|Which Ubuntu version to install?|
10.04, 10.10, 11.04, 11.10
Just bought a refurbished Compaq CQ60 laptop with Windows 7 Home installed. Basic spec: 64bit, 1.66G processor, 3G memory, 250Gbyte drive. I need it as a desktop machine. The OS will be dumped.
First decision: 32 bit OS (recommended by Ubuntu) or 64-bit? My inclination is 32-bit on the grounds more software may be available, but I'm not sure that is a rational reason. Does 32-bit software run properly on 64-bit OS and will the apps read data files from 32-bit software (my guess is they will).
My initial impulse was to install 10.04 LTS but then I wondered about 10.10 (but it seems to have a shorter "life"?) and then about going direct to 11.04 or 11.10 although I know these last two are beta and hence probably too much hassle for a simple everyday user.
On top of that decision comes a choice of window manager: Gnome (which will soon be dropped as default but which I use on Hardy), KDE (which I also use in part) or Unity, about which I know nothing (is this available on 10.xx?).
My basic use for this machine is as a backup to a desktop m/c - if that one goes down I'm currently back to Windows 2000 with quite a hiatus. Apart from that my current machine runs on a Windows network (which is needed for other things) and that would still obtain (I use Smb4K to simplfy connection).
Requirements are (obviously) internet access including web (mostly firefox), mail (thunderbird) and (currently) Gnome-RDP (which I find better than the other offerings). I also need to use (preferably) Kate software editor and Gnome-NetTools. Open Office is used occasionally but I don't expect much problem there. Also XSane scanner interface and KCron to control things. The best clipboard manager for my purposes (especially across RDP) is KDE3 Klipper (KDE4 Klipper gives me problems).
This seems to be pushing towards Gnome and KDE but if they become obsolete what are my alternatives?
You could try the new Linux Mint Debian edition. It's as easy to use as Ubuntu but because it's a rolling release, you don't have to worry about which version to get. It has Gnome by default but it's easy to ad KDE. I'm running the 32bit version on a 64bit pc and everything works just great.
Thanks for the info, Jack.
Does it have as reliable an update procedure as Ubuntu? I'll have a look at it.
I gave up Mint after running into a lot of bugs in the XFCE edition. KDE should be be better, but Mint's focus is has always been Ubuntu.
I am now back on Mandriva XFCE: family machine on 64 bit, work laptop on 32 bit. I have had no real issues with 64 bit, except with Flash (solved now). My (7 year old) daughter got a bit confused by software installation when the GUI installer showed both 64bit and 32bit versions of some packages. The biggest problem is that packages or binaries obtained from outside the repos may be 32 bit only (and that last point definitely applies to Ubuntu too).
Re your last para, neither Gnome nor KDE is going away any time soon, and all of the apps associated with each will work fine with any desktop including Unity: I use XFCE but use a number of KDE apps (Kate, Kwrite, Akregator, Konqueror) and Gnome Network Tools, and a lot more.
Thanks for the idea but after reading about Mint I decided to stay with Ubuntu, with which I am already familiar and which, given my reasons for the new machine, should also run all the apps I require with minimum setup problems.
I looked at Mandriva before my first linux installation and decided against it - no idea now why that was. :)
Thanks for your input on 32/64 and the OS variations, which tend to confirm my "gut feeling".
I finally installed Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) on the "new" laptop from a DVD created from download to one of the Windows 2000 machines on the network using InfraRecorder.
It was fairly easy over-writing Windows 7 with Ubuntu apart from having to re-boot a few times more than I should (partly finger-trouble on an unfamiliar mousepad). I had to tell the dual-boot to run Ubuntu - I could not find a "Replace Windows with Ubuntu" option until I was in Ubuntu. After telling Ubuntu to install itself permanently and remove Windows it took another couple of re-boots - something went astray on the first one but the second one was fine.
It took a couple of hours to set up the wired network so I could see everything else plus the internet, probably because I'm using a manully-entered IP and not using DHCP. It was not helped by a different Network Settings panel on the new version. The wireless option still re-ticks itself from time to time, especially after a reboot: no idea why because there is no actual info in the wireless network popup and I haven't got a wireless account anyway.
I can see all the other machines on the network (Windows 2000 server, ditto workstation and Ubuntu 8.04) in the Network option of Places and in smb4k, although I've got the login wrong a few times and not been able to see them.
I can't see the new machine from any of the others. I assume this is a Share-setting or domain problem which I haven't really had time to sort out yet (if anyone has a tip about that...). I need to get into root to change permissions on the hosts file but that's probably not a problem; I did it on the other machine ages ago.
I spent a couple of hours installing apps to bring it roughly in line with the older Ubuntu machine but that still needs time to finish, especially the mail and RDP features. I notice a few apps are no longer packaged but not a real hassle. I haven't looked at Synaptic yet.
I've tried telling the new machine not to log itself off after only a few minutes on mains; an hour would be useful but I haven't found the correct place yet (tips...?).
