Ubuntu vs. Kubuntu ... just one!

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at chrononomicon.com
Sat Jul 5 12:44:28 UTC 2008

Rick wrote:
> On Fri, 2008-07-04 at 11:42 -0400, Bart Silverstrim wrote:
>> Rick wrote:
>>> It's all over. I'm writing this from Windows, because I can no longer 
>>> get into Ubuntu. I removed the KDM and made sure GDM was still intact, 
>>> but something still wanted a Kubuntu startup. Some data I saved; some is 
>>> lost inside Ubuntu, but when I pass GRUB there's only chaos. Too bad. 
>>> I'd just bought the Turbo driver for my printer, which Ubuntu doesn't 
>>> support. Now I have to decide whether to dry my tears from the 8.04 
>>> installation disk and try again, or wait six months for the next 
>>> release. I do want to free myself from MS, but doesn't it seem just a 
>>> little ridiculous to require so much fiddling just to achieve minimum 
>>> functionality? 
>> What minimum functionality? What are you trying to do?
>>> Especially when I can already do everything on Windows. 
>> If you're happy with what you already have, why are you trying to change it?
> That's the question my wife keeps asking. 

Well, if you're trying to move to some other platform, there's some 
answer in there as to why you'd keep trying.

>I guess I'm just stubborn, and
> would very much like to exchange Windows for Linux (especially after
> Vista).
> Let's see. Minimum functionality includes ease of access to said
> functionality.
> Hardware: printer, scanner, webcam. (I finally bought a driver for the
> printer. The scanner "OneTouch 9020 usb" and the "QuickCam" webcam
> remain outside the loop. I got a partial response from the webcam -
> sound but bad video.

Okay, hardware is often an ouch with Linux in that you often have to 
research what is known compatible and get equipment based on that 
information. Especially if the hardware is made with the "winmodem" 
mentality, where special binary drivers are written to tie it directly 
to Windows. I know there are wrappers to get this working now, but in 
the long run,...no. Avoid like the plague. buy a new device if 
necessary. If you conclusively find that it will *not* work under Linux, 
bitch on an online forum so their marketing bots find it, and purchase a 
known working one.

Printer - MOST printers seem to work fine with it, I don't know your 
model, but you shouldn't have had to buy a driver for it. I don't know 
what you have.

Scanner - SANE has it listed as unsupported (visioneer 9020 USB, 
http://www.sane-project.org/unsupported/visioneer-onetouch9020.html .
I think that is one you might have to check the lists of compatibility 
to see if you can find a model that *is* compatible or dual boot for it.

Quickcam - There's a number of quickcam's. I'm using a really cheap 
logitech as a toy on this side, but I haven't had luck using it for 
visual chatting (haven't tried it with Skype though). This one really I 
would look and see about using a $40 replacement, personally. I think 
mine off Amazon were in the $35 range. But what is the USB identifiers 
for the one you have (lsusb)?

> Software: I use the computer for reading multiple languages, generating
> multi-lingual texts and site pages (mostly English and Hebrew). I no
> longer do translating, so some of the pressure is off. I need a
> comparative calendar application (Calendar Magic), a ready translating
> application (Babylon), a tabbed note book (Knotes), a tabbed HTML editor
> (Homesite), a two panel file manager

What did you use before?

>, an FTP program,


> a stable of fonts
> for the applications and nikud

Nikud is...?

Fonts - Ubuntu should be able to use truetype fonts, or so I thought.

>. I need my Firefox browser to open a page
> and let me see the news videos in BBC, France24 or other news sources.

That *should* work, depending on what they're using for the format. Only 
very recently (7/2) did I start having problems with Flash on FF. I came 
to the list and the answer *appears* to be Flash Sucks. Waiting for 
Fixes to come downstream. I'm wary of using the brand new flash10 
straight from Adobe because I don't want to mix manual installs with 
repo libraries. Can cause worse problems down the road.

> Ubuntu 8.04 seemed to provide for some of the functions, and that
> encouraged me to search. Bluefish is almost OK for instance. Notecase
> and the BSC file manager may be too. Dolphin works fine in Kubuntu, but
> not in Ubuntu. 

What error were you getting? KDE apps rely on libraries (as do Gnome 
apps) that technically you shouldn't need the *environment* to run them, 
just the pain-in-the-butt libraries to install properly. With Ubuntu the 
difference is Kubuntu and Ubuntu alter the default environment; but you 
can install either and switch (as you already discovered).

>I found that Kubuntu provided appropriate ease of access
> functionality for such things as language integration and font
> installation. Maybe the new Wine will work better, but the version in
> the available repositories is still unsuccessful. I'm still looking.

Wine is still very much hit-or-miss. You must rely heavily on their 
database of working applications or experiment to get it working with a 
particular application.

If it's something I need a good shot at having work, I turn to VMWare, 
others turn to Virtualbox, and just emulate a PC for Windows to run in. 
Still can run into issues depending on what you're doing but you 
generally stand a far far better chance first try with a VM than WINE, 
in my experiences.

> I asked for advice for all of the above, and searched the information
> sources. My adventure with Kubuntu is what ultimately crashed the
> system. Anyway, that's a glimpse of what I'm trying to do. Ubuntu has
> come far in the directions I want, but, well, there's still some to go. 

I know it sounds like a copout to refer you to compatibility lists for 
hardware and answer "if it doesn't work out of box or has "issues" to 
get it going, buy another brand"; especially after I just got through 
saying not to resort to drastic measures like a reinstall as Plan A. 
Really, the software configuration and installation is the one thing you 
can control. Hardware manufacturers are not. If they don't care about 
compatibility with customer hardware there's little you can do about it 
and in the long run you don't want to mess with hardware configurations 
that take you half an hour to fix every time a kernel upgrade comes down 
the pike.

Since you're having direct hardware issues I would also advise dual-boot 
for your situation. I'd then advise you to get an external hard drive 
and use partimage to back up both partitions you installed if you think 
you're going to wipe and try a full dive into Ubuntu (or any OS 
adventure) again. Hell, do it now so you don't have to do a reinstall, 
if you're just toying with the OS. Just make sure you understand what 
you're doing and keep everything straight when doing a backup/restore.

These have been my experiences and now they're my rules of thumb. I 
experiment with hardware if it's inexpensive, otherwise I'm gun shy and 
stick with things that are known good; Amazon will sometimes have right 
in their reviews if someone hooked it to a Linux system (thinking my 
webcam search here) and had success. Othwerwise, thanks, but no thanks.

I'd also advise your next steps be concentrating on software application 
replacements you'd deem "must haves", then work on tinkering with or 
replacing hardware. And get that backup I mentioned once you have it 


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