I see your Breezy Badger and raise you a Dapper Drake

Inspired by Mark Shuttleworth on stage last week at JavaOne, and Eric‘s recent blog entry (partly) on installing Ubuntu, I spent a few hours last weekend installing Dapper Drake, the latest, greatest (currently beta) Ubuntu release.

There are more tips and tricks on installing Ubuntu on the Ubuntu Wiki than I could ever hope to cover here, so I’ll just give my first impressions…

  • Installing from the Live CD – pretty painless. It’s at this point that I start to Google for Ubuntu’s lack of a root password. Cool – pretty much matches the way I work – never login as root, but keep root capability at arm’s length via sudo.
  • Login and… what’s this? An icon in the menu bar up top advising me of updated packages. 370-odd updated packages. OK – I’ll grab those. After all, it’s the weekend… Plenty of other stuff I can do for a while.
  • Now we have an up-to-date system. Time to install a few apps. Firefox and GAIM are already there, so I just copy in .firefox and .gaim from my backed up Suse home directory. So far so good – I see all my bookmarks and log into all my IM accounts.
  • I prefer Thunderbird to Ubuntu’s default Evolution, so I use Applications – Add/Remove to grab it. Cool – it just works. Copy over .thunderbird and… I can’t see my accounts or email folders. Hmmm. ls -latr. Oh – .mozilla-thunderbird. OK – I can live with that, a quick mv and I can see my email.
  • Ooh – NetworkManager – grab that, for definite. And… it just works. Cool! No VPN support in the Ubunutu version, though. Building NetworkManager from CVS could be pretty hairy – I know that Ubuntu tweaks the standard build. I’ll live with vpnc for now.
  • I love Synergy – the open source keyboard/mouse switcher. At the time I installed Dapper, the Synaptic Package Manager was listing some 1.2.x version, rather than the current 1.3.1, so I build Synergy from source. A quick Google, apt-get install build-essential and a few other bits and pieces and I’m away – sharing my mouse and keyboard between my home system and my laptop. I just checked, and Synaptic is reporting 1.3.1, Let’s make uninstall and grab the official one… Done.
  • Skype – grab the .deb from the Linux download page, copy in .Skype and we’re done.
  • UPDATE: For VMware, Google tells me I need the correct headers for my kernel… sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` then sudo ./vmware-install.pl. I found the IP addresses I was using for vmnet1 and vmnet8 in my old (backed up) /etc/vmware/ directory. Copy over .vmware for my favourites and the license file and… it works!

More as I discover interesting stuff… See you later

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