Linux Review 12- Ubuntu 9.10

With almost a two month absence, the blogger is back, and ready to do just that.

Ubuntu is a distribution designed for ease of use and simplicity of use. The Ubuntu team releases a new distribution at a frequency of every 6 months, and the next distribution has work beginning as early as the beta stages of the current one. My distribution of choice, the ultimately customizable Arch, is a rolling release distribution, meaning that once packages are ready and tested, they are released into mirrors for the user to download the package and use it on the system. Anyway, let's review how the systems are looked at.

Either VirtualBox or KVM is used. VirtualBox reviews are performed on my Intel Atom Netbook with 1GB of memory. KVM reviews are currently not taking place, as the desktop with KVM is currently nonfunctional. VirtualBox reviews are performed with 512MB of memory, and a 1.6GHz processor. VirtualBox is less efficient than KVM, so it is hoped that the KVM machine will be usable again soon.

Ubuntu 9.10- Karmic Koala- Tested with VirtualBox

Ubuntu is and has been the distribution for new Linux users. Ubuntu is known for it's simplicity of use, easy user interface, and a simple installer. The installer is basically identical to the previous install guide that was made for Ubuntu. Otherwise, to the graphical user, Ubuntu's appearance has not really changed. The boot of Ubuntu is much sleeker, a process that seems almost seamless from after the boot menu, other than the GDM login screen. The scrolling bar across the screen no longer shows progress. It is now for eye candy, and a sleek boot.

The graphical installer continues to be simple, very similar to the previous guide to install. The installer is one of the easiest with Ubuntu, the directions are clear, and the installer reccomends defaults. New users will most likely encounter this installer as easy and clear to use, and many guides to help them along with the process exist.

User Interface
Ubuntu's brown interface still remains in the distribution, along with a new theme, called New Wave. (New Wave is shown above). The themes are familiar and the artwork in Ubuntu 9.10 is simple.

Ubuntu 9.10 incorporates new features such as Ubuntu One, and a new Add/Remove Software interface, similar to a storefront. The software interface is now more intuitive, and software installs with a single click once located. Synaptic Package Manager still exists, in the System -> Administration Menu. Ubuntu's software set continues to be the usual,, and Firefox, but Pidgin is now replaced. The Gnome Project's Empathy Instant Messenger has replaced it. The set up process with Empathy is somewhat more simple, but it does not give options to set up settings such as only use SSL.

Stability is important for a new Linux user. When using their computers, they want no crashes and a stable system. Today, the Virtual Machine for Ubuntu was booted, and X server would start, crash, go back to the CLI login prompt, and repeat over and over again. It seems that Ubuntu has an unstable X server inside of VirtualBox. Because of the flashing screen, repair by a new user cannot be performed. Ubuntu also has a strange Grub setup. At this time, the test will end here.

Ubuntu 9.10 continues to be the simple, easy distribution that it has been previously. The stability issue may have been caused by the usage of VirtualBox. Hopefully, KVM will be operational soon.
Graphical User Interface-4/5
Total- Ubuntu earns 15.5 points out of 20 possible.
Ubuntu will continue to be the distribution it is, but Ubuntu is not for me. I have found my cozy home with Arch, but distributions will continue to be reviewed, without bias. Distribution reviewing is a fun thing to pass the time with. Have a good Thanksgiving for all who celebrate it. I plan to review OpenSUSE and Fedora next. Have a nice, Linux-filled day.

Would you like to install Ubuntu?

A friend/New Linux user asked for the creation of directions on how to install Ubuntu. Hoping that these will help someone out there, they will be made available to blog readers. This may continue to span many distributions.

Preview and Download:
How to Install Ubuntu


I recently ran into a file system corruption on my laptop. Today, everything is fine. The day it happened, I thought I lost over 400 pictures. I realize that it is my fault for not backing up that single copy, but that is besides the point. I had deleted all of these pictures off my memory card (Via Linux - FAT32 Formatted SD Card), and my laptop file system was inaccessible. How did I recover the photos? I recovered them with a free software named Restoration. This little software may not be the best way of recovering these pictures, but it worked for my purpose. This software is not Open Source, and it runs on Windows, but it was perfect for my situation. It also doesn't need an installation, and if you are in a dire situation without rights to a computer, this means a great deal.
Restoration was able to retrieve the "deleted" pictures from the SD card, as files are not deleted until they are overwritten on the FAT32 file system. Thanks Restoration!
Unfortunately, I believe that undelete capabilities do not exist on Linux's EXT3 and EXT4 file systems, correct me if I am wrong.
My laptop has a new install of Arch, and I will be working on that to show off when it is ready!

