will be asked to name your item.
If you created an album besides 'Main', you also
need to save it. Next time you need it, it will be
there, and you can simply find it and drag it to your
My newsletter uses
the company logo
somewhere on one of
the pages, and for
this magazine, we
display several ads.
Those graphics don't
change, so they are
saved to the
Scrapbook so that we
can just choose the one we want and drag it into the
document wherever we want to put it. You could
save four graphics representing the seasons, and
use each somewhere in your newsletter
during that season. I'm sure you have
even more great ideas!
Next month we'll look at templates and
master pages.
WindowMaker On
On PCLinuxOS:
Working With
With Backgrounds
Solid color: The only configurable option here is a
solid background color. The PCLinuxOS
implementation defaults to solid white.
Pixmap: Standard wallpapers are displayed with this
type of background. XPM, XBM, PNG, TIFF and
JPEG files are supported here.
Gradient: This type of background allows you to
create gradients of any number of colors. Options
here are horizontal, vertical or diagonal gradient,
and the gradient rendered starts with the first color
on the list, transitioning to the next color, and the
next until the end of the list is reached. The default
PCLinuxOS installation provides a horizontal
gradient starting at yellow, and transitioning to blue
using only yellow and blue for colors.
by Patrick G Horneker (phorneker)
When we first started using WindowMaker, we saw
very few elements on the screen. The most
prominent of these is the background. Like
everything else in WindowMaker, the background
can be changed.
What you see here is the default background for
WindowMaker as installed from Synaptic. This is the
same wallpaper that is the default wallpaper for the
original PCLinuxOS variant (with the KDE desktop),
and for the MiniMe KDE version.
About the Background
WindowMaker has five types of backgrounds,
namely solid color, pixmap, gradient, textured
gradient, and interwoven gradient.
Textured Gradient: This type of background layers
a two color gradient with a horizontal, vertical or
diagonal option on top of a pixmap. Like the Pixmap
type, XPM, XBM, PNG, TIFF and JPEG files are
supported. However, graphics used are tiled only,
rather than scaled. This type of background was
designed to be used with graphics that are textures,
rather than photographs. Also, gradients are limited
to exactly two colors. The other configurable option
is the opacity of the gradient layered on the textured
Interwoven Gradient: This type of background
superimposes one two color vertical gradient on top
of another two color vertical gradient. The gradients
are rendered with alternating rows of pixels on the
background. That is, the first gradient renders the
first, third, fifth, etc rows while the second gradient
renders the second, fourth, sixth, etc. rows.
WindowMaker On PCLinuxOS: Working With Backgrounds
Installing Wallpapers
For WindowMaker to use pixmaps, WindowMaker
has to be able to find where these graphics are
located on your PCLinuxOS installation.
The WindowMaker installation on PCLinuxOS
implements the following list of locations where
graphics are stored:
looks for backgrounds by default. I will show you
why in the next section.
Configuring Your Background
Like most everything else in WindowMaker, the
background can be changed. The easiest way to do
this is by right clicking on the background, then
selecting More Applications → Configuration →
WindowMaker Configuration Manager from the
popup menu.
To install wallpapers for your use, simply copy them
to the GNUStep/Library/WindowMaker/Pixmaps or
directory within your user account. Of course, you
can use any background anywhere in your user
space, but this directory is where WindowMaker
The Pixmap menu allows you to center, tile or scale
your graphic to be displayed. The Default Color
button (with a sample on the button) is what
WindowMaker uses to fill in any space not taken up
by the graphic. This is generally the case with
graphics that are centered, or scaled retaining the
ratio of the graphic.
There are two options for scaling graphics. The first
automatically stretches the graphic to fit to the
screen resolution. The other option retains the
original shape of the graphic.
This list can be modified either through the
WindowMaker Configuration Manager, or through
the WindowMaker preferences utility (accessible by
double clicking on the GNUstep icon on the dock
itself, which should be on the upper right corner of
your screen).
The first two items on the list are located in your user
home directory. The other three items on the list are
pixmaps and backgrounds accessible to all users
the machine where you installed PCLinuxOS, hence
the /usr/share prefix.
Click on Workspace to get the settings shown here.
By default, you can change the background for all
four workspaces. The Workspace pulldown menu
allows you to select which workspace you would like
to apply your background.
To select a graphic to use as wallpaper, click on
Browse... and a dialog will appear allowing you to
select the graphic.
Like KDE and GNOME, WindowMaker comes with
four desktops, called Workspaces. In the last article
on icons, and the article before that on the basics, I
mentioned a Clip on the upper left hand of the
screen. The clip is used to change which desktop is
When you first open this dialog box, the contents of
the /usr/share/mdk/backgrounds directory are
WindowMaker On PCLinuxOS: Working With Backgrounds
displayed. This is the default for PCLinuxOS, and
only the standard PCLinuxOS background is
showing. Like other file selection dialogs, you can
change the directory to where your wallpaper files
are stored. Notice that the dropdown menu next to
Pixmap search paths shows the
GNUStep/Library/WindowMaker/Pixmaps directory
within your user space. Clicking on this dropdown
menu will pull the list of directories WindowMaker
uses to search for wallpapers.
Select one of these directories to change to that
directory. Any supported graphics files found will be
displayed under Files. As you select, the preview of
that graphic will show up on the right side of this
dialog box. Click on OK to select the graphic. You
should return to WindowMaker Configuration
Manager. The new graphic should be displayed in
the preview. Then click on the Checkmark (on the
upper­left hand corner of the Manager window below
the menu. This will exit the configuration utility and
apply the wallpaper to the Workspace as shown
This example wallpaper (January Sunset) is
available for viewing at my page on the JPG
Magazine website (called “Sunset after the Blizzard”
there), and available for downloading at
Where to Obtain Wallpapers
There are many places on the Web where you can
download and use wallpapers.
Your digital camera or camera­equipped cell phone
LinFX Picasa Web Flickr Image Shack
Downloads page on my website.
My page at JPG Magazine
Of course, there are many other sources where
photographs can be obtained. In fact, there are
many sites devoted to providing only wallpaper
images. Just be sure you have the right to use the
images as wallpaper before downloading.
ms_meme's Nook:
Nook: Mr.
Mr. Texstar
Mr. Texstar you made us a dream
It's the best OS that we've ever seen
Never again will we be a rover
Shout Hallelujah Windows' Frights are over
Texstar we're not alone
Thousands of users have come on home
So thank you for your magic touch
PCLOS we love it so much
Mr. Texstar we want you to know
Now our computer is never slow
What you've made is pure perfection
PCLOS needs no virus protection
Texstar you've saved the day
Away from you we never will stray
So thank you for your magic touch
PCLOS we love it so much
Mark's Quick Gimp Tip
©2010 Mark Szorady. Distributed by georgetoon.com
by Mark Szorady
Double Take
Double Take
Take &
& Mark's
Mark's Quick
Quick Gimp
Gimp Tip
Find at least seven differences between cartoons.
The Gimp has a lot of fun effects
filters from which to choose. One
such filter is called "Filmstrip." And it does
just that. Open any number of images
and, using Filmstrip, combine them into an
image that resembles a long piece of
movie footage. A filmstrip. To use the
filter, simply open up the images you want
to use. In my resulting filmstrip shown on
this page, I used four images (the comic
panels I create for georgetoon.com).
Then, from Gimp's main menu, select
Filters > Combine >Filmstrip. When the
dialog window appears, simply move the
images you wish to use from the left
column to the right column. If you like,
adjust height and other variables. (You can
repeat the use of images, reorder them,
adjust height, spacing, etc.) Then click
Okay. The Gimp does the rest! It really is
Answers on Page 48.
a fun filter to use and dresses up your
images in a snap! Speaking of snappy
images, May 5th is Cartoonists Day. This
sometimes coincides with Free Comic Book
Day (the first Saturday in May). Whenever
I attend either of these cartoon events, I
bring along my laptop/notebook and show
the folks Linux!
­Mark Szorady is a nationally syndicated cartoonist with georgetoon.com. He blogs at georgetoon.com/blog. Email Mark at [email protected]
Video: Part
Part 5
5 -- HandBrake
by Paul Arnote (parnote)
Android smart phone, or a tablet, whether it’s
Android­based or an iPad.
decoded by libavcodec. This includes *.flv files,
*.mpg files, *.avi files, and most anything else.
One handy tool to have in your “video toolkit” is an
application that makes it easy to get your videos
onto your portable devices. Those portable devices
could be an iPod, Blackberry smart phone, an
Enter HandBrake, a GPL’d multiplatform,
multithreaded Gtk+ application that makes the job of
converting videos into a format playable on your
portable devices quite easy. HandBrake can convert
any video format that can be read by libavformat and
HandBrake can also convert your DVDs to a format
that can be viewed on your portable devices.
Although HandBrake itself does not decrypt DVDs,
on a Linux system, it will allow libdvdread to use
libdvdcss2 to decrypt the DVDs on­the­fly.
HandBrake was started in 2003, by “titer.” One of the
first DVD­to­MPEG4 conversion programs out there,
it was originally written to run on Be OS and Mac OS
X. It has since expanded to be able to run on Linux
and Windows.
“titer” dropped off of the radar in 2006, while work
continued by Rodney Hester and Chris Long to
reverse engineer the new 640x480 H.264 iPod
firmware 1.2 format from Apple. They were working
independently, but found that their work
complimented one another, so they banded together
to put out an unofficial version of HandBrake.
Unable to fully access the changes made in the
HandBrake subversion repository (due to lack of
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
prior authorization from “titer”), HandBrake was
forked to a parallel project, called MediaFork.
box that opens to point to a video file stored on your
Finally, in February 2007, “titer” resurfaced and gave
his blessings to the continued work on HandBrake.
The MediaFork project was officially “reabsorbed” by
HandBrake, and all work continues under the
HandBrake project.
The second icon changes its appearance. When
video is in the process of being transcoded, the icon
appears as a “stop sign.” Clicking it halts the video
transcoding. To start the video transcoding, click on
the green icon with the arrow on it.
Labeling the *.avi and *.ogm formats as obsolete,
the HandBrake developers later dropped support for
outputting files in those formats. Today, HandBrake
supports (mostly) H.264 MP4 video file conversions,
with the lesser MPEG4 format created by ffmpeg.
Clicking on the green “Pause” icon will pause the
video transcoding. Clicking on the fourth icon (from
the left) will add more videos to the cue for
transcoding. The fifth icon will display the cue, when
Using HandBrake
We’ll take a look at the sixth icon, the Picture
Settings & Preview button, depicting the color bars,
separately. The last icon will show messages
generated during the transcoding process.
