Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Alia Iacta Est

Yesterday, the inventory of 120 GB Acer Aspire One's at the local Microcenter went from zero, where it had been for quite a while, to 85. Today I drove over and bought one. I have now downloaded and installed Firefox and Open Office, am in the process of installing Ubuntu using wubi while downloading to my desktop an image of the Linpus restore DVD. My plan is to install Linpus Lite on a flash disk, giving me three operating systems to play with--XP, Ubuntu, which is a full fledged Linux but may have some problems with the hardware, and Linpus, which is a toy Linux but designed to run on this machine--or at least the flash disk variant of it.

My only real problem so far was with Ubuntu. The first time I installed it I didn't keep careful track of the user name and password I put in at the beginning, didn't remember that the former was lower case, and couldn't figure out why the password seemed to not be working. I'm now reinstalling, having discovered the error in the process of doing so.

A few comments on my choices, for anyone else currently considering a subnote. I went with the Acer because it is about as small as the 9" eee and has a much better keyboard. I went with the XP version in part because 120GB>>8GB, in part because Linpus Lite, unlike the Linux on the eee, doesn't give you the option of using it as a normal desktop OS. You boot in a beginner's version and you stay there, unless you are willing to do some detailed tweaking of the system with no help from Acer. Also, it looks as though Ubuntu with wubi will give me a real Linux with relatively little hassle installing it. I went with the 3-cell battery, instead of waiting for the 6-cell version to become available for an extra $50, on the theory that most of the time I prefer light weight to longer battery life, and if the latter is going to be an issue--as it will be on a trip to Europe--I can always buy an extra battery.

And finally, of course, XP will let me play WoW without worrying about Wine's foible's. At least, it should; I haven't yet tried installing it.
Postscript, a little before midnight.

Ubuntu is successfully installed; after a little work, I even got a wireless connection. The instructions I was trying to follow included editing some files, such as /etc/modules. When I tried to do so, I was unable to save the altered version. I assume this is some issue of permissions, but I haven't yet figured out how to get around it. My guess is that it means I will have to put a command in at the terminal each time I reboot, if I want WiFi.

A downloaded an image of the Linpus Light restore disk, copied its contents to my flash disk, but have not yet figured out how to get the computer to boot off it, or if I can.



At 10:58 PM, September 09, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people of Iraq thank you for your purchase of Windows XP and the resulting profit which is taxed to help murder them. Libertarian my ass. You're a war-monger asshole.

At 12:10 AM, September 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to edit /etc/modules as superuser, (and probably update-initramfs afterwards)

At 12:34 AM, September 10, 2008, Blogger J. V. said...

"The people of Iraq thank you for your purchase of Windows XP and the resulting profit which is taxed to help murder them. Libertarian my ass. You're a war-monger asshole."

Wow. Behold, the wonders of the internet. How dare you let the government steal money from a company you are purchasing software from. Why haven't you single-handedly destroyed the federal government and created an anarchist utopia before deciding to purchase Microsoft Windows. Sheesh

At 5:16 AM, September 10, 2008, Blogger Raphfrk said...

Also, wouldn't his salary also be taxed ?

What is so special about sales tax and/or corporate taxes?

At 6:03 AM, September 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Editing as "superuser" is done by prepending "sudo", as the documentation says ("sudo gedit /etc/modules"):

Open a shell (== a terminal) and type in sudo gedit /etc/modules, or sudo nano /etc/modules, or whatever editor you'd like to use, and whatever file you'd like to edit.

By the way, I'd suggest KDE instead of Gnome, instructions at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/InstallingKDE, but YMMV.

At 7:42 AM, September 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that's "alea iacta est." If you mean "the die is cast."

At 9:41 AM, September 10, 2008, Blogger David Friedman said...

Concerning Sudo.

I tried sudo gedit and it repeatedly didn't work. Finally it occurred to me to believe what the machine was telling me--that gedit wasn't there. So I used Synaptic Package Manager to get it and install it, after which the problem was solved. The wireless now works, even after a reboot.

Only two serious problems remain. I have not yet figured out how to boot linpus off the SDHC card, so only have a dual boot, not a tri-boot, machine. The one advantage of Linpus would be that it boots much faster than either XP or Ubuntu (actually XUbuntu).

And I don't yet have a name for my machine. The eee 900 PC that went off to college with my daughter is named eeep. I've thought of Little Blue for this one, but am not sure I'm happy with it.

Suggestions welcome.

At 2:56 PM, September 14, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xubuntu differs from stock Ubuntu in the graphical user interface and the default apps. Ubuntu uses the GNOME desktop, which seems to be the most OS-X-like free environment to me, while Xubuntu uses the XFCE desktop, which is said to be heavily optimized for performance on old hardware - that is, CPU-s around 2-300MHz (!) and around 256 MB of RAM. The third major free desktop environment that heiner suggested is KDE, which is much more Windowsish-like than the others, at least at first glance, the one that comes with Kubuntu by default. At a second glance you may find KDE extremely confusing, as it has about a hundred options for just about anything - it is extremely customizable and featureful in the expense of being a glorious labyrinth of options.

I think that the vast majority of (K)(X)Ubuntu users use the Ubuntu version with GNOME. Because of this, you will find far more help and many more useful suggestions for that one than the others. It is much harder to get good help on Kubuntu or Xubuntu just because of such statistical reasons.

Whatever you installed, you can get the others by installing the packages named "ubuntu-desktop", "xubuntu-desktop" and "kubuntu-kde4-desktop" accordingly. After that you can choose your desired desktop at every login.

There is a short introduction for newcomers in the HELP - at least in the GNOMEish Ubuntu. It takes about an hour to read through it, and it provides really useful information - such as how and what sudo is, and the like.

My experience with proprietary OS-es tough me that reading help files is a complete waste of time. With free systems it is the other way: knowledge about the system empowers you and the help files are almost always useful.

If you are not planning to play much chess with the computer, I suggest "Slim Blue" as a name - in contrast with Deep Blue's size, power consumption and the brute force method it used.


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