Ubuntu is finally working on my computer! Ubuntu 10.10 Review October 13, 2010Posted by NAyK in Linux, Linux Mint, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Ubuntu, WINE.
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I’ve always struggled with Linux distros on my via-(integrated graphics)-chipset. Hardly any distro, apart from PCLinux and Mandriva detected my VIA hardware. Previously, all the Ubuntu distros I tested would have a few positives, but also a boat-load of negatives. Usually, Ubuntu would recognise my internet, but at the same time the graphics drivers wouldn’t allow me to go for more than 800/600 resolution. Therefore I would only rely on Linux Mint or on PCLinux etc for my Linux needs.
However, this time, Ubuntu 10.10 (Meerkat) was (and is) working!
The basic installation process:
1. The installation process was relatively smooth, except it took a long time. Longer than usual. (I’m not sure why).
2. The live CD took a long time to load, plus I was suprised by how “primitive” the Ubuntu logo looked during install. (There was a Ubuntu text, plus four dots. What’s what that?)
3. The options of installation were much better than before, especially giving more control over the partition process.
3b. It was great to see that a VIA driver for my chipset and audio was installed automatically. (ie. it detected my hardware and installed something appropriate).
3c. Also, after installation, it was nice to see that there were only a few updates in the update manager. Suggested that it was a fresh/stable release.
4. The bootloader, as usual, recognised my Windows partition, though the default boot screen was boring as usual. (primarily text). somehow, with openSUSE and PClinux, even Mint, I have come to expect a more attractive boot loader by default. (ie. I know I can do some tweeking and install one for Ubuntu. Maybe I will do that one day).
5. The default look/feel was functional (as I have come to expect from GNOME), but somehow it didn’t feel so bad as before. Maybe I have become used to GNOME afterall. It certainly looked better than before.
6. the internet was working, without needing any configuration. An amazing feature!
7. Also, as soon as I tried out an avi file, Ubuntu asked me if I wanted to install the drivers. I said yes, and most of the codecs were automatically installed. Easy-peasy. (I was concerned that there was no audio, but it turned out that audio was in mute, I wonder how.)
8. I had to manually install chrome, flash and a few other software, like K3B. For some I used Ubuntu’s Software Centre, and for others I used Synaptic.
9. I was concerned that there was no file viewer. ie. I wasn’t able to open a file manager. So I installed Dolphin, and even that problem was solved.
9b. I was also able to install Photoshop 7, using WINE (after installing WINE). The only problem I had was that I had to copy the contents of the CD onto the computer and then make the setup.exe file executable for WINE.
10. there were a couple of times when Ubuntu suddenly hung. I think it was during the time I wanted to change the screensaver.
11. I wish there was an option to change GRUB options through GNOME. However, with some google-found guidance, I realised that Ubuntu 10.10 has changed it’s grub editing options, and it was simple enough. Sadly (still) my Windows XP is my default OS. But I am really enjoying fiddling with Ubuntu (spending more time with it than with Windows).
12. Also, I am concerned that the booting time is not that fast, as some were predicting. When I choose Ubuntu, it waits for a few seconds and only then starts loading Ubuntu. I wonder if there is a configuration issue there.
13. I was also unimpressed with the broadcast option (the one that connects Ubuntu with Facebook and Twitter). It took a long time to set up, and the options to view were too limited to be helpful. I much preferred going to the original Facebook/Twitter pages for updates. Perhaps in the future it will be better.
14. On the whole, I have been quite happy with the general functionality and even look/feel of Ubuntu. It has worked pretty well and easily, and for an Ubuntu distro, that is saying much. I don’t think I’ll be needing Linux Mint after all.
Goodbye Linux Mint 9: back to PCLinux2007 August 16, 2010Posted by NAyK in Firefox, Linux, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS, Windows.
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The shock of the previous post (where My Documents were deleted), became a full blown crisis when I lost my entire ebook folder again in that partition. Thankfully, I did have backups, but my ebooks were indexed through Copernic and I will have to do the indexing all over again.
Anyway… I decided to go back to PCLinux2007 (which I know did work for a while at least) and since I was too shaken to try something new, even PCLinux2010.
After installing, I realised that I was still in Firefox 2.0 and so I wanted to make minimal upgrades, and security updates.
I had to add the following repository: http://kde3.pclosusers.com/pclosfiles
which allowed me to make upgrades (the old repositories of PCLinux2007) were not working. Only this new one did.