The use of HandBrake is quite simple and straight
HandBrake will automatically crop your video image,
by default, to remove any irregular edges or
letterbox bars. You can, of course, turn off this
behavior, if you like.
Immediately beneath the icon toolbar is the source
for the video transcoding. In our case above, it is a
file stored on my computer. If you are transcoding
from a DVD source, then you can select from among
the various titles on a disc. When transcoding from a
DVD source, HandBrake will automatically scan the
DVD (once selected as the source) and select the
longest program on the disc, since this is usually the
main title of the disc. You can, if you wish, select any
of the other titles on a disc, via the drop down list
Icon toolbar during transcoding
Icon toolbar prior to starting transcoding
Starting at the top left part of the HandBrake
window, you will find a simple icon toolbar. The
clapboard icon allows you to choose the source
video to convert from. Clicking it defaults to a pointer
to the DVD drive, but you can also use the dialog
the video you want (or need) for your portable
Clicking the “color bar” icon will open the preview
window (above) and the Picture Settings dialog (top
of next column). Here, you can set the final size of
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
Next, you can specify where the output file is stored
by selecting the destination directory, as well as the
destination filename. You can choose between MP4
and MKV file formats. The *.m4v file extension is to
assist certain models of iPods in recognizing the file
as a compliant MPEG4 file. You can change it later
(after the transcoding) to *.mp4, if you need.
The meat and bones of the settings for the video
transcoding in HandBrake take place in the lower
half of the HandBrake window. Above is the
“Summary” tab for the current transcoding.
Under the “Video” tab, you can set various
parameters for your transcoding session. Here, I’ve
selected H.264 as the video codec. You can also
select “MPEG4 (FFmpeg)” as the other output
codec, should your portable device not be 100%
H.264 compliant. I’ve actually found the alternate
“MPEG4 (FFmpeg)” setting to be less troublesome,
in my tests. Even though my portable device touts
itself as being H.264 compliant, I have been unable
to get consistent results. With some videos, the
video would not encode properly, giving me a
blotchy green screen in place of the actual video
For “Framerate,” it is probably best to leave this set
to “Same as source.” If you desire, you can
transcode the video to match the framerate used by
the broadcast standard for your region. This may be
advantageous if you are saving videos to a media
server that feeds videos to your television. For
portable devices, this shouldn’t make too much
On the right side of the “Video” tab, you have three
settings to choose from. You can select the
“Constant Quality” setting (the default), and the file
will be created without regards to file size, but
providing consistent results throughout the video.
You can also select a “Target Size” in MiB. This is
helpful if you want to keep the size of your video
transcoding small enough to fit on an optical disc,
such as a CD or DVD. The default value here is 700
MB, for a CD.
For use on my portable device, I’ve elected to
choose the bitrate for the video transcoding. Since
my portable device is a Blackberry Storm (which I no
longer use for phone service, but still use as a
portable video player – a long story for another time,
I’m afraid), the screen size allows me to reduce the
bitrate and still maintain a quite decent image. I took
a look on the Crackberry forums for some guidance
in what works well for video transcoding, and one
recommendation was for a 500 kbps bitrate. As an
added benefit, the lower bitrate results in a smaller
file size, which means I can put more videos on the
8 GB microSD card. I can attest that the image looks
quite good on my Blackberry Storm. I suspect that a
similar bitrate will work equally well for other portable
devices with similar smallish screens, such as an
iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android phone.
To get the best video possible, especially when
using the lower bitrates, I highly recommend using
the “Two pass encoding” option, coupled with the
“Turbo First Pass” option. On the first pass through
the video, HandBrake will “study and analyze” the
video. On the second pass, it will use the information
gathered from the first pass to optimize the final
video image that is saved. Trust me – the added
time involved is definitely worth the increased image
quality that results.
Under the “Audio” tab, you can set the parameters
for the transcoding of the audio portion of the video
file. My portable device prefers AAC as the audio
codec. You can select from between AAC, MP3,
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
Vorbis, AC3 (FFmpeg), AC3 (pass­thru), DTS (pass­
thru), or Choose for me. Not all codecs will be
available at all times, and some may appear “grayed
out” at times. To further save file space in the final
transcoded video file, I’ve opted to reduce the audio
bitrate to 64 kbps. It still sounds decent enough, in
my opinion.
For “Sample Rate,” the default value is to keep it the
same as the source. In my instance above, that is
definitely the correct choice. However, if you are
transcoding from a DVD, this may not work out so
well, if your portable device does not “like” the
sample rate at 48,000 Hz, which is the default
sample rate for audio tracks on DVDs. You can set it
manually to 44,100 Hz, or as low as 22,050 Hz. This
may help make the file size of the transcoded video
smaller, but in my estimation, the savings are
minimal and not worth the trouble. Unless you are
transcoding a video file to burn another DVD, you
would be wise to keep the sample rate set to 44,100
The “Mix” setting allows you to set whether you want
your audio as stereo, mono, Dolby Surround, Dolby
Pro Logic II, or 6­Channel discreet. For most
portable devices, stereo works just fine. For
transcoded files stored on a media server, you may
prefer one of the more “advanced” mix choices.
Finally, DRC stands for “Dynamic Range
Compression.” This only works with AC3 audio, and
makes the softest sounds a bit louder. This may help
when listening to the audio of the transcoded file in
noisy environments.
Under the “Subtitles” tab, you can specify any
subtitles you might want to include in your
transcoded video. If you are trancoding from a DVD,
you can specify the language that you want to use
for your subtitles (from those on the disc). You can
also specify an external SRT file containing the
subtitles for your trancoded video. The HandBrake
wiki has a whole section on subtitles.
If you are transcoding your video as H.264 MPEG4
video, there are a host of additional settings you can
make to fine tune the transcoding. Rather than turn
this article into an explanation of what all of these
settings do, you can mouse over each of the settings
for a brief explanation, which will appear in a popup
window. You can also visit the HandBrake wiki page
for a discussion of advanced x264 options.
The “Chapters” tab is particularly useful if you are
transcoding video from an DVD, which has chapter
information. In the example above, since I have
chosen to transcode from another video file that
does not contain chapter information, my options are
“grayed out” and unavailable. But when you
transcode from DVD, you can preserve the chapter
information that is on the DVD disc. In fact, this is
one of the advantages of using MPEG4 video. It can
preserve and maintain chapter information
throughout the file. It is also one of the reasons that
output support for *.avi and *.ogm files were
dropped, since both of those file formats do not
support the inclusion of chapters. However, not all
portable devices that support MPEG4 video
playback support or recognize chapters in the
MPEG4 video file.
At the far right side of the HandBrake window are
presets for the transcoding of your video files. If it
looks rather Apple Mac OS X specific, you are not
mistaken. Given that HandBrake was originally
written for the Mac OS X, coupled with the market
dominance of Apple products in the field of portable
media devices, it is no wonder.
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
Chances are high
you will find that
one of the listed
presets will work
just fine for your
portable device,
right out of the box.
Even minimally, you
are likely to find that
one of the presets
works particularly
well with your
portable device,
with only a small
amount of tweaking
of the settings.
I found that the
iPhone & iPod
Touch preset works
very well at
producing video
files that play back
on my Blackberry
Storm. While it
works well “out of
the box,” I have
tweaked it to
achieve a smaller
file size. Once you
have your preset tweaked how you like it, simply
click on the “disk” icon at the bottom part of this
panel to save your custom preset for future use.
It is also possible to find other custom presets for
HandBrake on the internet. For example, the custom
“DivX Plus HD” preset was found on the DivX site.
with a dual core Intel processor, I can transcode a
two hour video from DVD in less than an hour.
Also, don’t forget that working with video files
requires that you have plenty of free hard drive
space. Video files tend to be quite large, and their
size seems to grow exponentially when you select
the higher quality settings for your transcoding.
Also, if you want to find custom presets for your
portable device (or information on creating your own
custom preset), you can perform a web search for
“handbrake presets for htc incredible,” replacing “htc
incredible” with the name of your portable device.
Once you have all of your settings as you like or
want them, it’s time to start your video transcoding.
Simply click on the green icon with the arrow on the
icon toolbar, and go make yourself dinner. The
progress bar at the bottom of the HandBrake
window will keep you updated on the progress of the
Menu Highlights
First of all, under the “File” menu, you will want to set
the location of where you want HandBrake to save
your transcoded video. Without doing anything at all,
your video files will be stored in your /home
directory. It would be much handier – and tidier – to
store them in a subdirectory.
The second thing under the “File” menu that you
may want to tweak are the “Preferences.”
The video transcoding process is likely to take some
time to complete. Remember that working with video
files takes a fair amount of time, so I would
recommend that you go do something else until the
process is complete. How long the process takes is
quite dependent on your processor speed and the
number of cores your processor possesses. On my
single core AMD Athlon XP 3000+, a video just over
1 hour in length takes over an hour and a half to
finish transcoding. Meanwhile, on one of my laptops
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
Under the “General” tab, there are two settings
which you are likely to want to tweak. The first, “Use
automatic naming (uses DVD name),” will use the
name of the DVD as the filename for your
transcoded video file. The default value is checked.
The second thing you may want to tweak is the “Use
iPod/iTunes friendly (.mv4) file extension for MP4”
setting. Since I’m not using an iPod or iTunes, I
prefer to have my *.mp4 files saved as *.mp4 files.
Since the default is to have this option turned on, I
have unchecked this option.
HandBrake is a very powerful tool that should fit very
well into any digital video enthusiast’s chest of tools.
It makes the transcoding of video for playback on
portable devices quite simple, with a minimal
learning curve. The quality of the video produced is
quite good, as well. With more and more portable
devices – such as tablets – hitting the market,
PCLinuxOS users are going to find themselves
turning to HandBrake more and more, so they can
get digital copies of their content stored on those
portable devices.
“Activity Log Verbosity Level” setting. A setting of “1”
is default, and is medium verbosity. If you want a
less verbose output in the activity log, choose “0” as
the verbosity level. Similarly, if you want more
information, select “2” as the verbosity level. You
may also want to keep the encoding logs in the
same directory as the encoded video, to make their
access more convenient. Unless you check this box,
all of your encoding logs will be stored in the
/home/[user]/.config/gbh directory.
Under the “Audio/Subtitles” tab, you can set the
preferred language to use for audio and subtitles.
You can also choose to include Closed Captions,
whenever they are available.
