Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Google Earth for Linux!!!

I've just tested the Google Earth beta for Linux with not very good results. First the install, you get a single .bin file that contains all what you need (or almost, read on). To install it you execute the downloaded file as a shell script. It will unpack the installation files and you get a nice window informing you about the install process. It does not take long.

My first attempt was on SuSE Linux 10.0 and when trying to run the software I get a complain that I did not have Bitstream Vera font installed (the message contained a link for me to install it too). I wonder why they have not included that font (if required) in the first place in the installation file. Next the program starts but it just ends up blocking the system to a hardware reset. This time I cannot put all the blame on Google's camp as my ATI Riva 128 graphics card might be the cause of the system freezing. The 3D support on the driver is enabled and Yast2 tells you 3D support is "experimental". Every now and then I arrive to my office to find the computer blocked to hardware reset and it always happens when I am away (and cool 3D shapes are being rendered on the screen by the screensaver software). So I guess I have a 3D graphics driver issue.

Next attempt was with an old computer (P3-500Mhz) running Xubuntu. Install was ok but this system is slow and lacks of any 3D capability on its VGA. Google Earth works but at a painfully slow pace, so it is useless on this system.

My conclusion for the moment is that you should only try it out if you know the Linux 3D support for your graphics card is working ok.


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