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Linux Mint 9: Installation Review – A Not-So-Happy Story August 16, 2010

Posted by NAyK in First Impressions, Linux, Linux Mint, Reviews, Windows, Working on Linux.
6 comments

Fed up with my buggy PCLinuxOS, I decided to install the new Linux Mint 9. After burning the installation DVD image (which is just over 700MB), I decided to install it on my Lenovo Thinkpad Z60m.

The loading process of the Live DVD was relatively smooth, though it felt a little slow to load the live image.  (PCinux is still faster in the Live CD department)

I then decided to install, and it asked for the customary questions like location, keyboard etc.

I liked the new look and feel, almost felt like openSUSE’s installation process in a good way.

At the partition table point, I found the graphics a little too small and the default processes difficult to understand.  I was anyway going to the advanced option, but PCLinux’s large view size of proposed partitioning table, seemed for once, more helpful.

I choose to delete my PCLinux partition and mounted all my other Windows partitions making sure I did not format those.

I was also asked whether I wanted to import any preferences from Windows like Firefox settings and  MyDocuments from Windows. First I checked it, and clicked ok. but then I changed my mind and went back to uncheck it. Please note that at this time there was no confirmation from Linux Mint on whether my options were going to be effective.

Only after all the options were listed, did Linux Mint begin the process of actually installing, which is customary.

While the installation was going on I noticed that the wifi was not detected, and I guess it was too late to look to change that, so I thought I’d fix it after the installation is done. I was hoping that Ubuntu’s spectacular record of being able to configure my internet connection in my desktop automatically would filter into the wireless connection as well.

The installation process took about 25 minutes, after which I rebooted. I noted that Linux Mint was the default operating system, and I wished that Mint had given me the option of choosing which operating system I wanted to default. I usually (curses upon me) still choose Windows as my default operating system.

Anyway, going into Linux Mint, I just couldn’t get the wifi to work. I noted that there were no windows wifi drivers installed, but because my wireless was not detected, no way for me to install them! I knew that I had to log into Windows to figure out the problem.

…when I returned to windows, to my shock (not horror, because I had backups), my entire My Documents folder had been erased. I had other folders in that partition, and they were ok, untouched (I hope) and working, but the MyDocuments was empty. This was shocking, especially since I had never experienced something like this with Linux before.

However, when I returned to windows, to my shock (not horror, because I had backups), my entire My Documents folder had been erased. I had other folders in that partition, and they were ok, untouched (I hope) and working, but the MyDocuments was empty. This was shocking, especially since I had never experienced something like this with Linux before. I forgot about trying to fix Linux Mint and went about restoring my documents using my backups (alas they were a few days old, so I lost some of the work I did over the weekend, but not much).

I am now quite disturbed and will probably in reaction do away with Linux Mint and … install some other operating system in my Laptop. However for my desktop I will still try to persevere with Mint to see whether this is a one-off problem or an actual bug.

So that’s my not-so-happy tale with Mint, hope others met with a better fate.

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7 things making me tear my hair out after installing openSUSE 11.1 (and some good stuff) December 22, 2008

Posted by NAyK in Brasero, Confessions, First Impressions, Internet, K3B, Linux, OpenSUSE, openSUSE 11.1, Reviews, Software, Wallpapers, Windows, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
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24 comments

openSUSE 11My previous post was honest, but still irresponsible. It could have given the impression that openSUSE 11.1 was not a good distribution. I’m sure it works perfectly for thousands of people. So I admit that my problems with openSUSE 11.1 are probably only my own…  I guess I’m not that lucky to have openSUSE work on my computer… or I must be dumber than I thought. Still, AFTER I reinstalled EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING including Windows), I finally got openSUSE 11.1 working… and then I was faced with problems of ‘using’ the distribution and this is that story. In no particular order, this is a list of some of the problems I faced while USING openSUSE 11.1.

I can’t imagine how this could be universal problems… otherwise  the distro would be super-buggy… but maybe it is a problem of openSUSE not recognising my Lenovo laptop (even though it has worked fine in Lenovo for all these years)… but my experiences with 11.1 have simply been terrible.

1. Confusion over KDE 3.5 or KDE 4.1 ??? Chuck it, let’s go to GNOME… but wait, where’s K3B?

As I said in my earlier post, when I installed KDE 4.1, the window crashed simply when I wanted to change the desktop photo. So I realised that KDE 4.1 could not be my novice desktop manager of choice just yet. But after my previous experiences of crashing my entire system by just meddling with the boot configuration, I decided to work with GNOME. At least there was only one manager to work with. So what that I hate GNOME, how bad could it be in openSUSE?

Well, I was happy that the wi-fi worked in GNOME, but when I wanted to do a simple bittorrent download I found some strange program called Monsoon. OK, I thought, how bad could it be, but I couldn’t change any of the view settings… like if I wanted to see the peers who were giving the highest speeds, I couldn’t adjust the windows. Enough of that, I said, I want Azureus (VUZE). I got it without a problem, but then, when I launched it, it would crash all the time. OK, let’s go for the trusted KTorrent… and I was invited to install half of KDE base systems. But that’s ok… I needed K3B anyway… so might as well install these files, I thought. Well.. KTorrent worked fine (phew). But now it was CD burning time… and that GNOME Brasero burning couldn’t even recognise my blank CD. Instead GNOME kept openning up another CD burning app, that wasn’t allowing me to burn a CD image onto the CD. Hmm… no more waiting, let’s install K3B… but when I launched K3B… nothing happened… no launch, nothing. I was stuck, I really needed that CD burned, but I couldn’t get the GNOME CD burners to work and K3B wasn’t working. My plan, install the entire KDE base and files, which I did, and I even restarted for good-measure. And viola! K3B worked in GNOME (all it took was the support of the ENTIRE KDE interface).. surely there’s an easy way than that.

2. Back to KDE, but wait, what KDE is this???

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I switched back to KDE (3.5) because who wants to be stuck with GNOME anyway. But wait, some of the functionality of KDE was missing, especially the shut down button. There was no shutdown. I had to logout and only then shut down. Whaat? (ok, I know there’s a fix somewhere, but please, this is openSUSE 11.1 !!! should this be happening?)

3. Repair, no repair, but still repaired… whaaat?

As I admitted earlier, I am a windows – linux user (ie. I regularly dual-boot). So I need the openSUSE grub install. However, as expected, when I installed Windows ‘after’ openSUSE, I lost the GRUB, and I knew I had to repair the openSUSE installation to fix the GRUB. I ran the CD and when the GRUB was being fixed, it didn’t recognise my Windows installation. That’s strange, I thought, and I manually entered the Windows booting code, as I remembered it. But the GRUB gave me an error, and I thought I’d rather not mess with it anyway, so I cancelled the installation, it told me that things are not repaired and I went to windows hoping to deal with this problem later.