Under the “Advanced” tab, you can choose some
options that govern the behavior of HandBrake. The
only one here that may not be obvious is the
Checking the “Automatically Scan DVD when
loaded” option will save yourself a little time,
especially if you are transcoding from several DVDs
during a transcoding session.
Personally, I find the lack of support for *.avi and
*.ogm files as choices for output file format a bit
limiting, especially the lack of support for *.avi files. I
personally wouldn’t miss support for the *.ogm files,
since there isn’t widespread acceptance or usage of
that particular file format. Despite the declaration by
the HandBrake developers that those formats are
obsolete, I would prefer, as a user, to have the
choice to use them. The AVI format does, after all,
have widespread and near universal acceptance,
and can be played back on the greatest number of
platforms and devices.
I feel it should be my choice whether or not to use
an “obsolete” format, and not left to the lofty agenda
of a handful of developers who think they know
better than me what I need. The HandBrake
developers have made it abundantly clear in the
HandBrake FAQ that support for AVI and OGM as
output formats are gone from HandBrake for good
and forever.
Video: Part 5 ­ HandBrake
In the end, I could further transcode the MP4 file
produced by HandBrake into an AVI file, using
Avidemux. However, that added step will mean an
extra step in the process, could adversely affect
video quality, and will require additional time to
Screenshot Showcase
Yet, even with this limitation, HandBrake comes
highly recommended. It does what it does,
exceptionally well. For more information, visit the
HandBrake web site, where a full wiki, user manual
and forum can be accessed.
Does your computer run slow?
Are you tired of all the "Blue Screens
of Death" computer crashes?
Are viruses,
adware, malware &
spyware slowing
you down?
Get your PC back
to good health
Download your copy today! FREE!
Posted by weirdwolf, April 21, 2011, running LXDE.
Alternate OS:
OS: Icaros,
Icaros, Part
Part 3
by Darrel Johnston (djohnston)
As stated in the previous article, the logical volumes
SYS: and DEVS: are assigned during bootup.
Standard assigns that are generally present in an
AmigaOS system include:
SYS:, which points to the boot drive's root directory.
C:, which points to a directory containing shell
commands. At boot time, this is SYS:C, if it exists,
otherwise SYS:. The command path defaults to C:
and the current working directory, so putting
executables in C: allows them to be executed simply
by typing their name.
DEVS:, which points to a directory containing the
system's devices. At boot time, this is SYS:Devs if
that directory exists, otherwise SYS:.
L:, which points to a directory containing AmigaDOS
handlers and filesystems. At boot time, this is SYS:L
if it exists, otherwise L: is not automatically created.
LIBS:, which points to a directory containing the
system's libraries. At boot time, this is SYS:Libs if
that directory exists, otherwise SYS:.
S:, which points to a directory with scripts, including
the startup­sequence which is executed
automatically at boot time, if it exists. At boot time,
this is SYS:S if it exists, otherwise S: is not
automatically created.
PROGDIR:, a special assign that always points to
the directory containing the currently running
executable. So, if you run "SYS:Tools/Multiview" and
"SYS:System/Format", PROGDIR: points at
SYS:Tools for Multiview while simultaneously
pointing at SYS:System for the Format command.
This feature was introduced in Workbench 2.0.
An application launcher is not part of the "stock"
Workbench 3.x or AROS desktops. An application
named AmiStart first appeared in January of 1998. It
replicated the basic functions of the Windows Start
menu and taskbar. Icaros includes a modified
AmiStart taskbar for ease of launching programs,
showing the date and time via a clock, and for
docking minimized program windows. Without such
a utility, the method for launching programs is by
double­clicking a disk drive icon on the desktop,
then browsing to the appropriate drawer to open the
executable program file. (In Amiga terminology, a
disk directory, or "folder", is referred to as a
"drawer".) Not all of the drawers and files are
normally visible. However, we can show all files and
drawers by utilizing one of the functions of the
Wanderer toolbar which appears at the top of the
desktop. Right­click
the Wanderer
toolbar and select
Windows > View >
All files. ­­­­­­>
The resulting view
is shown at top
I did change the system theme, which results in a
different window style. I also resized the second
window to give a better view. To resize a window,
left­click the mouse on the lower right­hand corner of
a window. Hold the mouse button down and drag the
window borders to the desired size, then release the
mouse button. The "fancy­looking" drawers each
have a different looking icon due to a corresponding
"info" file which describes the icon. For example, the
Devs drawer has a corresponding icon description
file named Devs.info. Any drawer which does not
have a corresponding info file is hidden in normal
view, and is "plain­looking" when unhidden.
A bit of eye candy is implemented in Icaros in the
form of "animated" icons, which were first
implemented in Amiga's Workbench by a third party.
The icons aren't fully animated, in that they aren't in
constant motion, like some of the icons available for
the e17 window manager. They are animated in the
sense that they have one image when selected and
a different image when not selected. Shown below
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
are all the normally visible system drawer icons
I want to give it a bit more eye candy. I selected
Taskbar Settings and saw the following window.
After closing the Taskbar Settings window, the
taskbar now has an opaque background, and the
icons appear to float on the desktop.
Let's now take a look at some of the applications
included on the Icaros CD by first looking at the
programs located on the taskbar. The first icon on
the left is the start menu button. Next, we have the
Application drawer, which is a simplified file browser.
It should also be noted that navigating successive
directory levels on an Amiga desktop will open a
new window for each double­click. Icaros opens
each new directory in the
same window. Navigating
backwards is done by
clicking the round blue
arrow icon in the upper
right corner of the window.
Now that we have some
basic navigation tips, let's
take a short look at the
configuration of the
AmiStart taskbar. By right­
clicking on the taskbar, we
can see there are a few
configuration options.
I clicked the Main Pattern selection bar and selected
the following pattern.
The globe icon starts the web browser application,
Origyn. Origyn does not have a flash plugin. I should
note here that I could not get networking started with
the standard VirtualBox settings. At the time, the
Icaros forum was offline for maintenance. I got on
IRC and logged onto the #aros channel of Freenode.
Within five minutes, one of the administrators
advised me to change the VirtualBox network
settings from NAT to Bridged adapter. As soon as I
did, I was able to connect to the internet. Shown
below is the web browser on the Aminet site.
In January, 1992 Swiss student Urban Müller took
over a software archive that had been started by
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
other members of a computer science students'
club. Soon the archive became mirrored worldwide
and in 1995 started being distributed on monthly
CD­ROMs. Reports of daily additions to this software
archive were posted automatically to Usenet
(de.comp.sys.amiga.archive), or could be requested
as an email newsletter. Most of the programs on
Aminet were public domain or shareware, but
software companies made updates and demo
versions of their programs available as well.
There are still a lot of packages available. The
software was originally available only for AmigaOS
systems. The packages listed there now are
available for Amiga Motorola 680x0 systems, Amiga
PowerPC, PowerPC MorphOS, i386 AROS, i386
Amithlon, PowerPC WarpUp and PowerPC
PowerUp systems. The icons shown next to each
package will indicate which system the package is
intended for. In some cases, the package will run on
more than one system.
Aminet was the first attempt by an internet
community to create a centralized public archive
maintained by the users themselves, and to keep
the community united and free to download new
open source software, new program demo releases,
patches and localization of Amiga programs
(AmigaOS and its modern programs are free to be
localized by any single user into any country
language). Its creation predates of various years any
Linux archive or PC archive or archives for other
The fourth icon on the taskbar is for SimpleMail, an
application similar in function to Thunderbird.
The seventh icon is for ZuneARC, an archive
extractor and creator.
The next icon is for SCOUT, a system inspector.
The fifth icon is for the edit application. It is very
elementary and is a replacement for ed, the
standard Amiga system editor. The sixth icon is for
Mplayer, which does not have all the same functions
as the Linux version (top right).
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
The last icon on the AmiStart taskbar is for Directory
Opus. It is a very powerful and versatile file manager
which began life as an Amiga utility and is now sold
by GPSoftware as a direct replacement for the
Windows file explorer.
Here are a few of the demos running.
Icaros comes with a full range of documentation
installed. Also shown is a page from the Icaros
Desktop manual.
In the System apps section, we have Scout, a
screenshot tool, a window manipulator tool, a PCI
inspector, AAEDT (a networking tool), and the
LiveUpdater, for updating the installed system.
Changing the
system theme
also resulted in
a different start
The next menu section is AmigaApps. Using the
Janus UAE application, you can run the same
applications that run on a real Amiga. AmiBridge is a
set of scripts to both setup and run the Janus UAE,
a port of e­UAE for AROS. (UAE is called both
Universal and Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator). Please
note that in order to run any version of UAE, you
need access to an original Amiga in order to transfer
the Workbench ROMs to disk. Alternatively, you can
buy the Amiga Forever CD or enhanced DVD, which
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
contain all files needed to run UAE. If you use the
ROMs from Amiga Forever, you get all versions of
Workbench up to 3.1. e­UAE is also a package in
the PCLinuxOS repositories.
We also have a simple text editor which includes
copy, cut paste, undo and redo functions, a screen
zoom tool, OpenUniverse and AmiMemos, for
displaying memos on our desktop. OpenUniverse is
a program simulating the Solar System's bodies in
3D on your desktop. According to the website, the
program is available for Windows, Linux and most
"NIXes". It has been ported to AROS, as well.
In the Networking section of the menu, Web Apps
contains some URL shortcuts which will open in the
Origyn web browser. There is an IRC client, a
Jabber client, an MSN client, chat program, a GUI
for wget. remote desktop and virtual networking
clients, as well as an FTP client.
In the Misc Utilities section, we have a set of system
benchmark tools, a resident code indicator and
WeatherForecast, which is similar to desktop
weather programs for Linux.
There are a few file
managers. Besides
DirectoryOpus and
ZuneARC, there are
two file finders,
HFinder having the
most options, and
FryingPan, a CD
burning program.
The Multimedia section has a screen
recorder which will output to a motion
jpeg file, a music CD ripper tool, a
microphone recorder program, a
program for use with a Roland TB­303,
and four different digital studio
programs (top next page).
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
How about a game?
Shown below is the ProTrekkr program.
Shown below is the Lunapaint program.
Doom, anyone?
In the Graphics section, we have some picture
viewers, some paint programs and a fractal
mountain generator.
Alternate OS: Icaros, Part 3
There is no port of LibreOffice to
AROS yet. There are still a few
office tools.
The Development section is well
There are
even a few
There are
three more Commodore
emulators not shown.