Now I’m hoping that I’ll be able to function basically at my home computer, until I fix my Windows operating system.
Linux Mint 9: Installation Review – A Not-So-Happy Story August 16, 2010Posted by NAyK in First Impressions, Linux, Linux Mint, Reviews, Windows, Working on Linux.
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.
Oh No! PCLinuxOS In Trouble!!! March 30, 2009Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux, Linux Mint, News, PCLinuxOS, Working with Linux.
I just read (in Distrowatch) that PCLinux is going through an internal split. For a long long time, PCLinuxOS has been my favourite one-CD distro. In fact, the only reason why I stopped using it was because I got bored by its stability. I wanted something new and tried other distros in its place. But I always intended to return. And while I was really excited about the new PCLinuxOS 2009 release, I delayed installation because I was waiting for the perfect time to install it (to replace my current Linux Mint distro). (I have a lot of non-Linux work that I need to finish before I can start enjoying Linux again). But what I read in Distrowatch was a shocker.
Basically, to summarise, a whole bunch of developers have left the PCLinux distribution over differences with the leadership. PCLinux is one of the many closed-community Linux projects, that are run by a particular team devoted to the project (as opposed to community driven projects).
While it’s not surprising that there would be internal rift, this news couldn’t have have come at a worse time. PCLinux is hardly established in the public psyche (unlike Ubuntu), and could do without such negative publicity. This was to be an amazing year, with the new release and all. But in effect, now, this news will only dissuade people from trying out this excellent, I would say the best, one-CD distro. Sadly, to an extent, even I now hesitate to try my waiting-to-be-installed PCLinuxOS distribution.
Anyway, below are some excerpts from Distrowatch article:
Internal issues have rocked the world of PCLinuxOS, with numerous developers quitting the project. The issues appear to have started when project lead, Bill Reynolds (Texstar), took a year-long break from running the distribution and left the distro’s primary system administrator, Solis, in charge. Without input from the project founder, development of PCLinuxOS 2009 by the community continued but just before release, Solis halted it so that Reynolds could overview it. The release was then delayed two weeks while it was finalised. It appears that many developers were not happy with the way this was handled and have consequently left the project.
JMiahMan, former admin of the PCLinuxOS hardware database and developer of EeePCLinuxOS, voiced his dismay at the announcement: “Not hearing from Texstar for more than a year, development [by the community] continued, then the moment before release passwords were changed on servers and suddenly Texstar is back and now not only halting the release, but saying all the hard work the community did for a year wasn’t good enough. That’s leadership suicide.” More information is sure to come to light as former developers switch to other projects.
In related news, Derrick Devine, former administrator of the community project site MyPCLinuxOS, recently handed over control of the project and announced work on a new Linux distribution, called Unity, with many of the other former PCLinuxOS developers: “What it will be is a new Linux distribution that takes an incremental approach to desktop Linux. It will provide a central core and use the mklivecd scripts that PCLinuxOS uses and it will provide a base from which to build just about any desktop you want out there.” Currently the distro is being developed behind closed doors, but more information should come to light soon. Either way, it is clear that no animosity exists on the side of former PCLinuxOS developers, who remain grateful to the distribution for everything they have been able to achieve over the years. Derrick continues: “You won’t hear us say anything bad about PCLinuxOS, its leadership, or the direction it is going. We are very proud to have been members of the PCLinuxOS community… some of us for almost six years. Nothing can take away our gratitude.“
HOW-TO open an exe file in Linux Mint? January 17, 2009Posted by NAyK in How-To, Linux, Linux Mint, WINE.
This is a short post telling users how to open an exe file in Linux Mint. (actually I’m the one who wanted to know and couldn’t really find a direct link that could help me until I stumbled upon this solution so this is for me and people like me).
The answer is simple:
1. Uninstall Wine-doors (it’s a programme that comes with Linux Mint).
2. Ensure that your Wine 1+ is installed (it usually is).
3. Run the exe file by double-clicking!
Basically I use exe files in Linux to test whether they have viruses or not… or simply to extract exe files. So it seems that the Wine-Doors programme in Linux Mint blocks exe execution (or there’s a workaround I don’t know about). But this above solution seems to suit me just fine… since wine is pretty capable as a windows emulator in itself.
