Hardy Heron is a Long Term Support release (supported until 2011 – quick overview here) so the focus is on something durable, yet commencing with a severely crippled beta release of Firefox. But the Heron is smHardy and flyes on strong.
Perhaps a bit too keen, since the two versions of Firefox aren’t really conflictive, and can easily live alongside each other in theory, (but in Ubuntu 8.04 they end up in the same directory), so you would have to use different profiles perhaps to run them in parallel), anyway, so, then, of course, it seems to me that sticking with stable Firefox 2 would have made it easier for at least me! and then offering the rough, but feature novel ride in unstable Firefox 3 for those who wanted, just as it was already the case in 7.10.
“Ubuntu 8.04 includes Firefox 3.0 beta 5. This was felt to be the best option despite its pre-release status, in light of the extended support lifetime of Ubuntu 8.04 and the importance and complexity of Firefox security updates. Further release candidates and the final release may be considered for post-release updates.”
The choice of the incomplete Firefox 3 as default browser means that many will want to downgrade to their old tried and tested version of Firefox. That is easily done.
If you are not ready for a bit of tweaking and testing, then stay away from the smHardy Heron until 8.04.1:
“Hardy is the second Long Term Support (“LTS”) release of Ubuntu, with a strong emphasis on supportability for long term deployments on both the desktop and the server.
Hardy will be delivered in April 2008 on the normal six-month Ubuntu cycle. It will be designated 8.04 LTS. There will be a scheduled point release (8.04.1) about three months after the initial release. For this LTS, Canonical will validate Hardy against a full portfolio of servers from major vendors, as well as running a certification program for ISVs.”
I couldn’t wait and had to resize some partitions anyway, to be able to do some miniDV video capturing, so I plunged right in. Almost..
..Before you install Ubuntu 8.04, backup your stuff if you have the space to do so.
One way of doing it is via the command line, konsole, virtual terminal or whatever.
Or simply use Nautilus: Places / Home …..
In Ubuntu to do it with a touch of old skool knowing what actually goes on press, for instance:
ALT+F2 – and then type “gnome-terminal” (without “”), press Enter/Return.
From here you can use the versatile rsync (read the lovely manual: man rsync), which is good when you want to move around large amounts of data, like your entire home directory, just to make sure that you keep it all, just in case. Rsync also allows you to do incremental backups and various other things. If you are new to command line, get going, it will make your life easier to know a few basic commands, like
apt-get install the_app_I_want and slocate
ssh tunneling and of course you should get acquainted with text editors, like nano.
Now to the backup: In the example below “a” is archive, which means that file permissions etc. are preserved (as is), “v” is verbose (speak to me!) “z” is compression of sorts (don’t know why I use that, just a habit?!), and finally “r” is recursive, so that it dives into sub directories.
rsync -avzr /home/yourself /media/usbdisk/backups
–or wherever you want to / are able to store your back up. Then you have it all. If you only want or need to backup your firefox settings and bookmarks and all that, then you can just copy the entire folder called something like (assuming that you’re upgrading from a “normal” gnu/linux setup):
you can cope that entire folder with Nautilus by clicking: Places / Home / – here press CTRL+H to also see hidden holders, like you would with any file manager, or you can use rsync as well:
rsync -avr /home/yourself/.mozilla/firefox/0sb12caw.default /media/disk/firefox2go
Then you might want to take a copy of /opt or any other scripts or settings, such as in /home/you/.xchat2
/home/you/.purple (Pidgin. ex-Gaim, now funPidgin fork 2) – wherever you have something worth keeping in the space where you’re going to install 8.04. It is possible to update from 7.10 to 8.04 without doing a clean, fresh install, but I wouldn’t recommend it. However, after doing the backup you could just as well try and do a direct upgrade (just click on the update manager) and see what happens. Why not, if you have the bandwidth?!