4. Movies do not play in Kaffiene… so why have it in the first place (hurray for VLC)

Even after installing all the proprietory drivers, I still couldn’t get Kaffiene, the first-choice player, to play my .avi files. I had to install VLC to do that. So, why’s Kaffiene the default if after codecs are installed, it still doesn’t play what I would want to play?

However, when I was rebooting… to go to windows… I found a brand new GRUB installed, with Windows as default. Wow, is my computer haunted or what?

5. External harddisk. My external hard-disk does not work if I do not unmount it properly from Windows. For instance, if I, for whatever reason, pull the hard-disk cord in Windows, in Linux it will not mount the system and tell me to go back to Windows to eject it properly. What?

6. Audio has disappeared

In all this… somewhere along the way, and I have no idea where, I’ve lost the audio of my openSUSE. Either it is when I installed the codecs or when I installed the whole KDE system, I don’t know, but right now I have no audio, and I don’t know why.

7. Terrible default wallpapers. I know this is not a biggie, but couldn’t there be a major revision of what we find in the default wallpapers. That would add so much more value!

(under miscellaneous… big icons, why KDE why? )

AND THE small MERCIES (What is going well)

Not everything is bad. I had to reinstall Windows all of yesterday, and it was a striking constrast to the ease of installing Linux. In the Windows world we laptop owners are spoiled by the drivers being preinstalled… but when I lost everything… including all my drivers, I realised I had to install everything, one by one…. update again and again… restart countless times… and I haven’t even got to my programs yet! So it’s great to know that Linux, and especially openSUSE is actually much more easier to install and certainly more fun. The good things

1. Wi-fi is working. No problems there.In constrast, just to get the internet working in Windows. I had to get the wifi drivers, but before that I needed three other drivers from three different locations, before I could get that driver to work. Of course that’s three restarts as well.

2. No restarts. I know I’ve already said it, but I’ve done so many installations in openSUSE and not once have I needed to restart (besides the point that I choose to restart once, but I didn’t need to… a big relief).

3. and… well… that’s it for now… once my audio starts working, and I start listening to some soothing/relaxing music… I’ll be able to identify a few more positives… I hope.

Below is a screenshot of my gnome version… I know it’s not pretty, but what to do. Gnome-linux is better than no linux.

Gnome-openSUSE

A horrific start with openSUSE 11.1 December 21, 2008

Posted by NAyK in Confessions, Firefox, First Impressions, Linux, OpenSUSE, openSUSE 11.1, samba, Ubuntu, Windows, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
32 comments

openSUSE 11In the past 24-hours with the latest openSUSE 11.1, I’ve had a horrific experience. And while I’ve not given up on the distribution, I’m putting down my experiences here neither as a call for help nor as a rant to keep people away. Rather, an honest approach spreads honest knowledge… and hopefully I will be proved wrong, and others will not make the same “mistakes?” I made. What follows is a quick historical recount of my experiences with openSUSE and also my current trauma.

History
Believe it or not, I love openSUSE and have been using it since the 9.3 days. Of course I was, and still remain, a novice. Which means I enjoy installing the new openSUSE, I try to get it working on my machine/s and then, after using it for a few weeks/days… I go back to windows, waiting for the next openSUSE release. I know this just reveals that I am a shallow linux user, without much knowledge of the system, but sadly, that IS me.

I think openSUSE 10.2 was one of my best Linux experience, it really improved from my traumatic experience with openSUSE 10/10.1. I eventually used 10.2 a lot, for a few months, as my primary distribution, and the only reason why I returned to Windows was because I needed Dreamweaver and Photoshop for important (read official web-designing). I did try the linux solutions, but I didn’t have the guts to invest company time and pages on my experiments.

Anyway… openSUSE 10.3 was quite traumatic as well, and when openSUSE 11 was released, I knew openSUSE would only improve. And it did. But then they had started promoting KDE 4 and while I liked it, I couldn’t use it everyday and shifted back to KDE 3.5. However by then it was too difficult to commit entirely to a Linux distro and I went back to Windows primarily, with occasional Linux visits.

One of the chief problems was that I wasn’t able to access my Linux files with explorerFS (the Windows based linux files viewer). I don’t know what happened, but once openSUSE could only be access FROM openSUSE, I couldn’t invest doing too much work in openSUSE in fear that I would waste too much time going back and forth.

I also was upset that I couldn’t access my Windows files from openSUSE when Windows was hibernated. This, is obviously for my safety, yet PCLinux allows this and it is really a useful feature. Still… that’s no excuses… just a reality.

Anyway… in time I suddenly realised that my openSUSE 11 started having problems with the audio. I couldn’t keep the speakers on without a feedback sound. Something like a mic feedback. I didn’t have the time to fix, so I waited for the new openSUSE 11.1

My horrific experience with openSUSE 11.1

downloading: I was one of the first people to start downloading openSUSE 11.1 (right to the minute it was released). I was waiting for it to allow me to download, kept refreshing the page, and when I got the direct ISO link I was delighted. In 2.5 hours I had the entire DVD on my disk, and another .5 hours I had the add-on disk.

burning and media testing: because I did the download in windows, I also burned the iso in windows (i usually prefer KDE). I then had to do a mediacheck in the openSUSE installation, and thankfully there were no problems in the DVD.

installation: The installation began and went quite smoothly… except I wasn’t able to connect to the internet because I am connected through wifi and I am not able to connect to my internet through the ethernet. Don’t ask me why… I called the Bell tech-support and their help wasn’t that great on this matter. (also I was running out of time, and wanted to get started, so I started without network configuration). The openSUSE installation is so swanky and cool (as always) that I didn’t pay attention to the new changes that may have been made. It’s just that things went so smoothly, I had no cause for complaint. I in fact used most of the default settings (I usually play around with the settings to get exactly what I need), because things were just going so well. The whole process took about an hour (the actual installation was about 35 minutes).

getting started: when I had my new KDE 4.1 desktop on my computer, I connected to the wifi connection without problems… which was great (openSUSE has always had a good wifi recogniser). And then got cracking with the updates (two security updates) and configuration.

desktop Configuration: that’s where things started getting buggy. I tried changing the desktop wallpaper, and when I changed it… nothing happened. Then I tried again… and the window crashed. hmmm? Anyway, thinking it was a KDE4 glitch… or a bug… I thought about reporting it… but I had to register as a new user and I wasn’t in the mood to do that… so I went to the KDE 3.5 session. and tried changing the desktop wallpaper there… and even there I had some problems, but I was able to change to one of the default pictures. I had tried installing my own picture… using firefox images right click set as desktop, but that didn’t work.

multimedia codecs: I then did the one-click install for all the multimedia codecs… and hoped I would be able to watch avi files. I wasn’t. I then had to install VLC player to view the avi files I had. Anyway… I didn’t want to get too picky… so I went to sleep with an imperfectly configured openSUSE. (ps I was able to go back to windows, as the grub recognised the windows booting).

