Bash on Ubuntu on Windows

Bundows

At Build 2016, Microsoft announced, among other things, that developers will soon be able to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows. If you are interested in this kind of stuff, then I know that you probably already know about this. I was stoked when I heard about this news about two weeks ago but I just did not have the time to blog about it, but now I finally do.

So what does this all mean?

It means that you will be able to run actual Bash on Ubuntu, … on Windows. I know it sounds like I’m just repeating myself here, but the news is that exciting and it almost sounds like it is not real. Many people in the past would have said that hell will freeze if and when something like this happens, and yet here we are.

This is not a Virtual Machine running Ubuntu! This is actual Ubuntu user-mode running on Windows. To accomplish this Microsoft created a Windows Subsystem for Linux. Microsoft has partnered with Canonical, the creators of Ubuntu Linux to make this all possible.

But what does this Really mean?

This is a sign of a ‘personality shift’ in Microsoft. This shows the openness that Microsoft has adopted. They know that to keep Windows relevant now and in the years to come, they need to make developers want to develop FOR Windows and develop ON Windows even if they might not be developing for Windows. We’ve seen this as a reoccurring theme from .NET going open source in 2014, Android app portability, and their recent acquisition of Xamarin.

But this news of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows by Microsoft, going as far as building a brand new Subsystem for Linux is HUGE! It took a while for this to really sink in for many people that I talked with – not that the technology was difficult to understand, but the fact that it was actually happening. It is a big deal – Linux and Windows coming together, open source and Microsoft coming together, Canonical and Microsoft coming together.

Actual Ubuntu user-mode means you will be able to run command-line tools like apt-get, sed, awk, grep, and you can even try Linux-first tools like Ruby, Git, Python, etc. directly on Windows.

This also means that web developers will find it easier to develop on Windows. Having the ability to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows will make it easier for Start-ups to choose Windows development machines, since most start-ups are initially short on cash and often choose open source software including Linux operating systems, eliminating the need to have separate Linux development machines.

What do I think of this?

If you have not already figured this one out, let me tell you, I’m going nuts over this news. I moved from Mac OS to Windows about 6 months ago, mostly because I believe that Microsoft is really going in the right direction and paving the way to the future with their HoloLens technology, Windows 10 Universal apps, touch screen capabilities for the Windows Operating system and much more. The one thing that I had always missed was the ability to run Linux commands and Bash scripts. Mac OSX is built on Unix so this was never an issue, but it was not possible to do that on Windows. An option was to learn Windows command line, which in all honesty sucks!

I have used Cygwin until now, and for the most part it does the job, but it still was not Linux. From time to time I run into problems with it, installing libraries and programs is okay – it works except when it doesn’t. But now with Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, I’ll have access to Ubuntu’s apt-get – this is amazing!

What is the Future of Bash on Ubuntu on Windows?

For now, Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is still in its beta stage. You will not be able to install it unless you are on “Windows Insider”. I personally will stick to Cygwin for now, until the stable version gets released because currently my main Windows machine is my only Windows machine.

In the future Bash on Ubuntu on Windows is sure to be a better option than Cygwin. Sure Cygwin has been time-tested but the Bundows (there you go, I just coined a new word) has the advantage of the backing from Microsoft and Canonical and it will be using the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Should you use Bundows?

Yes, and No – it depends on who you are. I would not recommend installing it on your main Windows machine, or if you are not willing to work with something that might not work sometimes – as I said, this is still in beta stage. Do NOT use it on production machines.

If you are a student, then yes, do it now. You should be trying to be on the cutting edge of things, trying betas and alphas, making stuff, breaking stuff, getting stuck and learning from it. In my teens and early twenties, I did a lot of tinkering with different operating systems and programs and that is what taught me so much of what I know.

How to install Bundows?

First you need to be on Windows Insider. You can start here https://insider.windows.com/
Your next step is to turn on or install Bundows: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/commandline/2016/04/06/bash-on-ubuntu-on-windows-download-now-3/

Windows into the Future

I have been wanting to write this article since I watched the Windows Keynote earlier this year!

I never imagined saying this but I believe that new the Microsoft Windows will be in the driving seat to shape the future of what operating systems look like. Engadget titled an article on it’s website When did Apple become the boring one? I tend to agree with that question. Apple has started to get  boring. In fact I am seriously considering moving back to Windows after being in love with MacOSX for the past 6 years. So why am I so excited about Windows ? One word…well.. two.. Windows 10!

Apple has Mac OSX which powers desktops and laptops and IOS which powers their smart phones and tablets. Google has Chrome OS which runs on laptops and desktops and Android which runs on phones and tablets. Microsoft has Windows for desktop, Windows for mobile and an operating system for Xbox. Most of these companies try to make their operating systems on different types of devices work together, but they are still all separate operating systems.

