domingo, 16 de diciembre de 2012

RMS calls ubuntu spyware. Ubuntu fails at damage control

Many shall wonder what use is there for this blog. The story goes as follows: This year I upgraded my old ubuntu 10.10 to 12.04, and after going through various shocks, I actually got used to it. And the unity desktop. This upgrade made me interested once again in sharing bits of knowledge about ubuntu, and opining about foss.

Little did I know that after I finally decided to start the blog. I learned that ubuntu was going to include ads later. That is such a turn off. All my motivation was killed. Really. What will I do now? Continue promoting ubuntu and just tell people to uninstall the adware? Look for a fork? Like I mentioned, I liked unity and I wanted to promote it. But now what? So that explains the lack of content from this blog.

Today I have to say more things about Ubuntu's Amazon adware

RMS does not like it

Anyone not shocked about Richard Stallman calling it adware and generally not being happy at all about ubuntu's new "feature" Probably did not know Stallman or the new Ubuntu feature too well. - Ubuntu Spyware: What to do?

Ultimately, RMS is right, you know. It is spying all your desktop searches. It is spying your desktop searches to provide a feature that is not really that useful - To fill your desktop searches with amazon adware.

The highlight of the whole text is this:

If a sufficient part of our community's opinion leaders view this issue in personal terms only, if they switch the surveillance off for themselves and continue to promote Ubuntu, Canonical might get away with it. That would be a great loss to the free software community.

That is that continuing to promote Ubuntu because "you can just remove it". Is a very selfish way to do these things. Because not every user out there will be proficient enough to know that it can be removed.

What RMS does not know, is that despite the opposition to this feature. Despite that the new common new user reaction to ubuntu is "How do I remove the annoying Amazon ads?". Canonical want more of this. New ubuntu versions are likely to become worse before improving.

Damage control: Childish

Of course, when the starter of the whole free software thing. The thing that is still ubuntu's main selling point among passionate fans, says that ubuntu has spyware and that we should stop promoting it. It causes a disturbance in the plans of those who intended this feature to just slip away. It was time for damage control.

My first experience with damage control was actually quite poor. This ubuntu forums thread: . In which someone calls Stallman's article FUD and leads us to the Ubuntu privacy another post leading us to Mark Shuttleworth's old blog post about the feature.

The privacy policy is not that much comfort because it mentions nothing about the desktop searches that are being sent to Canonical's server even though Mark Shuttleworth says that they are sent to Canonical's servers. Does this mean that the searches are sent to Amazon and the blog post was wrong? Does this mean that the privacy policy does not protect our desktop searches? I do not know!

The blog post is not comforting either, it is just some of the common defenses of the amazon adware feature. (These defenses miss the point.

Let us call RMS' article FUD. That makes sense does not it? Except RMS' post contains no Uncertainty or Doubt. What is left is Fear. It is unfortunately, founded fear, because ubuntu is sending your desktop searches to canonical by default. And that was confirmed by Shuttleworth himself.

I thought. Ok, those are not official Canonical stances about RMS' post. Let us wait to see what happens. I did. And I was not impressed

"As a response to RMS speaking out against Ubuntu about its privacy-violating integrated Amazon search results, which he considers to be spyware, Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has addressed RMS's statements. In his reply, Jono claims that Stallman's views on privacy do not align with Canonical's, that some of his statements are worded in order to 'generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Ubuntu' and that 'it just seems a bit childish to me.' The comments on the post itself are well worth a read."

The good thing about Jono is that he later apologized for the childish remark.

Honestly, if the best defense that Ubuntu supporters can come up about this is that "Privacy is a very personal thing" and that "Freedom is a very personal thing". And to say that it is just FUD. Then I am not very happy about this.

Point of the matter is that Ubuntu still sends your desktop searches through the net by default. Even if Canonical was the most reliable corporation ever, what about hackers? I mean, really. At least corporations should find ubuntu unsuitable at the moment. Because anybody in between the pipeline can learn at least the file names you are using.

What no one seems to like to admit , is that desktop searches can be very profitable information. They would just need some data mining. And since the ubuntu privacy policy makes no mention about how these searches are going to be used. The question is still out there... answer-less. Can we please have better damage control?

