Ubuntu 10.10 is a hit! Here’s why. October 15, 2010Posted by NAyK in Linux, Ubuntu, Working with Linux.
Every list is subjective. Even this one. But if you knew my history with Ubuntu, you’d share my excitement with this latest Ubuntu 10.1o (Meerkat) release. It is really easy/fun to use. Makes me remember my PCLinux days, when things just worked. I really am surprised with how functional this Ubuntu really is. Currently, it is my favourite go-to distro. The following are a few features of the latest Ubuntu that I really like. I haven’t listed some others (like Ubuntu One) because I haven’t actually used them, or I haven’t really like it (like Ubuntu Broadcast). So anyway, in no particular order…
1. Really fast shut down (about three seconds!): Ubuntu is not that fast while loading (as I expected), even though it is still faster than Windows. But it is super-fast in shut down. Literally about three seconds after you click shut-down. Wow.
2. Easy writing-ability for my NTFS partition, even on my NTFS external hard disk. It took me a while to realise how cool this was, after I was sharing files between my external harddisk (NTFS) and Ubuntu without any problem. Even a Mac can’t do that!
3. Automatic internet connection detection: I’ve been saying this again and again, but it is really cool that my internet connection was working without me having to set up anything at all. Plus it doesn’t feel that slow either.
4. It has OpenOffice by default. (unlike PCLinux) OpenOffice is a big file, and if I would have to download it, I would be putting my limited downloads under pressure. So it’s nice to have essential software already uploaded.
5. Similarly, it was nice to have limited updates after installation. There have been times when I have installed new distro’s and still had to updated about 100-200 MB worth of updates. This time only about 10 MB of updates were needed.
6. It installs my VIA chipset graphics drivers (as well as audio) by default. Maybe this should have been the first point. Because without the drivers I wouldn’t have been able to use this distro at all. But now my monitor is set to the right resolution and frequency. Similarly, all the audio drivers are installed without any problem.
7. Very easy to get proprietary video formats to work (like avi and divx). Relatedly, I simply had to click on an avi file, and Ubuntu asked me if I wanted the proprietary drivers, and I said yes… and it installed them. Really nice.
8. Similarly, Flash (and yes I need flash) is easy to install. Again, I must admit that I am shocked that Mac doesn’t support Flash. I really like it, use it, on a daily basis. So I’m glad Flash is supported in Linux (Ubuntu) with an updated.
9. Right click on desktop to change desktop image (long time ago, this never used to be so easy). This was important because earlier only KDE could do it, now even GNOME can, which is nice. Makes customization a little easier, and makes you feel that Gnome is not so bad after all.
That’s it for now. Maybe if I use it more I’ll have more to say. For now, thank you Ubuntu team for an excellent distro.
PCLinuxOS 2009.2 Installation Review November 9, 2009Posted by NAyK in Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux, Mandriva, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Recommendation, Reviews, Working with Linux.
In the days when Ubuntu 9.10, Mandriva 2010 and openSUSE 11.2 are having their releases, installing PCLinuxOS 2009.2 seems like taking a step backwards. But how could I refuse to try what I had considered to be my favourite Linux distro? In fact, the only reason why I hadn’t tried PCLinuxOS for so long was because I just didn’t have the time. And so I waited for many months with a brand new PCLinux (KDE) ISO image. Not that I found the time. Rather, because all these new distros started emerging, I felt compelled to give the new PCLinux another shot. So, with a toddler running around the house potentially distroying my computer, I took the plunge at 12:22pm, on Sunday.The following is primarily an installation review, though some distribution comments may be included.
A note about my system. I’m still using my VIA Desktop of more than 4 years, though I’ve upgraded to 2 GB RAM. No graphics card (only integrated VIA chipset).
12:22pm, Insert LIVE CD (PCLinux 2009.2 KDE).
12:25 Login as guest, with password guest.
I wonder why this double login persists in a live CD. wouldn’t it suffice to function as guest with the ‘root’ password made known via instruction?
My first goal was to check if my internet was working or not. My internet connection is a DSL ethernet cable run via a Belkin wireless router. Usually, I’ve noticed that some Linux’ esp. Ubuntu, has a problem picking up the Belkin router. So I skeptically tried the internet on PCLinux and shocker! It was working. Without any configuration. Well done, PCLinux!!!The internet did feel a little slow, but I was amazed that it was working.
At about 12:29pm I decided to install, and was introduced to a new(?) procedure of removing drivers.
