Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

I’m quite impressed with the new version of Ubuntu, and because it’s a LTS release it means one less VM I need to maintain during the next release cycle. I generally keep a VM of the latest LTS and release version, as well as tracking the development version from Beta 1. This results in 3 VMs (or two if the current release version is also a LTS).

I also maintain a VM of Debian testing, as well as a really minimal version of stable and unstable (I run stable physically as well).

And then I have several minimal webservers, which are running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS or Debian stable.

But I digress.

I think this version of Ubuntu is important because it will be around for 5 years and will form the basis of the Linux strategy for a number of organisations. I would certainly recommend it highly, and think it does a good job of providing a decent desktop experience for users of all levels (and particularly non-technical users).

All roads lead to Rhodes

I’m currently on holiday in Rhodes. I’ve just finished the 7th book I’ve read since I got here, and I’m really appreciating having the Kindle with me as it has quickly become an important part of the technology I carry with me when I travel. It’s interesting to see what the other guests are using actually – there are a few laptops, lots of phones, but not much in the way of kindles or other ebook readers. A fair few people are accessing the internet from the hotel lobby, and it is certainly more socially acceptable to do so then it was a few years ago, although some older people still blatantly disapprove. There are also many many internet cafes in the general vicinity, and I get the feeling that although this is a sleepy tourist area it is also fairly well connected. The signal here is strong, and the speed is comparable to UK broadband.

I carry technology with me wherever I travel. I don’t always take the full range of devices, but I generally have something to read, something to listen to music on, and some sort of communication device at the very least. I actually find that being able to access my books and my music relaxes me, and I do enjoy having internet access when I’m away as it allows me to research what the weather will be like, and what local customs I need to be aware of. On this trip I’ve limited my net access to one session a day (usually around an hour), but in that time I’ve researched what I need to research, as well as reading (if not replying to) all personal email and skimming through articles of interest from my growing list of RSS feeds. It interests me that this activity takes less than an hour a day, because when I’m at home it often takes significantly longer.

Installing Debian on a Dell Mini 10

A few notes largely for my own benefit.

We already have a couple of Debian machines in our house (one physical and one virtual), but I wanted to get to grips with installing it on a machine that has some fairly unusual hardware.

All in all it was a smooth install. I created a USB installer with UNetbootin, and installed the base system without issue. It didn’t find my broadcom wireless card, but after enabling all repositories and installing the driver (search for B43 in synaptic) I had a good wireless connection and was able to unplug the ethernet cable.

I then upgraded to a 3.2 kernel, and enabled Mozilla’s Debian repository to get an up to date version of Iceweasel. Both of these went smoothly as well.

The only outstanding issue is the trackpad. The 3.2 kernel has helped a lot, but it is still a little jumpy at times. But it was also a little jumpy under Ubuntu on occasion as well, so I’m not too worried.

Debian runs well on this machine. It seems noticeably faster than Ubuntu, and boot time is significantly faster. If I could sort out the trackpad properly then I would certainly rely on this machine for short trips and coffee-shop web browsing, and it’s nice to see a low-powered and quite old computer running smoothly again.