Friday, November 25, 2005


Hmm, yeah so not much happening at the moment. I'll be in Israel from mid December until the end of February, so I've got a metric tonne or two worth of things that I need to do to get ready, and as usually my sleep/awake hours are somewhat messed up ( as a clue, this entry was posted before going to bed, not after waking up :) ). Ah well, it'll all get done in the end.

I've also been doing some investigating on the camera front. I've got a Nikon FM10, but I really want a digital camera for my trip. The digital camera I've been using doesn't actually belong to me, and won't be available for my trip so it's time for me to purchase one.

So far I've got candidates from Nikon, Canon, and Panasonic. The Nikon Coolpix P1, Panasonic FX-9K, and Canon PowerShot A620 all look like really good cameras. The Panasonic looks to have the edge size wise, which is important since I want something I can stick in a pocket. The Panasonic also has image stabilization, which is crazy cool.

On the Libranet front, I hope to be able to post something more official soon, but basically the operation is shutting down. I don't know if this will be permanent or not, but it's the situation for now. I'm not a business man, and I can't run the company on my own so it's really the only choice for the moment. There is a possibility of finding some outside involvement to give Libranet a good kick in the pants and get it going again, but I'm not going to be able to even investigate anything along this path until I get back to Canada next spring. Still, if anyone out there is seriously interested (or knows of someone who is interested) in getting involved in the GNU/Linux world in a big way, don't hesitate to let me know.


David Pastern said...


Might I suggest this site for excellent reviews on digital cameras:

If you want more options, then might I suggest a Canon eos 300d digital SLR? This thing is tiny, not as tiny as a non SLR digital compact, but still very tiny, and very light. Personally, I found it too tiny, too light, and (for what I want) way too poor build quality. But then, I use a pro Canon eos1n 35mm SLR ;-)

I don't know how seriously you take photography, or what your needs are, both of those will deeply impact on the type of digital camera that you'll consider.

RE: Libranet, sad, but I understand. Best wishes no matter what you do.


Tal said...

Good site, thanks for the link.

I'm really not looking for an SLR. Going DSLR jumps me into a whole new size and price bracket. I'm looking for something easy to use and that I can shove into a pocket. That being said, I do like the ability to play with exposure, white balance, manual focus, etc.

David Pastern said...

Yeah, that site is damn good. Be careful though, some of the image files are HUGE!

Most digital compact cameras are pretty good these days, 4mp is fine for most people, and for most images, unless you wish to either go semi-pro/pro or blow your images up to sizes larger than A4.

I just check the A620 powershot out, and it looks a nice camera! 7.1mp, and it also uses Canon's "digic II" dsp. That's about the best on camera processing chip available in any camera (Canons pro and semi pro DSLRs use this dsp chip as well).

I'm a Canon man, I admit to being a Canon man thru and thru. Canon has the best autofocus in the game, bar none. And the most accurate as well. I remember an issue of Popular Photography (US mag) a few years ago, comparing accuracy and speed of AF and Canon absolute beat the leaving hell out of the opposition. That said, Nikon makes some good stuff as well (I'm not totally biased lol).

Let me know what you end up getting.


Anonymous said...

The A620 is very good. Or if you want to save a few $$ go for the A95, which is the older model. In fact this is what I did. You lose nothing in terms of meaningful features, practically the same camera. Very solid, all the features you'd need if you want to fiddle and all the auto wiz stuff if you don't want to fiddle. And it fits in a pocket too.

Jeremy said...


I have a point-and-shoot Canon, and plan on getting a DSLR (probably a Nikon D50 or D70) in the near future for the really fun hi-def stuff.

What I have come to appreciate about the Canon, by far, is the flip screen. It has all the other usual bells and whistles, but personally, the flip-screen viewer is a huge feature for me, and you may want to watch for that when shopping for a pocket-sized digital cam...there are lots of manufacturers offering it; not just Canon.

A flip-screen gives you fantastic mobility and freedom with the can hold it in nearly any position - over your head, down low, whatever - and know exactly what you are framing.

Good luck, and happy shopping.

Also - I think you will find lots of support for Libranet. Hang in there.

Being from BC as well, I'm sure you won't miss the rain this winter - have a great trip :)

Travis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Travis said...

I'm fortunate enough to own a Nikon Coolpix S1 and a Canon digital Rebel. I use the Nikon when I'm on the go and want to be able to take a camera in my pocket. It is a great camera and worth the purchase price. I'm very satisfied with it and I've owned several digital cameras.

