Category: Linux

Admitting Defeat?

Well after about 18 months running Linux as my primary desktop at home, I finally admitted defeat and swapped back to Windows.

The reinstall wasn’t too painful – the hardware in my PC hadn’t changed significantly so the re-activation was painless.  The new graphics card caused some problems – it took about 6 tries to find an Nvidia 6200 driver that worked.  But otherwise it’s been fairly smooth, though I still have some bits of re-installation to do – and check all my backups and so on.

So why did I switch back?  A couple of reasons.

Firstly there was just far too much hacking around to get basic things working – every kernel upgrade meant an hour messing to get vmware working again, for example.

But most importantly the applications I want to use now has changed significantly since I made the decision to switch.  There are a couple of Ham Radio applications – most notably Ham Radio Deluxe and UI-View32 that just don’t work on Linux, and don’t play well under VMware.

I haven’t completely switched back though – I still run a Linux VM for the few things that work better there, and will continue to do so.   It works well as a test server environment too – only the VM is exposed to the Internet.

A few more tweaks needed, but the bulk of the work is done at this point.

Sorry, Linus.

Ubuntu Hardy Heron

I upgraded my home PC to the latest Ubuntu over the weekend.  Seems to have been uneventful without the usual VMware chaos that I’ve seen in the past.

Shame the work PC (Kubuntu amd64) wasn’t so easy.  Still beating that one into something representing a working operating system.  Oh hum.

Linux update, KDE4.0 comments

I’ve written a few articles about the move of my home PC to a Linux based configuration last year.  I’m pretty pleased with the results, and I’ve been able to use that configuration for virtually all of the “work” I’ve done on the PC since then.  I still don’t have some things working as well as I’d like – ripping DVDs and conerting them for the Creative Zen is something of a pain.

I still run a few applications under Windows – most notably Tax Calc which I use for (hopefully)  about two hours a year to submit my tax return.  Let’s see if I can beat that this year!

Looking back it was the beginning of May last year that I did the switch, so this is about 8 months on.   In that time I’ve added a second monitor (giving me 2, 22″ widescreen monitors that stretch halfway across my desk).  I’ve upgraded to Ubuntu 7.10 with a certain amount of grief over VMware device drivers.  I’ve even installed Ubuntu as the primary OS on my main work PC, though it’s main job is running SSH sessions and VMware hosts, so that’s not so remarkable.  The lapdog still runs Windows.  Because Corporate IT Says It Will.

The one disappointment so far is that I tried KDE4.0 and decided it wasn’t quite ready for prime time.  It’s very pretty, it’s worth a look, and as long as you don’t uninstall the existing KDE3 setup, you can switch back by logging out and changing your session type back.   Instructions here – worked perfectly for me.

Feisty Fawn and Creative Zen

These days of imaginative product naming lead to the chance to write some odd headlines for the blog.

When I moved my home PC to running Linux, one of the things I didn’t think too hard about was the ability to transfer MP3s and Videos to my Creative Zen media player. I googled, and found lots of complicated instructions about building layered libraries to be able to run gnomad2. Well, I started downloading bits, and realised that, as of Feisty, gnomad2 is a standard software package that can just be installed via Synaptic. Download, install, start. Sync data. Job done!

I’ve actually got almost everything running. I still haven’t tried to convert video for the Zen, and I still haven’t fixed the Pocket PC sync – but, to be honest, Calendar sync is probably a bigger concern than the PPC itself. I can sync that at work.

Moving to Linux – the arrival

Well, I’m here.  This post was written from the Linux Desktop.

It wasn’t quite the plan I had, since I ended up trashing the windows boot process when trying to install Linux to the USB drive to get things moving.  My data is all intact, but I can’t boot the Windows drive any more.

I’m still trying to figure out whether I care.  I’ve discovered the WINE emulator is supposed to run the two programs I use most that aren’t available under Linux – Legacy (family tree application) and Autoroute.  So I might just stick where I am right now.  I’ve got all my e-mail, though I need to do some work to get Firefox working just the way I like it.  I’ve got my documents, I can edit them and print them.

Moving to Linux

I’ve been debating moving my home PC to Linux for some time now.  In theory the process is pretty simple.

  • Back up all my files to a USB hard drive.
  • Install Ubuntu from CD
  • Install VMware Server so I can boot up Windows under VM for legacy applications.  I expect issues with activation when I do this.
  • Restore my files into Ubuntu
  • Never pay for software again.

Of course, it’s a little more involved than that, because I have a number of applications I need to transfer over.

  • Email – well I use Thunderbird, so no change there.
  • Web Browsing – there’s a few sites I use that really need IE.  IEs4Linux looks like a solution here.  For everything else, it’s still Firefox.
  • Word Processing etc – can all be done with Open Office.
  • Image Editing and uploading images from my camera – GIMPshop is a good start.
  • Rip CDs and DVDs to my MP3/Video player
  • Edit Video (occasionally)
  • Edit HTML.  Bye bye, Dreamweaver.  Hello Nvu.
  • Keep track of my finances.  Currently using MS Money.  GNU Cash looks like the option here.
  • I need an alternative for AutoRoute for route planning.  Moving Autoroute onto the laptop could be one approach.
  • Scanning documents to PDFs using my HP All in one printer/scanner.
  • I can use Pidgin (formerly GAIM) for Instant Messaging.
  • Synchronise contacts and calender to my Pocket PC. Hmmm….

Things I need to test (using the “Live” Ubuntu installation)

  • How do I get DVDs from DVD to the Creative Zen player?
  • Can I easily grab images off my camera?
  • What’s a good video editor for Linux?
  • How much of my existing hardware will work under Ubuntu?
  • Can I get a second monitor?
  • What else have I got installed that I need to take over?
  • Does the printer and scanner work under Ubuntu?
  • What’s the solution for Pocket PC?  Do I still need to go back to

This site has more on the transition to Linux.