Why I’m using Ubuntu now

Well, the main reason is because trying out different Linux distributions is so much fun, isn’t it? There was nothing really wrong with Fedora, in fact it did a lot of things right, but I wanted to configure my file server with a lightweight environment and then leave it alone. I’ve spent too much time on that thing already.

Firstly, I replaced Ubuntu with Arch and LXDE, to see if I could get it working with anything else than Ubuntu. I’ve installed Arch probably 50 times before, but this time I couldn’t get the keyboard layout right in X. Hal should take care of that, and yet it didn’t. Also, the screen resolution was way off, and I couldn’t get the nouveau drivers configured, while the chipset was too old for the regular nvidia driver. Exit Arch.

I remembered I had that Fedorea XFCE spin lying around, and I tried that along with Chris Smart’s tips. I got the thunar shares plugin configured, but the share didn’t show up. Using the Samba tool both Windows 7 and my Fedora desktop could SEE the share, but failed to mount it. Both gave an error that the share didn’t seem to exist.

Finally, I slapped regular Ubuntu on the server, and shared both a folder and the printer, which worked immediately. Again, I don’t know how Ubuntu does it, but it does it right. Afterwards I uninstalled things I didn’t need like OpenOffice etc, installed Lubuntu-desktop, and finally got a compromise I’m reasonably happy with. I’d still prefer it if I knew what was actually happening there, but for the moment things work so I’ll leave them alone.

Now, because my (L)Ubuntu cross-breed worked well on the server, because Fedora had one or two niggling problems (it saw two shared printers, but only printed to one and cups crashed if I tried to use the other, and Nautilus and the panels apparently had crashed the day before), and mainly because I hadn’t installed the final version of Ubuntu yet, I installed it on my main desktop.

As always, installing and using Ubuntu is a very agreeable experience. As with Fedora, all hardware worked out of the box, and installing extra codecs and suchlike was a bit easier. It doesn’t look as sleek as Fedora, but it doesn’t look bad either. A bit heavy for a theme called “Light”, but otherwise okay. I do think the focus on looks is a good thing, and I must admit that picture of a PC that runs Ubuntu looks very good.

There was a bit of confusion the first time I had to use the Close-Minimise-Maximise buttons the the top left corner, but it’s something you soon get used to, so I left them there. I didn’t enable the nvidia drivers…I don’t care for desktop effects anyway.

I know I said Ubuntu wasn’t for me a couple of months ago, but I also said things change rapidly…and in fact, there’s still an Arch + LXDE partition on my hard drive, where I have Virtualbox installed so I can study for those Window7 exams…

San

10 Responses to Why I’m using Ubuntu now

  1. Milan says:

    May I suggest that, since you always like trying and installing all sort of distros to try gentoo? You don’t need X and DE on file server machine, not even framebuffer, text mode is good enough, you can remove all multimedia libs (that is, with gentoo you don’t install it at all, no need to remove anything), compile and manualy configure slick kernel, install samba and/or nfs, manualy configure samba and all services etc. This way you will learn a LOT so you will have no need to change distros when something doesn’t work, you will only need to look under all those fancy frontend and edit couple of files😉

  2. celettu says:

    Milan:

    You are absolutely, positively, 100% correct, and I wish I could do that. There are two reasons why I can’t.

    1) My boy thinks of the server as “his” computer, and plays flash games and the like in the weekend

    2) More importantly, I don’t know how to do it. The only way I can get that bloody machine to share a folder is to slap Ubuntu on it. I’ve tried every samba configuration I could find, I tried NFS…no dice. The share doesn’t show, or doesn’t want to mount. It’s hugely frustrating.

  3. Guilherme de Sousa says:

    did you try the config i gave you San?
    its strange if that didnt work, because I was having the same issues as you, and it solved my problem (the shares showed on other linux and windows machines, but I coulndt access the folder).

    regards

  4. celettu says:

    Guillermo:

    Ah, merde, I forgot about that. Tell you what, I’ll try it out on another PC…I’m positively scared now to touch the server…:)

  5. Guilherme de Sousa says:

    LOOL:P give it a try! I bet it will work! why dont you try on your arch+lxde partition?

    regards

  6. Chris Smart says:

    Instead of doing a full Ubuntu install and removing things, why not start with a “command line only” install (available via DVD or Alternate CD) and then build only the parts you want? You’ll find it runs MUCH better.

    And if you just want the whole thing, you can just run:
    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
    🙂

    -c

  7. celettu says:

    Chris:

    I have a mini.iso especially for that joyful occasion when I will be able to do that😉

    I’m getting better…I already managed to get the lubuntu look without installing lubuntu-desktop😛

  8. sermonpe says:

    I think that your problem with the keyboard in Archlinux is because of the last xorg update (1.8). The file to configure keymap has changed. Have a look in the “Beginners’ Guide” from the wiki. Now you must edit this file: /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-evdev.conf and add your XkbLayout in the keyboard section.

  9. celettu says:

    Sermonpe:

    It’s changed AGAIN? Thanks for warning me🙂

  10. LinuxLover says:

    You know, everyone has hardware not recognized by some distro or another. At both the Mandriva and PCLinuxOS forums, I’ve seen people claim that Ubuntu wouldn’t work on their hardware and those distros picked everything up like it should. It just depends on what you have. No distro is perfect in that respect.

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