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Where I'm at currently......

Posted 06-21-2006 at 03:02 PM by bigjohn

Well, I just clicked the "my blog" by accident. I'd forgotten that I'd started one.

So, it's about time that I updated it. Where am I (linux wise)?

I'm now using Kubuntu Dapper 6.06 which I arrived at, via a "soujourn" with SuSE 10.1

How did I get here (at kubuntu)? Well, I'd been happily using Mandriva 2006 - fully upgraded with the Thac/Ze packages to be able to benefit from their kde 3.5.2 packages, when I started reading stuff about Xgl/Compiz and all those fancy GUI effects that they create. Except when I looked into it, nobody seemed to have done too much about implementation.

A friend of mine, happened to have installed SuSE 10.1 - and as Novell had done a fair bit about implementing support for Xgl/Compiz I thought WTF and installed that instead.

It wasn't quite as smooth a transition as I'd hoped, as it took me a while to get my head round doing things "the SuSE way", but a little effort and I had SuSE 10.1 up and running, with Xgl/Compiz installed.

The eye candy was very impressive. The only thing that was rather a nuisance, was that it meant that video player apps like xine and mplayer, well, they "played up". Playing an mpeg, meant that I was getting a double vision like effect that had quite a distorted picture. If I tried to play video produced in the "devils format" (.wmv) it was even worse. I found it more important that the video player apps worked properly and the novelty of the Xgl eye candy soon wore off.

So I uninstalled them and carried on.

Now I can't remember what I did too mess up the SuSE install, but I managed too.

I've been hearing good noises about Ubuntu recently (recently? well for about 6 months, from some of the chaps at my LUG). So I figured that I'd give it a go - having previously used a debian derivative for a while, I was aware that it had "potential".

The install went smoothly, the only initial gripe being that installers seem to detect my nvidia graphics card and automatically "plump" for the generic "nv" driver. Now that's never worked well for me with this system so I had to piss about to change that to the "vesa" driver until I'd got my head round the distro enough to be able to install the proprietary nvidia driver.

It seems to offer everything a new user might need when first starting out. The graphic package manager is good - which helps. I don't really know how much of a pain it might be to configure dial up or dhcp, as I my ISP provides nice easy static IP addresses etc. So configuring my network card was a "doddle".

It also uses sudo - which I'm not a fan of. I fail to see how it's any safer/better than using the traditional root/user method - it may just be that it's easier for the new user. I fully intend getting rid of it.

The other irritation, was that after about a week, there was some updates, which I duely installed. One of them was a kernel update/upgrade. It all installed fine. The PITA was that there was some packages (2 actually) that didn't seem to be available to make use of the new kernel with the nvidia driver. I did eventually sort it out - after many hours of digging - the cure entailed adding some additional repositories to my /etc/apt/sources.list - I never did work out which of the newly added sources actually had the packages I was looking for.

After I'd got this problem sorted, I found a good site that helps in sorting out problems with the sources.list file at you just tell it which version you're using, tick a couple of boxes and click the button at the bottom and it generates the sources.list for you, then you just copy/paste and off you go.

So far, the only problem I've encountered is the screensavers. Apparently theres a bug so I have to revert to the "low tech" solution of the O.N.O.F.F. button.

Otherwise, it's a good piece of kit. N00b friendly, straight forward to manage etc. 9 out of 10.

pip pip!
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