I didn’t understand why on a LiveCD did you have to “remove drivers”. Wasn’t it more correct to say “choose not to install drivers” or something like that? Anyway, I went along. But when I chose the advanced options and decided to cancel, the entire procedure was canceled and I had to start again. Hmmm.
12:37 pm, the computer said the installation had begun.
12:47pm I was modified the grub.
(sadly, still making Windows XP my default distro).
At 12:49pm I was restarting the computer and ending the CD session.
(I wonder why can’t the CD ejection be automated).
At 12:53pm, after login details etc, the computer opened to a brand new PCLinuxOS desktop!
Note that’s about 24 minutes! A spectacular speed when you think there was a toddler running around trying to press all the buttons including “delete all partitions!!!” :)
The key test, at this stage, was whether the internet was still working. And… yes it was! Hurray.
Knowing however that the PCLinuxOS was a little outdated, I decided to use Synaptic to run a system update.
I did a reload of the repositories. And then, seeing the huge update backlog (I needed about 400MB and I only get free downloads in the night), I decided to only update Firefox, and do the rest later.
I chose Firefox update, but after updating, Firefox crashed. Couldn’t open.
I realised that perhaps PCLinux needed a full update so decided to wait till 2:00am to do the remaining updates. (that’s when I get free download bandwidth).
I didn’t want to stay up all night, so after starting the download, I went to sleep, waking around 7:00am to see whether the updates were done. It seems there was a problem with two of the repositories, but nothing serious seemed to be the problem.
However, it was waiting for me to say “OK”, to acknowledge that there were problems in the repositories… and only then begin the installation. I wish I had investigated (beforehand) how to set up an automatic update in Synaptic that did not require any intervention on my part. Instead I had to wait a long time till the updates were installed… and then, thankfully Firefox was working.
One thing positive was that PCLinux also recognised my screen-resolution, which is something other distros do not seem to be able to do. Of course, I still think I need to install some VIA graphics driver, because the videos, like from Metacafe/Youtube, are not viewing properly (looks like no graphics card). So I’ll probably have to find that (though I wonder whether I should not have installed all the graphics drivers in the first place!).
On the whole, the installation process is pretty painless. There remain certain imperfections, and one wishes for more flexibility in choice (more possible customization for advanced users). But PCLinux’s installation speed is pretty fast; in fact one of the fastest installations out there. And that must be commendable.
Now a few comments about usage.
I know I have only briefly been using PCLinux 2009, so I can’t say how everything works, but a few off-the-cuff comments need to be made.
Look and Feel: The graphics, especially the default wallpaper etc. are not as striking as the previous version. PCLinux 2007, or something like that. That was really nice, and made Blue look cool! This time, PCLinux looks like Fedora, or something like that. Not fun at all. Trying to update the wallpaper wasn’t as intuitive as I would have liked it to be. KDE is usually better than GNOME in such matters, so I guess I was expecting something a little more smoother. I had to manually select photos on my desktop. And when I had to chose the photos, from the KDE configuration, there was no preview (it wasn’t working). Which meant that I had to open external viewers to see the photos. The external viewers too don’t seem to have progressed, with the Windows XP, Image-Preview, being probably the best photoviewer, because it allows arrow key navigation. In the current Linux viewers, the arrow keys are not always the way to navigate, and when yes, then the screen image still needs to be manipulated to allow for a viewable size.
Different attempts: I liked the attempt to install an auto-update button in the task bar. Because that was something that was missing in PCLinux earlier. But this one wasn’t intuitive enough for me to figure out. It seemed to give me many options, and when I clicked any, it usually only opened up Synaptic.
Current state of affairs: The audio is working. And the video, once I update the drivers, should work better. All these were done pretty ok, without any fuss. However, currently (and suddenly), none of my Synaptic repositories are working. I was simply trying to install the Wally Wallpaper program. But Synaptic wasn’t working. Not able to reload. The internet was working though, and that continues to be PCLinux’s saving grace! But I must note that the internet is drastically slower here than in Windows. Perhaps I do need to do a little bit of tweeking.
Finally, Recommendations? About a year ago I would not have hesitated to recommend PCLinux to any beginner user of Linux. It was truly a class apart. But right now, it seems to have developed a few quirks that don’t seem to generate as much confidence in the distro as the previous one. Moreso, it doesn’t seem to have moved ahead. It feels like the old one, though not exactly in the best sort of way. It seems “less better”. Maybe I need to try it a little more, but suddenly I’m not too sure about whether PCLinux is the next big thing in Linux.
Sadly, over the weekend I will be looking to install and test Mandriva 2010 and also later try out openSUSE 11.2, as replacement distros.
