Ubuntu and Si Units.

The Ubuntu Units Policy is a great idea. I know that it can be argued both ways. Much confusion will be caused by the change, but at least it cleans up the current mess.

Now, does Ubuntu have a similar policy for dates? One of my pet peeves is having to decide if a date is written in mm/dd/yy or dd/mm/yy format. yyyy-mm-dd makes more sense and is less ambiguous.


Its that time of year again!

Free Ubuntu Book

I am sure there are lots of great resources for getting to grips with Ubuntu and Linux in general. However, I remember my first tentative steps were helped along by being able to read a manual. So having a reference work freely available for Ubuntu is great.

To be honest, I cant claim to have read this book, but I like the idea of giving the PDF away for free. Certainly more than a few people who read the PDF will be motivated to buy the printed copy. Check it out for yourselves at http://www.ubuntupocketguide.com/

Hardy Heron, step 2

After getting comfortable with the Heron on my first machine, I decided to update my Laptop. Ignoring any issues I had had first time round, I simply ran the update manager, and pressed the button!

That, it turns out, was a mistake. nvidia-glx again failed to upgrade, and that caused most of xorg to fail to upgrade properly. This time, however, I did not try a reboot before having tried to fix the problem.

The solution in the end was to manually create an empty file that was missing and stopping the old nvidia-glx from un-installing. With that done, I was then able to upgrade that package, and all the remaining un-configured packages were sorted.

Having read somewhere that the new xorg is able to sort out its own configuration, I decided to give that a try and rm’d all my xorg.conf files. That’s right, no backing up. Back ups are for wimps!

X did start just fine, but using the vesa driver, at some horrible low resolution. At this point, I realised that maybe backups of my config files would have been a good idea. 🙂

I finally got the Nvidia driver installed, but it would refuse to use the correct resolution. At this point I remember having the same problem last time I set up the Nvidia driver. The problem is that the Nvidia driver will not use any resolution that it does not find in the EDID. Setting UseEDID to ‘no’ has no effect. The only solution, from what I can remember, is to use a utility in Windows to extract the EDID to a file, and then use the option for the Nvidia driver to look to that file for the EDID.

Luckily, as this was an upgrade, and not a re-install, I still had the EDID file from before, and once again, I had xorg running at the correct resolution.

That meant that the whole operation took a lot longer than I wanted. Next time, I will try and remember to downgrade as much as possible before update. If I had switched to the nv driver, and kept a backup of xorg.conf, I could have updated this system really easily. Well at least I now know for next time.

Do the Apple iPod Shuffle

iPd shuffleI know that I have written about Apple before, but now I am a customer! The shuffle shown is my new music player. As soon as I had opened it up, I plugged it into me Ubuntu system to charge it up and load some songs. All my songs are in mp3 format, so that was not a problem.

Rhythmbox recognised the shuffle straight away, and loaded the songs without issue. I then used the player on my way to work. Part way there it started playing up. When I got to work, when trying to sort it out, the device locked up completely. The instructions suggest at this point that a full reset is required, which needs iTunes. Fortunately, I still have a working Windows installation with iTunes, so I upgraded to the latest iTunes, reset the device, and got iTunes to load some songs.

The device has been working just as it should since. When it comes to changing the songs, I will try Ubuntu again, and see how it goes.

Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy) First Steps

I decided to upgrade one of my machines to Hardy. Well the upgrade borked. I think it had something to do with nvidia-glx, so I can’t really blame Ubuntu. I probably could have figured it out, but I decided as this is a LTS version, I would go for a fresh install.

As expected, the install went fine. The final result is a very nice system. Somehow it seems faster and a little smarter. I think I would have to say that I am quite happy with this release so far.

One problem that I did have was with rhythmbox. Before the upgrade I had a problem where it would not suffle play my music. I hoped that the upgrade would fix this, but the problem persisted. I was just about to delete any config file in my home directory that may have something to do with rhythmbox when I decided to have one last Google for a fix. It turns out that the shuffle play will only work with playlists. Anything in the play queue will be played it is in the queue. Makes sense I suppose, but when you are not aware of it, it may catch you out. Once I deleted the contents of the play queue, it started to function as expected.

I will hold back from installing it on my laptop until the final release at least. I also want to install the server version on my home server. That has been running Debian for years, so I need to plan my way carefully with that one to avoid too much downtime.

e17 on Ubuntu

Having looked at gOS recently, I decided that it was time to re-visit e17 myself on my Ubuntu system. I have used e17 in the past on Debian before I switched to Ubuntu.

There is a really cool script called easy_e17.sh that does all the work, and here is a how to that details the use of the script.

Now, I followed the steps, and have installed e17. The problem is that I don’t like it. I really want to, but it just does not look right when first installed. Although the themes are easy to install and change, they only affect the e17 elements. Gnome and GTK applications don’t look right.

With some effort it would be possible to match themes in e17, gnome, gtk etc., but I can’t be bothered. Am I getting lazy, or am I just not interested any more in fluff? Either way, it was a relief to get back into Gnome and all that Human consistency.

I will now just wait and see if anybody does a good Ubuntu derivative that has a fully configured e17 desktop. Failing that, I may keep e17 and whenever I am bored, chip away at the configuration until it feels right.

gOS – Something to keep an eye on.

Today I downloaded gOS so that I could have a look at it.

I was impressed. If you are a fan of Google™ then this could be right up your street.

I have no idea who is behind it, but it is based on Ubuntu and uses the excellent e17 version of the Enlightenment window manager. I have liked e17 for a long time, and it is great to see it used like this in a distribution.

The end result is a system that is lightweight, suitable as a portal to common web based services, particularity those provided by Google.

I will be keeping an eye on how this develops.