Wednesday, 16 November 2011

By on November 16th, 2011 in computing

08:58 – Well, I’m no longer running Kubuntu 11.10. It locked up on me this morning, and I finally rebooted. Instead of the GUI coming up, I got a terminal login prompt. Enough is enough. I removed that hard drive and put the original hard drive back in, so I’m back to running Ubuntu 9.04, exactly where I was a couple days ago. Overall, this has cost me more than a full day of work, and I’m not happy about it.

26 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 16 November 2011"

  1. Raymond Thompson says:

    The Linux comments are interesting. I have a spare system at work that I am experimenting with Linux, various distributions. I installed the most recent Ubuntu and I was not impressed. I cannot see any of my windows server shares at all. In a prior version I could see them but could not connect and the error message along with a web search produced no results that worked.

    So I am now running Suse 11.04 with release of KDE. I am even more confused. I still cannot connect to any windows shares. The MACs we have have no difficulty in connecting. Windows boxes all see the shares although permissions restrict their access.

    Any recommendations on what to try next? Or any ideas why my windows shares do not show in the network boxes on the Linux machine?

  2. Chad says:

    Overall, this has cost me more than a full day of work, and I’m not happy about it.

    I can send you a Windows 7 install CD… 🙂

  3. Raymond Thompson says:

    I can send you a Windows 7 install CD…

    And I have a spare activation code or two for any version of W7 that I can contribute.

    Seriously, I have played with Linux for several years. Play is the key word, never really serious. I get a point where something is a show stopper and I quit. I don’t have the time or resources to devote wading through noise from the propeller heads to find a solution. I install W7, everything works, drives, video, network, audio, rodents, touchpads, USB, scanners, printers, network shares. Maybe the vendors of the devices are more responsive to the needs of Windows users than they are of Linux users.

    Long gone are the days of the hobbyist that will burn their own ROMs, create their own bootloaders, etc. People just want their computers to work. Linux needs to get out of the hobbyist and propeller head mindset.

    In the meantime I will still tinker with new distros and new releases in the so far unsatisfied hope that Linux will work without futzing with configuration files while twirling a dead cat counterclockwise.

  4. Randy Giedrycz says:

    I’ve been a programmer now for nearly thirty years. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the Unix/Linux worlds doing corporate software development and still do, including .NET programming in Windows. I’ve tried to use Linux as a personal computing platform at home, in addition to Windows, but I’ve found Linux in that role to be just a mess. Too many rough edges, too many nagging problems and work arounds, too many things just plain broken or not working correctly. It never seems to get any better. I’ll stick with Windows thank you. I just don’t have the time to waste on Linux.

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Okay, you guys have convinced me. I’ll head to Costco and buy a Windows box.

  6. Miles_Teg says:

    Make sure it has generic memory, a refurbished DeathStar HDD and a cheap-and-nasty MoBo. 🙂

    Seriously, although I play with Linux from time to time Windows is the way to go, since I have 20+ years experience at work and home with it, so I have a fair idea how to use it. Windows 7 is just fine. A few annoyances, but nothing gamebreaking.

  7. BGrigg says:

    Speaking of going to Costco and buying a new Windows box, who is the hot manufacturer on midpriced (>$800) laptops these days? I’m looking to replace my 06 Inspiron and am looking for something other than a Dell. I don’t need gaming or a 17″ screen, 15″ is perfect. iPads and Tablets need not apply.

  8. Raymond Thompson says:

    I’ll head to Costco and buy a Windows box.

    You will soon be hearing from my lawyers, Dewey, Cheatum and Howe. I fell out of my chair striking my head on my Linux box causing a concussion. I just got back from the emergency room. You will be getting a bill.

  9. Raymond Thompson says:

    who is the hot manufacturer on midpriced (>$800) laptops these days?

    My favorite is Toshiba. I have owned a couple of their laptops and had good results. My son has had a couple and the same. They seem to work. Others have Asus and they like them. I think it is more of a personal preference than any real technical issues.

  10. Linux user interfaces are really in some pretty sad shape. At least the ones that try to be user-friendly are. To quote Linus Torvalds:

    I used to be upset when gnome developers decided it was “too complicated” for the user to remap some mouse buttons. In gnome3, the developers have apparently decided that it’s “too complicated” to actually do real work on your desktop, and have decided to make it really annoying to do.

    He’s switched to Xfce:

    I think it’s a step down from gnome2, but it’s a huge step up from gnome3. Really.


  11. dkreck says:

    Toshiba. My 2001 Satellite still runs but the lid need help to stay open. I used it as a Netflix box for awhile since it had a S-Video port but retired it after I could use the Wii and a Blu-ray player. Currently have a 17″ but it’s too big for much mobile use. Love the large screen and full keyboard but it was about $700 two years ago. Last year I bought a 10″ netbook that’s great for travel except I do have to use my reading glasses sometimes. Paid extra to get XP Pro instead of 7 starter s that pushed it to about $360. Later I spen about $50 on an external DVD. Bought my daughter a 15″ that’s ideal and cost well under $500. All are rock solid hardware. Supported more than a few Dells and Lenovos(IBM) failled too soon.