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.“
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.
Now that’s more like it. openSUSE (KDE 4.1) starts working… finally. December 23, 2008Posted by NAyK in KDE 4.1, Linux, OpenSUSE, openSUSE 11.1, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Wallpapers, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
1 comment so far
So my openSUSE (KDE 4.1) is finally working. Thanks to all those who gave me moral support and some helpful advice. And yes, KDE 4.1 looks fantastic… and once you get the hang of it… the configuration is much much more powerful. Right now I still haven’t figured out this plasma thing… but at least as a basic (open) desktop… this (featured above) is a start.
From now on, I hope… there’s no turning back to openSUSE 11 or even to that GNOME interface (my gosh, people actually use GNOME in today’s age???).
How did things work?
1. I uninstalled pulseaudio, as was suggested… and that got me my audio back.
2. I went to KDE 4.1 and decided to go slow… and not mess around with the configurations too much. Even then when I right click and image and ask to set it to desktop, it doesn’t work, but I expected that. Instead, I made a folder, put the image in that folder, and connected to that folder from the desktop configuration settings. Plus, I slowly (read without trusting intuition) clicked each button hoping I wouldn’t mess anything up… and yes, finally I was able to configure KDE 4.1 to roughly where I want.
Still many many glitches remain, like I can’t still shutdown/restart from KDE… but now it’s good enough to go seeking the forums for help… that’s if I have time… but now fixing it will be fun. Hope I have many more positive posts about openSUSE in the future.
Below is the screenshot… as proof!
7 things making me tear my hair out after installing openSUSE 11.1 (and some good stuff) December 22, 2008Posted by NAyK in Brasero, Confessions, First Impressions, Internet, K3B, Linux, OpenSUSE, openSUSE 11.1, Reviews, Software, Wallpapers, Windows, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
My 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.
A horrific start with openSUSE 11.1 December 21, 2008Posted by NAyK in Confessions, Firefox, First Impressions, Linux, OpenSUSE, openSUSE 11.1, samba, Ubuntu, Windows, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.
In 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.
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.
Pause December 3, 2008Posted by NAyK in Linux, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, Windows, Working with Linux.
1 comment so far
It’s been a long while since my previous post, and I’m writing this just to say that it will be some more time before I start updating again. I’m at that stage in life where I’ve stopped experimenting with new distributions. This is largely because of my lack of time.
Also, I’ve pretty much settled in my Linux brand choices… my current favourite is openSUSE and PCLinux. Ubuntu has just not got me… maybe it’s because of the predominantly GNOME interface… though I love the fact that they are keeping the interest going so well.
But another reason for my “pause” from linux writing is that my openSUSE has suddenly started acting funny… the sound of the system suddenly changed so much that everytime I put on the volume, I get feedback (like as if the mic is on). Now I know there must be a simple solution, but because, once again, lack of time, i am not able to pursue a fix.
In effect, I find myself once again in a purely Windows world… and returning to openSUSE only to keep it updated (and even there, somehow, it’s not that fun to just update and go back to windows).
I find myself waiting for openSUSE 11.1, and that’s where I hope to recharge myself towards linux.
But for now, I pause.
Why Google Docs will not work (Not yet at least) July 30, 2008Posted by NAyK in Google, Internet, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE, Reviews, Screenshots, Working with Linux.
Tags: long documents, network
I was just working on Google Docs… actually let me be more specific. I had one file which I was working on through many years and on many computers. I decided that I would finally take the plunge and make it into one integrated web-based document that I could access anywhere that is internet-connected. To me, that sounded not only sensible but also time-saving… afterall, web-based integrated collaboration (be it with others or yourself) was surely the way to go (ps. I have done a lot of GoogleDocs stuff before, but this was my first “large” project running across 60 pages).
I started working, putting all the stuff in one place and finally I was ready to format… and then suddenly poof… my GoogleDocs network crashed (the image above gives the error). Interestingly, my internet connection was still active… it was just that GoogleDocs network stopped working… and yes I lost some work.
Thinking I made a mistake I decided to try again… and then again, same problem… and again I lost some work.
I now surmise that perhaps GoogleDocs cannot handle long files… (latest update: Google has a 512KB limit for documents… yes, this is the same Google that gives over 6GB for emails!!!)… though why it showed up as a network error I don’t know.
But it is also another reason why GoogleDocs is not a trustworthy application as a replacement to the wordpressor. But oh, how great it would be, if it was, if it truly was.
