Posted by: reformedmusings | July 5, 2008

Upgraded to Hardy Heron

I’m a Linux kinda guy, and my favorite Linux distribution is Kubuntu–the KDE desktop version of Ubuntu, which is based on the GNOME desktop. This distribution is well-supported and kept up to date with the latest kernel upgrades by releasing semi-annual version upgrades. Mark Shuttleworth, the CEO of Canonical, has an ambitious vision for Linux in general and Ubuntu in particular. I’m an Open Source fan because I believe in freedom, and as The Who once sang, “Freedom tastes of reality.” Here’s a nice Wikipedia article on Ubuntu.

The latest release of the Ubuntu family is Hardy Heron, or version 8.04 (year.month of release). Mark Shuttleworth is originally from South Africa, so Ubuntu has a red/brown theme and releases are code named after animals. Although Canonical released Heron on 24 April 2008, it had some serious installation issues. Since my computer is mission-critical, I decided to stay with Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) and wait for a significant update. That came on 3 July with 8.04.1. So, I celebrated our nation’s freedom by upgrading my free operating system yesterday. 🙂

The update procedure proceeded smoothly, taking about 30 minutes or so to download and upgrade the system. Since I have my data and settings on a separate /home partition separate from the operating system, all my stuff was ready to go after resetting the computer when the upgrade finished. The upgrade even preserved my NVidia video settings, which had been an issue in the initial release, and I’m very pleased that my RAID 1 setup also survived the upgrade. I only had a few issues:

1) Hardy decided that one of my IDE drives was SATA, so used the wrong designation in the master configuration file (fstab). It was probably challenged by the 4 drives in that computer, but I finally got it to mount OK by using the drive’s UUID. You can get the UUID by executing “ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid” in the shell. Considering the drives in my system, it seems like Heron sees all Linux drives as SATA, but correctly recognizes Windows IDE drives. This has no effect on the drives’ operations, only how they are IDed and mounted.

2) I initially had no sound, but didn’t realize it at first. Best I can tell, it didn’t even install the new PulseAudio system. I tried to install all the PulseAudio components, but I didn’t get it to work. I reverted to ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), and after unmuting all the appropriate items in the mixer, it worked fine.

3) The Compiz-Fusion 3D visual system didn’t work correctly at first. It apparently lost its settings, probably because of its own upgrade from 6.2 to 7.4 in the process. After a few minutes resetting all the extensions that I use and activating the Emerald window decorator, it works and looks great. The Linux 3D desktop provided the reason that I used an NVidia 8800 GTS video card in this system, and it provides awesome performance.

Hardy Heron comes with the Firefox 3.0 Internet browser, which was in beta testing when Heron was first released. Firefox 3.0 is now in final release and seems very fast and stable, plus it has some very nice new features. Not all of my favorite extensions have been updated for compatibility, but the most critical ones have been and I’ve found some newer substitutes.

So, I’m happy with my upgrade from Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) to Hardy Heron (8.04.1). Heron seems a bit faster and runs Compiz-Fusion better. OpenOffice.org 2.4.1 is also a nice upgrade. Best of all, it’s free (as in beer)!

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