Archive for the 'Vista' Category

Upgrading to Kubuntu (Ubuntu) Feisty Fawn

Well today I am very pleased to announce that my previous partition strategy has resulted in one of the most pleasant experience upgrading Linux I have ever had on a Windows dual-boot box I’ve ever had. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Dowload the Kubuntu CD 7.10 (Feisty Fawn Herd 4 in my case).
  2. I booted to the CD and clicked icon to Install
  3. Important: I chose “manual partitioning” when prompted.
  4. I selected the root partition (hda2) and marked it to be re-formatted.
  5. I then chose the same partition scheme that I did before:
    1. /dev/hda1 (/media/vista)
    2. /dev/hda2 (/)
    3. /dev/hda3 (swap)
    4. /dev/hda4 (/home) Note: I specifically chose NOT to format this one.
  6. Then I chose the same username.
  7. After everything was done I just restarted and ALL of my settings, desktop preferences, Firefox addons, files and documents, everything was just the way I left it and ready to go.
  8. Time: < 20 minutes (less than half my lunch hour). ;-)

I’m very happy now to be looking and kicking the tires of what’s coming in the next release of Kubuntu.

Comparing Pseudo OpenXML to the Open Document Format

Hi everyone: I just came across the following paragraph in a review of word processors I felt was pretty compelling:

  • “Let us be clear: the choice is not between being able to interoperate with Microsoft— thanks to Novell and Corel doing interoperability work for them — or being stuck in some ODF ghetto, unable to read Microsoft documents. Everyone wants to interoperate. The question is how. The problem is Microsoft. The solution lies with Microsoft. It’s 2007, and it’s time that Microsoft followed the same standards everyone else, instead of insisting the world bend to their ways. Microsoft’s OXML doesn’t disrupt this propensity. It’s not only unacceptable, but quite strange that even now we can’t all freely share documents with one another, no matter what operating system we like to use. We can send each other email, read each others’ blogs and websites, even if you are on Windows, I’m on Linux, and Uncle Fester is using OS X. Why isn’t that the norm for everything? It ought to be. The bottleneck is Microsoft. FOSS software is happy to interoperate with any other software. Why won’t Microsoft? That is the $64,000 question in 2007. All this only matters if you intend to use Microsoft Word. The good news is that there are many good alternatives” (, 2007.02.16).

What do you think?

Vista vs. Kubuntu Linux (the saga continues)

  1. Vista failed to recognize my USB memory stick (rebooting to Kubuntu Linux I was able use it again).
  2. Browsing to a PDF file, Vista had no idea what to do with it–even when I saved it to the desktop and clicked on it (out of the box Kubuntu Linux opened it in the most useful PDF viewer (Kpdf) I have ever seen–referring to the awsomely efficient select tool).
  3. Installing previous applications, they now fail to start–some complaining of missing MSVCR71.dll, while others complain that .NET 1.1 or greater is required (!?!).
    1. Using Google I found the following help: “I ran into a missing msvcr71.dll while trying to use Password Safe. Since I was dual booting with XP on another partition, I copied over the file from \Windows\System32 on the XP partition. Next it was msvcp70.dll and then finally msvcp71.dll. After that the application came up fine. Soooo…if you’re missing any of these three, grab a copy of them from an XP installation and just simply drop them into \Windows\system32 in the Vista partition…” (source).
    2. Using WinXP to patch up Vista solved the missing dll dilema (twenty minutes later). Now I just need to figure out how Vista either managed to come out without .NET installed (can you imagine?), or how it somehow managed to hide what version it had from applications that ran comfortably on WinXP… Wow…
  4. The poorly rendered fonts are really beginning to bother me (Kubuntu Linux offers no such visual grief). Did I mention the blurry fonts are getting really tiresome yet?
  5. I installed Office 2007–Outlook is unable to connect to our Exchange server with the exact same settings I have in Outlook 2003 on my other system. Out of the box experience? Broken.
  6. Finally I had to give up testing for the day as my eyes couldn’t take it anymore.
  7. Giving my eyes a break, I rebooted to Kubuntu Linux… Whew time to be productive again…

Steps to Dual-boot Kubuntu (or life) after Vista

As mentioned in my recent post about installing Vista, I have a spare computer I need to test with various software and operating systems. Now since I am pretty handy at setting up dual-boot systems, this made for a perfect opportunity for me to go about setting up Vista and Linux on an even playing field to see how each compares on identical hardware.