Current Arch Setup

After my review about Arch, I reinstalled from scratch. I started again, building up from the basics. I do this because I appreciate the leanest system possible. Here is a screenshot of my current desktop-
This is Openbox with an XFCE4 Panel. I also use GDM for the login. The total memory usage with Firefox and Pidgin running is 195 MB. This is one lean setup. It boots with Xorg started in about 21 seconds, on an Intel Atom. Arch is my favorite distribution that I have found, and I am sure that it will continue to be so for a while.

Linux Review 11: Arch Linux

After 11 successful looks at Linux, I think I may have found my favorite...

Arch Linux is a Linux distribution striving to Keep it simple. My opinions on this? Its great. Arch is lightweight and you can do anything in relation to Desktop Managers and configuration. I installed it on my Eee PC 904HA, and had similar results to Fedora. Sound from the headphone output is full of static, but I think that might be a hardware problem. Wireless basically worked out of box. Even with the core install, essentials to a laptop configuration were working. I went from there, installing and configuring, GDM, Gnome, XFCE, and getting programs like Firefox, Pidgin, and What I got out of doing this all by hand was a fast, slim system with only the essentials.

Arch Install
The Arch Linux installer is a text base installer, covering everything needed to get a working install on first reboot. It goes through partitioning, keyboard, time zone, and other settings. If you download the FTP image, you download packages from mirrors to use on the first reboot. I downloaded the ~150MB FTP image, and then downloaded some packages such as the kernel and Text editor, nano. I also dived into using EXT4 for my root partition. EXT4 is the latest EXT filesystem, and it seems faster than EXT3 would be. I had to use EXT3 for my /boot partition as GRUB doesn't yet support EXT4. Otherwise, the install went smooth, and I checked the configuration files to make sure that they were ok. They were, and I proceeded into my first installed start-up of Arch.

Arch Startup
The installed system was blazingly fast. I logged in as root, and I had a command line based system, that I was ready to install things like X onto. I read around the Arch wiki (Great wiki), figuring out how to go around installing what I wanted. Soon after, my system was ready and very usable.

Arch is a nice Linux distribution. It is lightweight and fast. It works great, once you have it configured properly. It gives you flexibility. You only download things you need. I have to say, with all of these things together in one distribution, it is my favorite. I have to give it a 5/5. I think this will be my distribution of choice for a while. Until something similar to arch comes along with a better mixture of performance and features, Arch will be my favorite. For now, I will stop distribution hopping and stay with Arch.

Fedora on the Eee PC 904HA

I installed Fedora 10 onto my EeePC. Here is what works and what doesn't work-

Worked Out of Box
Wireless, Ethernet, All normal things, sound, correct resolution on the screen, etc...

Does not work out of box
Headphones :(

The Good And Bad things about a Multi-Touch Touch Pad

After that much of a title, lets get talking. My new laptop, the Eee PC 904HA, came with a multitouch touchpad. It is similar to the technology found in the newer Apple Macbooks. The whole concept makes it easier to navigate the interface. It allows gestures to be used to zoom, scroll, change workspaces, etc... What do I think about it? I think this technology is great. It makes doing certain things quicker, which increases productivity, and makes the computing experience that little bit greater. Is it the next big feature? I'm not sure, it could be. More and more laptops (now the most popular type of computer) will get touchpads with new features.
I found myself immediately using the gestures with the touchpad. It only takes a little while to master the easiest of them. Multi-Touch-Pads, the tech of the future?

Ubuntu on the Eee PC 904HA

After creating my first bootable USB thumb drive for installing Ubuntu with an easy to use tool called UNetBootin, with the Ubuntu 8.04 Alternate CD, and finding that it wouldn’t work because the installed couldn’t find the network interface, I used UNetBootin to download and create a USB stick of Ubuntu 8.10 Live, and it installed perfectly. The live version did find the Atheros network interface, and I could proceed with the install.


The Ubuntu install went without issue other than the problems with Network interfaces as described. It took about 10 minutes from the USB stick I was using.

What Worked, What didn’t work-

Most things worked with 8.10, including the Graphics, Ethernet Interface, USB, Webcam, and Multi-Touch touchpad features. The wireless card- Atheros AR5007EG, worked after following a few guides, easily  found on the internet. Sound works from the speakers, but doesn’t work with headphones.

Sound Issues

On the Eee PC 904HA, the speakers work fine in Ubuntu. Headphones produce a loud static noise, while you can’t hear what you are supposed to be listening to. I have searched for the problem on Ubuntu Forums and across the web for this problem with the 82801G (Intel ICH7 Family) sound interface, to no avail. If anyone in the audience can shine some light on this issue, please comment.


Installing Ubuntu on the Eee PC 904HA was surprisingly easy. It also took a very low amount of time to start and complete the install. I am very happy with the support for the hardware in this laptop, as I know that laptop hardware isn’t always supported. As I said, if anyone can shine light on the issue with sound, please comment.