Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Installing and Upgrading and Repartitioning, Oh My

Decided it was time to repartition my hard drive, to take advantage of a rarely used NTFS partition, and to finally give my /home directory it's own place. Normally I'd save excitement like this for a Saturday night, but I have a day off work and thought I'd save Saturday for the girlfriend. Time will tell if I made the right decision.

If I'm going to repartition, I might as well upgrade my Ubuntu Edgy Eft to the new Feisty Fawn. Did a lazy backup of my home directory, just copied it over to a FAT32 partition on the same hard drive. For some reason my emails wouldn't copy over, possibly due to some FAT32 naming restrictions (they had names similar to 1165045363.8505.rPeh8:2,S.) Didn't feel like burning them to a DVD, so I just transferred them over to the server with sftp (Thanks Mom!)

Downloaded the image for Feisty, burned it, put in in the DVD tray, and rebooted. The cd comes as a live CD, like Edgy and Dapper. I didn't use the live CD when I upgraded to Dapper or Edgy, I just did a sudo /usr/bin/update-manager -c -d. Ubuntu used to have a text installer, which I actually liked. It wasn't as pretty as a gui, but it was fast and simple.

I used Dapper's live CD on my mother's computer, but wasn't really happy with the results. It was dog-slow, and I was wishing for the good old days of the text installer. On my computer, though, I was pleasantly surprised. It ran very smoothly, and aside from a few short freezes as the cd was accessed I couldn't tell it was a live cd. The difference is probably in the memory-- I have 512 MB, and she has 384. That extra 128 MB made a huge difference. By the way, Ubuntu installed fine on her computer, except it doesn't like her on-board Intel graphics. Right now she's stuck with 640 x 480 resolution, which just won't do the trick. I'm going to pick her up an nVidia card and give it another shot.

Used Ubuntu's disk partitioner to manually repartition my drive, I think it uses GParted. I don't use the default partitioning offered, I never really trust it, on any distribution. Selected the partitions I wanted manually, which was pretty easy. Installed Feisty and I'm now just installing programs and tweaking things to my liking.

I notice there's a "Restricted Drivers Manager" menu item. It seems to just be to install the nVidia drivers. It's normally easy enough to do from Synaptic, but it doesn't hurt to have an easy to find place to do it, I guess. There's also a "Desktop Effects" item, which also wants to install the nVidia drivers. That will enable Compiz, a compositing window manager. That just means your desktop have some neat effects, like transparency and wiggly windows and such. I'll give it a shot, but I was pretty happy with Beryl.

Apparently Feisty will offer to download the codecs needed to play multimedia files as well, like DivX or mp3. In the past you either had to download them yourself (not too tough, I think it was one or two packages from Synaptic), or use something like EasyUbuntu or Automatix. I'll see how that works.

Anyway, so far everything is working smoothly. Ubuntu set up my desktop resolution automatically with no problems, the nVidia driver is now installed and working, and the desktop effects are enabled. Just a matter of replacing my backup files, installing all the programs I like, and tweaking my desktop. Fun stuff. Saturday night has a lot to live up to.


Diane Kristine said...

You're funny. Even if I don't understand half the words you use.

Steve said...

What do you mean funny? How would you rather spend Saturday night?