If you want some real FUD

We know that Canonical claim that your desktop searches are not sent directly to Amazon. But we also know that there is at least some Amazon traffic when you search from unity. I suspect that the images are downloaded from If that is the case, would not it be possible for Amazon to still track what sort of things you search in your desktop?

miércoles, 24 de octubre de 2012

Not your usual "Banned from Diablo 3 for using LINUX" post

(Update) November 15-th / 2012

Received a phone call from Blizzard entertainment to clarify me that the mistaken ban had nothing to do with Linux and was due to an issue with their tools.

I perceived the phone call as a request for me to stop annoying Blizzard by posting about this, so I will stop now (sort of good mooded at the moment for the refund and free license, you know).

(Update) November 14-th / 2012

I actually got unbanned. As you can see in this post, after my first support ticket was denied I didn't really insist on the topic and made a new purchase. So two weeks later I receive the surprise that they found evidence that the ban was a mistake and that they were going to refund the second purchase (they did).

I guess the Diablo gods blessed me. I think that what helped me was that I found the specific warden/WINE bug that affected me and I knew the actual date in which I fixed it. So I mentioned it in the ticket. Even though the ticket was dismissed quickly, I guess they paid a bit more attention later.

Original Post

I have something to confess. This month I went to the US. And taking advantage of the possibility to finally buy original games at the fairish markup of 60.00 USD, I took two copies of Diablo 3 (one for me and one for my brother). We have already played the Starter edition (more game companies please do this: offer a limited, but not time-limited version of your game for free). so I knew it was likely I was going to enjoy it.

I also knew about the fuss there was in July about WINE (LINUX) users getting banned from Diablo 3. But I researched. For starters, Blizzard public face Bashiok said that you won't get banned for using Linux and that only cheaters were getting banned. Then I tried to find if after these July reports more people were getting banned. Some Linux users even in July were reporting that they were not getting banned. It seemed to be worth the try. I really dislike having to reboot windows just to play a game.

Ever since playing the Starter Edition, I had some glitches when playing in WINE. From a sporadic login issue (freeze). Logging out taking very long time. And "partial" disconnects. Although you are able to play the game, using interface elements outside the game would crash in some 150 seconds. It was annoying, but I could still play.

Last week, patch 1.05 of Diablo 3 was released and suddenly, I was not having those issues. I was able to use all features normally. Able to log out or close the game in an instant. Able to leave the gold auction house open for a while and monitor my sales of mediocre items for a couple of thousands of gold. It was wonderful. I was very happy that they made BNET more stable and that it improved WINE compatibility!.

Not really. Because some 24 hours after, I started to get the issues again. Until Sunday 21-th when I was really tired (after seeing how the game is supposed to work, you no longer can stand the partially working solution). And put on my WINE bug investigator hat. I decided to try to google for the sympthons individually. Sometimes I would get a freeze at a stage of the logging in process. So I found a WINE bug report. Diablo 3: Hangs on "Authenticating Credentials". It was... clarifying. The people in the comments were able to confirm that there were issues with Warden's connection getting lost because of some memory management issues when WINE is run in some 64 bits versions of Linux/GNU distributions that have more than 2GB. I happen to be running exactly that, ubuntu 12.04 64 bits with 4 GB of RAM. This Warden issue would then cause many symptons that were exactly like what I was experiencing. The handy WINE experts even came up with a solution : "setarch i386 -3 path to diablo 3.exe". I tried this solution and voila! Issues gone!

I had fixed my issues... but then terror had invaded my heart in a way much worse than any of the silly (and kind of comical) story of Diablo 3 could... That day I learned that all this time I was managing to play Diablo 3 without Warden's approval. Warden being the infamous automated cheater detection software that bans people automatically was quite a concern. This explains why it all was working for a while after 1.05 - Warden happened to have been just disabled for a while after the release.

If I was smarter than I am. I would have given all my gold and better items to my windows-using brother and wait for my ban. For some reason I kind of harbored the hope that Blizzard would figure out that warden stopped crashing when I was playing and that they would leave it all behind. That was foolish. As I was banned yesterday.

Appealing the ban is completely ineffective

This part of the story is quite common. I received an email that I have read in the past. It is the exact same email everyone banned because of warden's "findings" find. "Account action needed .... Blah blah blah.... Reason : Unauthorized third party apps" blah blah blah."

