Installation and testing

Alan E. Davis lngndvs at
Sat Sep 24 21:53:20 UTC 2005

Hello from one who is new to Ubuntu, having just installed Breezy
5.10preview on two machines---a laptop with some modern hardware, and
an old
warhorse desktop machine. I am a longtime Debian user, but have come to
prefer installing from various live CDs. I perceive immediate advantages to
this distro: it is pretty much up to date, and detects an awesome range of
hardware. (I just tested the 5.10 AMD-64 live cd, which detected a wireless
card seamlessly that Fedora Core 3 didn"t). I am writing this to address
some issues I have noticed.

1. One thing that bothers or troubles me is working with repositories, and

The synaptic options allow me to limit the size of the on board package
cache. I have a huge number of packages that I copied over from one
installation to the next, which caused synaptic to choke! I didn't have any
clue that this was the problem, until I dove in and found and unchecked that
feature (which was limited, I think to 500MB, by default. This feature seems
to have made some of my package downloads silently fail.

Other issues with synaptic include repository lists that seem to vaporize
overnight or after reboots, requiring a new download each time I boot. I now
understand that the repositories are under heavy pressure during the
devlopment/testing process. What troubles me is that when the system is in
an inconsistent state after trying to download, packages are intermittently
either available or not, to synaptic. When using dialup as I do at home,
this is troubling to say the least.

The following kinds of messages have been received a number of times:

W: Failed to fetch
Bad header line [IP: <> 80]

This file was easliy downloaded by wget. What to do here?

2. I would like it alot better if debian packages worked on Ubuntu out of
the box. I have not installed Debian from Debian install isos for a long
time, but I have really come to like these Debian sports---Knoppix, MEPIS,
and Ubuntu. It would be very helpful to find more notes about the kinds of
inconsistencies one might find. I have seen suggestions on the mailing list,
how to set up apt to allow the use of Debian repositories safely. It didn't
work for me, at least on first try.

I really want to know why each and every debian package needs to be
specially compiled for UBUNTU. Maybe I will try Gentoo. More to the point, I
want to understand the nuts and bolts of the differences, so I can make
informed choices about which software I can install. In all fairness, I have
had a fair share of issues over the past decade of using Debian, where a
newly installed package broke the system. Sometimes from outside the veil,
but just as often a bug that had gone undetected. I haven't had to employ
most of my itinerant solutions using ubuntu, which is good. (Even xkill
hasn't been resorted to often).

3. I am amazed at what wvdial can do: it's solved a persistent problem with
a 3Com/USR hardware modem that has been a bugbear with 2.6.X kernels on
MEPIS. It found the modem on /dev/tty14

4. Why don't people use Galeon? I find it much faster than firefox to use,
in terms of my time.

5. Printer setup worked nicely, even to the extent of suggesting a driver
immediately after plugging in a USB printer.

6. Automatic mounting of DVDs, USB flash drives, etc. is really great.
REALLY GREAT. This is a fine piece of work, and I guess it shows an old time
user like me how far GNU/Linux has gotten in general, while I've been
plugging away on old hardware. This all seems to have happened in the last
year or two.

7. Emacs isn't on board by default. Wow. Mentioned this before. OS X has a
non GUI version.

I hope UBUNTU and MEPIS and other branches that have built upon Debian will
give their improvements back to the community at large. While people are
trying to establish standards, it would be well to try to achieve
interoperability. The limited range of mirrors of UBUNTU would be less of an
issue, for one thing. MEPIS and UBUNTU have gotten very far in improving
hardware detection. I haven't used a native debian install for a long while,
so maybe it's time to try one. I realize that the GNU Public License allows
commercial software developments to build upon the work of programmers of
Free Software; however, I don't understand why the Free Software community
is "soft" on Apple, which has given nothing back for all it has taken.

I am now using this Preview release on my personal and one work machine. I
tested it on a new desktop dual processor OPteron machine, as well, and it
seemed to work well out of the box. It JUST WORKS.

Thank you.

ALan Davis
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