Icaros has a web browser, (albeit
without a flash plugin), mail
client, plenty of games and
emulators, multimedia programs
and text editors. What is sorely
missing is an office suite which,
in my opinion, would round out
the desktop for everyday use. It's
certainly not short on eye candy,
although it does not do 3D
desktop effects, such as Compiz
or ecomorph. Although there is
no memory protection, I've suffered no crashes
when running many programs at once. This may be
due to AROS programmers following a set of strict
guidelines on program memory management. I
cannot say the same about an Amiga. I've
experienced my share of guru meditations, the
equivalent of the Microsoft's blue screen of death.
Without a doubt, Icaros is very fast on any modern
hardware. From the Icaros Desktop manual:
AROS doesn't need great horsepower, and can't
take advantage from a multicore architecture. It can
run in a 64­bit environment, but there is no need for
a quad­core processor to speed things up.
Frequency and front­side bus speeds are the only
two variables to consider. Although AROS can run
on low­power and lowend processors, like old 500­
1000 MHz ones, you probably would like to choose
a faster one. New AROS users often think that, since
their old Amiga 500 or 1200 could run the
workbench and many apps with a 7 MHz processor,
AROS should do this as well on older, 200 MHz
PCs. That's only partially true. Nowadays
applications need more horsepower and can't
definitely run in a obsolete machine. If your old 400
MHz K6­II computer didn't play DivX movies full
screen and full framerate under Windows, it will
absolutely not do that in AROS. There are also many
aspects of AROS that are more advanced than bare
AmigaOS 3.1: the decoration system, for instance,
needs a good processor to run smoothly. Browsing
the web with OWB requires power, so: the more, the
better. To enjoy a good AROS experience, please
choose a 1.600 MHz processor or a better one: low­
end Athlons and Celerons are perfect and absolutely
affordable. Working models are (top right):
Intel: Pentium, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium4,
PentiumD, Core, Core2 DuoCore2 Quad, Core i7­i5­
i3, Atom and derivates
AMD: K6, K6­II, K6­III, Athlon, AthlonXP, Athlon64,
Athlon64 X2, Phenom, Phenom II Duron, Celeron
and derivates
The AmiBridge installation and setup will be the
subject of Part 4 of the Icaros series.
Want To
To Help?
Would you like to help with the PCLinuxOS
Magazine? Opportunities abound. So get
You can write articles, help edit articles, serve
as a "technical advisor" to insure articles are
correct, create artwork, or help with the
magazine's layout.
Join us on our Google Group mailing list.
Screenshot Showcase
Reach Us On The Web
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Posted by Archie, April 2, 2011, running KDE 4.
PCLinuxOS Magazine Forum:
Main PCLinuxOS Forum:
MyPCLinuxOS Forum:
Ladies of
of PCLinuxOS:
PCLinuxOS: silverbirch
by meemaw
Can you start off by introducing yourself, and
telling us a little bit about yourself? (Real name,
where you live, marital status,
children/grandchildren, hobbies/interests, etc).
Gidday PCLinuxers ­ I'm Rosemary McGillicuddy,
however most of my friends call me Rose, and that's
what I prefer, although the majority of my family still
call me Rosemary. I moved to Hastings in the
Hawkes Bay, commonly known as "The Bay" (New
Zealand) a little over five years ago and really enjoy
it up here ­ great climate for the most part, and huge
sky. Probably my only regret about moving
is that I have a lovely son Kieran who lives
in the Wairarapa, about two and a half
hours from me, so I don't see him as often
as I would like. I divorced in 1995, enjoy
my independence, and have a lovely
Border Collie called Chip, and moggy
called Patra to share my house and
I guess I'll have to say I'm interested in
computing, and especially Linux! I also
enjoy walking/tramping, paper craft work,
very amateur photography, listening to
music ­ wish I'd learned to play something,
but can manage three chords on the
ukelele ­ gardening, genealogy, food, wine,
and anything else that might take my fancy
at a given time. At times I've done brief
courses on things like computing, herbs,
homeopathy, massage, Healing Touch,
water colour painting etc. I have attended
a few LUG meetings too, but don't go
regularly. I'm an avid Googler, and when I
got a new cat a few years ago friends suggested her
name might be "Google".
sometimes. This was Windows of course, and Word
I guess. My dates could be a little bit out.
How did you get started in computers?
At the end of 1997, my position at work was made
redundant, and top of the list for my redundancy
money, after paying off some mortgage, was to buy
a computer. I was doing a nursing degree by then,
after training in the hospital setting many years
earlier, and had a little more experience with
computers at tech, and realized how wonderful they
were! I used a basic Word Processor for the first two
years of my degree, and was absolutely "blown
away" by the superiority of the computer! It was
"state of the art" for the time, with a 2 GB hard drive,
32 Mb memory, and, sorry can't remember
the processor. It ran Windows 95. From
the beginning I was addicted ­ both to the
computer and also the Internet!
The very first time I think I used a computer was
about twenty seven years ago, but all I did was play
some games briefly. Later, in about 1995 or so I was
sent on a basic computing course as there was talk
we would be moving into using computers more at
work (I'm a nurse). I was a bit frustrated by the
course, as didn't have a machine at home to be
practicing on, but was lucky enough that the
receptionist would let me have a little "play" at work
The salesperson included various books to
use with Word and so on, but I'm not that
good at disciplining myself for self
learning, and tended to try things until I
managed to do what I wished to. From
time to time, I would follow a tutorial from
beginning to end, and I learned a huge
amount from mailing lists, and IRC
What drew you to Linux?
I read an article in a local magazine called
Netguide, and was interested, especially
as the magazine had a demo CD of Linux
included. I think it was probably Mandriva,
but no idea really now. I'd already had
Windows 95 fail and lost everything, not
being in the "back up" mindset at that time.
Ladies of PCLinuxOS: silverbirch
Linux was different, it offered new learning, it offered
some freedom, as I had already begun to realize
that every upgrade in Windows required greater
resources, and I simply didn't have the money. I also
liked the idea of learning a bit more about the
computer and how it worked, and being more in
What was the first Linux distro that you used?
The first distro I actually used was Mandrake,
Mandriva 10, and I was amazed at the support the
Mandriva mailing list gave me. They were incredibly
patient and tolerant, as I was very green, and
struggled a lot, and frequently required step by step
I also bought "Linux for Dummies" and it came with
the Red Hat Distro, but I had various issues with it
on that hardware, and never really had it running.
Unfortunately I can't remember what and threw away
my notes when I moved.
For a while I used Windows 98 for my main
computing, but must have been dual booting, as I
was also "playing with" Mandriva. During this time, I
acquired an old IBM compuer with 500Mhz CPU,
256 memory and 20 G hard drive and used a KVM
switch to toggle between machines. I began to
experiment in earnest with Linux, and spent many
hours in various IRC channels. What did I try, can I
remember them all even? Not in any particular order
­ Mepis, Debian, DSL, Puppy, Knoppix, Mint,
Ubuntu, Slackware, Suse, Vectorlinux and many
more. In the process I began to learn a little of the
command line, and understand something of Linux
and computers.
In 2004 I bought a new computer, and initially
thought I would forget about Linux. But it doesn't let
you go does it, and soon I was playing again, and
ended up dual booting PCLinuxOS with Windows
When did you first start using PCLinuxOS? What
attracted you?
As above I was trying lots of different flavours, I kind
of had this challenge for myself to get older
machines runnning. I was given another old machine
as well, a 300Mhz CPU. Also Mandriva were having
some issues, and lots of the people I knew from the
mailing list were off trying other distros, and
generally leaving Mandriva. I really liked Vectorlinux
for it's speed, but it was incredibly difficult to
configure for dial up, and in other ways too (for a
newbie). I first heard about PCLinuxOS in IRC
#Mandriva (I think someone there there knew
Texstar). I went to the website and liked the look of
it. It was beta at the time P97, but I installed it
anyway. PCLinuxOS has been my main computing
ever since. I also introduced it to another IRC friend
and he uses it as his main distro too. I still dual boot
on one machine, as keep Windows for a few things
that I need, but my laptop is standalone PCLOS ­ up
to date as of last night, and my day to day computer.
From the beginning, even in beta state, PCLinuxOS
was stable, more stable than some so­called stable
releases I had tried. More importantly the community
was, and remains, incredibly open to newbies, and
very supportive. I'm a KDE user, but still like to
experiment occasionally. Now however, my
experimentation tends to be with different DEs,
rather than different distros. Also PCLinuxOS is so
easy to install and use, and does everything I need.
As they say, "radically simple" and "it just works".
With Linux having a reputation of being a realm
predominately populated by males, do you feel
that your being a woman has an impact on your
treatment by the rest of the community? If so, in
what way?
When using IRC I tried to make sure that I had a
non­gender biased nickname, as I noticed that often
the comments and help I received were kinder if
they knew I was a female. Incidentally ­ I noticed
that there seemed to be a culture in some channels
of superiority towards people asking asking so called
stupid questions which seemed to be more marked
in certain distros. I know that on #LFD some years
ago, certain mods who did know I was female were
more tolerant of my needing detailed instructions,
although I also received my share of RTFM in
various channels who seemed to have an elitist
In real 3D life ­ I did join the local LUG and attended
a few meetings. However I felt out of place as the
only female, but also because my knowledge was so
Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the
reactions you receive from your computer peers
or family? If so, how?
None of my friends muck about on the computer as
much as I do. They tend to think I'm way cleverer
with computing than what I actually am, as Linux still
is mostly unknown among the general population in
NZ. One or two call me names, like geek or nerd.
They don't believe me when I say PCLinuxOS will do
everything they need, and is easier to use, and more
Ladies of PCLinuxOS: silverbirch
secure and stable than Windows! Most of my friends
have never even heard of Linux, until I mention it.
How do you feel you contribute to the
PCLinuxOS community?
Screenshot Showcase
Unfortunately I think I don't contribute to the
PCLinuxOS community. I do peruse the forums from
time to time, and offer responses to posts if I can,
but despite my long association with PCLinuxOS, I
don't feel I have the knowledge to be able to offer
help. The down side to PCLinuxOS ­ if you could call
it a down side, is that because everything works,
and it has GUI interface, that I've lost what little
command line knowledge I knew! This reminds me
that I need to pop a cheque into the mail, as I've
been intending to do!
Your Community Projects Forum
Looking for an old article?
Can't find what you want? Try the
PCLinuxOS Magazine's
searchable index!
Posted by tatsujin, April 19, 2011, running KDE 4.
