Rebuilding on Kubuntu…


Well, that free computer is now finally getting some use.  In fact, I am rebuilding everything, so after swapping out hardware to prep the freebie to become the new main computer, and the former champ to become the replacement for my son, I have decided to load Kubuntu 7.04.  The retired general now has one SATA hard drive, and is keeping the nvidia card.  It gained a new sound card, WiFi card, DVD all-in-one drive (the old internal and external USB drives had gone bad), and media card reader (from the freebie computer).  The new king has six SATA 80 GB hard drives, but needs a better video card, and has no room left for the media card reader.

Now, the Kubuntu install on the old computer….

It went well, smooth as glass.  I was able to start loading packages using Adept Manager.  Ran into a few snags with things breaking or locking, which I was able to fix.  Hardware detection is very good (better than Mandriva, I think), and setting up the USB printer (an HP 6210 All-In-One) was truly effortless.  I got the nvidia driver installed using the Envy script, which was very cool – but it would be nicer if it offered to just restart X instead of rebooting the computer.  I chose NO and just restarted X instead – glxgears went from a pre-install 182 fps to a post-install 7600+ fps (Beryl or compiz were not running).

First impressions?  Very easy to use, very nicely integrated, huge software repository (with universe and multiverse repositories enabled).

Second impressions?  Hides or changes too much – I do not count a learning curve as a bad thing, but I have gotten used to being able to manually roll in a vanilla kernel, and install nvidia drivers at the console login.  I like knowing what is in my inittab file – but it looks like this has been replaced by Upstart.  My attempt to install a new kernel failed, as did my attempt to install lilo (elilo).  Not sure why elilo failed, but even if it had not, the kernel install would have (I think).  I did find a tutorial for installing the nvidia driver and for installing a new kernel by hand, but a lot more depends on installing packages beyond what was needed on Mandriva.  Anyway, the kernel install was just a stab to see if it would work – I will just take more time and learn how to do it the Ubuntu way later on.

I *am* learning my way around dpkg and the apt- commands, and am getting used to sudo.   I really appreciate that sudo is available to the first user – I was getting worried that my wife and kids might be getting sudo privs and could screw something up, but nope – it’s just me.  Sure, I can visudo and relearn what to do, again, to more actively manage sudo privs, but it is nice that I do not have to.

So, I have to learn how to manually install the nvidia drivers, work with run levels without inittab (the stuff I found seems to indicate that if I build an inittab file, that will be given priority over upstart), and most importantly, roll in a new kernel.  This I need so I can pick up on the newest wireless hardware additions – this computer is going upstairs one day, and there ain’t no LAN cables there…

Overall, though, I like Kubuntu.  Some things are different, and I of course have some relearning to do, but barring any showstoppers, I am seriously considering a complete switch to Kubuntu.  I am waiting for the release of Mandriva 2008 in September before I make up my mind – if it is a good upgrade to 2007, I’ll keep using it as well.  One thing is for certain – I am off of Cooker.

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