Goodbye openSUSE. Hello Linux Mint. January 8, 2009Posted by NAyK in Confessions, Linux, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, openSUSE 11.1, Recommendation, Reviews, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
Disclaimer: openSUSE 11.1 is reported to be an excellent upgrade. However on “my” Lenovo laptop openSUSE 11.1 has been a total disaster. This report is therefore a personal report rather than a universal indictment against openSUSE which I still think is one of the best distributions. (this is also not an openSUSE vs Linux Mint post, even though it feels like one)
Enough is enough. After numerous attempts to get openSUSE 11.1 working, including many many reinstalls, I finally erased everything in favour of Linux Mint 6 (Felicia… whatever that means!).
My previous escapades with openSUSE have been documented in earlier posts… except that my last post I actually ended in a happy note. I had finally reinstalled openSUSE 11 and then upgraded to openSUSE 11.1. My boot system was still creating problems with the CD, but things were working so far… so I began to use the system. But things just became bad to worse… no audio… no easy program installations… search not working… and the killer lack… no CD recognition!
So I decided, because I actually NEEDED linux to work (especially for CD burning) I choose to install Linux Mint 6. Why Mint? Because Ubuntu couldn’t recognise my wifi driver/connection (and I ONLY have a wifi connection… no ethernet)… so I was pretty handicapped with Ubuntu. Linux Mint on the other hand (using the oft-used-cliche) just worked.
And I must agree… as so many others have discovered… Linux Mint is Ubuntu done right!
The installation was not as fast as I remembered it… but it was effective. Also, I didn’t like the default partition options… (here I just missed openSUSE that does such an excellent default boot option). But that was fixable using the advanced mode. Also I was disappointed with such limited options during the install… (again missing openSUSE), but it was functional. (basically, it would be nice if Linux Mint depended on more than Ubuntu and learned a few things here and there from openSUSE).
When it installed, I missed KDE… but I don’t think I’m going to try KDE until things become clearer between KDE 3.5 and KDE 4.1 (just not comfortable with the in-between life). However the Linux Mint desktop was pretty and usable enough, so that was ok.
Linux Mint recognised my wireless connection immediately.. which was a huge relief. However, when I tried to make a VPN connection (of my college)… I was just not able to find an easy accessible way of doing it. But that’s ok… I didn’t urgently need it (though that’s another thing keeping me dependent on Windows… yes it was easier to do in Windows). There were huge updates to install… but thankfully my fast internet connection could handle it pretty quickly… I shudder to think what I’d do with the older slower connection I used to use… (which I may be returning to next year!!!… due to financial and other reasons). I wish the .iso files were remastered with the updates… (like it’s possible to buy Windows with the service packs… actually I only know the XP experience, not the VISTA).
And then, problems with skype. And sadly, the audio didn’t work and it seems that both openSUSE and Mint… have problems with something called pulseaudio. I can’t understand how default installations are facing such problems… for so long. In my earlier experience with Mint I had the same audio problems… and the fix was similar… but why is the problem still there, I don’t know.
…I must agree… as so many others have discovered… Linux Mint is Ubuntu done right!
Anyway… my mic is not working… yes it’s working in Windows. And no it wasn’t working in openSUSE (even in 11)… but certainly not here. can’t figure out why… but that’ll probably be another story.
But everything else is ok. I had to install (and use) the K3B programme… and that worked.
Also once the MintInstall messed up… and didn’t allow me to install a new programs (I had to go through Synaptic). And then attempt to reload MintInstall many times (over a few reboots) to allow me to reload… and it’s working now. But I feel that the openSUSE one-place-for-everything approach seems better than the LinuxMint way that has several applications… one for update, one for installations, one for… mintNanny (whatever that is!).
And also… another problem I faced in Mint is that because I installed Mint with the external USB harddisk (accidently) connected… the external harddisk interrupts the Grub when it is plugged in. So I have to remove the harddisk and then boot and then plug it again… a bit of a pain, but it’s ok.
And finally… a big problem… which is not a problem but is still a problem… is the automatic (default) Linux modified google search instead of the pure google search. I was first upset about it until I read this post which said that is the way Linux Mint makes its money (by the default search). Hmmm. Ok. I was less upset when I read it, yet I feel it is problematic since there was no information about it or even a choice offered to participate in it. It’s kind of dictated to you… and at best it feels like a bug… at worst it feels like an invasion. Still… I am now keeping the default search, by choice… but I feel there should be a choice to participate in it or not… but that’s just me.
