Sunday, June 11, 2006

Back to basics

Not BASIC, mind you.

I've neglected the ole blog in the recent month, part of it was caused by a trip to Turkey (in a nutshell, great experience, beautiful country, I'm madly in love with my girlfriend), the other part was me trying to sort a lot of things in my head, and eventually post them here.

In the meanwhile, lot of things happened. The world cup has begun (ho-hum), I've celebrated one year at my workplace (ho-ho-ho), Ubuntu 6.06 was officially released (ho-yeah!), and I've been reading tons of comics (ho-ho-homicide!).

I've attempted to upgrade my laptop to 6.06, after doing a dist-upgrade with one of the Ubuntu alpha (aka Flight) CDs. The result was an overall hard drive format and a reinstallation. The laptop, nicknamed Wildstar, should actually be named Apache, not for the use of it as a web server (which it isn't) but for the way I've installed stuff on it. The method is very simple, I've installed the base Ubuntu system, then put over it whatever packages I needed, and then removed whatever packages I didn't. The result was a working system, but not much more.

Not that I need much more, honestly.
However, the attempted upgrades resulted in what could be best defined as "some sort of problem". I mean, things worked, then they didn't. Then they partially worked, then they broke, then they worked like nothing. For instance, I had to reboot to mount a USB device, after unmounting it, it found it perfectly, but mounting it didn't work. When I finally got it to mount, it wouldn't unmount and so on. Eventually I gave up.

I've tried installing Damn Small Linux, but the Live CD chugged the system to a halt (Pen III 445, 64 MB RAM), so I tried installing from the boot menu. Didn't really work. I've then pulled Slackware and decided to give it a go. Installation went fine, but the system hung every time I tried to run it. I then thought about Debian, which is more-or-less the best choice in this matter, as I'm familiar with apt, the Debian package manager, so I downloaded the latest testing (aka "Etch") CD and started it. Once again, being familiar with Ubuntu's installer, which is basically Debian's, resulted in a very smooth operation, until everything went quickly down the drain as the partitioner failed to locate my hard drive.

I am not a proud man, mind you.
The sole reason for me testing all those different systems is because Ubuntu runs GNOME "out of the box" and I want to use a lighter desktop, such as Fluxbox, or FVWM. I've been using those with Ubuntu, but I wanted a bit more "integration" which you can get in a distro that uses those as an integral part of it (like Damn Small), and not just as a package.
This been said, after the whole installation fiasco, I had no alternative but to pick up the Ubuntu (Alternative CD, the Live CD installation is a HUGE, huge pain). Amazingly enough, it installed the base system in a flash, which leaves me with the nice chore of finding whatever packages I want and installing them. More on that later.
As a side note, this process happens about every 3-4 months here, so I'm pretty used to it, and still am surprised when I find myself returning to Ubuntu. Great job guys.)


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