Blizzard includes an appeal process for the account ban. But I could not feel hopeful about it. Because I have already read exactly the same response I had. "An additional review" was done and they "confirmed their initial findings". Funny though. Because I sent my support ticket late in the night when Tech support is not at work and I received my reply 15 minutes after the tech support starting work hour. It is hard to believe that they really analyzed all the details I sent them. Including my findings about the WINE-Warden bug that caused me to unknowingly play diablo 3 without warden. The bug report thread and how I fixed it by Sunday.

I now feel fairly certain that the reply about the "additional review" is completely automated. I really doubt Blizzard tech support really have time to deal with all the ban appeals. Or that they really care. (What is the economic incentive? Banned players have already paid for their accounts, and if they have to buy a new one due to being banned, it is more profit).

It is not really Blizzard's fault... At least not 100%

This is the part that you will find unusual about this post. Since I know the exact cause of the ban, I cannot really blame Blizzard or feel ultra offended for losing 60 bucks.

The issue that caused Warden to fail is a combination of random factors. Using a 64 bit Linux OS, having more than 3GB of RAM. I bet things like WINE version and connection speed may have an effect too. Linux is not a supported OS. Which means that Blizzard do not have any duty to fix any Warden bug in these settings.

Also consider some perspective. If Warden stopped working then Blizzard have record that you (intentionally or not) bypassed their cheater protection. How exactly can they know if it was intentional? What if I am really a cheater that is just taking advantage of the Linux / WINE issues to bypass protection? The terms of service which I signed entitle Blizzard to be as paranoid as they want and to ban whoever they want.

I cannot really blame blizzard. They have to rely on Warden blindly. Else they would be admitting their security measure blows and is full of false positives and negatives. Without their automated Warden, Blizzard would really have no defense against hordes of cheating apps.

Not WINE's fault either.

The problem with software like Warden is that it is very secretive. And probably have to rely on very specific operating system tidbits. It is by definition something that WINE developers cannot even test. If it relies in obscure windows functions, then it is more likely than not that WINE will not work the way Blizzard expect windows to work.

In this regards, I find it impressive and very nice that previous games that used Warden have not come up with similar issues. Warcraft III, Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft are some of the best games you can run almost flawlessly in WINE. It is too bad that Diablo 3's warden is potentially more drastic (and bugged) and thus has had these issues.

It is really my fault

Let us see. I knew there was a big risk of getting banned. I knew that Blizzard relies on a terrible automated cheater detection software which who knows if WINE can really support. I also did not bother to fix issues that I could have fixed the first day. The setarch workaround was available long before I started playing the Starter edition version.

What I lost

I do not really make a big deal out of the 60 dollars I spent. I take these 60 USD as not wasted but spent in at least making WINE better and hopefully my info can prevent others from getting banned too. I am gonna get a new account and play from windows because Diablo 3 turned out to be very fun. Specially playing it with my brother.

What I really lost today is simply put, the ability to run the game from Linux. Dual booting is really an annoyance. I have not booted my windows copy in years, and since diablo 3 is only I will have to make sure windows is clean of anything that would clog my connection. I will also really miss the ability to run diablo 3 in a window while I browse the Internet or use my favorite Linux apps.

I even think that since I was able to run D3 is a very minimal desktop environment with no other apps and just a terminal window, I might get worse performance in windows.

To be honest, I think two ways of freely playing a good and fun game (This is the best work Blizzard have done in years), at the comfort of my Linux setup. I think it was worth the 60 bucks.

My conclusion

If you are planning to play a video game that is always or mostly on-line. And the video game has a draconian automated cheater detection program that is known for making false positive and is trigger-happy about permanent bans. Do not play it in WINE. Your odds are really against you. If the makers of that video game decide to ban you. There is really nothing you can do. The current terms of service give players zero to no rights. I suggest you to get games that have real Linux/GNU clients. People say Valve is going to be releasing some.

If you do not want to get banned, do not play Diablo 3 in Linux. It would be nice if this was not true, but it is.

(Update) But really...

Blizzard need to be more honest about their true stance regarding WINE and Linux. If I was not encouraged by Bashiok's claim that only cheaters were getting banned, I could have avoided this.

A more realistic and more accurate stance would be:

Linux is not supported. Although we will not ban anyone specifically for the reason of using Linux; Please note that due to compatibility issues we cannot always predict, your setup could cause false positives in our cheater detection software. We may not always be able to confirm that those are false positives and thus your account might be suspended permanently.

