Hold on Anakin, I’m coming with!

Anakin Skywalker and Marco Tabini aren’t the only one’s moving to the dark side.

Yes, I saw Star Wars: ROTS, yes its the best one yet, yes I will see it again, yes I will buy the DVD. No I won’t dress up like a Jedi. ever.

Now, on to why I’m making this post. Ubuntu Linux rocks. Whilst I’m making this post in windows I’m well on the way to making the move to a more permenant Linux desktop.

I recently moved my new server to Debian Sarge (unstable) and because I have found it so pleasureable (previously I have used FBSD) to maintain, Ubuntu seemed like the obvious choice.

Let me give some history here. I had installed SuSE 9.2 Pro on my desktop machine, and it was… OK. But I kept spending more time trying to get it running how I wanted it, than using it to do my work. Then recently I took my laptop to work and was going to use Knoppix on it for some testing. Well, that didn’t work, neither did Slax. So I asked my sysadmin if he had his Fedora CDs… which he didn’t.

I didn’t feel like downloading a tonne of CDs or a DVD, and I couldn’t get any net installs to work with my wireless PCMCIA card. Anyway, finally I (re-)stumbled upon Ubuntu and decided to give it a try. I burned the CD and took it to my laptop, popped it in and… nothing.

For some reason my CD-RW/DVD drive wasn’t reading the disk as having anything on it at all. Even though my Desktop machine could see the contents fine. I decided to flash the firmware, something I have never done and have tried my best to steer away from.

At this point, I’d like to mention that the reason I have my desktop machine is that in September last year my laptop stopped working. I took it pieces about 2 weeks ago and got the fan fixed so it stopped overheating and ran just fine again.

Fast forward to Friday night and there I am flashing my firmware… when the flashing application crashes. Now it won’t boot. GAH!

Anyway, I decide to put Ubuntu on my desktop. My first attempt failed (bad burn, one file was corrupt), the second attempt I aborted after learning GRUB wouldn’t boot off of XFS and finally on my third attempt it went in just fine. It even got my GRUB config right so I can boot windows without a problem.

Thanks to Ubuntu and #ubuntu@freenode, I am now getting closer to attaining the linux system I’ve been trying for since I first tried a SuSE 7 LiveCD (I think it was) some 4-5 years ago.

I have Apache 1.3.x and PHP 5.0.4 (compiled from scratch) working, with Zend Studio and Server working just fine. To compile PHP, I just run ./configure --options-here wait till it breaks, then run apt-cache search $thing_it_broke_on, then apt-get install $package and ./configure --options-here again till it works. Simple!

There are some things I miss though, TortoiseCVS, TortoiseSVN, iTunes and the easy to install PgSQL 8.0.3 binaries ;-)

Rythmbox is a fairly adequate replacement for iTunes but it can’t do ITMS and doesn’t see iTunes shares on the network.

If anyone can help me find replacements, it’d be appreciated (a way to mount iTunes shares + Rythmbox seems like a solution, but is it possible?)

There are some things in Ubuntu that need improvment; a GUI Mouse button mapper is needed (though I now finally have the buttons I usually use working just fine :), the ability to Share Folders with Samba is great but it needs the ability to configure Samba itself. A bootsplash is needed. Thats pretty much it.

I’m almost ready to go full time to Ubuntu, I just need to move my Firefox and Thunderbird profiles to my FAT32 partition to share it with WinXP for the occasional time I need Photoshop :-)

– Davey