Monthly Archives: November 2009

Upgraded to Ububtu 9.10 two ways

I just spent some time installing and working with Ubuntu 9.10  I tried the installation two different ways on separate machines. The first attempt was an upgrade from 9.04 on my IBM A31 laptop. I have the IBM docking station and I did the upgrade with the computer docked. That helps to make sure the right drivers are installed. I got the notification of upgrade on screen and clicked through and let the upgrade do its thing. I really appreciate the stability of this upgrade process.  I forgot about it and when I came back a day later it was still waiting for me to finish the install. Usually when you walk away from an install it locks up and you have to start over.  Not this time.  The upgrade finished perfectly and I was pleased with the new look on my laptop.  The entire process took a little over an hour to perform the whole upgrade minus my forgetfulness. One part I really liked is even my Broadcom wireless card was detected and fwcutter properly installed the wireless drivers. One part that still does not work is the two USB ports on the dock.  It will not recognize them and I can’t figure out how to get them to work.  For now I have a little USB hub plugged into the top port on the back of the laptop and that will suffice for my thumb drive.


The second method I tried was a complete wipe and reload of an Ubuntu 8.0 box.  This is a generic PIII 850 mhz machine with 512mb ofriva-tnt2ram and a Riva tnt2 video card in the AGP slot. I call this my legacy box.  It gives most Linux distributions fits and they fail to install or at least the video installs wrong.  I will again share that I was impressed with the installer.  I booted from a cd I created from the downloaded image and the install process went off almost without a hitch.  I did have to swap out the old 52x cdrom drive as it would not read the cd.  That was a hardware issue not Ubuntu’s fault.  The box performs well with a default installation and loads applications surprisingly fast.  I want to take a moment to expand on the speed; performance is above average.  I am able to load applications quickly enough that I do not get impatient. No it is not as fast as my quad dual processor screaming whizz bang development pc but for a PIII it is snappy.


One feature I really like is the Ubuntu Software Center.  This is a great tool and an example of the focus Ubuntu places on the end user experience.



Here the tool provides a clean GUI that allows the novice user to find and install the applications they need.  What I really like is that the apps are arranged by what they provide and can do for the user.  The novice is not going to know the name of the application nor do they really care, they want to know that the personal finance tool is going to let them keep track of their personal finances and checkbook register.  That is the right way to organize the applications.


Kudos to you Ubuntu team.  This is a slick distro.


Distro leapfrog

As an avid, some would say rabid, Linux user and all around open source advocate, I  like to try out new distributions and see what is new.  I just recently upgraded my Fedora and Ubuntu computers.  I use Fedora 11 on my development box.  I find Fedora has the edge when it comes to balancing the needs of an experienced Linux user who wants command line and GUI. Ubuntu has the advantage with the new user.

I just recently upgraded my laptop that I use for Linux training to Ubuntu 9.10. This old IBM A31 is a rugged workhorse and is perfect for traveling and presenting.  I also use Yugma and Skype on it to teach remote classes. I’m doing my part to save the environment and drive less and hold on-line training.

For some reason people often give me old computer hardware. I guess it has something to do with my socks and sandals approach to life, but I’m not sure.  I do my best to get this hardware into the hands of people that could really benefit from it.  Any computer I give away I wipe clean and install Ubuntu as it has the best configuration for the beginner.  Besides running really well on minimal hardware, their attention to detail for the new user puts them way ahead of anybody else.

Because I’m always looking at the latest Linux advancements, I’ve noticed an interesting trend.  Fedora and Ubuntu are playing feature and refinement leapfrog.  My qualitative findings are based on my experience of upgrading and installing each new iteration of Ubuntu and Fedora and using them.  Fedora 10 was ahead of Ubuntu 8.  Ubuntu 9.04 beat out Fedora 10. My recent upgrade to Fedora 11 exceeded the Ubuntu 9.04 version.  Now Ubuntu 9.10 has a slight edge over Fedora 11.  Looking at the release notes for Fedora 12 I think they will exceed Ubuntu.

This is a good thing  The winner in the game of feature leapfrog is the end user.  With each iteration, the spiral upward towards ease of use and user acceptance gets tighter and tighter.  I predict that future feature sets for both open source and propietary operating systems will start to use Fedora and Ubuntu as the standard by which successful inteface design is measured.