“10” to Rule them All

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.13.20For the first time, we will get to experience one operating system that will work on all (windows) devices. Windows 10 will work on laptops, desktops, phones and Xbox. Windows 10 will be the new Universal Windows Platform which will give a unified experience on all devices. ( One confusion I would like to clear out is that although Windows 10 will be working on all your(Windows) devices, it won’t be exactly the same. There will be 7 different version of Windows 10. I still think this is ridiculous as people often end up in choice paralysis. In this respect, Apple gets it right – one operating system for mobile, one for desktop/laptop and one for server. )

Microsoft is aiming to run Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in the next 2 to 3 years and to accomplish this Microsoft will be providing free upgrades to anyone who owns a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 device.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade.

Windows 10 Platform – A Developer’s Oasis

In order to make an operating system successful, it of course needs to be user friendly and robust to handle all kinds of situations, however, no one is going to use the operating system if there is a weak collection of 3rd party apps available to be used in conjunctions with the operating system. Microsoft knows this very well and that is the reason it has made sure that Windows 10 is an operating system for developers!

Web

Developers will be apple to publish web apps to the windows store. As the owner of a web development company  I cannot express enough how excited I am about this news. (Check out our services at Okinara.com or visit our Okinara’s Facebook Page. We provide end to end E-Commerce Solutions from development to marketing and hosting.)

Developers will be able to use APIs  to provide locally install app kind of experience for their web services. This can be used in very creative ways and is a win-win for developers and consumers.

.NET& Win32

An easy way to import  all existing apps to windows store and there will be an easy install and uninstall feature similar. This again is a win-win for developers and consumers. Consumers will not have to wait long for their favourite programs to be compatible with Windows 10.

Android – Java/C++

Android_robot.svgDevelopers will be able to reuse java and C++ code used to develop Android apps and for Windows. Windows phones will have an Android subsystem which will use android code and these apps will also have access to Windows-specific extras.

IOS – Objective C 

125px-Apple_iOS_new.svgDevelopers will be able to use their Objective C code for IOS and bring it to Windows. This is bold – Microsoft is trying to take a bite out of Apple.

 

This is great for developers and consumers. Developers will quickly be able to import their existing Android and IOS apps to windows, cutting cost, effort and time. Consumers will no longer be face with dreaded feeling of realizing that the app that they really want is available “only on Android and IOS” and would not have to wait for long.

In addition to that, there will be a single code that will run across all devices – this is huge! Apple developers need to code for Mac OSX and IOS, Google developers have to code for Chrome OS and Android.

There are bound to be some performance issues for ‘imported’ apps, but the ability to quickly import apps at least gives  boost to Windows development which will help developers quickly push their apps and updates to all platforms and can then later tweak performance after launch.

Store

There will be a more unified experience when it comes to shopping for apps across all your devices and as I mentioned above, even web apps will be available for installation. In addition, carrier billing will make shopping experience easier.

The Edge.

Edge is the name for the new Microsoft Internet browser. Microsoft ended Internet Explorer’s run and rightfully so. It was the stupid weirdo that no one liked. Most of you will try and run away from this new browser too, but I have a good feeling about this one, so please give it a try before you pass judgement. Check out my review of Microsoft’s new Inter Browser.

Cortana and Continuum

As a consumer I am most existed about Cortana and Continuem. Cortana is the Siri of the Microsoft world, but Cortana does a lot more than Siri. Microsoft is moving towards developing a true AI personal Assistant much like the Cortana from the Xbox Halo series. By studying they way you use Windows, the kinds of apps that you search for and use and your internet browsing habits, it will make suggestions for new apps and settings, news and more. You will be able to talk to Cortana and give it(…um.. her?) commands like “Cortana message Tim on Whatsapp that I will be late for today’s meeting” Cortana will then open up Whatsapp, search for Tim and send the message.

All this is great, but everyone owns more than one device and this is where Continuum comes in. You will be able to start and stop your work on any device and still get a seamless experience. All this looks good an ‘paper’, but will it actually work? I think there is a good chance that it will. Since there will be one operating system installed on all (windows) devices, and the code base for apps will be the same, the chance of this working is very good. We’ll just have to wait and see if it actually works in reality.

Microsoft is really getting in the driver seat when it comes to software technology with Windows 10. All this is really great, but is this cool or creepy?(especially Cortana and Continuum). Windows 10’s timing is perfect for me since, I am due for a laptop upgrade and I am leaning heavily towards Windows and Surface Pro.

Microsoft is also taking a leap forward with holograms and their HoloLens. I’m not going to talk about this, you can read more here.

This is my take on the upcoming Windows 10, if you like what I have presented for you, please like and share. If you notice errors, please do let me know as I am juggling between writing, developing and running and expanding my business.