The change to the apps window buttons, from right top bar to left top bar, is a bit odd but I'm coping - I understand this can be altered but it's not a priority for me. "Why?" is a good question, though.
Took me about a week to get the new machine almost entirely working. Time taken was mainly due to pressure of work etc elsewhere but also included having to find out why I couldn't use the printer located on another Ubuntu machine (turned out I needed the machine's IP (fixed) added to hosts. The other problem is Kate - see below. Setting up Gnome-RDP wasn't a problem and worked immediately but also see upgrade info below.
Last night, with the new machine in place as a backup if needed, I upgraded my other linux desktop from Hardy 8.04 to Lucid 10.04 (Click Here to Upgrade!).
During update I had to make decisions on a number of script replacements: replace or keep. Most I replaced, two (hosts and one of the Sane scripts)) I kept (they are important for my system).
At auto reboot the system hung with a recurring message every 11 seconds concerning a bug: Soft Lockup which seemed to be about an inaccessible file. It kept repeating the error message until I finished supper and dealt with it. Not a lot of info online specifically about this problem: the reports were about the error occurring AFTER a system rebooted and referred to specific apps, so I forced a hard machine reset with crossed fingers, toes and eyes. Everything went reasonably well after that apart from having to re-select graphics resolution, which presumably it had lost (hard boot after that one) and the odd app re-install I had to do later.
I received a couple of messages concerning some installed apps no longer being maintained and one, the popup for smb4k (forget the name), was dropped from the new installation but replaced by Dolphin.
Problems so far on upgraded machine:
Gnome-RDP not working. This is a known failure point (database not read properly in each new version issued!) but there are fixes for it online which I'll put in place tonight. For some reason uninstalling it and trying to set up a new set of data did not work - probably needs a file removing somewhere.
The new Add/Remove app Ubuntu Software Centre does not make friends. The old one allowed several apps to be ticked and (un)installed at the same time, as Synaptic does. The new one starts the process afresh each time with no tick option, which is tedious when removing or installing a lot of apps (eg taking out all the damn games!). The general presentation is also annoying.
I have to persuade Kate to read my windows machines across the network, on both Ubuntu machines. Hardy did this using smb4k but Lucid seems not to like this at present; but I had problems setting this up on Hardy anyway. I can load individual files but can't display the Windows folder in Kate. More online searching. :(
The switch of app window closure/max/etc buttons from top right to top left isn't a real problem to me even though I also use Windows machines, and there is a fix, but the reasons given by the designers seem puerile and arrogant and it's a poor decision, especially for most Windows users.
The upgraded machine also seems to put the Restart/SwitchUser/etc button in the middle of the task buttons group not at the right, which is clumsy. This may resolve itself later; I don't know.
In general I like Ubuntu and have worked with it for almost three years, gradually moving most of my internet work to it (there are some Windows apps I still need hence the Windows network). There are annoyances which, I think, are a stumbling block for ex-Windows users and the initial setup of a machine is amongst those.
My brother has used Ubuntu Hardy sucessfully for a year or so but on upgrade to Lucid it killed his network access. This has been fixed several times but keeps regressing, and he has tried 9.04 and 10.04 and 10.10, all installed on a bare machine. He's currently pushed it aside.
Ubuntu still has some way to go but when it's working it's great! :)
All linxu versions have their idiosyncracies :). I,like graeme, am on Mandriva for historical reasons. New folks are probably better off on the more popular ubuntu.
Mandriva installs like a dream for me - because I know the idiosyncracies. When I run into a roadbump in many cases it's an instant fix (because at some point in the last 10 years I've spent a day on the problem).
Mandriva does install and run pretty straightforward. But I'm trying to get asterisk running on it right now, and it's like nobody at mandriva ever actually tried installing and running it :).
My problem is not having sufficient problems to solve coupled with a small brain that immediately forgets what I've done and also forgets to document it. :)
The other problem I forgot to mention is security/bug-fix updates: they no longer show a notification icon which means I have to remember, every day, to run the update manager - on two machines! This is a really naff idea that I'm really going to have to find a solution for!
Ah. Mandriva does that. My computer auto checks for updates and I get a red icon in my toolbar whenever one is available. Click and it installs them automatically.
Yep. Brilliant feature. Or at least, it was.
Just been looking into a 20% CPU activity on an idle machine. Looked at it several times over the years but this time I deliberately followed it up. Turns out it's been known about since at least 2007 on all versions from (I think) dapper up. Dump the System Monitor / Resource tab that displays the activity and the load's below 1%. They seem to have JUST pushed this fault into High status but I'm not expecting it to be fixed any time soon.
I LIKE ubuntu. I just wish there was better control over some of its foibles. :(
I found a couple of web sites with the following line that needs to be typed into Terminal:
gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto-launch false
I entered this a couple of days ago and today up popped the notification icon in the task bar. Now installing it on the second machine.
Downside: you can no longer just click on the icon. You have to right-click and choose an option.