What happened was, we had Kerith over to take some real family portraits (they came out great) and when I scanned her negatives, there were gigabytes of pixels that I didn’t really want to copy around the network, so I thought I’d drop ’em on a DVD. This fragment combines Open Source serendipity, Microsoft-bashing, and adorable baby photography.

Below, a four-month-old hand grasps a fifty-year-old finger.

Four-month-old hand grasps fifty-year-old finger

Photo by Kerith Paterson, via technology from Nikon, Microsoft Windows, Ubuntu GNU/Linux, PhotoShop Elements, and local bits & pieces.

I booted the Ultra 20 into Windows to do the scanning because that’s what the Nikon software runs on. When I was done, there were 3.3G of jpegs that I wanted to look at and play around with on my Mac, and then keep forever.

Given that networks are what they are, a DVD seemed the best answer to both, and the Ultra has a DVD writer, so I slipped a blank in. Windows saw it all right, reported it accurately as a DVD-R blank, but when I tried to drop files on it, I got the familiar old Abort/Retry/Cancel dialog tarted up in cartoony XP colors. Neither “burn DVD” nor “DVD-R”, typed into the Windows help popup, helped in the slightest, and and I sighed and consoled myself with the thought that the wired part of the home network now runs at a gigabit. Then I thought “hold on a second... Ubuntu“.

Ubuntu’s what normally runs on that Ultra except when it’s being used for playing games or scanning. So I did a quick reboot, and clicked on the thingie for the Windows filesystem to get at the scans, and clicked at the thingie for the writeable-DVD, and dragged the directory to the DVD and clicked “Write to Disc”, and it All Just Worked.

Ubuntu writing a DVD

Nothing’s perfect; while burning, the time-remaining readout fluctuated wildly between 5 and 40 minutes, no obvious pattern leaping to the eye. And I should’ve edited the scans on the Gimp on Ubuntu, PhotoShop Elements on the Mac screams for mercy and crashes regularly when you throw 35M slide scans at it.

I keep asking: is Microsoft worried about Ubuntu? They should be.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Jon W. (Oct 19 2006, at 08:33)

I tried AMD64 Ubuntu 6.06, and there was a lot to like. Not having followed the pure64 - biarch debate, however, I was in for a surprise when I found that it has poor support for 32-bit applications. Whereas Red Hat, SUSE, and other FHS / LSB-compliant distros make it easy to run 32- and 64-bit programs side by side, Ubuntu requires chroot for non-trivial 32-bit programs.


From: Hub (Oct 19 2006, at 09:37)

What about scanning under Ubuntu? I have my Nikon CoolScan LS30 working. I actually scan over the network, but this is because of the SCSI: the scanner is connected to an older Debian box (a Mac) with SCSI.

SANE as good support for Nikon (though I don't know your exact model, so YMMV)


From: Marius (Oct 19 2006, at 12:10)

That image really moved me. I don't think you could have a better picture of the bond between a parent and a child.


From: Ben Hutchings (Oct 19 2006, at 13:01)

Jon W: The requirement for a chroot has nothing to do with FHS (non-)compliance; Debian and Ubuntu are actually more FHS-compliant than many other distributions. The problem is that dpkg is not multi-arch aware. While several multi-arch schemes have been proposed, none has yet been accepted as the way to go.


From: Jon W. (Oct 19 2006, at 19:53)

FHS and LSB specify that 32-bit libraries go in lib, and that 64-bit libraries go in lib64. Debian puts the 32-bit libraries in lib32, and the 64-bit libraries in lib. IA32 Debian may be FHS compliant, but AMD64 Debian is not.


From: M. David Peterson (Oct 19 2006, at 21:15)

While I think we can safely set-aside user-error (obviously you know what you're doing), I feel it's only fair to point out the fact that I have never had a single issue with burning CD's, DVD's, or any other type of back-up utility on my Windows box.

That said, I must admit that I have been pretty impressed with the each and every experience I have had on nearly every distro I have used to burn a CD and/or DVD on. And I have never really ever used Ubuntu past a few pokes and prods here and there on a virtual instance.

However, I am not sure if the word "scared" describes how Microsoft should be feeling, and instead they simply need to recognize that they most certainly have a somewhat new competitor in the desktop space in which they have never really had before from the Linux distro world.

There's both too much talent and too much ego on MSFT campus for them to be scared, though this could obviously be just as much to their detriment as it could to their success. As long as they don't let their ego get in the way, my guess is that the result will be that of forcing their hand to give up the Windows-only attitude, and start providing software and services for several of the GNU/Linux distros, as well as both BSD and Solaris variations as well.

If that happens, in my own opinion, the result will be that of pretty much a win/win for everyone -- The "Indy's" of the software industry will finally get the credit they deserve for building such a fine array of platforms, applications, and services, as well as an infusion of new business opportunities due to the fact that the applications that were once designed only for Windows will suddenly begin to find their way onto any one of these worthy contendors.

Of course, that's also a pretty fluffy cloud, blue sky outlook, so I guess its really a wait and see what happens kind of thing.

None-the-less, while this is definitely a creative abstraction from your comment, I do believe you are right on the money in regards to your analysis of the new crop of GNU/Linux, Solaris, and *BSD distros looming on the horizon.

This is some pretty killer stuff, and its not going to take much time at all for more and more people to realize just how much some of these platforms have to offer. Whether that scares Microsoft into innovation, or simply encourages them to re-think their overall strategy, one way or another, the world of computing is going to be changing, and its going to be changing fast.


From: Paul Préfontaine (Oct 20 2006, at 11:15)

Windows doesn't support burning DVDs [1] out of the box.

I found this article on how to use third party software to burn DVDs (notice the third paragraph). [2]

There seems to be the ability to burn data DVDs in Windows XP Media Center Edition, though (under the heading "Can I burn DVDs to watch using a dedicated DVD player?"). [3]

[1] http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/device/stream/dvd/DVDwp.mspx#ECF

[2] http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/expert/jones_02november25.mspx

[3] http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/mediacenter/evaluation/faq.mspx


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October 19, 2006
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