If you have tips, or if you would like me to write about something specific that you like, please feel free to get in touch with my on Twitter, Facebook,  Linkedin, or contact me via my contact page.

You can follow Okinara on Twitter and Facebook to get web and software and general tech related updates.

 

The Microsoft Edge

4354719-7527510961-41164Microsoft seems to be using a lot of Halo game elements in Windows desktop and mobile phones. For e.g. after the end of Internet Explorer the new Internet Browser was codenamed “Spartan”. Then there is Cortana which is the name for the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator, much like Siri for IOS, but for Windows Phone 8.1 and now Windows 10. Cortana is also the name of an Artificial Intelligence character in Halo games.

e1.0It was finally revealed this week that the official name for Project Spartan is Microsoft Edge. It seems like the “edge” is getting prevalent with underdogs trying to get an edge over their competitors. Samsung’s new smartphone code named “Project Zero” has an ‘edge’ in it’s name and it also literally has an edge… or two in this case. Microsoft’s “Edge” on the other hand is the absence of edge in the browsing experience.

Microsoft desperately and amazing enough, confidently wants to rebrand its Internet Browser as can be seen from this Microsoft Edge Promotional Video.

The browser has always been a window into the world. We all looked out and saw amazing things. It’s time to open that window and blur the edge between consumption and creation between the universal and the personal, between standing still and moving forward. Introducing  the browser that defines the edge of today and turns browsing into doing. ..

If someone told me last year or even a week ago that I would be getting excited about Microsofts’ Internet Browser, I would have kick them in appropriate places. But quite honestly, Edge and Windows 10 and everything that Microsoft is doing has really got me excited, something that I have not said in many years. The logo itself seems to be re-born from the ghost of the Internet Explorer past but with a cooler edgier look.

Microsoft Edge will be the default browser on Windows 10. It will be heavily integrated with Cortana. As you can see in the screenshot below, it shows you the top sites visited, featured apps from the Windows store, weather details, and sports updates and other news article links that are of importance to the user all on the default home page .

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.33.30

It picks all of this information up from Cortana which is heavily integrated with Windows 10 on the desktop and phone (Dedicated post on Windows 10 coming soon.) From the keynote, it seems that Cortana will truly act as  AI Personal Assistant and give suggestions by learning your desktop and phone and browsing habits and help you search what you are looking for by taking voice commands.

Microsoft Edge will also allow developers to create extension for Edge much like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. According to the keynote developers will be able to import extensions from Chrome and Firefox that use standard HTML and javascript “with just a few minor modifications”.

Now that is all the good promises that Microsoft is giving. What about the actual user and developer experience? One thing that I have learnt is that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually quite positively excited about this new direction that Microsoft is taking, however from experience and this is not just my experience this is the experience of every web developer that has ever utterly painfully laid their fingers on coding specifically for Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s Internet Browser provides nothing but a reason to hate the very core of it’s browser  – each and every iteration of Internet browser.

I can only hope that this time it is going to be different and I have a feeling that this time it will be different – different for the better.

Only time will tell whether this is good news for web developers or not and if developers are happy so will the end user be happy.

That is my take on Microsoft’s new Internet browser, Edge. Of course I have not had a first hand experience with Edge, but when I do, I will be posting my thoughts on it. I will soon be writing on the key elements of Windows 10 and a in-depth review of the Samsung galaxy S6 Edge.

Free Your Mind

Have you ever experienced writer’s block, or had a lot of information but didn’t know how to organize it, found it difficult to break down what you were going to say in your public speak, had difficulty organizing a shopping list or to do list?

Free_MindI know I have had those moments too. To over comes those moments of frustration even before they begin, I free my mind with a program called Free Mind. FreeMind is a free mind-mapping software.

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.[source: Wikipedia ]

The great thing about Free Mind is that it is 100% free software and open source software, licensed under GNU GPL V2+ (GNU General Public License) Basically, that means that you are free to use FreeMind to whatever purpose you want without paying for that, and that any code derived from current FreeMind’s code must also be licensed under GPL V2+.[Source: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page]

Here are a few screenshots so you can see what a Free Mind document generally looks like:

800px-FreeMind-computer-knowledge-080 800px-FreeMind-freemind-development-080 800px-FreeMind-learning-german-080 800px-FreeMind-my-health-080

 

I have used other mind mapping programs but Free Mind is my favourite. There are other programs out there that save to the cloud, have flexible nodes and some are aesthetically very pleasing. The reason I choose Free Mind is because:

Multiplatform

The software is built in Java so it runs on just about anything. It works on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Universal

The file format is universal. Every mind mapping program out there will import a free mind (.mm) file, but not the other way around as most other programs have their own formats. 