So, now I have a brand new Linux Mint installed. Apart from the above, it’s been working pretty well… no major problems… unlike openSUSE… and that’s a relief.
I must say that I’ve extremely impressed by the graphics experience of Linux Mint. I don’t have a heavy-duty graphics card… but the basic 3D? graphics are pretty cool… and even helpful… which I mean the desktop switcher (between different workspaces). It is really practical and it works. (no, it didn’t work in my openSUSE!). Also I really like it when the workpaces are switched and you have a FULLY FRESH desktop without the applications from other desktops visible in the panel… openSUSE still has the other desktop applications visible, which I think defeats the purpose. Nice Ubuntu? Linux Mint touch.
Also, I was very impressed with the time/date AND WEATHER! applet installed in the panel by default. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder why other distros didn’t think of that (ie. without depending on third-party plugins). Really nice.
My new desktop (yes, I still like flowers) looks like this, below.
Linux Mint with Skype: “Problem with audio playback” June 19, 2008Posted by NAyK in How-To, Linux, Linux Mint, Working with Linux.
Tags: audio, skype
(latest update: I am currently using the latest Mint 6 and have faced the same problem and sort of the same solution) I’m currently using Linux Mint 5.0 and I just installed Skype 18.104.22.168 that came from the Mint repository. After installing, I logged on (without problem) and then did a test call… only to see the message: “problem with audio playback”.
A Quick search in the internet led me to a forum site that told me that Skype uses “pulseaudio” which does not allow any interference with other audio processes at the same time. The detailed post is found here: skype help forum.
Obviously I didn’t read all of it… but when I checked, I had my music folder open at that moment, and so I closed it and tried Skype. And It worked.
Then, I thought I’d just start some other work… and go back to Skype… and it gave me the same problem again… ie. said “problem with audio playback” even though I didn’t have any music folder open. I tried many options to get it working, but it didn’t work.
Then finally, I went to the forum and read it a little more… in detail (though not completely). And it asked me to diagnose the problem with pavucontrol (PulseAudio Volume Control). It was already installed in Mint, so I tried to see the audio processes… there were none.
Then as a long-shot, I decided to change the settings of Skype… in the OPTIONS panel… and configured the sound devices to the first option after “Default”. Some VIA something. After that, Skype worked. And is still working.
But interestingly… now when I go back to Skype, options… the sound devices have reverted back to Default.
So well… that’s my ‘story’ for Mint and Skype… that is working is enough for me…and maybe for other beginners like me to.
Linux Mint 5.0 is Simple (in a good way) June 13, 2008Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Firefox, First Impressions, Linux Mint, Other Distros, Recommendation, Reviews, Ubuntu, Wallpapers, Windows, Working with Linux.
Tags: installation, user friendly
I 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.
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.
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! :)
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!
Linux Mint 5.0 is coming May 12, 2008Posted by NAyK in Linux, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu.
OK. Rather than complain about Ubuntu (and it’s limited out of the box experience), I am genuinely waiting for Linux Mint 5.0 (Elyssa). And so…
After many sleepless nights and a lot of work I am delighted to announce that the first release candidate for Linux Mint 5 Elyssa was released and that it is now available for download. A lot of changes and improvements were made since Daryna so make sure to read the “What’s new in Elyssa” section of the Release Notes.
The news of the release candidate (beta 032) was found here: http://www.linuxmint.com/blog/?p=174
Details of the release here: http://www.linuxmint.com/rel_elyssa.php
Of course, keeping in tune with the fact that I’m still a Linux beginner (even after so many years)… I still don’t know what a Release Candidate (or the first beta 032) is… and/or whether or how many other Beta releases coming up. I couldn’t get a date or approximation about when exactly it would be completed, I’m still guessing it’s close. But not that close.
But regardless… at the moment I’ve gotten a request by a prospective Linux user who wants to use Linux Mint and was going to install Linux Mint 4.0 but I told him to wait for 5.0… (which I told him I would help to install) so I have a stake on this release!
My own view of Linux Mint is that I think it’s growing into a more mature distribution in its own right (not just as an Ubuntu derivative), but because of my limited downloads for my internet connection, I’m afraid that I would have to download a lot to make it multimedia friendly (ie. I haven’t tried it recently). Usually a PCLinux kind of distro works for me because it works pretty much out of the box (no need for downloading) and no need for internet connections (ie. it’s easy to pass to other prospective linux users).
Yet, I wonder what’s in store for this one.