Strangely, setting up the partitions took quite a bit more effort for some reason. I did manage to wrestle Vista into a single 20GB primary partition but it meant having to delete all other partitions in the process. Whatever, linux fdisk worked flawlessly (as it always has in my experience).

Here’s the basic layout I created after Vista was finally happy:

  • hda2 (20GB) “/” aka “root” — where all the system files go (ie. c:\windows)
  • hda3 (1GB) for the swap partition or virtual memory (ie. windows pagefile)
  • hda4 (35GB) “/home” (ie. c:\My Documents and Settings\)

The reason I gravitate toward that partition scheme is because I enjoy trying out various flavors of Linux from time to time and that scheme allows me to only format the system files without touching my personal files or settings (Microsoft dabbled with partition mapping and their half-hearted attempt was evident because you could only “copy” files to the trash). Anyway, once I answered a few questions about my username, timezone, etc, I found myself once again greeted by the familiar Kubuntu login prompt.

  1. First thing I wanted to do would be the equivalent of setting up the proper drivers for my video card if I was in some flavor of Win32. Here’s how it worked in this environment:
    1. sudo aticonfig –initial =
    2. logout (end current session)
    3. control-alt-backspace (restart the xserver)
    4. The resolution on my machine just went from 1024×768 to 1600×1200 (hurray!)
  2. The next thing I had in mind was a really nice wallpaper I had come across so:
    1. right-click on desktop and choose configure desktop
    1. click on Get New Wallpapers (I picked NIGHT)
    2. I set the color to black
    3. I set blending to flat to darken the image a little more so that when I set konsole (the KDE command line window) to have transparent background the brighter parts of the image don’t obscure the text output from the commands I type.
  3. Next I left-clicked on the ‘K’ start button, choose the system menu and drop-n-drop the Konsole icon to left side of my panel (that long strip where the icons are along the bottom).
    1. Starting up Konsole, now I opened ‘Settings’ from the menu and selected ‘transparent Konsole’ (woohoo pretty!).
  4. Next I right-clicked on the panel and chose ‘Configure Panel’
    1. I then chose ‘Appearance’ on the left, and ‘enabled transparency’ (nice!)
  5. Next I added a few alias to my ‘~/.bashrc’. So from the command prompt I typed:
    1. echo alias ll=’ls -lh’ >> ~/.bashrc
  6. Next I always like to set my command line environment so that after I quit reading a longer text file or man page the last page viewed will remain visible:
    1. echo export LESS=X >> ~/.bashrc

Screenshot of my Kubuntu Linux DesktopI’m going to go ahead and post what I’ve got now since I think this is somewhat of a timely subject. But I will continue edit this post as time goes on since I also want the documentation for reference. Here’s the way things look so far though.

Vista and Kubuntu on Same Computer

Today I went to install Windows Vista on a test computer with an 80GB hard drive that is split up into four partitions:

hda1: 20GB NTFS
hda2: 18GB ext3 (root)
hda3: 1GB swap
hda4: 39GB ext3 (home)

Imagine my surprise that Vista complains it cannot figure out how to install in hda1? It complains the situation is “unsuitable”(!?!).

So I proceed to delete all the other partitions and notice while doing so that no prompt is offered to verify you “really want” to proceed deleting partitions–not even so much as an undo feature before committing–nice. So for all of those folks that are used to these niceties in Linux, be extra careful when working with Microsoft’s new partition “utility”.

I already know once I get done restarting the computer enough times to make this Vista install happy that I won’t have any such similar problems installing Kubuntu so that is something to look forward to… I’m really looking forward to testing the new release candidate of Feisty Fawn.

Well getting back to the install, after copying the required files, Microsoft presents you with some options for how you would like to proceed. They aren’t the most intuitive so again being used to working with Linux and the options to go backward in the install process if I decide my choice wasn’t what I wanted, I go ahead and pick “Use Recommended Options” to see what happens. Well I couldn’t tell, but one thing is for sure, it wouldn’t let me go back and decide that I would like to choose over again. So much for that… It looks like so far my expectations are a little too high for Microsoft’s latest flagship product…