Rigid

The node branches are rigid meaning you cannot move them around in space the way you like. Note: you can move the actual nodes around to different branches but the branches don’t stretch or shrink.  For some this constraint would be more of a con than a pro. I on the other hand like it because it keeps things organized and plus it forces me think in a modular fashion and for that to happen I need to understand the information that I am jotting. I have used other programs(free and paid) that give you the flexibility of moving the nodes around with a flexible stretch branch and although this freedom of movement may seem like a great thing at first, but when it comes to getting the actual work down I think it can be very counter productive. 

Multiple Uses

Although this is true for most mind mapping programs, I still feel the need to mention it for those who may be new to the idea of mind mapping.

  • Keep track of projects including tasks, subtasks, priority level using icons and colours 
  • knowledge base – you can have multiple mind maps interconnected with other mind maps and store information in nodes or link to actual files such as images, word documents, excel sheets etc..
  • essay writing and brain storming – you can quickly jot down ideas that you have in a brain storming session and then easily move the modes around and create topics and subtopics to bring structure to your fictional or non-fictional writing
  • A shopping list or a ToDo list – Once you start using mind maps instead of a flat list you will never want to go back to boring ToDo lists.
  • Database – you can organize information about clients, about collection of antique items which you can categorize, keep inventory of your valuables…etc..

Features

  • export to HTML, image formats(PNG, JPG, PDF etc…)
  • visually format the nodes and branches for better readability. There is even an auto-format feature which I use all the time and it works surprisingly well.
  • it’s an open format meaning there is no risk to committing to Free Mind in the beginning and then changing to a different program because it uses XML which can be imported into any other mind mapping program.
  • FREE!
  • use graphical links(lines with arrow pointers) to link nodes
  • link to other Free Mind maps and other files like Word, Excel, image files or any other file on your computer

Other Mind Mapping Programs

You may also want to try out these mind mapping programs to see which one fits your specific needs.

  • Mind Node  –  by far the most beautifully designed mind mapping program out there. The only thing that keeps me from using it is that it is only for Mac OSX and IOS. 
  • Mindjet – for serious business use, is more than just mind mapping software—it’s a total suite of applications and tools designed to help you and the people you work with brainstorm, stay on top of projects, collaborate on tasks, and stay organized together.
  • XMind – like Mindjet this is again for serious business use. There is a free version with some of the advanced features lacking, but it gets the job done. XMind is also one of the more popular mind mapping programs.

That’s my take on freeing your mind with mind maps. Please share, like, tweet, retweet if you like this post. Also leave a comment below.

Top 3 Alternatives to Microsoft Office

microsoft-office-365-logoMicrosoft Office is the industry standard when it comes to office suites. Most people think that when it comes to office suites Microsoft Office is the only option they have. Either that or they think that any other alternative is not worth experimenting with. I’m here to tell you that that is not the case. I have 3 multi-platform alternatives that work on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. If you are a student or a small business owner with a tight budget or have very little use for an office suite to pay $8 to $10 a month for or for whatever reason just don’t want to use Microsoft Office then the following 3 are definitely worth trying out.

Apache OpenOffice

AOO High Res Logo PSD FINALApache OpenOffice is one of the oldest open source alternative and one of the most well know. It has switched hands multiple times throughout its history developed by Star Office, which was later acquired by Sun Microsystems which was acquired by Oracle Corporation, the lack of commitment from Oracle and other issues led to a split in the development team and LibreOffice was born. Oracle then laid of its paid developers who were working on the OpenOffice project and donated the code and trademark to the Apache Software Foundation. For some time after that the office suite was weaker compared to its fork LibreOffice, however since mid-2014 Open Office is back in the competition. OpenOffice.org claims that OpenOffice is being used in Governments, Education, Businesses, Not for profits, IT Businesses.

Apache OpenOffice lets you save documents in the  OpenDocument format, read Microsoft documents and save your work in Microsoft document formats too. It offers 6 programs in its suite:

  • Writer –  the word processor alternative to Microsoft Word that you can use for anything from writing a quick letter to producing an entire book.
  • Calc  – the spreadsheet alternative to Microsoft Excel with all the tools you need to calculate, analyze, and present your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics.
  • Impress  – the multimedia presentation alternative to Microsoft Powerpoint.
  • Draw  – this Visio alternative lets you produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations.
  • Base – is the alternative to Microsoft Access that lets you manipulate databases seamlessly, create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports.li
  • Math lets you create mathematical equations with a graphic user interface or by directly typing your formulas into the equation editor.

