A Random Pattern

August 10, 2006

Computer not booting

Filed under: computers,Ubuntu — randomstep @ 9:52 am

uh oh.  I came back from a trip to D.C. and Pittsburgh to discover my old PC, the one with Ubuntu installed, wasn’t on.  When I tried to turn it on, it gives me a boot manager with a choice of 2 kernels, plus recovery mode for each, as well as my Win XP installation.  The first time,  I wasn’t even paying attention, until I saw a blue Kubuntu boot up screen.  It’s supposed to boot into regular Ubuntu, though I had switched sessions temporarily to a KDE session.  Anyways, trying any of the 4 kernel options results in weird display followed by restarting.  I guess I really am going to have to fix what’s wrong with this pc.  😉  Only I have no idea what that is, at the moment.

August 9, 2006

Dapper Expectations?

Filed under: Apple,Leopard,linux,philosophy,Ubuntu — randomstep @ 12:53 am

Mark Shuttleworth, benevolent sponsor and launcher of Ubuntu, posted an email discussing what went wrong with communication / setting of expectations for what the latest Ubuntu release would deliver. He also points out the very good “problem” of Ubuntu being compared to Windows.

Among other linux-y items, Jorge has this response:

I think that it’s difficult to gauge exactly what users expect. Pre-warty’s users (like me) were usually experienced Linux users who enjoyed being lazy and having things Just Work(tm). By the time Dapper rolled around, if it wasn’t doing your laundry, then it’s game over. I’m sure those of us that advocate Ubuntu regularly run into this all the time …

I think people on the web just get their expectations set too high regardless – some high profile blogger makes a small, unsubstantiated statement with no real concrete communication, and next thing you know the whole blogosphere undergoes a severe case of speaker feedback, until one of the speakers blows.  The next round of feedback starts, since the blogosphere is recursive in nature, and …

Anyways, back to my topic.   Oh, yeah, Ubuntu and Dapper Drake.  Well, I think Mark’s right about “polished” not being a good word to use.  For example I, as a new user to Ubuntu (and Linux), just assumed that of course there was a graphical installer.  It didn’t cross my mind that there wouldn’t be, and I certainly didn’t know it was the first time one had been included!

I’m a fairly technical person, so it’s not an issue for me.  But I’m really interested in seeing (at least one) mainstream challenger to Windows, with significant market share (preferably two or more).   So when I hear that Dapper Drake is “LTS” (Long Term Support) and “polished”, I’m thinking Windows and Mac (and hoping as good or better in all areas).  Some might laugh to see Windows and polished in the same sentence, as I am.  But you have to remember that the world sees computers as Windows.  Linux is better in myriad ways, as is Mac OS X.  And each is good for specific purposes.  But unless Ubuntu has immediate, short-term benefits over Windows, you are going to be hard-pressed to get Windows users to switch.  (I’ve got a screenshot I’ll put up later illustrating how an old-school linux user’s worldview differs from your average citizen, and why it has been hard for linux to take over the desktop market.)

This, by the way, is the reason that the first thing I did on Ubuntu was check out the games, looking for Spider in particular.  That’s because that’s what my mother-in-law does on the computer – plays Spider.  If she can do that as well or better on Ubuntu, fine.  If not, go away.

One last comment, since I brought up Apple and inflated expectations earlier.  I was quite pleased with WWDC, and I suspect anyone who was displeased wasn’t really grounded in this universe before the keynote.  The indications were all over the place from most respectable bloggers on what to expect (linked post is from after the keynote, but reflects my thoughts).  I’m happy, because it sounds like Apple will again deliver things I actually need (eeeaasy backup) and want (spaces).  They seem to be pretty good at doing that.

August 7, 2006

Remote Desktop: quick update

Filed under: computers,linux,Ubuntu — randomstep @ 9:34 pm

I’m away from home currently, so haven’t been able to play with Remote Desktop into Ubuntu. i’m going to list out things I’ve done so far, and what I still want to setup, for reference later.

1. Changed the IP address from Dynamic (DHCP) to static (typed in a specific address, i.e. 192.168.1.200). This actually was extremely easy, and I didn’t have to restart anything. I have a linksys router, and when I changed the ip address it went live.

1. I set up VNC by installing VNC4Server using Synaptics. This was probably unnecessary, though I haven’t fully verified that.

2. I used this (with TightVNC viewer on the Win XP laptop) to view an Ubuntu X-session across my home network, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. It gave me a grey window with a terminal section. I was able to launch a few games, but of course performance was terrible.

3. I found “Remote Desktop” already available under Ubuntu’s [System | Preference] menu. There’s only a few options, and they’re not hard to get right. Make sure to require a password, but you probably don’t want to require acceptance at the computer you are setting up for remote use – unless this is to help a friend or family member without having to go over to their computer :).

4. Run TightVNC again, but this time remember that you need to give the ip address AND display (i.e. 192.168.1.200:0 is default).

Things left to do:

1. Get Remote Desktop (Sharing?) working on KDE – or verify that it won’t work?

2. Figure out sessions, how to change session numbers (why does my alternate KDE session start at 20? How can I make it easier to choose whether to log in to Gnome or KDE?).

3. Try to get Remote Desktop working not just on intranet, but when I’m not at home. Probably a pre-cursor to this is getting a domain name (or two).

4. enough Remote Desktop, move on to “Backing up”. 🙂  Oh, and I need to write a post on partitions.
Any advice, links, et cetera is quite welcome.  I will be sure to post what I learn.

August 6, 2006

Remote Desktop, KDE install

Filed under: computers,linux,Ubuntu,web technologies — randomstep @ 12:33 am

I got Kubuntu installed. I first made the mistake of just installing KDE-desktop and some other important-looking KDE packages. Then, once I figured out how to log into a KDE session (log off, go to “Options” in the lower left corner, select “Session” then “KDE”) I got into IRC chat and learned that the easy way would have been to install Kubuntu-desktop. I did that, and KDE looked much better, had things in the right place, etc.

However, I still couldn’t get Remote Desktop working. For one thing, it was called “Sharing” instead of “Remote Desktop” (as it is under Gnome). For another, as I eventually discovered, I had left the firewall (Firestarter) running. Even though it hadn’t blocked my other PC the night previously, once I disconnected it started blocking that incoming connection (makes sense since I hadn’t made it an exception). For a third, I finally discovered my KDE session was 20, so trying “ipaddress:0” or “:1” or without colon obviously wasn’t going to work.

I still don’t have desktop sharing / remote desktop working for KDE, but I can remote into Gnome anytime I please. I think the VNC viewer and/or server might not allow sharing up to 20, maybe it only allows the first 5 or something. I haven’t looked into it yet, so if you know please tell me. I also don’t know why KDE starts at 20, instead of something much lower (the Gnome session is 0). One thing left to try is making KDE default – so far I’ve kept Gnome as default and just temporarily logged into KDE. This whole ‘session’ concept is still a little foggy for me. There are workspaces, displays, screens, sessions….I know there are differences, I just haven’t figured them all quite out yet. I’ll probably blog more on this.

One other item that was frustrating me until someone on the Kubuntu IRC channel pointed out the obvious: My display was just a few pixels wider than my actual monitor’s screen, and it was bugging me. I was looking for a software adjustment, when someone suggested I use the buttons on my monitor. Duh! The guys on #Ubuntu and on #Kubuntu have helped me out a few times, and I appreciate the community support. Sometimes the only solution is to figure it out yourself, but at least they’ll give you moral support. 🙂

Blog at WordPress.com.