    Somewhere I have a pic of all three lined up on a table. Sort of a three bears image.

  12. Marie Z. says:

    My son has had a Toshiba for several years now. It has been very reliable.

    We have Dells at work, and I regularly want to kick them across the library.

  13. David Edwards says:

    I am using Libre Office on Win 7 Home premium and it is a really nice program, have not done big projects so dont know of any show stoppers.
    Have had 4 Dell laptops with no problems whatsoever

  14. Rick Payette says:

    A problem with buying a consumer Windows computer is that it likely will have Windows 7 Home Premium installed. Not the best choice for sharing folders with servers or non-Windows systems. Windows 7 Professional plays well with shares.

    These days, the only thing I use Linux for is data recovery, usually Knoppix on a USB thumb drive. But even Knoppix has gone a little crazy with interface candy.

  15. James Chamier says:

    If you do decide to try Win7 – please ensure you format any manufacturer preload and install clean as you would with Linux.

    Lenovo make reliable corporate grade hardware, but their out of the box preload is full of “stuff” that makes you want to kill someone. Dell are the only vendor (in the corporate space) in the UK whom I can get to provide a *real* Windows installation disc (although it has a Dell logo on, it behaves the same as a Microsoft one).

    Lenovo and other vendors flatly refuse to provide anything other than an image of the factory preload. Completely useless.

  16. James Chamier says:

    Oh it seems Ubuntu has alienated everyone I know who is pro-Linux with their new UI – its commercially stupid!

  17. Lynn McGuire says:

    My USMC son took a 17″ toshiba laptop to Iraq twice (2005 and 2006). The first time it ran 24×7 as a DVD player (they had nothing else). The DVD drive failed on the second trip (have you seen Iraqi sand – it is like greasy face powder). But they could still play Call of Duty. Then he dropped it on the corner of the case and diagonally cracked the screen. At that point he used it for target practice with a .50 cal. Both times he was in FOBs (forward operating bases) with very little spare electricity.

  18. BGrigg says:

    Seems like Toshiba is moving up the list with Asus in 2nd. I used to be a fan of HP, but every laptop I’ve seen in Canada has the bilingual keyboard, and I’m not bilingual. I want a “?” not a “é”!

  19. OFD says:

    I must recuse myself from the Linux vs. Windows discussion, I reckon. I have Linux on a desktop, laptop and netbook for both personal and work use but not heavy-duty production stuff or what we laughingly call “mission-critical.” My Windows 7 Ultimate Box has been fine for a year now, no complaints, but again, I do not run heavy stuff on it.

    At work we have Red Hat and CentOS clusters with thousands of nodes, and in a given week a handful of nodes might fail to ping or might go down with some problem or other. I get down on my knees every morning and give thanks that it is not a Windows server or cluster site.

    But one of my next research projects is to get Hadoop/Map Reduce running on an Ubuntu cluster with multiple nodes so I will be sure to post my trials and tribulations accordingly.

  20. Stu Nicol says:

    As others have noted above, I gave Kubuntu a trial several years ago but then had to let it go. It was fine for the more mundane apps, but for hobbies outside of the box (PC box, that is) it seems that one has to go back to Windows.

    For example, shortly after giving up on it, I got into handheld GPSrs as part of my 4WD back country exploring and sightseeing activities. Consequently, I aquired a DeLorme handheld GPSr and the bundled mapping software application:
    Runs without issue on my XP SP3 desktop (courtesy of BTPPC) and my W7 laptop (an MSI model with which I am very happy).

    My current handheld GPSr:

  21. Randall Sluder says:

    I tried for years to make the transition from Windows to Linux. I experimented with a lot of distributions, and of the lot, Xandros stood out because it networked among Linux and even among Windows machines much better than Windows itself did. I found that the Ubuntu family never lived up to the hype, particularly the KDE variants (I was used to KDE from Xandros) though maybe it was my aging hardware. I settled on Linux Mint. I tried all of their flavors but now use the “main release” which, though based on Ubuntu and Gnome, works with the fewest problems for me. There are some annoyances as delivered — too much window decoration stuff and pop-up scroll bars — but those can be uninstalled, and it does start with Firefox and Thunderbird and Libre Office.

    The mission critical app that always held me up was QuickBooks, but now that I can run my ten year old version under Wine and Linux Mint, I have abandoned Windows entirely. (Well, except for a favorite Canon scanner for which I still have to boot up an XP machine.) I have three machines in my office, my wife’s laptop, and a home office machine all on Linux Mint. I access files over the internet with Hamachi/Haguichi.

    Note to Chad about writing HTML – I use gedit for HTML & CSS. I guess I’m not geeky enough to use vi, though I did a lot of programming in my days as a cold-warrior. (I bet most of the “cool -nix kids” weren’t even born when we were saving the world from godless communism.) KompoZer, even though it seems to generate extraneous bits of code if you create anything with it, is still occasionally useful for viewing or deciphering what you’ve written.

  22. brad says:

    In Kubuntu’s defense, I will note that this could have as easily been a disk-error that trashed a couple of files.