LibreOffice

LibO_Logo_Highres_ColorLibreOffice is very similar to OpenOffice because it is a fork of OpenOffice and is developed by The Document Foundation. At the time of this writing LibreOffice was slightly ahead of OpenOffice mainly because it had a head start while OpenOffice was looking for a stable home to settle down for some serious development. I was a big fan of OpenOffice until LibreOffice came into existence. I still use LibreOffice and Google’s Office suits on a regular Basis.

To someone who is new to LibreOffice it can be a confusing process to download the right version of LibreOffice. LibreOffice Fresh is the most recent stable version with cutting edge development. If you want the latest features and are okay with using software that has not gone through the test of time then the Fresh version is for you. If you want something that is stable and has gone through a good amount of testing then LibreOffice Still is for you. I use the “Still” version and that is what I would recommend you to use.

LibreOffice boasts the same set of programs that OpenOffice does. It generally has newer and advanced features than OpenOffice and has a more active development team and support community. This may change in the future since OpenOffice has improved quite a lot and it is also supported by a strong organization, Apache which at one point powered 70% of web servers.

Google’s Office Suite

google-drive-logo_11Google’s Office Suite was named Google docs before but now it does not seem to have a name that encapsulates all its apps. Docs is now the name of Google’s word processing app and all the other components are now standalone apps on the web and on the IOS and Android platform.

The biggest difference between Google’s Office apps and the the previous two is that LibreOffice and OpenOffice are both desktop applications where as Google’s is everything on the web.  If you are someone who is on-the-go a lot or use multiple devices to do your work, or are heavily invested in the Google ecosystem then Google office apps is the way to you.  They are not as full featured and robust as the  desktop applications mentioned above, but they get the job done. Since we at Okinara Consulting Services all work remotely from different locations around the globe we depend on Google for our emails and to share and collaborate on documents. There are various apps that work together to form Google’s office suite.

  • Docs – is the Microsoft Word alternative app that lets you Open, edit, and create documents. 
  • Slides – is the Microsoft PowerPoint alternative that lets you open, edit, and create presentations
  • Drawing – is the Microsoft Visio alternative that lets you create diagrams and flow charts
  • Sheets – is the Excel alternative that lets you open, edit, and create spreadsheets

That’s my take on alternatives to Microsoft Office. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Sublime Text

The meaning of sublime according to the dictionary on my Macbook Pro is:

of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe

And Sublime Text 2 is just that. I kept hearing about its legendary speed, and flexibility but I never quite bothered to check it out until my love for NetBeans started to fade. Netbeans had been my programming companion for a long time now. I had been using it since 2009 when I made the switch from Eclipse. That is a long time! More and more Netbeans was starting to prove that it was bloated, slow – especially during loading, the updates didn’t always retain the features that I liked and it kept hogging my CPU and memory. I decided to give Aptana – a flavour of Eclipse another chance after almost a 5 year gap. It has been a long time since I abandoned working with Eclipse. I liked what I saw. It brought back some old memories, and overall it felt as if Apatana was a ted faster than Netbeans. But things were about to change when stumbled upon Sublime Text 2. At first I thought it is just a Text Editor, but it’s not, it’s way more than a text editor. This thing is so flexible you can turn it into an IDE. Here are the reasons why every programmer should at least give Sublime Text a chance:

Its beauty is sublime:

alpha_goto_anything2_large This piece of software is simply beautifully designed. There are many themes to choose from but the default theme with black background and highlighted special words is just stunningly gorgeous and is a pleasure to work with. Another very interesting feature is the small preview bar on the right which  gives you a zoomed-out view of the file that you are currently editing – I never thought I wanted it until I saw it!

Super Fast

Aptana Studio 2 Netbeans 7.3.1 Sublime Text 2
aptana-3-logo netbeans sublime-text-2-logo-full
Took around 30 seconds to load  and background project scan lasted for 1 minute 15 seconds and the program ran slow until the scan was complete. Took around 33 seconds to load and the background scans went on for 2 and half minutes before I decided to close the program. By the way, you cannot stop the background scans in Net Beans, which really is a bummer. Just took 5 to 7 seconds to load and closed as quickly as it could load too. This thing is clearly fast… VERY FAST!

Powerful Search AKA “Go To Anything” (⌘ + P)

Command + P is the shortcut key for search (the feature is known is “Go To Anything” and rightly so) on Mac and I’m pretty sure the P stands for POWER! Which really means the search just commands power. The search is super fast and it start displaying the possible results the moment you start typing AND it displays the contents for the file that most likely is the one you are looking and changes it if it does not fall under the correct results. Go to anything

It Knows!!

It knows what you are searching for even if you are telling it to search for the wrong thing. For e.g. if you make a typo, it still gives you the correct results; also knows as fuzzy search.

fuzzy search
The user types in “hutil” instead of “util” but Sublime, still displays what the user most likely meant. – It’s smart

With Netbeans and Aptana (A flavour of Eclipse), almost always I would open up the terminal or Finder on Mac to search for text within a file or to search for a filename. Now, I don’t need to do that!

