Today, I sing the song of Ubuntu or perhaps it should be umtu? That’s what it should be in Kiswahili or rather Swahili but hey it is from South Africa and yes the concept behind it does apply in East Africa and pretty much much of Subsaharan Africa. But enough with the cultural feel good tour.
I have joined the Ubuntu community and my humanity is feeling good at the moment; granted, I am joining late in the game but generally the Ubuntu concept of community is working pretty well. I have been working with Fedora Core for a while now but Fedora Core had its moments or perhaps there is no challenge in getting in it to do what I want any more. Ubuntu is a brand new toy, shining and gleaming all over … back to reality.
I tried installing Ubuntu earlier but it refused; the installation would proceed as far as the 5 step, wherein the hard disk is partitioned but that is as far as it got. So I did a couple of things: increased my RAM and then pressed the red button that deleted Fedora Core’s partitions from my hard disk. There is a Windows fault in all these but I am not going to soil my thoughts by wondering down that path for we are gathered here in this writing to honor and welcome Ubuntu.
Anyhow, installation of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) went on flawlessly and I had a desktop running in no time (I was not keeping track of how long it would take me). I ran updates, my first encounter with apt and its related GUI frontends Synaptic Package Manager. That update took a while as I must have gone over the edge clicking on the packages that I need to include on the base installation. A quick comparison with Fedora: all Fedora Core packages are contained in the 5 CDs it comes it. I was looking for aides to stir my dance loving persona and one in particular was of interest to me; I wanted to download and install Banshee, Beagle and any of the nice stuff that are part of any decent desktop Linux distro. Ok, so they are commonly found on SUSE Linux (and probably other distros that are not so popular) but it is only a matter of time before they are everywhere. I had Banshee installed and I got my groove pumped up, almost executing a rain dance of sorts.
Apt is a wonderful tool generally though I am not impressed by the GUI frontends to it. But then again there is something about working with Linux and interacting with GUI; I feel the GUIs get in the way so I have found my way to using apt commandline tools which frankly are a joy and delight to work with at the very least.
The installation procedures are not yet done and apt, my favorite sidekick is on the job as I type this out.
I came across this really nice article about MythTV on Tom’s Hardware and it got me interested in merging my TV habit with my time on the computer. At the moment, there is not much I can do about the metamorphosis of my computer into a TV mainly because of the absence of appropriate hardware at this time. However, I think MythTV goes beyond TV watching (though that is the primary purpose for it) and as such I would like to make use of its other features such as DVD/CD playback as well as media distribution/sharing throughout a network. This seems to be a good opportunity to centralize access to all the music, movies, pictures etc.
With Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) installation of MythTV has become easier though I can’t really comment on that at the moment. I am in the middle of the installation process and I hope mine goes to completion without any flaws. Problems may arise if the installation requires the presence of a tuner card or any other hardware that I don’t have access to at the moment.
Xgl is the eye candy for Linux distros though there exists variations but they essentially use the same concepts but with a twist. My Ubuntu installation was up and running and I installed a few utilities here and there but I needed a more gorgeous user interface, for that extra satisfaction. Pulled all the packages necessary to install xgl and all of them installed without problems. Unfortunately, I was not to be blessed with xgl fronted GUI :(. I don’t have a support graphics card and since xgl is still experimental software, supported hardware seems to be a requirement at this point.
The Desktop experience
I have been warming up to Ubuntu as a desktop for sometime now. At the moment, I mainly use it for web surfing though I am building the environment necessary to develop applications. I have MySQL installed as part of MythTV installation (mentioned above). Along with MySQL, Apache is running and the PHP components have been installed. Hmm, there is still that bit about linking PHP to MySQL.
I must admit, I have been using Windows for a while and the feel of a Linux text editor is just out of this world in a strange not Windows way. But hey, I went ahead to search for something that has crossed the Windows/Linux divide. That came in the name of Eclipse and after a while without checking on the status of Eclipse, I found out that they have an official PHP IDE for Eclipse.
I am yet to test JDK installation on Ubuntu but I expect it to work and if it doesn’t work and I couldn’t quite convince it to yield, then I will track down some salvation from the rest of the Ubuntu community. I came across EasyUbuntu (please google for it) a couple of days ago (may be already a week by now) and it seems to install some of the packages/software that are not installed by default on Ubuntu. It is a great piece of code which is responsible for my ability to play WMA files on Ubuntu.