::upgrade vs. clean install–bad idea

5 11 2009

There’s a post on Slashdot today linking to an article from The Register, talking about how throngs of people are having difficulties upgrading from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10.  I’m a little surprised that the Register article has what I think is a very misleading title–Early Adopters Bloodied by Ubuntu’s Karmic Koala.

When you read into the article a bit, you quickly learn that the early adopters being referred to here are people who are doing inline upgrades using the Ubuntu Update Manager.  Personally, I can’t think of any time I’ve ever had a good experience that ended with a solid, glitch-free machine when doing an upgrade over a clean install.  I can’t think of a single good reason to do an upgrade over a clean install.  Not one.

There are reason, mostly incorrect, that people think they should do an upgrade over  a clean install from the CD.  Most often, people think they will lose their documents and settings, or that saving these will be a pain.  First off, if you have a separate /home partition, this is absolutely wrong.  And if you don’t have a separate /home partition, this is as good a time as any to save your stuff the old fashioned way one last time, and do an installtion with a /home partition. The other reason people don’t want to do a clean install is they don’t want to lose their apps.  There are very simple ways to document installed applications and then automatically install them on a freshly installed machine–I did it just a couple of days ago and it took 2 minutes of typing and then less than an hour to install everything.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and just say it:  upgrading an OS–any OS–instead of doing a clean installation is a stupid idea.  It takes longer, core functions break, you don’t get full the full functionality of the OS (in the case of Ubuntu 9.10, you don’t get the upgrade to GRUB 2.0) and some programs just don’t work right.  Ubuntu.com reports that an online upgrade takes about 2 hours on average, depending on your Internet connection speed.  By comparison, it takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish for an installation via CD, and that includes the scary process of manually setting the partitions that makes so many people opt to go for an online upgrade instead.

And on that subject, setting the partitions really isn’t that big of a deal.  The installer’s warning makes it seem like a very intimidating process, but it’s totally straight forward.  All you have to do is pay attention to what you’re doing.  If you already have a /home partition, the hardest part is setting the same partition to be /home, and making sure you don’t put a check mark in the format box.  If you’ve ever installed a Windows OS, you can install Ubuntu in less time and with no headaches.




::karmic koala

3 11 2009

I’m not going to waste anyone’s time with yet another review of Ubuntu 9.10, but  I will say this: lovely.

I do believe this is the first time I’ve loved it right out of the box, with the default desktop, no changes.  Well, I did change the wallpaper to one of the 15 beautiful backgrounds that comes in the default installation–an oddly sexual closeup of the inside of an orchid.






Aside from this, it’s default all the way.  The koala is fast, beautiful, and just about the most perfect installation ever.

Nicely done.




::still an ubuntu blog

29 08 2008

So, I used Suse for all of a week and dumped it.  I simply couldn’t stand it.  Yast is slow, standard apps that I personally would just expect and have seen in almost every other Linux distribution just weren’t there.

I was not impressed.

So I jumped back to my trusty Kubuntu, version 8.04.  Opted to run with KDE 3.5 instead of 4, as well.

I am much happier.

I was going to make post completely unrelated to this and found that my last entry had to do with trying out Suse.  I had to set the record straight.





29 06 2008

Installed OpenSuse 11 this morning, just for kicks.

I like it so far.  KDE4 desktop and all.



::this is why Linux isn’t more popular

15 05 2008

A company ports a three-year-old Diablo clone over to Linux, and people get so excited that a) Desktoplinux.com decides to run a story on it and b) it makes the front page of Digg.

And the community wonders why the world hasn’t rushed to embrace Linux.

This kind of thing might have something to do with the perception that Linux is not cutting edge technology…just sayin.




19 12 2007

KDE4 RC2 was released last week, and I decided to have a go at it a few days ago. Installation instructions, if you’re interested, are here.

I’m a little too picky, probably, and I have to remind myself that this is not a finished product. But so far, I’m not wowed. Things are a lot less configurable out of the box, or at least no nearly as intuitive as they used to be, and that is irritating.

How any of you tried kde4?  How do you feel about it?

It is entirely possible that I’m overlooking some incredibly cool stuff and I need to be enlightened.



::fun with signature files

30 11 2007

Fortune is an itsy bitsy program in just about every Linux distribution that will give you a random quote when run.

jim@ingsoc:~$ fortune
Q: What do they call the alphabet in Arkansas?
A: The impossible dream.

This can make for minutes of fun if you’re staring at a command line wondering what to do next, but what if you want to do a little more with it?

I sometimes like to have a little fun with my email signature file, and a few months ago I thought it might be cool if I could generate a fortune for my email signature. Like a lot of people, I sometimes write a lot of email, and having to copy and paste a fortune every time I wrote an email would make the novelty quickly wear off. Instead, I decided to utilize the incredible power of bash scripting for this completely pointless endeavor. Following these simple steps can let you be as eL33t as me. Really.

And you know you want to be that cool.

So, here’s what I did.

First off, I made a directory in /home called sigs. This is just a handy place to put all of this coolness. Then inside that directory, I created a file called sigs. There’s some standard text that I want in all of my signatures, so I inserted that text. So far, that’s this:

jim@ingsoc:~$ mkdir sigs
jim@ingsoc:~$ cd sigs
jim@ingsoc:~/sigs$ nano sig

then you just insert your static text. In my case, that’s:

g o t j i m ?

Now here’s where it gets really cool. Ready?

Fire up your favorite text editor–in my case, this is nano. Insert the following text:


#Create a sig file based on fortune.

cp ~/sigs/sig.original ~/sigs/sig.new
/usr/games/fortune >> ~/sigs/sig.new
mv ~/sigs/sig.new ~/sigs/sig

Save the file and give it an obvious name. I chose sigmaker, but you can name it whatever you damn well please. I’m flexible like that.

Now, save the file and make it executable with chmod +x sigmaker.

Run it with a simple .sigmaker, and view the output with less sig.

g o t j i m ?


Please remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop.

Ohh, ahh.

Now you simply point your email program to your signature file. In the case of Thunderbird, you do this by going to Edit/Account Settings, and point to /home/you/sigs/sig. Open a new message to compose, and see your awesome skills in action.

But we’re not done here. Oh no. If you stop here, then the file never changes, and that defeats the point. So we’ll add this little slice of pimpness to our crontab for some real fun.

jim@ingsoc:~/sigs$ crontab -e

And do a little something like this:

# m h dom mon dow command
* * * * * /home/jim/sigs/./sigmaker

This will run sigmaker once every minute, giving you a new signature file with just about every email you write. You, of course, can change the timing however you like.

And there you have it, kids. A complete waste of time that’s good and good for you.