Also, as far as Libranet, I would be very happy to help in any way. I'm very comfortable with Linux and I've been an enthusiast since 95. Let me know how I can help. Let me know if you would like my email addy.


Anonymous said...

yeah libranet should die. long live bsd.

Anonymous said...

The Canon SD550 (or one its younger siblings: SD450 or SD400) is an excellent compact camera. It does have quite a few manual settings (shutter speed, white balance, exposure settings etc.) in a pretty small package.

Jason Madar said...

Hey Tal,

This is Jason Madar from Cap. Nice to see you on the front page of /. I must say I'm a little disappointed to see the shut down of Libranet. Good luck to you and your travels and please stop by the school and say hi before you go.



Tal said...

Hi Jason,

Good to hear from you. For sure I'll stop by Cap. I've been meaning to do so anyway :)

Anonymous said...

If you want to aim for low price but very good quality, check out the Powershot A95. For twice the price but slimmer and more modern in every way, look at the Panasonic LX1. It has a widescreen image sensor with hardware cropping to the format analog (and pro digital) cameras use. Plus it's retro-beautiful.

Manuel said...

Hi Tal,
I remember you from comp125@cap. I remember you also referred me to Libranet. I still have that old cd (woody days). I'm sure there's people interested out there in taking over a project that has everything to be carried on.
If you go to Cap say hi to Jason for me =P
Have a good trip.

Anonymous said...

On the camera front I can personally recommend a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2. The image stabilisator is quite nice to have, but for me it was more important to have a 6x optical zoom whilst the camera is still small enough to fit in a pocket. Together with the 4x digital zoom you get 24x zooming, but I would recommend not to use above 16x.

On the Libranet front: I do not know if you read the forum, but it would be definitely worth it, Tal.


Anonymous said...

Hey Tal:

I wish I was in a position to hold the Libranet fort for you. I will keep an eye our for you and your work. If you pass through Louisiana, look me up.

Doug Riddle

Anonymous said...

Libranet was the distro that got me over the hump of becoming a desktop Debian user and I bought that most recent version just to say thanks. I still think there's a place for a true -to-Debian desktop that's not as resource intensive as Ubuntu.

On the camera issue: Canon is no friend of Linux. What about cameras from Linux-supporting printer companies like HP or Epson?

Tal said...

Yeah, I wouldn't by a Canon printer, but they make really good cameras. In the SLR world, Nikon would be my preference, but for digital compact cameras Canons are very good. HP and Epson on the other hand are not at all camera companies. Panasonic is a bit different. They never made film cameras as far as I know, but they have been making camcorders for a long time. (Plus they use Leica lenses on their digital cameras)

Bruce Miller said...

Tal, I remain a happy Libranet user despite my silence on the mailing list for several months.

If late is better than never, please accept my condolences on the loss of your father.

It shows your maturity to recognize that the skill which you brought to Libranet was not that of managing the business. That does not take away from the expertise --- much of it yours, as the beta mailing list showed --- which has gone into the high quality of Libranet.

As for digital cameras, I am considering two of the same brands as you. For me, the situation is more complex because I have always been delighted by my old film SLR which, btw, I bought the year you were born :-). One aspect, however, is simple: the DSLR will be a Nikon because I already have several Nikon lenses.

As for a compact "rangefinder" digital camera, I agree wholeheartedly with your interest in a Panasonic. All my sources agree that "image stabilization" genuinely works. And the top quality glass yields high-quality output.

I am personally considering the FZ5, which has a 12x optical, repeat optical zoom and weighs only 225g. Downer is that it is overpriced in Canada. Try to buy in the USA, if possible.

BTW, the used camera salesman at the Ottawa branch of Canada's largest high-end camera store suggested to me on Saturday that all digital cameras, and especially DSLRs, can still not be expected to last more than 2-4 years. Even with staff discounts, he and his colleagues all buy extended warranties. He did, however, suggest that the semi-pro and pro DSLRs (e.g the Nikon D200) could be expected to last 5-10 years.

Best regards (and enjoy your time in Israel)
Bruce Miller

Anonymous said...

About linux support : just make sure you can read/convert raw files in linux :

Anonymous said...

How about releasing 3.0 to the wild? GPL the libranet parts, PLEASE!

PLEASE............... I beg of you!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it would be nice if you opened up the Libranet-specific parts of the distro to the community.

jim mcnelis said...

My thanks to you Tal. Thoughts posted

Anonymous said...

Tal,I think you're doing the right thing:Take some time to mull it over.There's a possibility someone who's an honest businessperson steps forward.

Before you give the whole thing away,think it over.

Good luck