Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Fighting with Ubuntu 6.06


After some success on my laptop and using the released version, I have decided to install Ubuntu 6.06 on my main computer at the office that has been happily running SuSE Linux 10.0. I guess it is against my own advice (and common sense) to install a new software when the old one was giving you a good service, but I can't help it, I enjoy trying out new software versions (maybe I'll have to start a branch for "Installers Anonymous").

There is always a catch: My hard drive does not have space available and I really would like to keep SuSE Linux just in case. After all I have lots of stuff installed and working, like VMware or CrossOver Office and I do not know whether all these will run trouble-free on Dapper Drake (DD is the name of Ubuntu's 6.06) or not. I know from experience that VMware use to be quite picky about kernel versions.

So I needed some free space on my hard drive before I could install Ubuntu. Catch 2: I could not resize my Linux partition from SuSE Linux 10.0 as it is a mounted partition when running the system. You cannot resize a partition while it is mounted (or should I say you should not do it). Catch 3: My Knoppix 3.8 does not handle reiser filesystem resizing. So I cannot use the nice QTParted that comes with this version of Knoppix (I am almost sure this was fixed in later versions but unfortunately I did not have a copy of the latest version at hand nor the time to download and burn a CD with it). So I had to backtrack to "resize_reiser" which reduces an existing filesystem so you can later resize your partition (by the scary process of deleting it and recreating a smaller one using fdisk). Please note that a mistake here may be big trouble if your filesystem is larger than the partition space you allocate for it (be careful and double check your numbers).

I was lucky and I get 30 GB of space freed for my new OS. So I grabbed Ubuntu's LiveCD and I followed through the install process choosing a manual partitioning and creating a new partition on the room I had created previously. It all worked as expected and now I have one Ubuntu and one SuSE entries (sorry, no windows here) on my GRUB boot menu.

Once I booted Ubuntu I was told several software and security updates were available and I choose them. Catch 4: Selecting a screensaver locked the system to a hardware reset. Not a good start. But, again, the reason was poor support of my graphics card 3D functions on the "ati" driver (I know there is a better driver choice but that was the default I got from the install).

I have used the same /home partition I was using with SuSE so all my data and configuration is there (almost). I was using KDE with SuSE and now I am using Gnome with Ubuntu so some othe desktop icons are not working as they are calling the wrong binaries (it's time to tidy up the desktop a bit).

While I am pleased with the tools I have got installed; I realize I need to install some extra applications. For that, I have found very useful the information on this guide. I have installed the following software for the moment:
  • Texmacs scientific document editor.
  • Lyx (a latex front-end) text editor.
  • Gnuplot (I use it a lot for simulation graphs).
  • gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3 (guess what it is for :^)
  • flash-nonfree firefox plugin (so I can browse your youtube videos)
  • inkscape (a great SVG graphics editor)
Oops, I have also installed the weather/temperature applet on the top panel and it shows a storm sing and I have to bike home ... I better hurry up.

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