Multiple Selection

This just blew my mind away. You can select multiple lines of your code and modify them simultaneously! That is super amazing! You can even select a word which could be a variable or some command throughout your file and change its name. Another scenario where this can come in handy is when you have a list of things which you need to put into an array. I used search and replace the “new line” characters. Now I do multiple selection and edit away. Multiple Selection is awesome!

Tonnes of Cool and Useful Plugins

I must warn you! If you are coming from a feature rich IDE like Netbeans or Eclipse you might be surprised at the bare minimum approach of Sublime Text, but don’t be fooled by what you see the first time you use Sublime Text. There are tonnes of plugins available out there there that can transform this magical text editor into a full IDE and that’s the beauty, you only install the features that you actually want and no more thereby keeping this editor as ‘slim’ as possible. I will write up another article on my favourite and must have plugins for Sublime Text 2. If you like this article, share it! Got a comment? Post it! 🙂

This is Why I’m closing the doors on OpenAtrium for Good!

I think the title of this post is damn right to the point isn’t it? We were using OpenAtrium 1 at work a year ago, but due to so many issues of having too many errors, memory leaks, and being just overly bloated, I decided to stop using it.

Fast forward to 2014: I started looking for a collaboration and project management tool again and decided to check on the development on OpenAtrium 2. It is based on Drupal 7 core which I thought was amazing. I downloaded and installed OpenAtrium 2 and it had a colour packed home page which looked attractive, but one that I quickly got annoyed with.

The OpenAtrium website now has a responsive design and is mobile friendly, but at what cost?

Who is OpenAtrium really for?

OpenAtrium is targeted towards web developers and architects, end users probably won’t be that interested and even if they won’t understand it because the software is complex and multi-dimensional. As you can see in the screenshot of OpenAtrium.com below, this is supposed to tell the viewer what is inside OpenAtrium. There are images and short descriptions for each component, but that is it. There is no link to get into technical details. Data Security for e.g. says Granular access control side wide – an architect would need to know how this is accomplished! How are Events managed, what is the workflow like in order to determine whether this piece of software is suitable for their organization or not.

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 11.34.43 AM

 

Where is the Contact Page?

Wait! What? There is no Contact page. I’m forced to use twitter or Facebook? You’re kidding right?

Oh wait a minute, yes there is a link to the contact page on the FAQs page,oh…but it DOES NOT WORK! And mind you this is supposed to lead their customer’s  to a page where they can contact their sales team! AMAZING!

Phase2 can offer custom enterprise platform development services, specific to the solution set Open Atrium offers. For more information and to contact our sales team, go here.

 

Where is the Documentation?

There is NO direct link from OpenAtrium.com to documentation! That’s right! You get to see OpenAtrium Documentation AFTER you download the software and install it.  During Installation, I kept getting errors which were very crude MySQL errors which told me absolutely NOTHING. I finally figured it out by googling it.

Okay, seriously,… where is the Documentation?

A link on the Home Page(of the OpenAtrium installation) does take you to a page which kind of looks like a documentation page, but nah.. it really isn’t! It’s more like a prank! The Webinars are LONG and do not get to the point quickly! When you click the How To Guides, it’s empty! Phase2 probably need to read a “How To Guide” for writing “How To Guides”.

Oh but wait, they do have links to Spanish Documentation! You can’t even get the English version right! As the Linux philosophy goes:

Do One thing, do it right!

FAQs? – What are FAQs for?

The FAQs on the OpenAtrium site seem like sarcasm. The questions are ridiculously long and the answers are worse. For e.g.

Q. We’ve been trying to model what a Group, a Space, and a Team wold look like using existing metaphors and it’s been challenging to map from an OA 1.x perspective to an OA 2.x perspective. the access controls at the bottom of a node edit form are particularly confusing due to inconsistencies in terminology. The ones on the side bar look like they’ve been renamed appropriately. Could you provide some clarity?

Most of the questions seem like they might be coming from people working at Phase 2 (The company behind OpenAtrium).They should change the title of the page to “FAQs that our developers keep asking us”

Other Broken Things on OpenAtrium’s website:

  • Credit’s link at the bottom of the page takes you to an empty box that says “Credits”
  • Copyright details at the bottom of the page seems like it’s not updated.
  • No Contact page
  • No direct link to OpenAtrium Documentation

Finall conclusion: it almost seems like that Phase2 might actually have a good product, but they’ve made OpenAtrium.com and documentation very difficult to navigate and left chunks of it out which really just drives away the people that might actually be interested in using this product. UNLESS, that is their whole purpose, drive the developers away and target the endusers and managers that have little to no technical skills making it a really sneak sales technique and a kind of faking to be truly OpenSource. Or maybe they just have low standards!

