This would be another late-night fever-fuelled blog post.
Now that it’s all public and stuff, I’ll write a bit about the new linux kid on the block, ubuntu … possibly the first linux distro to be inspired by Shooting Stars? Thom assures me that it has nothing to do with eranu and uvavu, though I remain unconvinced.
I got a pre-release version through my association with Thom – possibly something to do with grumbling at him to let me have a copy every time I meet him. I installed it once a while back when I was playing with Suse as well, but back then the comparison was not too favourable. Since then, I’ve watched a heck of a lot of traffic on the mailing lists, evidence of Herculean exertions by the Ubuntu development team.
So, what is it? A really quick install of Debian, essentially. Let me show you. Or rather, let me make tedious notes whilst it installs, and you can go look at the pretty pictures of ubuntu.
I started this at 01:05am, on a P4 2.4ghz machine with a slow 30gb hard disk. Let’s count the keystrokes …
- Hit return once to boot.
- Hit return to select English.
- Up arrow and return to select United Kingdom.
- Down arrow and return to select the network interface. Holy cow, it’s asking me for a WEP key! I’d better type it in … (That’s a first. I’ve never had my wireless card work out-of-the-box before, and usually I have to at least enter the SSID of my network before it’s found. Three gold stars to the ubuntu guys.)
- Type in a fancy hostname and hit return, ‘ubuntu’ is too obvious a name for me. The temptation to call the machine Ulrikakakakaka was too much for me.
- Down arrow and return to select which hard disk. (Bye-bye, Suse!)
- Left arrow and return to confirm disk partition options.
(Round about now I’m starting to miss the Debian-style “select a partition type”, “mount a swap partition”, “insert a module” fuss. I’m bored with the return and cursor keys, let me type some technobabble, damn you! I want to prove I’m a l33t linux hax0r like everyone else.)
While I type this up, my linux machine is cheerfully filling up the hard disk with packages … it’s been going 10 minutes and it’s 50% done. With a better CD-ROM drive and a less scratched CD, this might be even quicker.
- Hit return to install the boot loader. Here’s hoping I can reconstruct the entries for Windows and Debian at a later date, if they aren’t auto-detected.
- Hit return to reboot.
The major bug I found and forgot to report when I did the install last month was with X: it didn’t know anything about 1400×1050 resolution screens. This meant things broke horribly when I tried to select the correct resolution, and I got bored real quick and went back to Suse. Hence never bothering to file the bug …
Ok, it’s booting. The boot sequence looks distinctly RedHat style (in a good way), with messages in the style:
foobar [ ok ]
- Hit return at the welcome message.
- Hit return to select my timezone.
- Enter my name.
- Enter my username.
- Enter my password, confirm my password.
- Hit return to confirm downloads from the internet. Look vaguely surprised that the wireless network card is still working correctly.
Lots of packages being installed … without continuously bugging me to pick options. Not sure I really want to watch all the “selecting / unpacking” messages though … where’s Tetris on this thing?
I think I’ve got time to get a Lemsip. I wish all cold and flu remedies didn’t taste disgusting.
Ah-ha! It’s back to flexing my cursor and return key skills, asking about X server configuration. And lo! My resolution of choice, 1400×1050, is listed. Another bevy of gold stars to you, Ubuntu dudes! I really shouldn’t get so excited about this. I blame the decongestants.
- Hit down arrow 5 times and space to select my preferred resolution, and then return.
- Hit return at the final message.
- Make appreciative “oooh, sweet!” noises as the crisp, clean login screen appears.
It’s 01:48, so 43 minutes for an install, with virtually no interference from me along the way. That’s about the same time it takes me to get a Debian base install up, but a heck of a lot less work, and I’m guessing most of the packages I need will already be installed, whereas with Debian I would need to spend another hour or so getting everything “just right”.
Time to kick the tyres and take this thing for a spin. Eranu!