Things like Warden bugs that are only triggered by WINE in few OS configurations are really an issue that Blizzard have to acknowledge before saying that they only ban cheaters. I take the fall (bought a new account) for taking this risk, but the risk should be stated.

lunes, 24 de septiembre de 2012

(Corrected) Unbelievable: launchpad removes bug report #1054776 suggesting to fix AdWare feature.

Update: Seems this thread was a too quick reaction to the bug thread disappearing. The thread is back and further verification indicates that a user without affiliation to Canonical or any project hid the bug thread until someone with higher rank restored it.

Bug #1054776, the one suggesting simply not to do remote searches on the home lens has been removed. It reached a high heat value (and thus there was a lot of interest) and plenty of support. But is now gone.



This is probably not the most open move. But it gives us a clear message. The shopping lens and its invasion of the home lens will stay in 12.10.

Thankfully, we can trust in google cache to at least preserve some of the discussion. Some highlights of what was removed:

The bug is a proposal for a specific technical change (to have shopping-lens not included in the home lens in 12.10). I suppose it's an opinion whether that change is an improvement over the current plan, but there are certainly many facts that support the proposal:

1) It's a contentious feature, evidenced by this bug.
2) It's proposed for a default-on state in a widely used component (home lens).
3) It has privacy implications when compared to the previous state of home lens in 12.04. Home lens in 12.04 doesn't send queries to remote servers, shopping-lens does.
4) Those privacy implications aren't addressed by the privacy policy: Bug #1054741
5) And the privacy implications aren't disclosed upon use of home lens: Bug #1054782
6) Also the feature itself results in a lousy user experience due to poor results (Bug #1053678) and inappropriate adult results that aren't tied to any age assertation (Bug #1054282)
7) Despite all of the above, the feature was introduced ***post-freeze*** with little community review: Bug 1053470
8) It appears that it was fast-tracked through freeze exception in spite of all the above issues because of executive support at Canonical:, which creates the appearance that community input isn't valued and that the privacy objections aren't respected.

There are just too many concerns in relation to this bug. I still think the sanest approach would be to at least postpone it to 13.04.

In addition to the privacy concerns stated above, I'd just like to add that this causes a *huge* hit to usability. There is already a lot of information presented in the dash home, and adding a stream of information that is probably totally irrelevant to a given search goes against the whole point of having the dash - namely to find stuff more easily.

Example: I keep a journal on my computer. It is a file named journal.odt. If I type in journal, I just want to see that journal (and maybe some relevant programs, like Gnome Activity Journal). I don't want to see icons for: "Hand - Deadroom Journal [2008] $7.77"; "Taylor Dupree - Journal [2011] $2.79"; "Bridge 61 - Journal [2006] $8.99"; "Jully - Journal Intime [2008] $9.99"; "Arabica - Journal [2010] $9.99"; "Dday One - Journal [2011] $2.79... and that's just one line.

That this turns every desktop search in to an advertisement threatens to make Ubuntu seem like adware itself, as vexorian mentions above, but even if one finds these options useful, the amount of clutter added to the dash home is a problem.

Making this a separate lens would solve both these issues to an extent, since if the user went specifically to the shopping lens there would at least be the assumption that the user wants to actually buy something. Integrating it with the home lens makes no sense since the vast, vast majority of times a user types something into the dash they don't want to buy something new, but rather want find something that is already on their computer.

This, coupled with the privacy concerns mentioned above (which are really, really serious), ultimately means that even a separate lens should be an *opt-in* feature - especially considering the vast majority of users will have no clue how to disable it.

Update: False alarm. It was hid by a contributor and then brought back by another contributor.

5 defenses of Ubuntu 12.10 Shopping Lens (That miss the point)

A 12.10 feature was fast-tracked and after the feature freeze of Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal. The shopping lens (via OMGbuntu). Which effectively adds what can be perceived as ads by most users to searches in the home lens. There were many reactions, including bug report #1054776 which got full heat and a lot of "affected users" in a couple of users.

It called Mark Shuttleworth to make a blog post in defense of it I think this post made more harm than good. In fact, I was on the site that looked at it as a minor annoyance (but with potential to ruin PR) until Shuttleworth's post made it clear that this was, in fact , driven by money-making purposes.

I really think that in its current state the feature has no place in 12.10. It needs to be at least tweaked (removing the shopping adverts from Home searches is a decent fix). Let us explore some of the attempts to defend this feature.