Basic Backup
Backup Plans
Plans for
for PCLinuxOS
by horusfalcon
Most PCLinuxOS Forum members have seen the
flat statement “you might want to back up your
system before doing {whatever}” innumerable times,
just like that. Just as if backing up a system were as
easy as flipping a switch.
Modern systems range into the hundreds of
Gigabytes in storage, and even, in some cases, into
the Terabytes. Backing up that much data is not
exactly a trivial task. It is, however, a manageable
task, and one that should be managed
systematically for best effect.
Backup strategies can range from those
implemented by enterprise IT departments, all the
way to simpler strategies for those of us using
PCLinuxOS on their desktop or laptop machines.
Instead of considering the truly broad range of
possibilities here, we are, instead, going to focus on
devising a backup plan for a “typical desktop”
system that might be representative of most
PCLinuxOS users’ systems.
This mythical system will have a fast dual­core 64­bit
processor, two Gigabytes of RAM, a multi­format
DVD/RW burner, and a 500 Gigabyte hard drive.
Plan From The Beginning
So, how would we begin to back up such a system?
It would be best to begin before the system software
is installed, by setting up the system’s partitioning
scheme such that individual partitions
compartmentalize system data away from user data.
It would also pay well to become familiar with the
Linux Filesystem Hierarchy standard so that a
familiarity with where system data is stored is
attained. Knowing where the various data files are in
a Linux system makes it easier to be selective when
doing backups.
System Data: Baseline Configuration Backup
Once the system is installed and all the applications
and user accounts are fully configured to suit their
users, make a live CD or DVD backup or an image
of the baseline configuration using either mylivecd
(for a live backup) or Clonezilla Live (for an image).
How one decides which of these two methods to use
is really a matter of individual choice, but the whole
point of doing this exercise is to provide the user
with a full backup of the basic system as it existed
immediately after post­install configurations. It
represents a starting point in the backup plan.
Each of these two methods has its advantages and
disadvantages: mylivecd is built­in to PCLinuxOS as
“standard equipment”. It is a command­line tool and
has something of a learning curve, but it works
reliably enough and produces a live backup that can
not only restore a system but also serve to operate it
temporarily for other purposes (such as data
recovery if files need to be saved and backed up
before recovery from a failure is started.)
Clonezilla Live, on the other hand, is an entirely
separate product, a Linux distribution in its own right,
and produces an image (which is to say a monolithic
set of files) from which a system can be re­installed.
It does not produce a live disk, and this image is not
capable of being selectively restored ­ it is an all­or­
nothing proposition, destroying any existing data on
the disk or partition to which it is restored. With all
this, it would seem to have little advantage over
mylivecd, but this is not so. Where Clonezilla shines
is speed and compact size.
(As an example, I used Clonezilla Live to backup a
critical Windows Server 2008 machine at work, a
Dell R410 rack server with 1 TB of total storage set
up as a 500 Gigabyte mirrored RAID. I placed the
image on an external USB 2.0 Seagate Free Agent
hard drive. The total uncompressed data load was
some 35 Gigabytes in size, and the compressed
image set was on the Seagate in 116 seconds,
compressed to 17.4 Gigabytes. The server was
offline for less that twenty minutes total. I have since
restored this image to our new identical spare server
and tested it successfully.)
The other advantage that Clonezilla images have is
that they can be multicast using Clonezilla Server
Edition to configure several machines
Basic Backup Plans for PCLinuxOS
simultaneously over a network. I’ve never personally
done this, and recommend that anyone interested
check the Clonezilla SE website for more
One last thing and we’ll move on: Clonezilla Live has
a beginner mode. It still behooves the user to read
carefully the instructions on each screen before
making decisions, and to become familiar with how
storage devices are named when gaining
familiarization with Clonezilla’s proper use. (I may do
a follow­up to this article showing how to make and
restore Clonezilla images and how to use mylivecd
at a later date.)
Application Data Backups
Applications are the programs we use with
PCLinuxOS. By and large, these are provided via
the Software Repositories by Synaptic package
manager, or from the installation media.
If we’ve just made a baseline configuration backup,
it includes applications too, right? So why am I
talking about application data backups now? It’s
simple, really: PCLinuxOS is a rolling release and,
more especially since KDE 4 has shipped, the
Packaging Team is always aggressively releasing
updates. With each set of updates, applications are
changing on our system, so it becomes necessary to
implement a backup plan that covers this change.
Because of how applications are handled in
PCLinuxOS, it is well to place system and
application data on separate partitions, or, failing
that, to place system and applications data on a
single partition separate from user data (PCLinuxOS
does this by default). In our typical system, 12
Gigabytes have been set aside for system and
applications, four Gigabytes are reserved for a swap
partition, and the rest is set aside for /home, which
stores all the user data, so it makes sense to back
up systems and applications at the same time.
It would be convenient enough to use Clonezilla Live
to backup just the system and applications data
partition at regular intervals to an image, but let’s not
be the guy who just has a hammer in his toolkit.
There are other tools that can be used, and some of
them offer very sophisticated capabilities (e.g.
scheduled, unattended backups, incremental and
differential backups, etc.) which are worth looking at.
I pulled down and installed several other tools from
the repositories prior to writing this, and I have to
say, I’m sticking with what I know: luckyBackup. This
little gem is actually a slick GUI to control and use
rsync, a command line tool for use in making
compressed backup sets.
The manual for luckyBackup is decent enough, but
it’s easy to tell it was written by a programmer and
not a technical writer. This is not a fatal
shortcoming, though, and the author does cover the
program’s proper use and feature set well enough to
get a handle on how to use it safely. Run
luckyBackup as the super­user (root) for best results
when backing up or restoring system and
applications data.
(Again, luckyBackup could be the subject of another
article at a later date, but it is simple enough to use
that some light reading in the manual should get
anyone wanting to know how to use it where they
need to be relatively quickly.)
Regardless of which backup method you use, the
medium for the backup should be dedicated solely to
backup purposes. Resist the temptation to use the
same removable drive you use for music or other
Basic Backup Plans for PCLinuxOS
storage as a backup drive! There’s no worse feeling
that realizing that you just deleted your backups by
mistake! Make the backups, then shut down and
remove the drive from the system, and put it away in
a safe location when not in use. If the data on the
drive is sufficiently important, consider a lockable
storage to keep it safe.
How often should system and application data be
backed up? A good gauge for this would be “every
time it changes or is about to change significantly”.
Why that last bit about “is about to change”?
Because right before a major upgrade it’s a good
idea to preserve the present system state in case
something unexpected goes wrong.
Is it necessary to schedule unattended backups?
That really depends on how critical the system is,
how valuable its output is, and how inconvenient
scheduled backups might be. Regardless of
inconvenience or other factors, though, it’s a good
idea to establish regular backup habits for all data
covered by your plan. If, for example, we were to
schedule a backup to be taken at 03:00 in the
morning on Friday, we’d have the comfort of knowing
that our data sets would be less than a week old in
the event of a crash.
User Data: The Challenges of Growth
Data users place on a system can be thought of as
coming from two sources: downloads or copied files
such as music, video and other media files, and
original output (personal photos, video, music,
spreadsheets, documents, email, bookmarks, etc.)
produced by the users using applications.
PCLinuxOS (as most Linux distributions do) also
includes user­specific configuration data in a user’s
home directory.
In the beginning, user data might not be a lot, but as
system use continues in time, user data sets on a
system will almost certainly grow. The simplest
approach to backing up user data is to copy the
entire /home partition to an external hard drive large
enough to hold it, but as the data set grows, so will
the need for capacity in the backup storage device.
Compressed backups such as those produced by
Clonezilla Live or luckyBackup can help offset this,
but there needs to be an evaluation here of how to
most efficiently back up this growing data set. We
need to look at how often data in the user space is
changing, and consign relatively static data to
archival media for long­term storage.
In our “typical desktop” there’s over 440 Gigabytes
of capacity for storage of user data. Wow. That’s a
lot of data. How often is most of that changing? If
our user is a music and movie lover, maybe not very
The best path here is to copy multimedia and other
relatively static file sets to removable optical media
(DVD+­R/RW or CD­R/RW) using a tool such as
k3b, and to store those disks safely until we need
them. Exclude such static data from the regular
weekly backups made with luckyBackup because
they are already stored on a durable reliable
We won’t get into archive management here other
than to say that optical media have a shelf life and
should be checked at least every two or three years
for readability, and media over seven years old
should be copied to new disks for best results.
(Obviously, it helps if disks are labeled as to the
dates on which they are burned.)
User data that changes often should be backed up
per schedule, and this can be easily automated in
luckyBackup to occur after the system and
applications data backup or on another day of the
week. Data that changes especially rapidly (work in
progress) might be better off copied to a USB flash
drive or a separate USB hard drive from the other
backup sets so that it is readily available.
What we have done so far is discuss the bare bones
of setting up a three­pronged approach to backup on
a typical system: user and application data being
backed up weekly by a luckyBackup automated
task, and user data being handled by a separate
task in luckyBackup, all begun with either a
Clonezilla image or a live CD/DVD of the baseline
configuration backup taken at installation.