I am angry, disappointed and feel deceived and betrayed by the people behind OpenAtrium.

Ever Tried Googling Yourself?

Have you ever tried Googling yourself? Were you surprised? Was it a good surprise? Was it the worst thing you did all day when you first googled yourself? Or are you one of those who google themself all the time? Or is your name not even on google?

For me, showing up on google is 80% of my marketing whether it is for business reasons or personal. Today when I googled myself, I found that there were other Kapil Busaras who were sharing the first page on Google. I am the face of my company. Most of the time my business depends on my name. My clients have found their way to me to GIVE me business from googling me.

Why have I put so much emphasis on my name up until now? Because the world we live in is very dynamic and is ever changing. I started off as a software developer, then as  Performance Test Engineering, later I became a free lance  web develper, and when that was going well, I founded Okinara Consulting Services. Although when the company was formed it's core business was focused on web development, the name that was chosen did not indicate that it was strictly a web development company. I knew I wanted to expand into other areas. Today Okinara does so much more than web development, we design Logos, flyers, brochures, create strategic solutions to social media marketing, and we will soon be launching a new product.

Tomorrow I may wish to start another business or get into a different industry. If it is a brand new company, people may not know about it, however people who know me as Kapil Bulsara, will know me even if it is a new company, and building on my previous successes I can relatively easily transition into a new field of work or business.

Some of you may not have the luxury of owning a domain name that is your personal name because it might already be taken, and even if you do have that domain name, you may be plagued by having to share the Google spotlight with other people who have the same name as you, which I am currently facing.

For that reason it is important to expose yourself more with the use of social media sites. Everyone has a Facebook account, and If you don't, stop everything at once, including reading this article and create an account NOW!. Once you have a Facebook account, what you should do is create a facebook username which gives you a public facebook page, but don't worry your personal stuff like your wall and photos because it will not be visible to the public, unless you chose to. For e.g. this is mine: http://www.facebook.com/kapil.bulsara. It is not very professional you might think. It does not have to be. Everyone knows you have a life outside of work.

Another think you need to do is get a linkedin account. If you don't already know, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Here is my page http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/kapil-bulsara/31/4a8/821.

You also need to get a twitter account. Here is my twitter page http://twitter.com/kapilbulsara. The common thing I hear about twitter is that they don't like that it is all open to public. Well you don't need to post personal details on twitter. I use twitter to share some semi-personal stuff and also tweet about my business or just general information that will be useful for the average citizen of the Internet.

All this creates exposure and awareness of who you are. If you haven't noticed this is not new, this is the norm now. You absolutely MUST have an online presence. Traditional networking still exists and can't really be replaced, but you cannot neglect social networking. A lot of your success depends on who you know!

 

Ubuntu 11.10 makes Ubuntu a serious competitor in the mainstream desktop market

The mainstream desktop operating system market has been long dominated by Microsofts’ Windows. Second to Windows is Apple’s Mac OSX. Although Linux has been around much longer than most people would know, its inability to capture even the slight market share in the desktop market had been known for a long time.

For those who don’t know what Linux is, Linux is a free open source operating system. There are two parts to it(yes I am grossly simplifying this). The first part is the Linux core operating system called the kernel, and then there are different flavors or distribution of linux. Individuals and companies can take the core operating system, modify it or add more on top of the existing core. There are literally over a hundred different flavours of linux!

 

Linux desktop was always for hardcore computer geeks and programers and it was NOT pretty.

Enters Ubuntu!

The main Linux desktop players according me were Ubuntu, Fedora and Suse. What Ubuntu has done to Linux desktop is amazing giving it the wow factor! We’re not just talking about which free open source operating system is better, we’re talking about competing with proprietary  software like Windows and MacOS.

 

Let’s start of with this stunning Login in screen! Nay, not a login screen, … a welcome screen!

 

Office Suite

Ubuntu comes preinstalled with LibreOffice which has all that you need and perhaps a little more too – its FREE! I have used MS Office, then moved to OpenOffice, which is also a great office suite and one which you can installed on Ubuntu too, and now I use LibreOffice. Libre office opens every possible document type you can think of even MS office 2007 and 2010 files. You can even save in .docx which is what MS Word 2007 uses.  And you can export it into PDF format!

The Ubuntu Dash

Here is a side by side Simple and Advanced view for you. Things are really easy to find with their smart categorizing and if you cant find what you’re looking for, just type it in the search bar! If you want to play some games,…type games,. if you’re looking for Office apps, well type that! Looking for music…you know the rest.

It even shows you what is installed and what you can install from Ubuntu Software Center! That is amazing!

