Qutemol using Cedega

Pawel over at Freelancing Science recently highlighted Qutemol, a nice looking molecular viewer that does real-time ambient occlusion rendering. There isn’t any official Linux version, but I found that the Windows version runs okay on Linux using Cedega (a version of Wine that has better DirectX support, especially for games). Since Cedega is based on the Open Source Wine code, you can compile your own command line version … but it’s a good idea to buy a maintenance subscription from Transgaming and support it’s further development, if you can afford it.

Here’s a screenshot of Qutemol running under Cedega on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon, just to prove it.

Qutemol running under Cedega

No, it’s not Photoshopped … (or GIMPed) … 🙂

Google Desktop for Linux Released

Google Desktop for Linux has been officially released. It’s a real-honest-to-god native linux application, and doesn’t use Wine like the Linux version of Picasa.

I’ve just installed it on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn from the Google Linux software repositories, and while it’s currently only indexed about 1 % of my files, my initial tests suggest it is pretty slick … a quick Ctrl-Ctrl, and up pops the search box. Apart from all the things I’d expect, like indexing the content of pdf files, directories like “/usr/man” are included on the default path list, so I presume it also looks inside man pages. One problem I’ve noticed so far in my very quick testing is that it seems to not follow symlinks to directories and won’t let me add them as paths to index. The effect is that my “/home/perry/documents”, which is actually a symlink to a larger partition, does not get indexed unless I add it to the path list with it’s real path.

While there are already similar offerings for Gnome (eg Beagle) and KDE (eg Kat), my gut feeling is that Google Desktop will be my preferred option for the moment. Maybe one day we will get lucky, and Google will even make it FOSS (not holding my breath though).

SDF Public Access Unix celebrates 20 years



The Super Dimensional Fortress Public Access Unix has now been in operation for 20 years ! SDF is a non-commercial member supported BBS, which offers free accounts with Unix shell access, and a friendly and vibrant community.

I’ve been a ‘lifetime’ APRA member for a few years now, and have been using SDF for some lightweight web hosting (CGI in various flavours is supported). It’s really handy to have a reliable shell account somewhere out in the aether to check network connectivity from, and my interactions with the community have always been fun. The photos in this post show one of my aging PCs, proudly displaying an SDF sticker.

To get a free account and check it out for yourself, telnet to sdf.lonestar.org and login as new.

Happy Birthday SDF !!


(yeh, I know I labeled this ‘linux’, and SDF actually runs on NetBSD. Different OS, similar audience).

Flash Player 9 for Linux released : Quick install for Ubuntu Dapper

Adobe Flash Player 9 is finally out of beta ! No more feeling like a second class netizen on “flashy” sites !

Here’s how I installed it on Ubuntu Dapper (the package is for Debian Sarge, but seems to work fine):

Download flashplugin-nonfree.

Use right-click, “Save Link As …” and save it to \tmp.

$ cd /tmp

$ sudo dpkg -i flashplugin-nonfree_9.0.21.78.4~bpo1_i386.deb

(you’ll be prompted for your password, and once you provide it, the install should happen)

You can check if it worked by typing about:plugins into the URL box in Firefox. You should see something like “Shockwave Flash 9.0 d78″ on that page.

Now go view some F-F-F-Flash cartoons 🙂 (I don’t think Homerstarrunner requires Flash 9, but it’s the only Flash site I use on any regular basis)

Changing "Illustration" to "Figure" in OpenOffice Writer

I’ve decided to try and use OpenOffice Writer properly .. like take advantage of some of its more powerful features rather than just using it as a text editor with formatting.

For drafting manuscripts of scientific papers, pictures/photos/illustrations etc are usually referred to as “Figures”, however when inserting a picture via “Insert -> Picture -> From File ..” the default behavior of OpenOffice is to use the caption “Illustration”. This will not do.

From the OpenOffice Writer Guide, Chapter 8 [pdf], here is how to get it to use “Figure” by default:

• Open the “Tools -> Options –> OpenOffice.org Writer—> AutoCaption” dialog box.

• Under “Add captions automatically when inserting section“, check
OpenOffice.org Writer Picture, and make sure its checkbox is ticked.

• Under the Category drop-down list, enter the name that you want added,
eg, Figure, in the place by overwriting any sequence name in the list (it will probably have “Illustration”, before you overwrite it.) I also like my Figure label bold, so I also selected “Strong Emphasis” from the “Character Style” dropdown box. Press OK to save the changes.

Now you can insert a Picture using “Insert -> Picture -> From File ..” and the label should be “Figure”, not “Illustration”. The picture comes in its own frame, and you can edit the figure legend directly in the document.

Hmmm … Latex is not looking so bad again ….