#5. You can just remove it

Sure, we can remove it. This defense misses a big point though. Ubuntu is all about reasonable defaults. While other distributions put more emphasis on you building your environment, ubuntu puts emphasis in giving something well-tweaked and well-thought for the user.

If the main role of this feature is going to be to tip and trick posts explaining how to remove it. Is it a good thing?

It also misses that the method to remove it is not transparent at all. You need to now a bit about ubuntu packages. There is no easy GUI option to just disable the ads.

And it can work both ways. It is as easy to install the feature on a desktop that does not have it as it is to uninstall from one that does not have it. Then why not remove it from the default and make users that want to do Amazon shopping opt-in by installing it?

There is also another issue . What if, as a user, I might give the shopping lens a try every once in a while. If I am forced to remove the lens so that unwanted adverts stop appearing on the home tab, I will not be able to give the shopping lens a try when I want to. Forcing the shopping suggestions on the home tab might as well be discouraging the installation of these lenses and decrease Canonical's profits from it.

#4. They are not ads because...

As seen with Shuttleworth's comment a common approach is to say that they are not ads. That this feature does not mean ubuntu is turning into adware.

Let us assume we are all being honest and that Canonical does not intend them to be ads. But for all practical matters, they can at least be perceived as ads by a good chunk of the community.

In my case, I am not able to accumulate enough willing suspension of disbelief about the claim that they are not ads. If I go to the Unity's main menu and do a search for Shotwell, starting with "Sho", and I am shown "suggestions" to buy Shoes from Amazon. It sounds like adverts.

There is also the little bit about Mark admitting that Canonical will receive money for the hits and that it is indeed the reason they are starting with Amazon. These things are intrusive like ads. Suggest a commercial service like ads and provide money to the entity delivering these searches (just like ads).

But we can spend ages talking about what is an ad and what it is not. What is clear is that there is at least a portion of the user-base who sees them as ads. And the perception of the users is important. If Canonical does not intend them to be perceived ads, then something has to be changed.

#3. People are just complaining about change like always!

Is it so? Is this change just the same as (And I quote a ubuntuforums moderator) "moving the clock applet a bit"? I think that as opposed to layout changes this change brings plenty of issues. It raises privacy and ethical and legal questions. And it threatens to make the public's perception of ubuntu as AdWare.

#2. Do not want the home lens to show results for this? Just move to another scope!

It is true. We could manually click the video tab when looking for our videos or the app tab when looking for applications. But isn't it an extra annoyance?

The current use case of the home lens is to save you time as you search for something that will obviously not have scope issues. I need Libre Office, just type Libre Office and most likely the first results will be app links to Libre Office. I type "Thank you" and the first result will be the Thank you hater video.

Why can't it be the other way around. I suspect that most of the times, when I look for things in my {Home} tab I am going to be looking for local content. The number of times I will need to manually move to a specific tab would be much lower if the shopping results were kept separate.

And an inconsistency. Many of the lenses included in 12.04 are capable of doing remote searches. But none of them appear in the Home lens. If the intention is truly to make the Home lens do everything and anything, why is it that it is only the Amazon shop offers that appear in those searches and not youtube search suggestions (Which appear in the video tab)?

#1. It will be so much better in 14.04 LTS

In addition to all the concerns, there are also concerns about how the shopping lens is not even doing its job correctly. Bug reports about it providing adult content results (and parental controls are inexistent). Or it suggesting you to buy applications that do not run in Ubuntu. Are these are all just [kinks that will be unkinked] in the future?

If the future will be so bright. Can't we just wait for the future? It is true that Ubuntu is usually an early adopter. But there is a difference between rushing to adopt an early version that is not completely polished and rushing to adopt a version that is completely dysfunctional. I think that given the circumstances, it is better to postpone this feature till 13.04 when it will hopefully be more polished and basic GUI options to disable it will be present (and the community can make up their mind about whether it should show up in home or not).

domingo, 23 de septiembre de 2012

Why and how I use a single terminal sesion to play full screen games in Ubuntu 12.04

An artist rendition of playing video games in Unity. via Wikipedia commons

I am still a gamer at heart. You know. Video games taught me how to be a better perform through cartoony violence. They made me want to become a programmer so I could make my own video games (It is not working greatly).

Using ubuntu, I have to resort to using WINE (not an emulator) to play some of my favorite games. Thus performance is not estelar to begin with, specially in latest games such as Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3.