I think what GoogleDocs (online word-processors) need to succeed:
1. Network dependability (not a guarantee in developing worlds) so this is not Google’s fault, but perhaps it would be better to improve real-time saving (save as you type) and also perhaps include a save offline option.
2. Better handling of long (longer) documents.
3. Better handling of complex documents (ie. with footnotes, and table of contents perhaps).
(Yet the above list is more a wishlist… so it’s back to OpenOffice we go. Sigh!)
Tags: dual boot, FAT, forum, help, read/write
Basically, a few weeks ago, I was suddenly unable to write/delete any file from my Windows FAT share in openSUSE. I use Windows XP Home and openSUSE 11, and was having a generally good time with openSUSE, until this problem occurred. I still work extensively in Windows, and so file-sharing between Linux and Windows is crucial. (ps. on the whole, I don’t try to mess with the NTFS partition unless I have to, so I have set up a FAT partition in Windows to better facilitate file sharing from Linux to Windows)
Anyway, for a while I was able to write to my Windows FAT partition, then suddenly, out of the blue, I could only “read” the FAT partition, but not write to it. This affected even my usb flash drives (though this problem mysteriously went away). I desperately tried everything, looking in the internet, enabling NTFS-3G, tried changing permissions etc… but nothing worked. For a while I used my office server to transfer files, but it was getting irritating.
So I did something I never do, I went to the openSUSE forum to send out an s.o.s. help request post.
Just to show how noobish I really am, I just couldn’t figure out how to enter a NEW post… there was only a <replypost> button but to put a <newpost> I struggled in vain. Ultimately after a long time of frustration I suddenly found a button the sections column for <newpost>. In a sense, while I did feel foolish, I still felt that it should be easier to find where to submit a new post, perhaps also in the side-bar. But that’s just me.
Anyway, thinking mine was a hardware query, I posted my first request for help there entitled Cant write on FAT and NTFS (FAT write stopped working)
I realised that the openSUSE forum was quite active, meaning there were many posts requesting help. But when I started browsing for the new queries of other users, I realised that it was quite easy for my post to just disappear from the latest problem. And I think that’s what happened. for a few days there was no response to my query.
I decided to change my category and write a new post in the applications category of the forum. The new post was entitled: Please help: Can’t write/delete FAT (even with SuperUser)
Interestingly, I found almost immediately responses in my “please help” query (perhaps it does help to have a catchy headline?)… and I must state that the help came from none other some senior members and the global moderator (Swerdna). Wow, that’s big!
Anyway, I was quite impressed by such high-level interest in my small request… and we went about trying to fix the problem… as forums do best… through dialogue. And ultimately… a certain DoctorJohn was helpful in intuiting that there could be a problem in my Windows Partition that stopped me from writing to the partition.
I know it all seems obvious now… but when I was going through the turmoil… it was far from a pleasant obvious experience.
Anyway… for the final solution this is what I did… and here’s the HOW-TO part of the post:
1. I made a backup of my vfat partition.
2. Then in openSUSE I did:
2b. which was followed by
(as root using “su”)
3. There seemed to be an error in bootsector of the partition and asked whether I wanted to copy from the original to the backup or back to the original. I tried both, but I wasn’t able to fix anything “no files changed” message came up, saying that there was some error in certain files (it thankfully named the files).
4. I therefore went to Windows and deleted those files. And scheduled a boot-time scandisk.
5. Upon completion of the Windows scandisk I reverted to openSUSE and tried to delete a file from my FAT drive…
6. and yes… IT WORKED!!!
Better still, I went to the NTFS partition through ROOT (ie FileManager Super User) and found that I could even write/delete to/from NTFS files.
Back to my review of the openSUSE forum, incidentally just yesterday I found two replies to my query in the hardware section, again, one of the helps was from a senior member. I found that while the openSUSE forum help may not be immediate, it did seem excellent when the help did arrive.
As for structure, it was a little irritating that the forum has a time-out… and does not remember sessions (ie. you have to keep logging in… but it seems to be a Novell related issue… so no need to bother about that).
Also, the forum is primarily “need help” oriented… at least where I went… and I wonder how the people helping have the time to help everyone… especially since the people helping me were pretty senior people (one of them confessed to help me while typing on his cell-phone!)
Anyway, I must admit that considering this was my first help request in a forum, I was more than satisfied by the result. I did need to be patient (a virtue I don’t always have), but for serious issues I know I’ll head faster to the openSUSE forum in the future.
(ps. it must be said on the record that the problem was actually IN windows and not in openSUSE linux. In fact, I wouldn’t have been aware of the problem unless I was using linux for the FAT partition)