As I recently “reorganized” the partitioning scheme on my desktop system to gain some space for my flac music files I also changed the linux partitions to further run from logical volumes. To install Ubuntu on logical volumes you need to run the alternate installer – which in my case pretty much failed. I don’t know why, but half the way of copying the new system the installer insisted on putting in the CD medium (which of course was still in the drive) and no matter what option I chose – “Continue” or “Cancel” – the request wouldn’t go away. This was the first time an Ubuntu installer didn’t work out for me. Still wanting to install Ubuntu’s latest release I came across a post in Linux Mint‘s (another Ubuntu offspring) forum, describing how to install Linux Mint with lvm2. See the original post by piratesmack (thanks!) here. I more or less followed this howto.
Ubuntu‘s latest release “Lucid Lynx” is out for a while now so I decided that this would be the right choice for my netbook “Asus Eeepc 1000H”. I went for the default i386 desktop release as I don’t like the netbook editions. With the help of “UNetbootin” it’s quite easy to create a bootable USB stick from the downloaded iso file. The installation was a peace of cake and if you previously installed Ubuntu somewhere (and even if you didn’t) it should not be a problem. I recommend keeping a wired network connection during installation (and as it shows, you will need it).
Once installed, fully upgrade your system to the latest packages and this might even pull in a new kernel. Then reboot and try to establish a WLAN connection… At least, I failed. There seems to be a an upstream bug in Lucid’s kernel which prevents WPA protected WLAN connections to work properly. The solution seems to be installing the latest Ralink RT2860 WLAN driver. I found this workaround at launchpad published by killerbee – thanks for that! (Have a look at post #25 of the bugreport.) So, I will more or less just sum up his advice here.
The grand unified bootloader (grub) not being updated since 2006 Canonical announced to release the next Ubuntu version 9.10 – also known as “Karmic Koala” – with grub2 as the default boot manager. Of course I got curious and as I read an article in c’t about this topic I had to see what grub2 was about!
If you’re running Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty it’s quite easy to switch to grub2. However, if you installed Jaunty to boot from an ext4 partition you’re likely to have grub2 installed already.
There is a nice howto which explains installing grub2 in Jaunty at Ubuntu’s wiki here. If you follow the instructions, grub2 will end up in your boot partition (not the MBR) first and a new entry to your old grub is added, giving you the chance to boot grub2 via chainloader. You are advised to follow these instructions, because if grub2 doesn’t work for you, you’re still able to boot with grub. However, I decided skip this step and installed grub2 straight to MBR.
CAUTION: fiddling around with the bootmanager may leave you’re system unbootable!! If you don’t know how to recover from such a state, please don’t do it!
The default Linux kernel of Debian Lenny is of course very stable – but a little outdated. If you’re the more adventurous type (or just need support for newer devices) you might like the idea of installing a more recent vanilla kernel? Luckily, Debian makes this task quite easy and you’ll end up with real Debian kernel deb-packages! I’ll provide a small HOWTO here which you might follow and a small script which will automate everything. I gathered most of the information given here from the official Debian documentation (have a look at this and this).
Debian is one of the best Linux distros out there (if not the best). The latest stable version called Lenny was released about a month ago, but as always, Debian never ships the latest software or kernel versions. So I decided to install the latest vanilla kernel (2.6.29) from kernel.org (I might provide a howto for this task later… ), but to stick with Debian’s software repositories. This work’s really great – most of the time… I ran into one problem installing Debians (rather old) VirtualBox OSE 1.6.6 though. As I don’t run Debians kernel I needed to compile a suitable kernel module for my kernel 2.6.29 using Debians module-assistant. But compiling the module bailed out with errors:
‘struct task_struct’ has no member named ‘euid’. Luckily I found a solution for VirtualBox 2.10 on VirtualBox Forums. Of course the provided patch didn’t work for VirtualBox 1.6.6 but from there on it was easy to build one. If you run into the same problem, well, this is how it worked for me:
Of course I wanted my Wintec WBT-201 gps logging device to work with Fedora as it did with Debian/Ubuntu (see this post). And after playing around a little with the stuff, it did! So, this is what I wanted:
- gpsbabel (accessing and converting gps data)
- gtk-g-rays2 (managing the WBT-201)
- gpscorrelate (automatically adding gps data to exif tags of my pictures)
I still like Debian and Debian based distros like sidux or Ubuntu most, but – as always, if something works too well – I wanted something new… As I recently joined a training course at Red Hat and a new release of Fedora just hit the servers, I went for Fedora 10.
I think the main difference between Fedora and other “big” distros is the fact, that within a Fedora release, you’ll receive major version upgrades of applications and even the kernel itself. I think this is a pro, though you might argue, this might have a negative affect on a distro’s stability. So far, I couldn’t find any big issues.
As you can read in every review about Fedora, it comes strictly with open source software only. No playback of mp3 files or Nvidia drivers. It’s very easy though to add those features, if you know how. If you’re used to Fedora, you won’t find anything new here. If you’re a first time Fedora user or even new to Linux, this post might be of help. I just put together all the useful information I found on the net and I will always refer to the original text. A good starting point is “The Unofficial Fedora FAQ“.