*** Please stop by the new home page for new and updated content. ***
My Experience With Ubuntu Feisty Fawn
Installation, Configuring, Ramblings...
May 24th, 2007
Last time I took a look at Ubuntu I was impressed but didn't think it was quite there yet. With the release of version 7.04, I decided to check out Ubuntu again. First hint, I was impressed enough that I'm using it full time on my workhorse computer and it has replaced Suse 10.2 on my laptop. The purpose of this article is simply to provide the semi-geek with a hint of what they might expect if they also decide to give Ubuntu a try (and maybe even a how-to here and there). This article assumes some familiarity with Linux as there are no in-depth explanations of what an app is/does.
I don't even test an OS until I do some research. Here are the main pages I checked out:
Step #2: (see my computers for computer specs)
My first install was on my laptop. My laptop also boots XP and Vista. I decided that I would let GRUB manage the booting. I did a full backup using Acronis True Image then repartitioned my disk with about 18 gigs of free space (see pic below). I'll be using a single partition ( / ) for the install to make backups easier to manage.
My second install was on my "Workhorse" computer (used for email (managing contacts & calanders), web surfing, IM, downloading, etc.) Ubuntu is the only operating system on this machine.
I've also decided to use an Ubuntu 7.04 DVD. Fellow 'nix users who've come around here before know that, well, lets just say I "dislike" the Gnome desktop and I know that I want to use KDE. So why not just use Kubuntu? Like I said, I did my research. First there are several tools that are better under Ubuntu/Gnome than under Kubuntu/KDE. Second, many of the guides / how-to's will tell you how to do things under Gnome. Third, there are a few Gnome apps that I like. So, I can afford a little extra disk space for those reasons..
- Boot DVD ( Choose - Start or Install Ubuntu ), install 2GB swap and 16GB / (on laptop).
- On first boot run updates. Then install KDE. It is this easy: Open a terminal and type,
sudo aptitude install kubuntu-desktop , hit Enter, type password, hit enter, answer Y to question, hit enter. It was done in 5 minutes.
After the install it'll ask what desktop to prefer, choose KDE.
- Reboot using KDE, fire up Synaptic Package Manager and hit "Reload". Choose all the apps I want to install / uninstall.
Secondary Partitions - On Workhorse I mounted 2 other partitions (previously created using an Acronis Boot Disk) to my home directory and changed permissions on those partitions to me.
Software sources - Adept Updater is configured properly and is running fine, updates available. Synaptic Package Manager is installed, sources already configured!
Wifi - Knetwork Manager is up and running. Switched to neighbors unsecured network to check wifi access, everything works great!
NTFS3G - For the laptop I got NTFS3g via Automatix. These partitions are available via /media (or the Media icon in the toolbar) Checked mounting and read/write access, everything OK.
Graphics Driver - latest Nvidia driver installed, nothing to do!
Power Scheme - changed configuration to my liking via applet in control panel.
Samba - Check "Remote Places". Hmmm... I can browse to and access everything on my network (with user/password). I don't feel the need to share from this box so no configuration needed! Log on to windows computer and copy docs/music/files over.
Firefox - Using Swiftfox via Automatix on Workhorse and Firefox on laptop (Automatix doesn't seem to have a core /duo build, might try manual install later). Transferred bookmarks from other computers and set prefs. (Installed Opera too, for the heck of it)
Thunderbird - I got Thunderbird 2.0 via Automatix. On the laptop I'll be sharing a profile on a FAT32 drive with XP and Vista. Start > Run > type thunderbird -P > create new profile and point to folder "tbird" on FAT 32 drive.
Sunbird - Not available on any repos that I can find. Downloaded Sunbird from Mozilla and extracted to a folder called Sunbird on the FAT32 drive on laptop, and secondary partition on Workhorse. Start > Run > type /drivename/sunbird/sunbird -P > create new profile and point to new folder "tbird" on FAT 32 drive. Create desktop icon for Sunbird.
GAIM - Installed GAIM (beta) via Synaptic Package Manager. Configured plugins and prefs. Pidgin isn't available right now in any official repos, no biggie since there isn't any real changes since the last GAIM beta.
MySQL - I'll be using MySQL for my Amarok database (better/faster than SQLite). This requires some very quick and easy steps. Install MySQL via Synaptic Package Manager. The next instructions were found at Ubuntu Documentation and the Amarok Wiki. Lets make this easy, this is a copy/paste from my terminal window (only the names were changed to protect the guilty). A couple of notes: Please read the info at the 2 aforementioned links, all commands must end with a semi-colon, and, you can stack commands ( I didn't to make things easier to understand). What you need to type is in bold, when you need to type a password it is in bold/red. It's OK to copy/paste just make sure to change what is in red.
Amarok - Install via Synaptic Package Manager. Open Amarok > go to Settings > Configure Amarok > Collection > under Database choose MySQL >
Hostname = localhost, Database = amarok, Username = amarok, Password = what you entered above after IDENTIFIED BY. Also, it successfully connected to my iPod.
(Amarok configuration window, click for larger image)
KDE, etc.- Install saved fonts from another machine (similar to MS core fonts). Turn off most GUI effects, configure desktop (create icons), remove applets from toolbar. Configure K3b.
Backup - Boot from Acronis Boot Disk and run Acronis True Image. Save image ( just the / partition and MBR ) to network folder. Attempt restore via same method...Successful!
(click on thumbnail for a larger image)
Most of these comparisons will involve the other operating systems I use; XP, Vista, Suse 10.2.
- I really wanted to install Ubuntu 7.04 on my computer but their RAID support just plain sucks. Suse 10.2, did it without a hitch (no "config'ing"), all XP and Vista need is a driver on floppy or USB key.
- Compared to Suse 10.2 the installer is horrible. Harder to use and less options.
- The admin panel "System Settings" is lacking. Ubuntu desperately needs YAST.
- Gnome is the default OS and the base of Ubuntu.
- The "Kumbya" lets all sit around the fire, hold hands, and sing 'happy' songs aura around this distro. Frack it's irritating.
- Laptop support and setup was perfect.
- Easy multi-media support.
- Popular enough so that tech support shouldn't be too much hassle.
- The absolute best Linux to Windows networking I've seen yet. It just works, right out of the box.
- Very strong and growing user community.
- It's free, fast, secure, stable, and easy to use once it's up and properly configured.
- It ain't MS baby, and it doesn't sign contracts with them either.
TweakHound - Optimize Your Computing Experience!