The next day…

Boot configuration: the next day I started by configuring the boot… because I wanted to make windows the default. using YAST. Then I restarted and…

BAAM… no operating system! whaat?

I restarted again, and again, no operating system.

I was not concerned, thinking that perhaps the GRUB got messed up, so I tried to repair install using my openSUSE dvd. But when I tried fixing the GRUB, the entire C drive partition was unrecognisable. I wasn’t able to use or mount it. Hmmm.

Another try: I was a little concerned (though not that much because I had my important files backed up, but I didn’t have everything backed up, and I DIDN’T want to do a fresh Windows install because I would lose some preloading programmes). Still… I thought of a workaround. I tried using Ubuntu 8.04 to install and get Windows back… but even there the C drive was unregnisable. (I didn’t install Ubuntu as a result)

OK now I was worried… I returned to openSUSE disk and tried to install just the openSUSE installation, but it told me that the openSUSE root did not exist. Hmmm.

In effect, I was without a computer… with no windows or linux. Only solution, install linux again… I did that… and have found that I can’t access the C drive of windows… only the D and E (thankfully).

And now I have to repair my Windows installation… and hopefully that will be enough (I really don’t want to reinstall my Windows).

Ending… (or pause)… so that’s it… this is NOT a rant… just an experience-tale. To perhaps show my lack of experience.

I’m writing this from my second installation of openSUSE 11.1… and also on Konqueror because the Firefox is not working. What-the-heck? Something must be wrong… but I can’t imagine what.

Anyway, it’s back to repairing Windows and I hope I will return to tell a happier tale.

The first 24-hours with openSUSE 11 (KDE 4) June 20, 2008

Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Firefox, First Impressions, Flash 9, How-To, Linux, Open Source, OpenSUSE, Recommendation, Reviews, Software, Wallpapers, Working with Linux.
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12 comments

This is the first of hopefully the first of a few posts on my experiences using openSUSE 11.0 (with KDE 4). This post features download experiences as well as the installation review.

Abstract: Using openSUSE 11, it’s clear that we are in the company of “men” as opposed to “boys” (Ubuntu and PCLOS etc). Sadly, I find myself more a “boy” than “man” while using this distro and feel that openSUSE 11 is certainly NOT a beginner friendly distro… but made for committed Linux users and experimenters.

Brief information about my system: I am using a Lenovo Thinkpad, with (ONLY) 512 RAM and about 10 GB partition for Linux. Oh yes, I mainly use Windows XP (thus I am dual-booting).

Part I: The Download Story

Last night, at 10:00pm, I began my attempt to download the openSUSE 11 DVD using metalink. I’ve been a strong supporter of metalinks and have personally seen them dramatically improve download rates and stability. Sadly, my attempt to download the openSUSE 11 metalink was faced with failure (much like my previous attempt to dowload openSUSE 10.3 using this format). It turns out that Orbit Downloader, the programme I use to download metalinks, seems to have a problem. Whenever I tried to download the DVD (4+ GB), it would allow me to download only 243 MB. It turned out an Orbit problem because the metalink worked with DownThemALL (Firefox extension) and GetRight (a paid download manager). Sadly, each time I tried to download the openSUSE metalink using DownThemAll or GetRight, my Windows kept crashing. This was all-too-mysterious for late in the night and I finally settled to reinstall Orbit Downloader and tried to download the DVD link directly (without Metalink). This time it worked (allowing me to download the full 4+ GB). Sadly, in the morning, about 8 hours later, I found out that Orbit had only downloaded 50% and was giving my speeds of 2 KB/s!!! No luck, I saw.. and resolved to finally download the openSUSE KDE4-Live CD instead.

Part II: The installation story

By 11:00am, I had my openSUSE 11 iso burned and ready for installation. I took detailed notes on each step and the following is a step-by-step guide to what happened.

11:15am – MEDIACHECK

The Mediacheck (checking CD for defects) took about 5 minutes. And thankfully the download and burning was ok (phew!)

Sadly, when it said “press any key to reboot” I pressed any key and the computer didn’t do anything, it was just frozen. I had to do a force restart. (bug or just me?… hmmm… not a good start).

11:21am – Starting LIVE CD

Since my laptop is a little slow (512 MB), it took about 4 minutes for the LIVE CD to launch.

11:25-11:42 – Experimenting with Live CD and beginning installation (partitioning etc).

I spent some time with the pre-installation configurations, especially paying attention to the partitioning table. Interestingly, openSUSE did an excellent job to present a default partition table, but I just had to make sure that everything was alright… so I did my own configuration manually.

Interestingly for me, my time-region was not Calcutta (India), but Kolkota (one of the only distro’s I have seen to have the politically correct name of the time-zone).

11:42am to 11:51 – Installation

I was quite sad that I was using the CD instead of the DVD because there were no software options in the installation configurations (the openSUSE DVD installer has always been exceedingly excellent and powerful, giving users full control over what they want). Still, the installer was fast and the installation process was fast as well. I couldn’t imagine that the openSUSE installation could take about 10 minutes!!! earlier versions have seen me sit for over three hours during openSUSE installations. Things have changed… and that’s great.

11:51am – Reboot

As usual, the openSUSE GRUB was excellent giving me no problems. I’m quite confident that it could have recognised other distros if I had them.

Upon rebooting, the autoconfiguration got going and in about 7 minutes I had completed my openSUSE installation.

11:58am – Problems begin… mainly no internet!

I am spoiled by the “boy” distros, where internet connection is so easy, especially Ubuntu and PCLinux (and of course Linux Mint). But openSUSE really gave me the run around.

Firstly, there was no short-cut, upon installation, for configuration tool. Therefore, becasue I remembered, I went to YAST. But no matter how much network configuration I did, I was just not able to get my internet going.