What we have not talked much about is web­based
backup services. This is an area in which I have little
personal knowledge. Let me issue an invitation to
any who have knowledge in this area to add to our
What I hope we can talk about next time is the
specifics of using the tools offered for consideration
Forum Foibles:
Foibles: Bacon
here's a topic in the forum that simply cannot be ignored
Although to tell the truth with it some of us are bored
So it's time to explore this subject ­ bacon is its name
And discover why so many users its wonders do proclaim
ow I cannot take the time to quote all those who do savor
But will try to expound on a few who enjoy all its flavor
It's so dear to our heart says one user with a tut
Excuse me but I think it's nearer and dearer to your gut
ew Friend brilz poses a question that surely is the key
What is bacon he asks oh so seriously
Tedlane Full Member replies with expertise
Bacon is that which makes better binaries
enotu bakes it in the oven what do you make of that
Texstar likes it too even feeds it to his cat
I boot my 'puter before my bacon Neal does confess
And somewhere in between perks his coffee with finesse
ncleV suggests bacon wallpaper for PCLinuxOS
Writhen and fredbird67 provide sites where it's already in progress
Dragynn and lucid_dream whose works are well known
Produce bacon desktops of their very own
Forum Foibles: Bacon
ontom jr provides bacon fonts for our use
Oh dear he's been corrupted 'tis child abuse
I Love Bacon joechimp writes with great emotion
Posts pictures of his love causing a big commotion
oundrel likes bacon but prefers sausage with sage
Oh blasphemy and treason oh what an outrage
Grnich so practical finds baconvodka for the crew
You can now have your bacon and drink it too
ongtom admits he's bewildered by the bacon craze
But he likes it too and continues with its praise
Let's give a toast to bacon rudge says to the pack
Salute...oink oink! replies old­polack
eirdwolf a scholar with Shakespeare
He doth trieth to compete
What's in a name that which we call bacon
By any other name would taste as sweet
o on and on it goes this nonsense bacon chatter
As they heap up the slices on their plates and a platter
They love the aroma and the grease that they splatter
And don't seem to mind that it's making them all fatter
Forum Foibles: Bacon
Yes sir that's our bacon no sir we're not fakin'
Yes sir that's our bacon now
Yes ma'am bacon's delightful
Sorry ma'am talking with our mouthful
Yes ma'am we love bacon and how
By the way did you hear us say
When we walk up to that butcher we will pay
For greasy bacon hope it's not taken
We'd feel mighty forsaken
For lovely bacon we're on the prow
Yes sir we love bacon the smell helps us awaken
To that fat we all kowtow
Yes ma'am we're all flab but we love that bacon slab
On its blubber we like to chow
By the way we eat it everyday
It has such a wonderful bouquet
For greasy bacon we are taken
Please don't be mistaken
We love bacon oh wow
Video: Part
Part 6
6 -- DeVeDe
by Paul Arnote (parnote)
After all of this talk about video files, there reaches a
point where you may wish to burn a copy to optical
disc, most likely to a DVD. To be sure that you can
watch it any time you want, wherever you want, you
will want to make sure that you can play that DVD
on a set­top DVD player.
When you first launch DeVeDe, you need to first
select which type of optical disc you wish to create.
DeVeDe gives you five choices.
Fortunately, one tool in the PCLinuxOS repository
makes this job very easy to complete. It is called
DeVeDe. Released January 14, 2006 by Sergio
Costas Rodríguez under the RasterSoft name,
DeVeDe is available for Linux and Microsoft
Windows. It has only a handful of dependencies,
namely mencoder, MPlayer, Mkisofs, DVDAuthor,
VCDImager, Python, PyGTK and PyGlade.
Basic usage
After selecting which type of optical disc you wish to
create, the main window of DeVeDe will appear, as
pictured above. I have chosen to burn my video files
to a single layer DVD5 disc.
At the top left of the DeVeDe window, adjust the
properties of “Title 1” by highlighting it, then selecting
the “Properties” button immediately below the list
box. The dialog box above will appear, and you can
give a more proper title to disc content. In fact, the
entry in the “Title name” text entry box is used by
DeVeDe when it creates your DVD Menu. We’ll talk
more about that a little bit later.
You can also select the “Action to perform when this
title ends.” The default value is to return to and show
the disc menu, but you can also choose from the
remaining five options. For example, if this were a
DVD that you were playing at a kiosk, you might
want to choose “Play this title again (loop)” so that
the DVD would just loop over and over again, until
you specifically stop playback. The options, I think,
are fairly self explanatory, so I won’t belabor you with
explaining them here.
After you’ve got the first title’s properties set as you
want, then you need to move over to the “Files” list
box at the top right of the DeVeDe window. Click on
the “Add” button and add the file or first file you want
to use to make your DVD.
Video: Part 6 ­ DeVeDe
Continue adding content to your DVD by alternating
the addition of a title, then the file. Each time you
add a title, you need to add a file to associate with
that title, basically creating a link to each file.
As you can see in the screen shot above, I’ve added
all six episodes of the first season of “The Walking
Dead” to a single DVD. Each entry in the “Titles” box
link to a file in the “Files” box.
In the middle part of the DeVeDe window is a
progress bar that displays how full your optical
media is. Note that this may not read correctly, until
you set the properties of each of the files on your
disc, and which is something we’ll discuss a little
later when covering how to tweak the settings for
your disc. If it says that your disc capacity is at 200%
or more, don’t panic. We’ll make adjustments to
that when we tweak the disc settings.
Immediately below that is the “Default format”
selector. Select the format (PAL or NTSC) that is
appropriate for your region of the world. To the left of
that is the “Menu” settings. Check the box (the
default is already checked) for DeVeDe to make a
basic menu for your optical disc. Clicking on the
“Menu options” button will allow you to customize
the menu that DeVeDe produces. We’ll discuss this
further a little bit later, also. Click the “Preview menu”
button to see a sample image of the menu that is
Click the marker next to “Advanced options” to
display additional settings. Choose the “Action” you
want DeVeDe to perform when creating your disc
content. The default value is to create an ISO or
BIN/CUE image, which can readily be burned to an
optical disc with your favorite CD/DVD burning
software. You can also have DeVeDe create the disc
structure of your optical disc on your hard drive, or
you can have DeVeDe only convert your video file to
compliant MPEG files.
on a computer with a multicore CPU will significantly
speed up the process.
Under the “Options” section of “Advanced options,”
you can select for DeVeDe to erase temporary files,
which will save some hard drive space. If you have a
multicore CPU, you can select the box that will allow
DeVeDe to make use of all the cores. Using DeVeDe
You will want to customize and tweak your disc to
not only make your viewing experience more
pleasurable, but also so that you can optimize the
disc so that you can fit all the content you wish on it.
We’ll start with the menu, which we access with the
“Menu options” button in the main DeVeDe window.
Tweaking your disc
At the top of the window that appears (previous
column), you can set the “Menu title” for your disc,
as well as the text color and the shadow color of the
menu title text.
Next, you can set the “Menu background.” Although
it states that you can use only PNG files, I’ve found
high resolution JPG images work just fine. Still, it
might be best to heed the advice, avoiding the lossy
compression of JPG images, opting instead for the
lossless compression of the PNG files, and thus
preserving quality.
You can then select any music that you might want
to play while your menu is being displayed. For
example, you may want to take or make a short
sample of the theme music from a television show
you’ve recorded and loop it over and over as the
background music for your menu. The default is
“silence.ogg,” which as you might surmise, is silent.
Next, you can select the “Menu position,” choosing if
your menu text is centered horizontally and
Video: Part 6 ­ DeVeDe
vertically, or left or right aligned, or top or bottom
“Menu font and colors” does exactly as you think it
does: it allows you to set the menu font and the color
of your menus. You can select the font and size to
use by simply clicking on the font name, displaying a
traditional font selection dialog box. Below that, you
can select the color of the text for unselected and
selected menu items, as well as the text shadow
color and the background color for the menu text.
You can also select the opacity of the background
color for the text, making it totally transparent, semi­
transparent or opaque, depending on your needs.
The “Disc startup options” allows you to decide if you
want the disc menu to be shown when the disc is
first inserted into a player, or if you want to
immediately start playing the first title on the disc.
Clicking on the “Preview menu” button at the bottom
displays a sample image of what your menu will look
like. I suggest using this option often. It will help
avoid any surprises. The more you check it, the
greater the chance you will catch any errors you
might inadvertently have (like misspellings).
The above screen shot (previous column) is the
sample of my DVD menu, created in DeVeDe. At the
top of the image is my menu title, followed by my
menu entries as defined by the “Title” list box in the
main DeVeDe window. As you can see, I set the
background of my menu items to be semi­
transparent, and the color of the unselected menu
items is yellow. When I place the finished disk into
my set­top DVD player and scroll through the menu
items, the text of the active one will change to red.
on the file name, then select the proper file. Below
that is all of the information for that file.
Be sure that the “Video format” is appropriate for the
format used for your region of the world. Next, select
the “Audio Track,” if more than one is present. You
can also adjust the volume of the audio track. This is
handy if the audio seems to be a bit softer than what
you think is appropriate.
Below that, we can select any subtitles we may want
to include. Typically, these are specially named text
files, with a *.srt file extension. The addition of
subtitles is optional.
Clicking on the “Preview” button will bring up a
dialog box that asks you how long of a preview you
wish to create. The default is 60 seconds. It’s a good
idea to periodically check a preview of your project,
just to be sure that everything is as you would like it.
Under “Advanced options” is where we’ll start
making the tweaks to make all of our files fit onto our
optical medium.
Next, we need to start tweaking our individual files.
Select one of the files in the “Files” list box in the
DeVeDe main window, and select the “Properties”
button. This is where we’ll start making the files fit
onto our optical medium.
At the top of the properties dialog box is the file you
are working with. If you need to change the file, click
Video: Part 6 ­ DeVeDe
Under the “General” tab of “Advanced options,” you
will notice the first field will be “Video bitrate
(Kbits/sec).” The default value for each file added is
5001 kbps. I’ve reduced the video bitrate for each of
the six files on my DVD to 1500 kbps, so that I can fit
them all onto one DVD. To be perfectly honest, I
arrived at the 1500 kbps video bitrate mostly by trial
and error. Depending on how many video files (and
the total running time of those files) you have on
your DVD, you may be able to record your DVD at a
higher or lower bitrate than I have done here. More
files (longer total running time) will mean a lower
video bitrate, while fewer files (shorter total running
time) will mean that you can use a higher video
bitrate, giving you better image quality. Remember
that higher video bitrates typically mean a higher
quality video image. For my purposes, a 1500 kbps
video bitrate provides an adequate image quality.
Under the “Video format” tab, you can select the final
size and aspect ratio. The size choices under “Final
size” change, depending on which video format (PAL
or NTSC) you choose. Of the sizes shown above,
720x480 and 704x480 are DVD resolution, 480x480
is for Super VCD resolution, 352x480 is for China
Video Disc, and 352x240 is Video CD resolution.
You can make a DVD with video sized for a VCD,
albeit at a noticeable quality loss. You can also make
a DVD with video sized for a SVCD, with less quality
loss. Using smaller video sizes will allow you to
place more content on a DVD, since a video with
smaller video image size will also be smaller in file
size. Choosing “Default” (which is the default setting)
will set the video image size to the largest size (for
DVDs), or the default size for the other video disc
formats listed for you to choose from when you first
started DeVeDe.
With the “Video options” tab, you can rotate the
video, or mirror the video. The default is for “No
rotation,” and for both of the “Mirror” options to be
unchecked. Outside of special effects, I can’t see a
lot of need to do either of these. You can also swap
the field order of interlaced images. Some people
feel that swapping the field order gives them a better
image, although I’ve not ever noticed any difference.
Under “Scaling mode,” you can “Add black bars” (the
default setting), or “Scale picture” to make it stretch
to the size of your video playback screen.