To make matters worse, ubuntu's default desktop environment, while very useful and good for my taste, is terrible for performance. For starters, it uses desktop compositing, and at least in 12.04 LTS, it lacks a feature to disable compositing while playing full screen video games. Worse, even compared with other Desktop environments that use compositing, it is really slow.

So, what to do? Change to another desktop environment? I actually like Unity, you know.

No one said you should use only one desktop environment

Actually, since heavy duty video games tend to run in full screen mode. And since most (if not all) of Unity's features are not accessible when a full screen game is running. What we can do is install a light desktop environment and just switch to it temporarily when playing video games!. After playing the game, you can close your session and once again return to unity for work and web browsing! This is a good compromise.

No one said you should always use a desktop environment

Though honestly, when a full screen game is running, you care a lot about those FPS, and even the lightest desktop environments still use some resources. How about an even more extreme measure? How about running a single terminal window? Without any other application (background or not) running? This will really ensure most of your resources go to the game.

The how to

Those selectable X desktop sessions work in a transparent way by using configuration files with extension .desktop in the system directory /usr/share/xsessions/. We can create one of our own that just runs the terminal program. Open a terminal and type the following command (Starts text editor gEdit with administrator rights) and creates a terminal.desktop file at the location we want).

sudo gedit /usr/share/xsessions/terminal.desktop

Type this:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=This session logs you into Terminal

For further optimizations, you could try to create your own Icon (and complete the Icon= filed). You can also use a different terminal command, I use gnome-terminal because it is good enough and it comes preinstalled in ubuntu.

Save the file. Close your user sesion. In the login screen, find the option to change the desktop sesion. An option called Terminal should appear.


Your terminal sesion will probably look a little messed up. The window will be misplaced and there will not be a title bar. It does not matter, we are not doing this for the looks, just to be able to type commands.

You can customize the terminal a little. Create a new terminal profile that will be used for this desktop sesion. If you called the profile "DesktopTerminal" you can make the terminal sesion start with it by modifying the .desktop file and putting this in the Exec= field:
Exec=gnome-terminal  --window-with-profile=DesktopConsole

In order to exit from the terminal sesion. Just type the exit command and press enter.

You would need to know how to run your favorite games through a terminal. I use .sh scripts. Like this script that is conveniently saved in my ~/scripts/

#Change the CPU frequency model to "performance", it keeps the CPU in fast mode
cpufreq-selector -g "performance"
#This fixes some sound issues in WINE games:
rm -r ~/.pulse ~/.asound* ~/.pulse-cookie
# enter folder and run starcraft II without output
cd "/home/vx/gamestuff/StarCraft II"
WINEDEBUG=-all wine "StarCraft II.exe" > /dev/null

Even more

This is more advanced, but since games might be buggy in WINE, you might need some control of things whilst trying to play. You can press Alt+Control+F1 and a different kind of terminal sesion will appear. These terminal sesions, cannot run graphical applications but it can do everything command line. (To return to your screen press Alt+Control+F7 (or perhaps F8, F9 or F10 depending on the screen).

From the special terminal sesion, you can execute commands while your WINE game is possibly frozen. A useful command is: "pkill wine". Which will kill all instances of WINE and allow you to exit the game if it is locked.


Hello all. I am vexorian a.k.a. Victor Hugo Soliz Kuncar. A perpetual computer science student from Bolivia. I have been feeling like making a blog about free software. Free as in beer and -most importantly- as in freedom. Lately I switched to Ubuntu 12.04 and so far I liked it. But such a switch (I did not upgrade since 10.10) was a little tough to do and full of change. I think the FOSS world has been getting interesting and I have a lot of things to say. A blog was inevitable.

About me, well I have been using free software since the 2000s and switched from windows XP to Ubuntu around 2005. Since then it has been quite an adventure. Me, a former hard core gamer had to be used to Linux's things. Some of my experiences were good, some not that much. I enjoyed the gnome 2 days. Battled the mono pushers. Came to really understand what free software is about. And developed a free software game called Xye. Mind you, I think it is lacking in interface, but I will keep on improving it and the dream lives on. But I see myself more as a user and advocate than a developer.

Using Ubuntu Linux/GNU all this year was not easy in this locked-in world. I had to deal with issues in regards to hardware. Software requirements at college. And other hindrances. But I managed to become a full time user. Now I would like to share some stuff I learned.