Has it been a week with Ubuntu already?

Its been an interesting experience so far – notably my reading and writing of blogs has suffered as I’ve been tinkering and tweaking, but I think I now have a stable environment, notably:

– Ubuntu 7.10 running Gnome
– VirtualBox for Outlook, Office and Mind Manager access
– Firefox and Thunderbird for Web and personal mail
– KDevelop for Ruby development
– gTwitter, Skype and Xeyes in the toolbar
– OpenOffice for simple word processing and looking at presentations
– Drivel for typing this

And it all works OK – well, it should, shouldn’t it? I’ve tested pretty much all the options and features that could be alternatives to the above, but for the most part they’re either not suited, or not working. Specifically, there appears to be a bug in the current release of Evolution, which is preventing me from accessing Exchange directly. I haven’t spoken to the Evolution guys but I’ve read pretty widely on this and no dice. Its not blocking but it woudl be nice if it worked. I’ve also tried the gadgets tool (name eludes me) – it doesn’t work under Gnome, which for some reason I keep coming back to from KDE, don’t ask me why but its just simpler and cleaner. Ah, that’s why 😉

I have had inordinate problems with screen resolutions, on my external display; I was also having issued with the screen freezing up for periods but it now transpires that the latter was caused, or exacerbated by the former. Newbie tip: don’t try (like I did) to hack your xorg.conf file, before running the command to detect and auto-generate such a file from scratch. This worked much better – its all documented in the Ubuntu display howto here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FixVideoResolutionHowto There are issues with the display freezing in Gutsy, but I would recommend sorting this first and see if it resolves them.

Update:  I was also having an issue with suspend/resume not working, which seems to have “gone away” now I’m running with the new xorg.conf. Spooky 🙂

I’ve also got to get my microphone working. I was surprised to receive a Slype call a few days ago – surprised because we don’t tend to use it that much for work any more (default action: reach for phone). I grabbed my headset and plugged it in to find that I needed to configure the ALSA device driver, and it wasn’t going to just play so I left it. Still need to get round to that.

I also want to look at Kandy as an alternative for driving my USB 3G dongle. Apart from that, I think I’m done. It was interesting – a few days ago I went back to my Vista install for some reason, grumbling as I did about the Ubuntu display issue. When I logged in however, I did have a similar issue with recognising the display resolution etc, which made me have a bit of a rethink (conclusion: displays are tough in any OS). I’ve tried a couple of other things – for example installing a software configuration management too for my development efforts, before remembering that it could be quite a tricky thing to deploy, and removing both it and Apache. Lesson learned – there’s such a thing as too much choice!

As a final point I had a sudden ah-ha moment as I used XP within VirtualBox. I had been worrying about what happened to my data if the virtual machine should get corrupted in some way – but then it suddenly occurred to me that everthing within the computer was virtual and at risk, bing converted into a string of 0’s and 1’s and processed through this sexy-looking, but ultimately deceptive Von Neumann machine. The answer: to back up the data, of course. So I have no installed SmartSync within my virtual environment, and it is doing exactly that. Whoa!

Has it been a week with Ubuntu already?

8 thoughts on “Has it been a week with Ubuntu already?

  1. Eric Krieger says:

    Hmmm.. I’m interested in hearing about the Evolution bug that you refer to. I use Ubuntu 7.10 exclusively on my Dell D820 laptop and I have all the latest updates, I don’t have any problem accessing exchange form Evolution. Can you post a url for the issue?

    Also, since you use Mind Manager there is a open source version…sort of…Labyrinth Mind-mapping.


  2. Mike says:

    John I have had exactly the same experience with Evolution in versions 7.04 and 7.10 and have given up on it completely.

    Our company set up an app server which we access through the remote desktop to satisfy all of my company needs.

    Otherwise box by box we are getting rid of XP and moving everything to Ubuntu.

    Even the grandchildren are loving all the “new games” they have never seen before. I think the next box will be Edbuntu for them.

  3. Thanks all, Stephen I’ll give it a go – and FY’all’s I, there’s a new version of VirtualBox out, 1.5.2. I had to install it twice (try it if the first time fails) but it now runs *so* much better than 1.5.0!

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