Under the “Quality” tab, you can make some settings
that will have a profound impact on the quality of
your finished DVD. Under “MacroBlock decision
algorithm and Trellis searched quantization,” select
the MBD mode that gives you the better quality, and
check the “Use Trellis Searched Quantization.” While
your conversion will take a bit longer, the payoff in
the extra quality is definitely worth it.
Under “Two pass encoding,” check both options.
With two pass encoding, the video file is analyzed
on the first pass, with information about the video
analysis stored, then on the second pass, the
information gathered on the first pass is used to
optimize the video quality. While this option will
literally double your conversion time, the payoff in
the extra quality is definitely worth it, again.
All of these quality settings gain even more
importance when you decrease the video bitrate
setting, as I have done with my DVD, decreasing the
video bitrate to 1500 kbps. When decreasing the
video bitrate, you will want to do as much as you
possibly can to retain as much of the quality as you
can. It’ll be a decision you won’t regret later on,
especially when everyone else is marvelling at the
quality of your video production.
Video: Part 6 ­ DeVeDe
The final setting is for deinterlacing. I chose the
FFMpeg deinterlacing filter, because it’s reasonably
fast and produces adequate results from the
interlaced video recorded from my cheap TV tuner
card. The default value here is to “Don’t deinterlace,”
and depending on your needs and expectations, it
may serve you just fine. I just happen to prefer a
deinterlaced, or progressive, video image. As for the
other deinterlacing options, I’ll leave the discovery of
their capabilities to try out on your own. Give them a
try with smaller video files and see which one gives
you the results you desire.
Under the “Audio” tab, you can set an audio delay.
This is especially helpful if you find that you are
having audio­video sync problems. Positive and
negative values are allowed. Use positive values
when you find the sound to be ahead of the video,
and negative values when the sound is behind
where it should be, in relation to the video. You can
also create a DVD with 5.1 channel surround sound,
or to merely copy AC3 sound, instead of
recompressing it.
The “Misc” tab (top, next column) has options that
will further change the way DeVeDe works with file.
Under the “Special” section, the first option, if your
video file is already in the MPEG2­PS format, the
video will not be recompressed (leading to a
reduction in quality).
You need to make these settings for each video file
you include on your DVD. In my case, since I had six
video files, I had to make the settings, separately, for
each of the video files on my DVD.
Once you have all of your settings tweaked for each
of the video files on your disc, it’s time to create the
ISO file of your disc.
The second option is useful for repackaging audio
and video files that are stored in VOB files already,
or for MPEG2 video that is stored in an AVI
container. The nice thing about this setting is that
there is no loss of quality from the original, since
there is no recompression of the audio or video
portions of the program stream.
The third option causes DeVeDe to use a GOP
(Group of Pictures) size of 12 frames, rather than
the traditional 15 frames for PAL, or 18 frames for
NTSC. Some set­top players balk when they
encounter a GOP greater than 12, so this setting
helps improve compatibility for playback of the disc.
Under “Extra parameters for Mencoder,” you can
specify extra parameters for mencoder that provide
for hard­coded subtitles, improved picture quality,
and many more options. It is beyond the scope of
this article to discuss all the hundreds of possibilities
this opens up. Instead, refer to the documentation
for mencoder.
Clicking on the “Forward” button will display the
dialog box like the one above. Specify a directory
where you want to store your disc data. Be sure to
choose a directory that doesn’t already exist.
DeVeDe will erase an existing directory, then
recreate it, causing you to lose all data that you may
have had stored there. Here, I’m using a directory
simply named “movie.”
Select the OK button and go out for dinner. Make
that a full four­course dinner, with drinks and a
movie afterwards. It may take two hours or more
(depending on your processor speed and the
number of CPU cores) to finish making the ISO file.
The dialog box shown below will keep you updated
with the progress of the conversion task. Just
Video: Part 6 ­ DeVeDe
Screenshot Showcase
please, do yourself a favor, and don’t just sit there
and watch it. It’ll be two hours or more of your life
wasted that you’ll never get back. At the very
minimum, you’ll be comfortably numb after sitting
and watching that progress bar for that long.
DeVeDe is a very powerful tool that should be in
your video production tool chest. Even if you are not
into recording programming from a TV tuner card,
there may be instances when you may want to make
a video compilation from files created with your
digital camera, or from old videos that you’ve
DeVeDe makes the process very simple and straight
forward for beginners, and allows plenty of options
for those who are experienced with video production
to accommodate any special needs they may have.
Posted by Dragynn, April 26, 2011, running Gnome.
Game Zone:
Zone: FunBrain.com
by Meemaw
We all have our favorite games, whether it's card
games, puzzle games or arcade games. At the same
time, our children are developing their favorites.
While we do want them to have fun, we also want
them to learn, maybe even practice their skills to get
better. Yes, even in math!!!
FunBrain.com is a collection of games for everyone,
but at the same time, it
has games designed to
help those in grades one
through eight practice
their basic skills.
Clicking on the Entertainment link takes you to
another site called Family Education. It has links for
arts & crafts, movie reviews and even more games.
On the FunBrain site, you can search by grade level
(just beneath the Sudoku link), or choose one of the
games listed.
Notice in the middle of this page you can see an
orange bar that says Flash Games >. Each icon is a
different game. I haven't played them all, but so far
I've really liked each one!
If you click on All Games, you get the page at bottom
When you enter this site,
you see 'FunBrain.com ­
The Internet's #1
Education Site for K­8
Kids and Teachers.'
The home page (right)
contains loads of links to
games you can play, or
blogs or even the teacher
section (bottom left of
page). A few of the links
are in a section called
Webbooks/Comics, (I
read the first few pages
of 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'
there), and another
section next to it that
says 'Movies'.
Game Zone: FunBrain.com
If you click on Math Arcade you will see the
Clicking on New Player ("New to Math Arcade? Click
Here!") in the top center of the screen (left).
Choose your gender and skill level (below
left) and your choice of game piece (below
right), and you'll be taken to the first game,
Bumble Number.
As you go through the 25 games, your
game piece will go around the board at
left. If you win a game, you get a
password. You can use the password to
get back into the series where you last
won, or where you last stopped playing,
rather than having to start over. The
games start with the Flash games in the
orange bar.
Here are the descriptions of a few of the games in
the Math Arcade I've played:
Bumble Number ­ Blooming flowers hold math
problems and the cloud in the sky blows out an
answer. You have to guide the bumblebee to get the
answer and take it to the flower which matches up
problem with answer. Three right answers win.
Pig Toss ­ This is not as easy as it sounds. Your pig
is on one side of the canyon. The farmer is on the
other side. You have to set your height and distance
to get him across the canyon, so the farmer can
catch him on the other side. Three or four catches
Math Basketball ­ You do math calculations to
pass, dribble & make baskets. Four right answers
Change Maker ­ You have a purchase amount and
amount paid, and you have to choose the
combination of bills and coins to give correct
At the top of the page is a button labeled
'Playground'. It has many games that you can play
just with your mouse or keyboard (next page).
At the end of many games you are invited to enter
Poptropica. This is a different site with another type
of game. You design a character for yourself and
Game Zone: FunBrain.com
International Community
PCLinuxOS Sites
It's easier than E=mc2
It's elemental
It's light years ahead
It's a wise choice
It's Radically Simple
It's ...
then go through different places in a story. I didn't
play it for very long, but you may really like it.
FunBrain is a really fun site! You'll have to explore it
for yourself. I'm sure you'll find many games and
activities I haven't tried yet. The best thing is that
FunBrain is a site where your children can have fun,
your children can learn while having fun, and is a
site where you and your children can have fun
together. While FunBrain is intended for children in
grades K through 8, everyone will find something
that appeals to the kid in all of us. Have fun!!!
The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine
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Greek OpenFest
OpenFest 2011
By Efstathios Iosifidis (diamond_gr)
Balanced Robot (S­board), Quadcopter, Dingo­bot
and Robo Avoider.
In April 9th­10th, there was a FOSS event in Athens,
Greece. The event called OpenFest
(http://openfest.teipir.gr/) and it was organized by
students of Technological Educational Instituion of
Special events were an openSUSE 11.4 launch
party and a Firefox 4 meet up.
The festival in general was successful, despite small
problems. Congratulations to the organizers.
Here are some pictures from the event.
Above: Fedora
The participants and the subjects of the talks were
pretty interesting. First of all, we had presentations
of the openSuse, Fedora, Arch Linux, EyeOS,
FreeBSD and Gentoo distributions.
There were also presentations of some programs
such as Drupal, Firefox 4, platforms such as OBS
and SUSE Studio, security of web servers and
clients, FOSS in education, customizing Linux for
academic purposes, and an introduction to Arduino.
Some students had the opportunity to present their
work. Four of them were the Self Balanced Robot
(S­board), Quadcopter, Dingo­bot and Robo Avoider.
Other than that, there were booths from the
openSUSE, Fedora and Ubuntu distros, where the
visitors had the opportunity to learn about the
features and also get new versions of the distros.
There were also students with their work Self
Above: One of the
conference areas
Right: openSUSE
Above: Quadcopter
Greek OpenFest 2011
Above: Robo­avoider
Above: The Organizers
The next event in Greece will be FOSSCOMM, at
Patras on May. There are plans to hand out
PCLinuxOS discs at that event.
All the contents of the NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine are only
for general information and/or use. Such contents do not
constitute advice and should not be relied upon in making (or
refraining from making) any decision. Any specific advice or
replies to queries in any part of the magazine is/are the
person opinion of such experts/consultants/persons and are
not subscribed to by the NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine.
The information in the NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine is
provided on an "AS IS" basis, and all warranties, expressed
or implied of any kind, regarding any matter pertaining to any
information, advice or replies are disclaimed and excluded.
The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine and its associates shall not
be liable, at any time, for damages (including, but not limited
to, without limitation, damages of any kind) arising in contract,
rot or otherwise, from the use of or inability to use the
magazine, or any of its contents, or from any action taken (or
refrained from being taken) as a result of using the magazine
or any such contents or for any failure of performance, error,
omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or
transmission, computer virus, communications line failure,
theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, alteration of, or
use of information contained on the magazine.
No representations, warranties or guarantees whatsoever are
made as to the accuracy, adequacy, reliability, completeness,
suitability, or applicability of the information to a particular
Certain links on the magazine lead to resources located on
servers maintained by third parties over whom the NEW
PCLinuxOS Magazine has no control or connection, business
or otherwise. These sites are external to the NEW
PCLinuxOS Magazine and by visiting these, you are doing so
of your own accord and assume all responsibility and liability
for such action.