When has my MacOS spotlight search showed be available games when I type “games”? :(..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ubuntu Software Centre

Ubuntu Software Centre is your one stop shop experience. This is just like App store on your Iphone and is a response to the App store on  a mac. Does Windows have something like this? Not that I know of, but then I haven’t used Windows in the past 2 years or so.

In Ubuntu Software Centre, you can browse by different categories, you can check your history of what program was installed/remove at what date, and you can see a quick snapshot of all the programs installed on your Ubuntu.

Social Networking

Your Ubuntu system comes pre-configured to get you started with Facebook, Google Talk, twitter etc..And you can manage all of your networks from one place. Take that Windows,… take that Mac Os and take that Google Chro…umm… never mind…

Amazing Search

Ubuntu search is brilliant. You search by name, and then you can narrow your search down by size of the file, type of file; whether it is an image, document, audio, video or presentation and by when it was last modified. It is also very quick to give you your search results!

Mac’s Expose clone

So ya, sure they have copied macs expose feature. For those who don’t know what this is, when you click twice on an application icon on the dash you see all your application windows. See below. This is an awesome feature for folks like me who have multiple windows running in the background.

Multiple Desktops

Ubuntu has had this since its inception, and no need to explain. See below.

Ubuntu One

This is Ubuntu’s cloud service. You can store and sync your files and music on multiple computers so that you’re always up to date and its FREE!(you get 5GB of storage; upgrade is available). Ubuntu One Music Streaming offers music-streaming apps for iPhone and Android phones. The “Music Streaming” package costs $3.99 a month or $39.99 per year. It just keeps getting better!

 

Did the Lion Really Roar? – A Quick Look at Mac OSX Lion

Apple calls it “The worlds most advanced operating system advances even further”. Could it be? Could apple have come up with another ‘Magical Thing’? Just like the IPad2?… Wait.. what? Is that sarcasm? Maybe… or maybe not.

My first reaction which I tweeted was, “The new Mac OSX Lion gives me stuff I wanted, but takes away stuff I need and then gives me stuff that I neither need or want…”

Then there were a bunch of “WTF”, but now slowly using it for close to 3 weeks I am getting accustomed to the so-called features that advances the most advanced operating system even further.

Here’s a few things that I like about the new OSX Lion.

  • Mission Control – and the Grouping of Apps.  Lion’s predecessors created a mess of all the open apps and files in one big clutter. At first this grouping feature felt a bit annoying because I was so used to looking at all my files at once. But now that I have gotten use to it, this is so much better. It keeps things organized and saves you time in the long run(once you get used to it)

  • Desktops – spaces were removed and replaced with Desktops, and I know many people who are complaining about this. Some even going on a rant like little kids who just got their candy stolen from them. I never really used spaces on my Snow Leopard because I actually thought it sucked (yet another technical term) in comparison to Ubuntu’s desktops and how easy it was to move from one desktop to the other and move files around. Lion actually does it different now and at first glance (just like all other new additions) seems like a very wrong thing that Apple did. But it’s actually much easier to move files around and keep things separated and spawning off new desktop is a breeze… just drag and drop

 

  • New Finger Gestures – I am still not a 100% satisfied with this.  I no longer can zoom in and out in Finder, or go Top-Bottom with 3 fingers in Firefox. Safari seems to have crashed a few times, but that’s why I use Firefox 99% of the time. And they took away my 4 finger swipe to switch between apps, instead of I have to use Command+ Tab, feels like windows again. But I can use that to switch between Desktops so I guess it’s still okay.

  • LaunchPad – This feature is something that I have totally ignore and is of no use to me, and it just feels annoying to say the least. However, it may still come in handy for most people out there. It organizes all your applications like the Iphone, and the Ipad and uses the same kind of finger swipe to switch between pages of applications. A plus for the average user – not for me.

  • Air Drop – have not used it and A bit disappointed because it only works with Lion. Not Cool.

  • Full Screen mode – nice but not a must. If they took it away tomorrow. I wont even notice it.

 

  • Mail & Calendar – I like the fact that exchange support is better than before and Create Account wizard is much like that on Iphone and IPad, some improvements in the Mail and ICal interface. So overall its a nice improvement, but I still wont be using it because it’s not enough and simply no match for Gmail and Google Calendar.

  • THE LION REMEMBERS – I saved the best for last. This by far is my most loved features. When you want to shut down your computer it asks you: “Reopen Windows when Logging back in?”. and I gleefully say Okay :). And the next time I turn my computer on, the Lion remembers all my open applications and files and arranges the windows the way I had left it. When I get to work, I want to get started right away. This gets everything ready for me and I don’t need a note to myself, or even have to remember what I was working on the night before. It’s right there… This is one feature where I can say “The Lion Roars”