I decided to use the local wireless to configure and interestingly, there was no wireless problem for openSUSE. That worked seamlessly.Except I couldn’t update on “battery” I was told! whaaat?

Anyway, I figured out that I had to use Knetworkmanager to configure, but even then I realised that I had to allow auto-host through DHCP. Well… that was a lot of trial and error and ultimately by 12:48pm, my wired network was working.

Off to lunch!

AFTER LUNCH CONFIGURATIONS…

Back after lunch, I chose to do my personalised configurations… like wallpapers and flash-plugin for firefox. But the flashplugin would install, I’d restart my browser, and find it not installed. I decided to install using the multimedia codecs downloads. But the repositories were all too slow for me… I had selected about six… so I brought them down to four: OS, NON-OS, General update, Packman And that helped.

The configuration, like Desktop etc was quite different from KDE 3.5 and needed me to get used to… still I’d rather work on this than 3.5. (Plasma, the KDE4 desktop thingy, has crashed ONLY once for me! :) )

For non-free codecs (yes, yes, I’ve sold out), the openSUSE community website has a one-click link for multimedia proprietory codecs, which was a relief.

Then began the other installations, like SAMBA and HP drivers (to allow me to work on my network) and also the other small packages, including some KDE games. But all that took a lot of time, because the repositories kept crashing (I had to keep retrying and sometimes start the whole process again)  Even as I write, that special software process is still going on, and I’m hoping it will finish in a few minutes so that I can go home.

The biggest disappointment after installation was that the repositories didn’t seem to have Firefox 3, and I had to install the manually through the Mozilla site. I haven’t had the heart to install the manual version at the moment, for fear of doing some damage. I’ll wait for all my updates and then get my Firefox updated as well.

The time now is 6:00pm… and I’m tired… and guilty… because I haven’t done much of my ACTUAL work. But still, this was fun, and openSUSE looks good, looks really good. But like I said above, the distro is not for the faint-hearted or pure beginners. I have installed openSUSE earlier, and that experience helped (because openSUSE is not like other distros). I’m still a newbie or a noob, though, and so, I have struggled where others might fly through. Still, I think the distro looks/feels solid and I can’t wait to actually start working with it… tomorrow!

For now, here’s a quick look of my desktop.

openSUSE11

Linux Mint 5.0 is Simple (in a good way) June 13, 2008

Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Firefox, First Impressions, Linux Mint, Other Distros, Recommendation, Reviews, Ubuntu, Wallpapers, Windows, Working with Linux.
Tags: ,
9 comments

Linux Mint 5.0I finally found time to download and install Linux Mint 5.0 today, and happily wiped my already-feeling-outdated Ubuntu 8.04. The moral of the story is, Linux Mint 5.0 (Elyssa) is not a “rock your world” kind of distro, but it certain is easy to use as promised.

INSTALLATION

The installation procedure of Linux Mint 5.0 was very simple. Just put the CD in and after it loads, then click install and follow instructions. The entire installation procedure took about 35 minutes, which is pretty average and expected from a single-CD distro now a days. Unlike Ubuntu though, I did have to configure the internet connection (but I do think that the Ubuntu automatic internet connection is a bit of an anomaly). I also had some problems though… but that could be partly because of taste.

1. No Media Check option before loading the CD. While CD burning (especially using Linux) is getting pretty stable, I would think a Media Check option (to check whether the CD being used to install is defected or not), would be a standard boot-screen option.

2. Slow response to commands… by this I mean, when I clicked “next”, “next” in the installation screen, often I had to wait for a really long time before the next thing happened. For instance, when I clicked “next” after the Keyboard option, I had to wait for close to 30 seconds to start the partitioner. I think that’s a little too long, don’t you think.

3. No grub edit options, as far as I could see. While Linux Mint could be aimed only at the beginner, I would think allowing the user to select which is his/her default operating system would be a good thing.

4. After installation, Linux Mint logged in with a 800×600 resolution screen. With my previous Ubuntu experience I knew what to do… I logged out… and logged back in… and got my 1024×768 resolution. I don’t know if this is a bug or just something acting up in my computer, but it sure is irritating to do it all the time.

5. Interestingly, the Migrate Assistant (The option that allows you to get your Windows user settings onto Linux) worked in Linux Mint and not in Ubuntu 8.04 (for me). However, the migration was not perfect, missing several key bookmarks and even documents.

LOOK AND FEEL

I liked the Linux Mint look. The black and green look is nice. I especially liked the Login screen (I don’t know why), but the low-down login felt better than the windowesque side-login.

Also, multiple options for wallpapers makes up for the GNOME weakness of not having a direct internet connection to upload wallpapers. Some of the wallpapers are pretty cool.

USER FRIENDLY?

Yes, Linux Mint is simple. So, I like the automatic updates detection (as in Ubuntu). However, when I needed to find Firefox, I had to go all the way through it’s multiple columns. This was harder when I was finding more complex menus such as network connection settings and even screen resolution. I would think beginners would find some things hard to find here.

One Linux Mint feature is really irritating. the default search engine (in Firefox) is a LinuxMint customized Google search. That’s fine, except many of the normal links on the Google page are missing, and I have to actually type http://www.google.com to get the exact searches I need. So far, I haven’t found out how to stop that ‘service’.

Apart from that, I like the user experience of Linux Mint. It’s font rendition is fine, and yes, it did play my DVDs and mp3s out of the box. That’s nice! :)

LinuxMint5

SUMMARY

On the whole, I enjoyed the the entire experience of Linux Mint and I can already see myself using it more than I used Ubuntu. I’m not sure why, but perhaps the overall look and feel matters and Linux Mint looks better than Ubuntu. It also feels easier, partly because it seems quite simple (from installation and usage). Still, some weaknesses remain, but that could be simply a matter of preference. I’m now looking forward to help one of my friends install this onto his system!

Back with Ubuntu: An installation review of Ubuntu 8.04 April 27, 2008

Posted by NAyK in First Impressions, Linux, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Recommendation, Reviews, Software, Ubuntu, Wallpapers, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
7 comments

Cut to the chase: Ubuntu 8.04 is good, not great (from a noob’s perspective). But some things, like internet connectivity, are just excellent! ****/***** (four out of five stars).

Introduction: For almost a year, I’ve stopped experimenting with Linux. That’s partly because I was terribly disappointed with openSUSE 10.3 (It was a disaster on my machine). But more importantly, PCLinuxOS 2007, was more than sufficient for my needs. I wrote about how PCLinuxOS was better than Ubuntu, and believed it! The only advantage I felt that Ubuntu had over PCLinux, was that it was evolving at a much faster rate; it was becoming better and better. As a result, I had to try Ubuntu 8.04. I just did. The following are my installation and first time use impressions of this distribution.

