Linux Mauritius

Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category

The latest release of Gnome is awesome but I’m still irritated with some of the basic work-flows.  Let’s take the case of a user trying to connect to a server using SSHFS.

1) The user fires up Files (Nautilus)

Open Files in Gnome 3.10

Open Files in Gnome 3.10

2) Connects to a Server

Connect to Server

Connect to Server

3) Connected to the Server

Connected to the Server

Connected to the Server

At his point you are connected to the server but you can’t change directories as there is no toolbar with the “UP” arrow nor can you edit the location!!

Enter the location manually

Enter the location manually

Unless you’re an experienced user or you have an IQ equal to Gnome developers you’re left alone to figure out that you have to use the application menu (not even the main menus nor the preferences) to enter the location manually.

10 years and 19 releases

10 years – 19 releases !

A big Thank You to the Fedora community.

It’s been a few days since I released the first update to SnowBird Linux (19.1) but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to package/test Google Earth. If you’ve tried to install Google Earth in Fedora for the past 2 releases you must have noted that an ugly message “file /usr/bin from install of google-earth-stable- conflicts with file from package filesystem-3.1-2.fc18.x86_64” blocks the installation.  To my disbelief Google has been wrongly packaging Google Earth (RPM) for some time now, as the available package wrongly owns the /usr/bin directory causing the installation to conflict with the package filesystem.  A rebuilt RPM fixing this issue is available @

Google Earth in SnowBird Linux 19

Google Earth in SnowBird Linux 19

If you run SnowBird Linux or Fedora you can pick up the package and install it in your preferred way. If you haven’t downloaded SnowBird Linux yet 🙂 , the nightly folder contains the latest build with Google Earth installed along with Alacarte menu editor which also didn’t make it on time for the update.

I had planned the release of SnowBird Linux 19.1 for today but I’ve been bothered with the number of complaints around the fast release of kernels on It seems that kmods and certain drivers are not able to keep the pace resulting in quite a lot of broken systems. As of today the latest kernel release is  3.10.11-200.fc19 , I certainly don’t see it as a drawback as Fedora has always been ahead of the pack when it comes to new technology so it’s a matter of assembling the components that work. I’ve moved the release to Monday to retest certain components and I’ve added Ex-Fat support which I’ve missed for some time. The major highlights (visible to the end user) of this minor release are as follows:

SnowBird 19 Update 1

SnowBird 19 Update 1

Dropped Packages

  •    Banshee (Music Player)
  •    Opera (Official)

New Packages

  •    Clementine (Music player)
  •    Opera (Browser from Russian Fedora Repository)
  •    gtk-recordmydesktop (Desktop session recorder)
  •    BleachBit (System cleaner)
  •    FlareGet (Browser download manager)
  •    Calibre (Ebook management)


  •    All released Fedora updates
  •    Updated Libre Office
  •    Updated Google products


  •    Live user renamed to SnowBird Labs
  •    Removed duplicate menu entries
  •    Fixed Calibre menu entry
  •    Exfat support

Posted on: 04/09/2013

I was surprised to find a distribution called “SnowBird Linux 2013.08 [x64] 1xDVD” on Russian sites today, as I did some research before naming the remix as SnowBird Linux. I was intrigued by the pictured of a colorful fat bird, which would give some competition to the extinct dodo 🙂  but a closer look at the picture gallery made me smile as it was SnowBird Linux (SBL19) that was being distributed via bit-torrent ! While I have no real issues with the distribution being passed around on forums, I would have preferred a link to the SourceForge project which would help gather proper statistics. The available statistics suggest that SBL19 has been downloaded:

52 times on


16 times via

which brings the count from the previous post to close to 600 downloads.

Russian Humour

Russian Humour

Please use SourceForge if you want to download SBL19 not because it helps me gather the metrics but because:

1) It is the official source with published check-sums to ensure your download hasn’t been tampered with

2) There is a re-spin service for people with bandwidth issues where updated versions are available with all released updates/patches.

3) Advanced users can try the nightly version with preview features.

4) One of the Russian forums label SnowBird Linux as “SnowBird Linux 2013.08 [x86]” which is incorrect as the distribution is only available for x64 architectures.

SnowBird Russian edition

SnowBird Russian edition

Thank you to the Russian community for the ratings and positive feedback on their forums (google translate) and most importantly to the Fedora translation team for such a wonderful work.

Please note that the project has a new home at

It’s been two weeks since SnowBird Linux 19 has gone public and we are really excited by the growth rates we are witnessing. More than 500 downloads already is more than what we expected since the project is relatively new and mostly unknown in the wild. We are in the process of moving to sponsored by myWeb but it will be a phased approach. At present we are short on resources so we prefer to focus on the distribution itself rather than investing time on the new website. We have planned quite a lot of exciting enhancements to the next minor update (19.1) and we are considering a different naming process to allow a rolling release model. Stay tuned . . .

SnowBird Linux Stats (2 weeks)

SnowBird Linux downloads (2 weeks)


Posted on: 16/08/2013

I’m pleased to announce that SnowBird Linux will be moving to a new home in the coming days.  MyWeb (UK) has generously sponsored the new home of SnowBird Linux by offering a dedicated Fedora VPS which will enable faster builds for the next releases, before being deployed  to SourceForge.  SnowBird Linux will now live at  Thank you myWeb for being the first sponsor of SnowBird Linux.

myWeb UK Hosting

myWeb UK Hosting

It’s been a week since SnowBird Linux has been released to SourceForge and I must admit I’m pleasantly surprised at the response. There have been a little more than 250 downloads and this shows that the distribution certainly has an audience who want a pre-configured system with sensible defaults.  As mentioned in the release announcement, SnowBird is now growing from a closed corporate project to a public audience with broader expectations.

Gathering user feedback will be essential for the ongoing development and success of the project.  In this sense some of the changes for the upcoming minor release have been posted on the forum, feel free to add software requests/reviews if you would like a program to be considered for inclusion in the remix or if something bugs you.  As a rule of the thumb I include one program per category and it must have a broad appeal and/or be essential for the proper functioning/work-flow of  a typical user. Stability, functionality, user experience, security and popularity are the next criteria for review/inclusion.  In the coming weeks I’ll be looking at more contributors who can help with the branding and user interface, mainly artwork, icons, custom wallpapers, getting started guide and a logo, so stay tuned if you’re a SnowBird Linux user.

Since SnowBird is a remix based on Fedora 19, the next major release will be on the heels of Fedora 20, so I have decided to used a hybrid rolling model where the initial release will always be available on SourceForge but there will also be a continuous release where the latest errata will be applied and/or the inclusion of enhancements (deprecated, dropped or new packages). It’s most likely similar to the Fedora nightly composes but more stable and tested 🙂

One Week in the life of SnowBird

One Week in the life of SnowBird Linux 19

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