Archive for June, 2009


When I ran update-manager -d and updated my system to Karmic Koala, I was a bit surprised to find that my Gnome Sword 2 had switched to Xiphos, and that BibleTime for KDE was also installed. Being nosy, I had to check the Xiphos website to find out what was going on.

Xiphos is the new name for Gnome Sword. It is a Bible study tool for Linux, Unix and Windows, written under the GNOME toolkit. It uses modules from the Sword Project to provide a rich environment for studying and reading the Bible. It can be accessed via Applications > Accessories > Xiphos Bible Guide.

Here is a screenshot of Xiphos in operation.

As you will note, I am using the New English Translation (NET). For this, I had to download the modules from, and pay $19.00. As part of the normal Crosswire (Sword Project) ftp site, modules Netfree and Netnotesfree are the free version. I found that I liked the notes available in Netnotesfree so much that I was willing to pay to have the complete Bible study notes. Others may wish to use the available study notes which can be downloaded without cost.

I have found Xiphos and its predecessor (Gnome Sword 2) to be easy to use and very helpful. Several of the modules you will want are available in the Ubuntu repository, immediately added when you add the English language module. All you need to do is go to the Synaptic Package Manager, search on sword and select what you want.

I highly recommend Xiphos if you are in the market for Bible study software.

Karmic Koala Alpha 2

Karmic Koala, the upcoming version of Ubuntu Linux, was made available as a second alpha release on June 14. As always, the warning is given: do not install it on production machines.

To upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty) on a desktop system, press Alt + F2 and type update manager -d into the command box.

Some of the new features in Karmic have not appeared yet, since development recently started. Currently the changes include the new Linux kernel based on 2.6.30, the latest development release of GNOME (2.26.1) and the sync of packages from Sid (Debian Unstable).

Karmic uses GCC-4.4 as the default compiler. It also uses the new ext4 file system by default for new installations of Karmic.

GRUB 2 is the default boot loader for new installations of Karmic, replacing the previous GRUB boot loader. If you are upgrading rather than installing a fresh system, GRUB will not upgraded at this time.

Karmic Alpha 2 can be downloaded from here, if you wish a fresh install.

I personally have updated from Jaunty to Karmic. It took me some time to make the decision. I love the way Jaunty “just works.” I wasn’t looking forward to introducing breakage into a system which I had just set up to work perfectly. However, I told myself, testers are always needed.

So far, I am astonished at the low level of breakage. My screen resolution is correct. My mouse cursor works. The sound works. Guys, have you forgotten that this is supposed to be a freaking alpha? 😉


June 2009

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