Using metalinks to download

I had use the Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop metalink to download, with the Orbit downloader. It’s much faster and more reliable for me than directly downloading the .iso (bitorrent is not accessible from my computer). Downloading the new Ubuntu took about 2 hours.

I began installing at 10:16pm

At the auspicious hour of 10:16 PM! I started installing Ubuntu 8.04 largely because I knew it wouldn’t take more than an hour. With Windows, a fresh installation can take almost 2 hours, but linux has made so many advances that I just knew it would be a quick process.

I checked the integrity of the disk, it was fine (thank goodness!), and started installation, thinking it would lead me to a live-CD as usual.

Instead, Ubuntu directly lead to me install Ubuntu, asking me for preliminary questions.

I guess that saves time, but I didn’t realise that the Live CD wouldn’t work, and I had already planned to check the system’s network compatibility and was disappointed that I couldn’t.

For partitioning I choose the manual option, largely because I was going to (finally!) wipe out openSUSE 10.3 from my system. I tried to mount the pre-defined swap drive, but it wouldn’t let me. I just had to mount (/) the ext3 partition, the one that had openSUSE, and check format driver.

Note for newbies: for those who’re going to partition their drives for the first time, and don’t want to lose your windows; you can either install Ubuntu on a free partition (like D or E), or you can allow Ubuntu to find it’s own free space. Either way, Ubuntu (and Linux) does a pretty good job of not messing with Windows. Your windows work will be safe.

One of Ubuntu’s key USP’s (unique selling points) has been to include a migration option; that takes the settings from other operating systems and imports them onto Ubuntu settings. It’s a pretty cool feature; but sadly, it didn’t work on this install. I wonder why?

Finally, question time is over…

By around 10:27pm, about 11 minutes since I began, I clicked install… and the computer started installing Ubuntu on my system.

At about 82%, (and the process seemed to take a long long time, in comparison to PCLinux), my internet modem started blinking, suggesting a download was in progress and I wondered how it was possible since I hadn’t configured my modem yet. Still, whether it worked or not, I would have liked it if Ubuntu gave me an option to connect to the internet or not. Thankfully, no damage done.

Reboot and log-in

By 10:42pm, about 25 minutes after I began the install, I was being asked to reboot. In the larger picture, this wasn’t bad, time wise.

Ubuntu has one of the best grub installs, it usually recognises all my operating systems without a problem, and so I didn’t fear the reboot process. Only, I was curious whether they had some artwork in the grub menu. They didn’t. But it was as efficient as ever. No problems there. Well done, Ubuntu! (once again).

At 10:44, I was staring at my new Ubuntu 8.04 system. And the art work, was quite nice too.

And now the test: Internet works!

Internet Connected with Ubuntu

I immediately wanted to configure my network, but I was curious why my modem blinked. So I clicked firefox and tried the internet. Whaaaaat??? It worked. Amazing. Without any configuration, Ubuntu was able to detect my network settings and work out of the box at this point. This was truly amazing and remarkable. Even PCLinux does not do that. 10 points for Ubuntu!

I was pleasantly surprised to see Firefox 3.

And I noticed that it found it difficult to mount

Windows NTFS drives… because the Windows was hibernated. Usually I don’t have the problem, even with PCLinux. But I guess there is a reason.

And finally the screen resolution… I got it to fit my preferred size. And all was fine/great.

Now getting down to work

My first project was to replace ugly GNOME with KDE. So I installed/installed all the relevant KDE packages. Success. But then, to view those changes, I restarted the computer (even though I wasn’t prompted to restart) and I saw that my screen resolution was changed to 800/600. Whaat? Anyway, I tried to change it back, but in KDE there was none of the usual options to change screen resolution. Plus, many of the features that I was used to in KDE were not available. As a result, I just logged out and made GNOME my default. Why mess with Ubuntu’s GNOME orientation? (i thought).

Back with GNOME, I was saddened that basic things like changing the wallpaper was still so complicated (or unintuitive). KDE does such an excellent job in installing latest wallpapers from the internet… why can’t GNOME? But anwyay… that’s just a late rant.

Then I tried installing some codecs, and like the previous version, Ubuntu does a good job in getting you the codecs you need. Only, once I had to install an mpg codec twice… I don’t know why, but I just had to.  So my computer can play mp3s, view movies and also view flash objects on the internet. What else do we need? :)

Finally…

Basically, I was happy to be using the new Ubuntu 8.04 and I was particularly impressed by it’s no-need-to-configure the internet process. Still, it was a limited machine, both because of GNOME and becasue of poor KDE post-install installation. But such things shouldn’t bother us here. I’d recommend this version of Ubuntu with a 4 out of 5 stars.

K/Ubuntu 7.10 vs PCLinuxOS 2007 showdown October 22, 2007

Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, First Impressions, Linux, PCLinuxOS, Recommendation, Reviews, Ubuntu, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
75 comments

(updated disclaimer: Any comparison of distro’s can be problematic because each distro has different goals and visions. However, this comparison is written from the point of view of a new (Windows) user who is looking for options to install.)

Due to limited harddisk place, and partly because of my desire to try something new, I erased my PCLinuxOS 2007 to try out the new Ubuntu 7.10 (and also Kubuntu). What I present now are some impressions of my use of both operating systems, and I must say at the onset that even though I do not have any personal stake on either distribution (I am not a fanboy), I am left feeling that PCLinuxOS is by far the best choice for new Linux users available today.

(Because I have previously talked about PCLinuxOS, this article will focus more on my experience with K/Ubuntu in relation to my past PCLinux (basic) experience. Also, since I’ve used both Kubuntu and Ubuntu (or rather I installed KDE from my Ubuntu installation) I will mix both versions together… though being reasonably aware of the look-and-feel differences between KDE and GNOME).

Installation impressions:

Ubuntu: My personal experience in installing Ubuntu’s 7.10 was quite painful, partly because I first got corrupted files from a Taiwan mirror (even though the MDSUMS were correct!). Furthermore, the installation procedure is quite long, took more than 30 minutes, where today the benchmark for one-CD linux installs must be under 30. What is upsetting however is that there was very little information as to what was actually happening to my computer once the installation started… and worse there was no way of configuring what was being installed and what not. The best thing about the Ubuntu installer is the migration assistant, which while I didn’t use this time round (I now have clear differences between what I do with Windows and what I do with Linux), it was a cool trick. The other really cool thing about Ubuntu is its GRUB installer, which recognizes everything!