    I do use Linux as my main system, both on a laptop and on a desktop. Both dual-boot into Windows, which I use rarely. However, I also know that I spend more time fiddling with my Linux installs that I would with Windows. It’s a price to be paid.

    On my main system (not the laptop), I have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. That system has been essentially trouble-free. The laptop is new, and I foolishly installed a current Ubuntu on it. Tried the Unity interface – disaster. This led to many hours of trying other things (Mint, etc.), before I switched to Xubuntu. Which works, but has a long list of irritating little problems.

    Given KDE4/Gnome3/Unity, the entire Linux GUI world seems to be insane – when you have a good, solid interface, you should improve on it – not throw it out and start over. This is what Windows has done, version after version. It’s what Apple has done, version after version. Only Linux seems intent on alienating its users by needlessly changing its interface concept.

    The quote from Torvalds is gold. It also gives me hope that the XFCE problems will be fixed – not by him, of course, but by thousands of other Linux users who will (hopefully) agree with him.

  23. Jim says:

    I have been following your journey through Linux for years, but have not commented until now. First, let me say I have not transitioned completely to Linux, and still use Windows for some work. That alone is a bit telling. I do admire your abrupt jump from Windows to Xandros; I would never have done that, mostly because every version of Windows I have used has always been rock solid for me, so I keep coming back. Maybe I am just lucky, or maybe I know what I am doing 🙂 Only one version of Linux has been nearly as good.

    My suggestion is to try MEPIS before you abandon Linux and go back to Windows. Bear with me, it is late.

    I have been using various forms of desktop Linux for almost six years, and will not bother to list all the distros, except to say I occasionally try the Canonical distros because they are so popular. I am always disappointed. Maybe it is because they are based on the unstable Debian branch. Without offending anyone, let me just say none of this is for me.

    I am not a distro hopper. I try to stay with a test distro for about six months, long enough to really get to know it. My hardware is simple and business oriented, so I rarely have any compatibility issues. I have at least two home built test computers, and I dedicate them to just one distro at a time to keep things simple.

    After excursions to some of the other non-Debian distros and repositories, I keep coming back. I do like pure Debian as a distro, but not if I want to make my computers versatile. The refusal to embrace proprietary elements is not for me. So, a compromise: MEPIS.

    I have been using MEPIS since version 3, and have always had at least one version installed. No, it is far from perfect, but the latest version, 11, is awfully good. Good enough that I may finally take the plunge and drop Windows. We’ll see.

    Oh, and I prefer KDE over Gnome because it is so configurable. Please don’t judge KDE by Kubuntu. Again, I don’t want to offend anyone, but my two experiences with Kubuntu over the years convinced me it is the worst implementation of KDE I have tried. Maybe this was because it was the secondary desktop.

    I won’t go into any details about fixing my few problems with MEPIS: you have enough experience to address any you might experience.

    BTW, honorable mention goes to PCLinuxOS. I tried it for the first time about a year ago, and almost fell in love. My only complaint was that it is a rolling distro: I can’t stand the frequent changes. Like you, I have one computer running a much older version (of MEPIS,) and it is very dependable. So much so that I hate to upgrade it. PCLinuxOS forces frequent upgrades.

    There. Don’t forget your freedom. For a moment, I thought the date was April first.

  24. Rod Schaffter says:

    Hi Bob.

    I installed the new openSuSE 12.1 yesterday without issues, except my scanner doesn’t work-probably a permissions issue.

    Sounds like a video driver issue-login to the terminal and enter ‘startx’, and see what error messages pop up. My guess is, that if you are using a non-OSS video driver, you either need to add ‘nomodeset’ to the kernel startup parameters, or remove the OSS driver package, and block it from reinstallation. This is not unique to Ubuntu-darned Stallmanites! 🙁

    If you have a copy of MSOffice lying about, you could run it under Wine.

    If you are indeed serious, I would open up a partition and add a windows 7 partition to that box. There is a Windows driver for ext2/3 file systems, so you could drag your files over. I have a Windows 7 box myself for running some 3D apps. It is pretty good, but I miss the little dialog box when dragging files-I’ve often moved stuff I meant to copy…Actually, just install VirtualBox to Ubuntu and install Windows to a virtual machine-it will work fine for non graphics intensive apps.

    Also, I bought Windows 7 Pro-it comes with 5 years extended security update support-Windows 7 Home support ends in April, 2015 IIRC. It’s on sale right now at NewEgg with the newsletter coupon…


  25. Paul Jones says:

    I’ll be over later to collect your Linux card and tear the stars off your shoulder.

  26. bobruub says:

    Been a while since the pundits declared the coming year was the year of linux on the desktop.

    It never quite worked for me always some issue or program i needed and once Windows 7 come along the 6 monthly cycle of rebuilding XP seems to have ceased.

    Still have a dual boot on one of my machines but cant recall the last time I used it.

    If you are set on *nix perhaps a hackintosh is in order. I’ve got an old Dell netbook (remember when they were all the rage) running OSX and despite my best efforts I just cant hate it 🙂

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