Ubuntu support life

July 23, 2010

Someone asked me recently about the support life for Ubuntu server 8.04 and I found a good spreadsheet here:


Back to 9.04

December 12, 2009

Since installing 9.04 on my Toshiba laptop, I have been enjoying Ubuntu more and more. This was the first version that was able to detect Wifi networks without any additional work done on my part.
When 9.10 was released I was eagerly waiting for time to install it. On this laptop I have always ran Windows and installed Ubuntu as a dual boot using the Wubi program that is included on the iso. The install went well, I liked the new look and some of the new additions, but there was trouble brewing without me even knowing it.
The problem started when I ran the software updates, the update itself ran without any issue, until I rebooted the laptop the next day.
The error I got occurred after selecting Ubuntu to load was from the grub and it wasn’t so much as an error since it dropped me to a shell showing this:


Unfortunately, no commands would work so I had to boot into Windows and start googling the problem. What I found was a known bug, more information
here. The forums also showed a number of users having this error who used Wubi to install Ubuntu.

Basically, the is issue is the grub update causes it to fail to load Ubuntu on the next boot due to a config file it seems to have errors with.

This is an unfortunate bug since I imagine there are a number of users, who like me, install the newest version of Ubuntu on some machine to try it out and like the ease of Wubi to do so. Wubi is also very easy for the first timers who want to try a new operating system. Let’s hope that someone can fix this asap and it not continue into the upcoming LTS release in April.

So it’s back to 9.04 and it still works well with my laptop, I will end up keeping this until April when I can expect to replace all my Ubuntu installs with the LTS release.

Per the Drupal discussion boards:

In the last year the Drupal package was not in Debian/Ubuntu, now it is back. So after a fresh install of Jaunty, just type:

sudo apt-get install drupal6

and then you have to restart the webserver:

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

And you will see the Drupal install pages here:

Linux Mint 7 — Review

October 8, 2009

Having used a variety of different distributions for Linux on the desktop, I was looking forward to giving Mint 7 a try. Mint 7 is based on Ubuntu, which in turn is based on Debian. I have used both as a desktop extensively.

The installation is very standard, it asks some basic questions such as how you want it installed, regional and user information. Then it installs the default system and software, very much like the Ubuntu installations. If you are used to Red Hat or OpenSuse, you should have no problems with the installation. If you are a complete beginner, I strongly recommend installing this on a computer that you an use the entire disk and let the installation do the work for you. The install CD works as a Live CD as well to take it for a test drive before making any permanent changes.
After booting it for the first time I was pleasantly surprised at how the desktop does not look similar to the Ubuntu gnome default, but has its own look and feel which looks more like OpenSuse did. I am not a fan of brown as a colour for my system, not sure why probably since I grew up using Windows and its bluish themes. The default green and larger icons are pleasing to the eye and a nice change from some of the other distributions.

The menu system is a little different that the normal gnome desktops, this was designed with beginners in mind. From the screen shot below, the menu is divided into three main sections; Places, System and Applications.

The Places section allows easy access to your file systems, the Systems area gives you shortcuts to various system programs including shutting down and rebooting the computer.
The Application section shows a list of recently used applications and favorites. You can designate a favorite by opening the entire application menu when you click the “All Application” icon and right clicking a shortcut that you wish to have on the favorites section.

Mint 7 installs the normal applications you would get with most standard gnome desktop installs.
There are a few additional “mint” applications like mintBackup, which is a simple backup application.
No games were installed by default which I found interesting, but you can easily add games and other applications by using the mintInstall program.

I have been using Mint for just over a week and having used Linux on the desktop for a number of years, I had no problems adapting to this distribution. Overall I found Mint 7 a nice and eye pleasing operating system. I would definitely recommend this to a beginner looking to try Linux for the first time. I may even keep using this as my default since I have become a fan of the green theme and application menu.


August 24, 2009

Here is a nice description of CentOS from another experienced Linux veteran:

“CentOS is not your everyday Linux. It’s a server distribution, meant to be used in production environment where users do not care about what applications they have installed. It’s a distro that you will most likely run without any GUI, reboot once every other year or so, if that, and upgrade only when you really must, since the inclusion of even simplest binaries could be dreadfully risky for your setup.

CentOS is a distribution that deals in long-term stability and security. Branched off as a free version of the vastly popular RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS is everything the most important server distribution is, except the expensive, official support from the vendor. Speaking of support, CentOS 5.x versions, which are all based on RHEL5.x versions, are going to be supported until 2014, a total of seven years since the major release launch in 2007.

Essentially, CentOS will be your virtualization server, your mail server, your DNS, FTP, LDAP, and who knows what else. It will probably never play any music or videos or interface with Windows machines. No fancy Flash, camera support or anything of that kind.”


I read an article this morning about running Centos on a netbook  (link here), my first thought was why you would want to run a server based distribution on a netbook. The writer then proceeds to say that she would not even run it as a desktop or even on a server.

This has me baffled, considering she bills herself as a Linux/Unix consultant and even writes for Oreilly ( here is another article). She does not give any real evidence or explanation as to why she would not use it as a server product. I am sorry but listing a late update to firefox is not valid, you really should not be browsing from a server and may I even go as far to say that most production servers should not even run a desktop (but I will save that argument for a later date).

First of all Centos is based on Red Hat Enterprise source, which is a server distribution. There is no reason to run it as a desktop. The only way I feel it should be run on the desktop is in a virtual environment for testing purposes, which I do on my main work desktop.
If you want to run a desktop version of Linux there are many great one’s out there; Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, and many others.

Secondly, you may have heard about some commotion over the developers of Centos, do a search on Slashdot.org, this was way overboard and had nothing to do with the actual product or its subsequent releases.

Bottom line is Centos is still a good, solid distribtuion for servers, I have used Slackware and Debian and can vouch that Centos can hold its own.

I recently bought a Simpledrive 500GB to do some rsyncing backups for my servers. Since it was formatted in the ntfs file system, none of my servers could recognize it.
Below are instructions, using Ubuntu desktop, on how to reformat the drive in a file system that Linux systems will recognize.

First thing is to install gparted, if not already installed, open up terminal and enter the following command:

sudo apt-get install gparted

After it’s installed, you can run the program under System — Administration — Partition Editor. The program will look something like the screenshot below:

Screenshot--dev-sda - GParted

As you can see from the next screenshot, the external drive has a ntfs file system:

Screenshot--dev-sdb - GParted

Now making sure that you have the correct drive selected, mine was /dev/sdb, as shown above, click on the partition and then click the delete button.  After it is deleted, your screen should look something like this:

Screenshot--dev-sdb - GParted-1

Now select the partition and click new, I am leaving the defaults as is since it will be running on another Linux system. You can change the file system to whichever you think will suit you best. Click add and then apply twice to start. This takes a bit of time.

Screenshot-Create new Partition

Screenshot-Applying pending operations

After the operation is complete, you will now be able to mount the external drive. I needed to power the drive down and back on again for it to show up properly in the program.


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