PCLinux: PCLinux’s installer is also pretty unhelpful. Going for simplicity, you’re eventually left at the mercy of the machine to do what it is programmed to do. But unlike Ubuntu, PCLinux is much faster, even it’s LiveCD feels faster. The other tweaks of Ubuntu can be missed, and I was particularly unhappy with PClinux’s inability to recognise my openSUSE partition. But still, it was pretty ok.

Verdict: In comparison with openSUSE’s excellent configurability during install, both PCLinux and Ubuntu fall short. Ubuntu has more features, while PCLinux has more speed. Ubuntu = 1 point, PCLOS = 1 point

Visual impressions:

Ubuntu: I have used Ubuntu since its 5.04 days, and I must say that I am surprised that it “looks” pretty much the same. Of course there have been a world of changes, but I can’t recall the difference being so huge for the beginning user. At least since 2006, there has been no significant changes in Ubuntu to warrant immediate attention, expect perhaps the change in installation; and the bootsplash. This is not to say that the design of Ubuntu is bad. I like it’s simple, brown look. I even like the drum-roll sound, which is a change from the noisy Windows or even the strange KDE music. My only complaint is that Ubuntu doesn’t have that “Wow”.

PCLinuxOS: As mentioned earlier, my first impressions of PCLinux have been “wow”. Especially in its consistent implementation of “blue” a colour I detested before meeting PCLOS. Somehow, PCLOS does a good job visually, and while many design inconsistencies remain (like the installer, which looks very childish/cartoonish), as well as some of the graphics which look too big, PCLOS still it does look good.

Verdict: Ubuntu is more consistent, simple and perhaps even elegant than PCLOS, but PCLOS is really beautiful (esp. if you like blue!). While Ubuntu has many good design implementations, PCLOS seems better thought through and implemented. Particular in comparison with Kubuntu (which uses KDE like PCLOS), PCLOS stands far ahead in terms of visual beauty. Ubuntu = 1 point, PCLOS = 2 points.

Out-of-the-box experience:

Ubuntu: It is here that PCLOS beats Ubuntu thoroughly, but it would be unfair to compare this without mentioning something of the Ubuntu philosophy. It seems that Ubuntu is driven by “free” software, though it does have proprietory software in its repositories. Still, because Linux is limited by law to play DVDs and mp3s… without certain codecs that are not open-source? Ubuntu cannot naturally offer then out of the box. As a result, any user of Ubuntu has to install the relevant codecs before using the media. Of late, Ubuntu has simplified this process by downloading the required codec when needed (ie. if you click an mp3 file, it will ask you to download the codec). But the fact remains that to make Ubuntu fully work, you need to do a little bit of fiddling. Personally, I tried to download the codec but the message I got was that there is an old package information and I needed to reload. I eventually found out that I had to enable the repositories (for software download) and then reload. All that, after installation, took another 20 minutes.

Surprisingly, even the internet took some time to configure (I’ve never had this problem with Ubuntu), as even though I gave my correct IP address, still it didn’t recognise my internet connection. Then suddenly while doing something else, it started to work. A bit of a mystery.

PCLinux: I can’t emphasise it enough that for beginners of Linux, for those who don’t know much about the philosophical or legal hassles regarding codecs etc… PCLinux comes as a breath of fresh air. Everything works! Of course I have to enter the IP address of the internet connection (and the network needs to be configured, something that I remember I didn’t need to do in Xandros!), but all the multimedia codecs I need, even the graphics driver, are all enabled. It even recognised my home wi-fi connection without any additional drivers (it was easier to connect than in Windows!). For beginners, it can’t get simpler than PCLinux! (latest update: Please note however that “PCLinuxOS does not ship with Win32codes or DVD decryption software.” While these, like on Ubuntu can be added if you need them, I’ve marvelled at PCLOS being able to play a lot of media (even mp3) right out of the box. So I’m not saying that PCLOS is perfect, but in comparison with Ubuntu, and even Windows for that matter, it is a breath of fresh air).

Verdict: Since this is a beginner user oriented post, I must say that Ubuntu is pretty unfriendly to the beginner. It is better than it was before, but in comparison with PCLinux, it’s far far behind. Ubuntu = 0 points, PCLinux = 2 points.

Packages/Software impressions:

Ubuntu: Both Ubuntu and PCLinux have a good set of software tools, most of what one would need. However, here my preference for KDE is shown where I need (prefer) K3B than Ubuntu’s CD burner… so I have to install a few things here and there. Ubuntu also has (some good) games, which PCLinux doesn’t (Why?). And because Ubuntu is more recent, some of its software packages (like openoffice 2.3) are more recent/updated than PCLinux. Ubuntu also has an excellent update feature, that automatically checks when a software/feature needs updating.

PCLinux: It has good packages, but not games, and in comparison with Ubuntu, some older packages. And sadly, for updates, you have to go to the package manager and find updates by reloading and then applying (a bit of a pain, really).

Verdict: Of course people may argue that I’m not being fair in my comparison. PCLinuxOS is older so obviously it’s packages will be older. But one thing really good about Ubuntu is its regular update cycle. It is dependable and worth looking forward to. It keeps itself up-to-date to the latest in offering, as a result, Ubuntu keeps improving. PCLinuxOS, on the other hand, while an excellent distro, does not have that kind of release cycle (I have no idea when the next one is coming) and as a result, it will obviously fall behind. Also the update tool is excellent in Ubuntu, and much needed in PCLinusOS. Ubuntu = 2 points, PCLinux = 0 points (latest update: After some comments about the efficiency of the upgrade system, I’m upping PCLinux’s package score to 1, still below Ubuntu for now).

Usability impressions:

Ubuntu: I must say that because of its terrible out-of-the-box experience, a lot needs to be done to Ubuntu before you actually use it. And because of its preference for GNOME, it’s a bit of a culture-shock for KDE or Windows users. Using Ubuntu, therefore is not much of a pleasure, until after a few days when everything is configured, then, it’s fun to use an updated distro and keep it in step with the latest.

PCLinux: As said earlier, PCLinux is almost fully ready out of the box. We can pretty much start working on it as soon as it’s installed. Also, there’s not much configuration needed either.

Verdict: While both are eventually good products to use, PCLinux gets you (you being the beginning linux user) working faster than on Ubuntu. Plus, with Ubuntu, I suspect there is more tweaking needed in the command line than in PCLinux, and there again, PCLinux has the edge. Ubuntu = 1 point, PCLinux 2 points.