Material Submitted by Users
A majority of sections in the magazine contain materials submitted by
users. The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine accepts no responsibility for
the content, accuracy, conformity to applicable laws of such material.
Above: The self­balanced robot
Entire Agreement
These terms constitute the entire agreement between the parties with
respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes and replaces all
prior or contemporaneous understandings or agreements, written or
oral, regarding such subject matter.
Retroshare: The
The Secure
Secure Social
Social Network,
Network, Part
Part 2
by Archie Arevalo
The first part of this article guided a user in installing
and setting up plus adding friends Retroshare. In
this second part, we will look at the different features
on the toolbar.
The toolbar or the sidebar can always be displayed
or hidden but not both at the same time. I found out
that if both are hidden, it will take a restart to reset
both to display again. I still have to find a way to
show/hide both at the same time. This can be done
by right­clicking the mouse on an empty space on
their the toolbar or the sidebar. Remember, it is just
one or the other, but not both.
The Toolbar
Retroshare makes it easy to access the several
sections of the application. The Toolbar is accessible
at anytime as long as it is not hidden.
The Toolbar is made up of eight sections:
This tool provides three tabs rendering a different
visual list of who, among your friends, are on your
list. The first tab, Network, is a color­coded
numbered list with titled columns. Yellow is yourself
and green are your friends. This tab makes it easy to
search for a friend, especially if you already have a
long list. If a friend has not authenticated you, or if
you have not authenticated a friend, you and your
friend will not connect
The Authentication Matrix is another tab that cross­
references a color­coded (red, yellow and green)
match. Red is yourself. Yellow means that one or the
other of your friends, (or yourself), had authenticated
while waiting for the other to complete the pair
authentication. Green means both users have
authenticated each other and can connect with each
The Network View is ike a sub­atomic structure of
your friends, (and possibly friends of friends), linked
by a line with yourself in the center as a yellow ball.
Think of it as a map.
The Friends tool has two panes. The left pane is
your list of friends and indicates whether they are
online or offline. The right pane has three tabs ­
Group Chat, Profile and News Feed. The left pane
also has sub­functions that will sort the order of your
friends' list, hide your offline friends, etc. It also has
tools for adding a new friend or a new group, create
a new forum, set an avatar or a personal message.
The right pane displays a group chat, views your
personal profile or reads feeds that you have
subscribed to. The Group Chat is what a user would
be mostly using. As in any chat client, the input
space is at the bottom of the right pane. A limited
number of settings can change the typeface, its size
and color, and add smilies, highlight part or all of a
message sent, and even send a file.
The Search tool switches the window to a two­pane
view that is capable of searching for any type of files
using simple and boolean expressions and strings.
On the right pane, the number of results per
keyword are displayed. A user can make multiple
searches. The left pane is for filtering the files from a
specific result on the right pane. Typing in a series of
letters on the right pane's search box narrows the list
to fewer items.
Retroshare: The Secure Social Network, Part 2
which can be set on the Sidebar's Options >
When a user finds a file he is searching for, he can
just select the file and click Download to save a copy
on his computer. Right clicking on either pane
displays context menus from removing search
results to sending a file's link to a friend via
Retroshare's Composer.
As of this writing, I have not been able to ascertain
the Advanced button parameters.
The Messages Tool is very similar to an email client,
where you can send and receive email­like
messages to and from any of your friends, even if
they are offline. Like email clients, there is a
Composer a user can use to type an email
message, replies and forwards, print and file
attachments. A user can even add tags to messages
they receive.
The Files tool displays your connected friends'
shared directories and files (top Pane) and your
shared directories and files (bottom pane). It is
another section where a user can manually search
for files and folders and download them.
The Transfers window displays a top (Download)
pane and a bottom (Upload) pane. This tool is used
to monitor the progress of your downloads and view
which of your files are getting uploaded to your
friends' computers. The files you are sharing on
folders that you set on the next section, Files, are
available to your friends to download. Your
downloads from your friends' computers are stored
in folders you specified as the incoming directory,
Retroshare: The Secure Social Network, Part 2
The Channels tools is a similar concept to Real
Simple Syndication (RSS) where a user can post
anything of interest and friends who have subscribed
to the feeds will receive these posts on the News tab
of your Friends tool. It could be used for posting
PCLinuxOS updates or test results, or even the
funniest jokes at the forum. The prospects for using
this tool are immense.
email client. As with the Channels tool, there are
also no limitations to creating forums, so I believe
this feature should pretty much get a rework or a
rethink. Settings can vary from non­members being
able to read and post to having to be a member of
the forum to read and post.
With all these tools available and a responsible use
of these tools, Retroshare can be the ultimate P2P
social network client.
Users can create one or several channels and
friends can do the same. Users can subscribe to
friends' channels and friends can subscribe to yours.
Although a user can create an unlimited number of
channels, it is best to have one or two that your
friends can easily subscribe to.
Next issue, we will look at the sidebar and its
The Forums tool is unlike what we are used to in the
PCLinuxOS Support Forum. Titles are threaded and
look very similar to a threaded list on your favorite
Screenshot Showcase
Posted by oneakim, April 27, 2011, running Xfce.
Answers to Mark Szorady's Double Take:
(1) Cartoonists Day logo tilted; (2) Lamp
arm different; (3) Drawer missing; (4) Chair back
shorter; (5) Picture smaller; (6) Table missing beam;
(7) Ink puddle smaller
It's easier than E=mc2
It's elemental
It's light years ahead
It's a wise choice
It's Radically Simple
It's ...
ts2mpeg &
& DVBCut
by Daniel Meiß­Wilhelm (Leiche)
If you are like me, you like to capture movies on a
hard drive player from satellite broadcasts. You will
get some files, which are stored as rec.ts, meta.dat,
rec.01, rec.02, rec.bm and rec.cp, as in the graphic
But there is one thing we should do, before we load
our movie into DVBCut. We must rename our three
files. I chose to rename them rec01.ts, rec02.ts, and
But which ones are the movie file or files? The
biggest files contain your movie, and they are
named rec.ts, then rec.01, and rec.02. The files are
broken into 2.1 GiB “chunks,” with the last file
typically smaller.
Now, start DVBCut and load your
files. Make sure that you load all
associated files.
When we have copied these files to our PC, we can
use Mplayer to play them. But how can we edit
these files? I don't like advertising in my movies, so I
want to remove it. But how? We can use DVBCut,
which you can install via Synaptic.
Once your movie is loaded, you
can use the sliders to search out
the advertisements in your file.
It's a little crazy to work with the
two sliders, but the
advertisements will be gone in
no time. Once you’ve eliminated
all the advertising, and you have
all of your crop points set
properly, it’s time to export your
Now you can load your movie in any program, such
as Avidemux, to convert it to a different file format.
Or, if you choose, you can load it up in DVDStyler
and burn the movie to a DVD.
A magazine just isn't a magazine
without articles to fill the pages.
If you have article ideas, or if you
would like to contribute articles to the
PCLinuxOS Magazine,
send an email to:
[email protected]
We are interested in general articles
about Linux, and (of course), articles
specific to PCLinuxOS.
Photo Viewers,
Viewers, Part
Part 1
by meemaw
I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She
said, "What do you use to view and edit pictures?"
("Well, first, I use Linux.") That got me thinking,
though, about the photo viewers and editors we
have. With some much­appreciated help from a few
other PCLinuxOS users, I now have a list of many of
the most often used photo viewers. I'm sure there
are more, but maybe you will find something new in
this list. I haven't included Gimp, because I think it's
in a class of its own since it does so much.
This is a viewer only, but you can rotate and flip
Photo viewer programs range from those that only
view through those that view, catalog, slideshow,
edit and even email. Let's start with some of those
programs that are only viewers.
The toolbar is pretty sparse, but you can see all the
controls right there. Most of them are pretty self­
explanatory. The X in the red circle is Delete. The
heart is the Preferences window, shown below. The
open door is, of course, Exit Program.
You can change the location of your 'filmstrip' in
Preferences so it is at the bottom, down the side or
not shown at all. The edit menu is to edit
preferences, or open your picture for editing in
whatever program you have on your system. (Mine
would say 'Open with Gimp...')
This is the default photo viewer in Phoenix and
Phoenix Mini. It is mainly a viewer with an editing
option, (rotate only), and a slideshow feature. When
you first start it you get a blank file requester with a
folder ('Open') at the top.
Photo Viewers, Part 1
This is one of our CLI photo viewers. Opening a
terminal, you can type qiv /pathtoyourphoto and the
photo you want to see should pop up in another
window. The window will be whatever size the photo
is, so if you know the photo is larger than your
screen size, you might want to put in a qualifier
command. For example, you can type
qiv ­w 800 /pathtoyourphoto
and qiv will open it in a window 800 pixels wide. The
one below is 1600 x 1200, so I used the command
to open it in a smaller window.
Commands can be found by typing qiv ­­help.
With the slideshow qualifiers, you can run a
The example at top center is a smaller photo
anyway, so when I only entered
qiv /pathtothispicture,
it opened at 100%.
there as long as your mouse is in the window ­ when
you move your mouse out of the Picture Wall
window, your enlargement will disappear.
I can't find anywhere to start a slideshow, so I am
assuming that Picture Wall does no slideshow.
When you open Picture Wall, you get a blank screen
asking for the image directory. In the lower right­
hand corner, you can click on a button that has three
dots on it, which will give you an Open File window.
If you choose a directory, Picture Wall will load all
the images in that directory. Scrolling with your
mouse scroll­wheel can enlarge and reduce the
thumbnail size. Notice the window­type images on
the bottom row. As far as I can tell those are copies
of the images directly above them only flipped. I
can't figure out what the purpose of the windows is
because they do nothing when you click on them,
unless you click on the X..., then that window closes.
If you click on one photo, it will enlarge and stay
Photo Viewers, Part 1
As we just finished a series on the e17
Enlightenment Desktop Environment, ePhoto had
actually already been covered (in the February, 2011
Issue). However, I did want to mention it here,
because it is in our viewer­only list. You can view
single images or thumbnails of different sizes, and it
does play a slideshow.
Screenshot Showcase
Next month we'll look at more viewers.
Posted by Linuxera, April 16, 2011, running e17.
More Screenshot
Screenshot Showcase
Top Left: Posted by
ff103, April 25, 2011,
running KDE4.
Top Right: Posted by
ivanovnegro, April 16,
2011, running KDE4.
Bottom Left: Posted
by LKJ, April 14,
2011, running Xfce.
Bottom Right: Posted
by Sproggy, April 18,
2011, running Xfce.
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