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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ubuntu Dapper troubles

As I mentioned in my last post, I downloaded the ISO image for the Ubuntu 6.06 "Dapper Drake" Release Candidate. Maybe I haven't mentioned it ever but I run Linux as my primary operating system since the last six months. And the Linux distro of choice has guess it...Ubuntu Linux.

Warning: The following few paragraphs are meant for techy, nerdy, geeky, FSF breathing, Linux speaking (life is mostly about technology) people.

[begin geek stuff]

The website said that breezy (that's the name of the older version) users can upgrade easily by first making sure that they have updated to the latest "update-manager" utility through Synaptic. Then the only thing you need to do is issue the command:
gksudo "update-manager -d"

Now begins the tale. I did what they told me. I applied all the latest security updates that had been pending for a while (around 90+ megs of patches!). Then I issued the required command. Behold! It showed me that a new version of ubuntu is available and a button to upgrade, which I promptly clicked.

The installation process started and it downloaded some files and then a message saying "Cannot upgrade..." popped up. Another one told me "An error occurred while calculating dependencies...". So all this came to halt. Ok, maybe the only way now is to download the ISO and upgrade using that. It took me around 16+ hours to download the ISO. Now without a CD-writer, how am I supposed to install it. I didn't want to wait to get it fixed. So I decided to take a bold step. An experiment to install from the ISO without burning to a CDROM. Reminded me of the good olden days, when all I did was to experiment around with my system...

I mounted the ISO image on my filesystem. Until that time, I didn't know how to do that...for those who still don't, here is the command:
mount -o loop -t iso9660 /opt/somename.iso /mnt/somefolder

Then I added the following line to my /etc/apt/sources.lst:
deb file:///mnt/dapper/ dapper main restricted

and ran apt-get update. Then apt-get upgrade started the upgrade process. When I had got that error from the update-manager, I should've known that something must be wrong and if something goes wrong during this process, it's going to trash my working, lovely, 6-month old operating system. Now as it turned out, it did :(

It hanged while trying to upgrade the pcmcia package. A reboot didn't help either. I tried trying to boot from the ISO image from the GRUB prompt. No luck. Then I used the breezy install cd to boot and tried using the bootfrom: parameter. Again no luck. Tried to mount the ISO in between various phases of the breezy install process but that couldn't be done because a lot of clashing was taking place between the differing versions in the breezy install CD and the dapper install ISO image.

Finally, I was left with only one option. I did a default install from the breezy install CD, and then upgraded all packages from within synaptic after adding the ISO into the sources.lst file. That worked somehow and here I am using a brand new ubuntu 6.06 release candidate.

It's pretty cool with the new art-work and a more polished theme. Some menu items have been moved around to my discomfort. For example: the take screenshot menu item has been moved to accessories and the network tools launcher has been moved from the Accessories->System tools menu to the System->Administration menu.

And now I am left with downloading and configuring softwares like Anjuta, Eclipse, Netbeans, Sun JDK (eesh...I almost forgot about it) and ofcourse vlc, mplayer, some totem codecs and Limewire. Interestingly, Synaptic removed Openoffice during the upgrade process. So I'd have to install that too. I also need to download the Linux-image-686 smp kernel. I wonder why ubuntu doesn't ship that with their CDs since almost all modern processors are P4 based and the 686 kernel is for P3 and P4 SMP.

With the dapper release, Sun JDK is going to be a part of the multiverse apt source list. There's a lot of furor in the free software community about Sun's java distribution license. It's surprising that despite the popularity of Java, JDK does not ship with any major Linux distro.

[end geek stuff]

Hmm...If you're not familiar with most of the keywords used above...(even then you actually tried to read it all??)...I'd be happy to put together a starter guide to Linux someday.

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