Overall summary: Obviously, if your mathematics is good, PCLinux wins the basic feature by feature impression point. Of course I’m subjective, but focusing on the new user (and some not-so-new users), the experience of PCLinux is more of a relief. I must say that PCLinux is really that good; and I’m surprised that Ubuntu has so much to catch up. Of course, Ubuntu has many great features, and the best being that it is constantly improving. Still, I’m going to be deleting my Ubuntu/Kubuntu soon and reinstalling PCLinux. Ubuntu doesn’t match up to it fully, yet.

Surfing with Windows Safari: and missing Firefox already June 12, 2007

Posted by NAyK in Blogging, Confessions, First Impressions, Internet, Mac, Reviews, Software, Windows, Wordpress.
3 comments

Call it being familiar with the familiar, but I just didn’t like the feel of the Safari browser. Now, I’m not a Firefox fan-boy. I really am not. I like Opera a lot, but it doesn’t open many of the sites I need. Firefox opens most of them, so I use it the most. IE7 obviously opens all, but come on!

Recommended only to people who want to simplify their browsing experience, not enhance it.

Installing Safari wasn’t that hard, perhaps it was too easy. Because once I went to the site, downloaded and UNCHECKED the default Apple software/update options which are really irritating, I waited for a long time for something to happen, and nothing did. Later I realised that it had already finished installing, but just failed to inform me.

Then, when I opened it, found that it did NOT ask me to import bookmarks as it promised. Nor could I figure out how to do it. Perhaps I lost out by not choosing a default install option during install, but already I was disappointed.

Safari’s default look was compact and cute, but a little too morbid (grey) in contrast to Firefox’ orange-y look (which is not thaaat great either, btw). Also, the default font made my webpages look heavier (for font rendition images see this link. But there some cute animation effects though (very Mac-ish, I’m told). It makes a funny (in a good way) addition to browsing for a (little!) while.

When I finally started using Safari, I found a few problems/discomforts. For instance, WordPress does not seem to support Safari for when you go to Code view, it messes up your new paragraph spaces. And even if you correct them, the post will be displayed without para spaces. (I had to correct this post in Firefox after typing it in Safari). Since that may not be Safari’s problem, I guess that’s not so important. I also had a tough time finding the homepage. I was shocked to discover that I had to enable the homepage icon (because I can’t image a browser without the ability to go to a homepage). Perhaps because this is beta, the designers probably felt that the crash report icon is more important than go to home page.

Actually, the biggest problem was that I found myself immediately missing Firefox extensions the most. Now I know the Mac is loaded with Extensions for Safari, I just couldn’t find any Windows ones. Thus, Windows Safari’s claim to be fasted web browser needs to be measured against an extended Firefox’s ability to handle multiple tasks, like blog-editing, calculating, video-downloading, and most importantly multiple GMail Account background checking. Plus, I couldn’t find a Showcase like feature to view multiple tabs, which was both surprising and disappointing. (IE7 even has it by default!)

Safari did have a few promising features. The increasing of the form field option was attractive, and the ability to send a quick screenshot.

Evidently, Firefox has become more of an application rather than just a ‘browser’. And so the ‘simple’ browsing of Windows Safari was actually a little too simple. I wanted more from my most used application on my computer, and Safari just could not fit the bill. To be fair, Safari is still in Beta, and the more it’s out on Windows, the more extensions it will get. But for now, I think I’ll stick to Firefox.

Summary: Very neat interface, especially in its compact use of space. Though heavy fonts and morbid default look may scare a few. The browser feels limited, lacks easy access to widgets or extensions and makes you wish you were using Firefox instead. Recommended only to people who want to simplify their browsing experience, not enhance it.

PCLinuxOS 2007 installation review and first impressions May 26, 2007

Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, First Impressions, How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, Other Distros, PCLinuxOS, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Ubuntu, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
77 comments

Never have I had such an incident free installation procedure before. Really! I’m not joking. There’s literally nothing much (in terms of problems) to report. My installation of PCLinuxOS 2007 was simple and error free. What I will say now (about installation) will be comments on certain preferences and perhaps some confusion on (my) part. However, I would say that while PCLinuxOS 2007 installation was one of the most simple and straight-forward linux installations I have ever done, it wasn’t perfect!

Installation Ease? 10/10

Speed of installation? I think I had a whole installation completed in under 30 minutes. That’s excellent, though not as fast as Freespire which I think has a record (on my machine) of about 10-12 minutes!

Configuration capability? Now there’s the problem. I guess every Linux distro has to choose between how “easy” to make an installation and how “configurable”. Well, PCLinuxOS’s installation configuration ability is not thaaaat great. It’s sufficient, but somehow, it is a little scary because when you’re messing with the partition editor, everything looks “fun” even “childlike” and the gravity of the situation just seems to be lacking. The advanced options are limited and often unhelpful. Perhaps to compare, one of the BEST installations in term of configuration was openSUSE 10.2. Now in that installation you can almost change everything (including which windows drives to mount or not)! But I guess, PCLinuxOS just saves the user the trouble and does the thinking for you. Nice, but a little frustrating to non-so-new Linux users.

Bootloader? Well the final bootloader looks pretty, and it even automatically recognises my Windows XP partition, but it failed to recognise my openSUSE 10.2. This was made all the more frustrating because while installing there was no way I could add (or figure out how to add) the full details for openSUSE which was really frustrating. Anyway, all this should not be a problem for those who work only with Windows and PCLinuxOS. I must say though, that the BEST bootloader installation is by Ubuntu, which doesn’t look pretty, but recognises EVERY single distribution that I’ve had on my machine. In fact in times of greatest frustration, I’ve actually loaded an entire Ubuntu just to fix my GRUB. OK… that suggests I’m still a noob, but it also shows how reliable I think Ubuntu’s grubloader is. (latest update: I have eventually fixed my GRUB, but by using a shortcut. Report here)

Internet connectivity? No hassles at all. My DSL modem worked fine as soon as I entered my IP address etc details.

Graphics display? I must add that PCLinuxOS has been one of the BEST (alongside Mandriva) out of the box experiences in terms of my monitor graphics display. Usually, in openSUSE, Ubuntu and any other distro I’ve tried, I’ve usually had to re-configure my Graphics display settings, and even download a VIA driver when available. And even with a VIA drivers, my Ubuntu display blinks! No such problem in PCLinuxOS. It’s working. No configuration needed. And that’s excellent. Really excellent!

