Point me at some Ubuntu documentation?

Paul Johnson pauljohn32 at gmail.com
Thu May 22 06:54:29 UTC 2008


Several of the people with RedHat/Fedora have said "I hear Ubuntu is
so much easier, lets do that".  So I'm installing it to see what
happens.  I'm really hoping that the Palm Life Drive device will work
with your pilot-link, because that has been a big hassle in Fedora 8.

Another appealing Ubuntu feature is the 3 year security update policy.
 That's nice!

Can you point me at some documentation?

1. How to build a deb file?  I'm familiar with building RPMS on
Redhat/Fedora, but need basic information on how Debian builds are
configured and managed.   If there is such a guide for people that are
already familiar with "rpmbuild", so much the better.

2. I can't find an option for dpkg to stop post uninstall scripts from
running.  On one of the systems I'm testing, dpkg --remove got about
90% done, before it tried to execute a script that failed.  In RedHat,
there is a --noscripts option so that one can get the system to remove
packages like even if their post scripts fail.

3. I find it hard to understand the Ubuntu packaging of disks.  I use
some Gnome programs, some KDE, some XFCE.  My favorite window manager
is WindowMaker.   Is there one Ubuntu disk that has "Everything"?  all
the gnome and kde and xfce packages together?  I found CD sized disks
for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and so forth, but kept looking until I found a
bigger iso file.  I downloaded an install dvd for hardy herron
(ubuntu-8.04-dvd-i386.iso), but the install seems to include only
gnome programs.  I see I can download k3b and other KDE favorites, but
it is not quite clear to me why they are all packaged separately.

My first steps have been somewhat dissapointing. I installed onto an
external USB hard disk and when I boot up I end up at grub stage 1.5
with the old ERROR 15.  Something went wrong with the install,
obviously, and I ran it again, and I noticed that, at the end, there
is the advanced button that allows you to specify where grub files get
written. Even that did not help. I did get further, though.  The
startup fails to find the root partition, but it does start grub and
let me type commands.   I can start by typing the grub commands
manually and the system does eventually start.    I think I've tracked
the problem down to 2 culprits. 1). I created a separate partition for
/boot, which seems to bother the installer, and 2) the order of the
drives is different when booted from a CDROM than it is when it boots
from the external disk.  If I boot from the external device, the
external device is seen as /dev/sdb, but it is somehow confusingly
known as (hd0), while if I boot from the cdrom, that external device
is /dev/sdb, but also (hd1), because the internal disk is found and
called (hd0).  There was no menu.lst file created, but I found your
handy update-grub script and it created one that I could study.  That
was a bit of a hassle.  Several posts in this list refer users to the
"Install Ubuntu on a USB device" link on the Ubuntu homepage, but that
information is for non-bootable usb devices...  Oh, one other thing.
I'm looking at your nice mkinitramfs package and the configuration
files.  The external USB disk needs modules like ehci_hcd,
usb-mass-storage, and a few others that might not be put into the
mkinitrd command line automatically.   Can somebody point me to some
example usages of mkinitramfs and configurations for booting from an
external device?

One plus for ubuntu is that the wireless card worked right out of the
box.  After years of compiling modules for intel ipw2200 or ipw3945, I
was a bit surprised.  I notice that your version of network manager is
not quite as new as the one in Fedora 8, but both seem to work fine.

Oh, and I just realized, the X server started up without ever asking
me any configuration questions.  It is running the nv driver on this
dell laptop, at 1680x1050.  No 3d, too bad.  I thought I heard that
Ubuntu had reached a peace with the Nvidia company and you were
shipping their Nvidia driver? Not so?

Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas

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