Multimedia Codecs? Well, I’ve not tried everything, but so far, everything has worked; EVEN DIVX movies. Can you believe that? (Yes it plays DVDs and mp3s too) No need to install anything. I’m yet to try a Quicktime .mov file, so I’m not sure about that, but any distro that can read my .divx (which even Windows needs a software package for!) out of the box is excellent! (latest update: oops, PCLOS does not play my encrypted DVDs. It seems that is a company policy. So I found out (from a post) that if you want to play DVDs you have to install win32-codecs and libdvdcss2 from the Synaptic. When I did that, it still didn’t play DVD (only .vob file by .vob file). And then I found this post which says that the above solution is will not work for encrypted DVDs: http://www.pclinuxonline.com/wiki/PlayDVDs?show_comments=1 I even installed XINE and still it didn’t work. This is so sad.)

Look and feel? I must say that PCLinuxOS is visually a standout distro! The icons and the desktop look unified, as if they had one designer thinking it all through. We don’t get the modular design look (where many designers work on different programmes to give their own ‘personal’ and contradictory touch). In terms of other distro’s, openSUSE is pretty good, but you still have to work to make it look really good. Ubuntu is just terrible! But PCLinuxOS is just simply beautiful. It did remind me of Dreamlinux, but a better version of Dreamlinux! It even makes the blue look good (and I hate blue distros)! There is one minor drawback. I think because of the lack of ‘proprietary’ fonts, the font-display of my webpages is not as ‘good’ as on openSUSE or on Windows. Well, that can be changed, or gotten used to, but that’s just an additional comment.

Software Packages? I’ve given the packages in PCLinuxOS a quick look-in and I’m surprised that all the major programmes are there… OpenOffice 2.2, GIMP etc. But I’m surprised that the games are missing. That’s sad. Because for such a distro, the games would only help strengthen it. I know where to get the games, but I wish, especially if/when I were to give this distro to a newcomer, the games were already there because it would just be that much more attractive (because the Linux collection of games are actually quite fun… some of them at least).

Summary? Basically, PCLinuxOS 2007 lives up to the hype. And as a single-CD distribution, it looks and feels much better than Ubuntu, at least in its first impression. I find myself missing the power of openSUSE, but then, openSUSE being a multi-CD distro with big-buck-support, is a tough act to beat. I liked PCLinuxOS for all the reasons people are saying that it is a great distro: looks, ease of use, out of the box multimedia functionality etc. And I can’t wait to try and test it out more. Cheers to the PCLinuxOS team. This is really a Linux Plus!

(final screenshot after installation and slight modification below)

PCLinuxOS 2007

Ubuntu ‘Feisty Fawn’ Installation: impressions April 26, 2007

Posted by NAyK in First Impressions, How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Ubuntu, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
7 comments

The following are just some impressions of events during my installation of Ubuntu “Feisty Fawn” 7.04 on my Desktop. The aim is not to be thorough, but to just give a sample perspective of what an installer might face while installing the new (and nice) distro.

Interestingly, I installed the latest Ubuntu not because I needed it, but simply because I wanted it. That’s partly because I’ve been very happy with openSUSE 10.2… and between openSUSE and Windows XP I get all my work done.

Still, how can one resist a new Ubuntu distro? Well I downloaded it through the metalink (the speed continues to amaze me).

When I started installing, I did it without much fanfare or excitement. And sadly, Feisty did not have anything in it to excite me either… not until the *migrate assistant* A window popped up that somehow recognised all my WindowsXP and openSUSE users and asked if I wanted to import their preferences (settings) for a particular login. I checked two preferences and then set up an Ubuntu user… and hoped for (anything).

MigrateUbuntu

I must say that it was a really cool addition, and I wish it will be more finely tuned. When I finally tested it, it only copied the MyDocuments from WindowsXP (and didn’t get anything from openSUSE). Neither did it get my Firefox/IE bookmarks settings. But I guess that’s ok. There is certainly scope here. Perhaps some information on what exactly will be migrated would have made my expectations more realistic.

On other installation events, I did get an error while partitioning. And I’m not sure what it was about. Some error in one of my drives. I “ignored” and “ignored” and “ignore” about five times and then it let me move on.

UbuntuError

The installation was the usual “copy to disk” procedure that took a long time… but that’s only relative to the speed of some other Linux distros (obviously nothing in comparison to Windows XP, or even multi-disk Linux distros like openSUSE).

When the system finally installed… and rebooted… I logged on to the user that I had created for migration (excited to see what exactly happened). I learned later on that the migrated user is NOT an ADMIN. Thus, sudo etc does not work. It’s a limited account, and you must log-in to the admin user account that is not related to the migration. It’s no big deal, but I had to learn this after going to a forum. The link for this problem and solution are here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=421791

Then came the other cool thing about the new Ubuntu. It loads the proprietary drivers as and when you need them. So I needed “flash” for a page, and viola! it asked if I wanted to install the driver and it did it! It even installed Flash 9! Which is cool.

flashagree

However, I tried this same thing with a divx movie and even a DVD. It tried to install the codec, but the movie (and maybe codec) failed to install. It reached to the point of finding the driver for me, but when I installed, it just refused to play the media saying that the codec was missing. I wonder why, but the concept it extremely exciting. Very very good!

Interestingly, I tried to connect to the internet through the live-cd, but it refused to connect. However, I’ve had a very good time with internet connectivity and Ubuntu… and so, I hoped that it would just work when installed the distro (after putting the network details in the live cd network tools). And guess what! It did work!

Also, Ubuntu recognised all the distro’s I was using for GRUB, ie. it rightly located WindowsXP and openSUSE. I’m saying this now, because I’ve come to take Ubuntu’s GRUB management for granted… but actually, not all Linux distro’s do such a good job in locating all the operating systems on the computer and give them a good GRUB boot link. Another good job, there.

ubuntudesktop

The above image is the look I’ve chosen, simply to get rid of the now-too-old brown of Ubuntu. The default Ubuntu look is actually so ‘boring’ one wonders whether any thought went into the design at all. Still, not that my own design is better. And so I’ll probably liven this Ubuntu desktop later. Apart from all this, I have nothing much to report. The installation was relatively painless, even eventless, certainly not bad at all.

Summary: the new Ubuntu looks irritatingly like the old one… but two new innovations are certainly worth watching out for: the migrate assistant and the codec installer. The latter alone (the codec installer) makes it worth installing and trying out “Feisty Fawn”!

Speed: OK, Look-Feel: boring, innovations: worth-checking out. Overall: Good distro to try.