With regard to installation I always do it manually and choose to install UNIX/GNU/Linux systems in at least three partitions (you could have a /var partition as well, if you had a lot of caching that you wnated):
partition 1: / [the root directory] formatted with ext3 (minimum 5-6-7 GB if you are going to add many applications/programmes to the standard setup. This partition here includes KDE4:
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3 6.5G 4.3G 1.9G 70% /
and also has a wide variety of codecs and acroread and other evil non-free chains I keep myself in. Note that your /tmp directory is operative in the root / directory, so you do not want this partition – ever – to get filled completely. A spare GB is nice. In the days of small hard disks it would inevitably happen one day if you were trying to squeeze things..
partition 2: /home – [also ext3 by me] there where you and other users have their data/documents. Another example, delivered from the command line or terminal – type:
df -h and press enter (it means: dISK fREE -hUMAN_TERMS) and shows you the partitions of the computer. Here is an excerpt of the output.
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5 12G 1.7G 8.9G 17% /home
partition 3: swap [if you have less than 512MB RAM, then your swap space should be at least as big as your amount of RAM, so that if you have 512RAM then let your swap space be 512 too (if your disk to crammed, you can get away with half. If you have 1GB RAM there is no need to ever make your swap bigger than that – and you will be perfectly fine with 512MB swap space. Swap is called pagefile in Window$.
If you have windows installed google around for dual-boot setup, which is very easy too, just set up partitions manually and do not touch the primary partition(s) where windows resides. Then, by default, Ubuntu’s installer will override the MBR (Master Boot Record) that Windows has written and then boot with a menu that allows you to choose between Ubuntu (also in safe mode etc.) and Winbloat or whatever you have that is automatically recognised and rendered bootable. Know before you go and do something. With Win 95/98, 2000 and XP it is out-of-the-box, as long as you manually do your partitions and leave it be.
Once you have installed Ubuntu then start Firefox 3 and play around with it for a while and check if you could live without most of your extensions and with some flake for some time to come. I couldn’t. If you just want to hang on to your well tested Firefox 188.8.131.52 (current) setup and transfer your profile, then shut down Firefox and either:
“Go into synaptic package manager, search for firefox. Click on firefox 3 and choose “mark for removal”, Click firefox 2 and mark for installation.” – or do the straight up thing (where you completely remove FF3 and its settings in the very same kind of directory as you just backed up:):
sudo apt-get purge firefox-3.0
rm -r /home/you/.mozilla/firefox
sudo apt-get install firefox-2
NB: If you just install FF2 on top of FF3’s settings, then it will run with those settings, so in theory you could keep FF3, install FF2 and add your old settings after having deleted FF3’s initially generated profile contents, then, again, run FF3 and it will attempt to run with your old settings. Probably a good way to have it crash or to corrupt your data (keep the backup!), but it is possible.
Once FF2 is installed, then run it (noting that your original Firefox short cut icons points to:
/usr/bin/firefox – but should point to: /usr/bin/firefox-2
– so edit icon: Right-click on icon choose “properties”.
Running Firefox the first time generates a new folder in your home directory/folder (this is common behaviour for a programme and if you carrying your settings with you from elsewhere it is good practice to run the given app once and then replace the generated profile):
/home/yourgoodself/.mozilla/firefox/ – and it also generates in there a profile, called something similar to that folder that you backed up. Now delete all the contents of the folder, but not the folder itself or any other files – at all – so that you now have an empty folder like this:
….yes, you guessed it, paste into that folder the contents of the folder you backed up and then start Firefox – and, needless to say, whenever moving any data around, Firefox should be shut down!!
There you go, your good old Firefox is with you.
The exact same procedure can be applied Thunderbird, naturally, -this is the way to backup your Thunderbird setting from your previous system and when upgrading to any other system: copy entire folder, install thunderbird (sudo apt-get install thunderbird) in 8.04 Heron, run it once and “install” an RSS account minimally or something, so that it generates the profile. Then delete it all from within the profile folder. In the empty space you paste the contents of your backed up folder. That way your identity stays the same, but the name changes and follows the way of the new world.
On the Kubuntu side of things you can also get the newest of the new – KDE4. This is perhaps some addition that is nice to add on!
If you install any other flavour of Ubuntu 8.04 you can simply do:
System / Adminstration / Synaptic / – Search for “kubuntu-kde4-desktop” and mark for installation, apply and off you go. If it the first time you run synaptic, you must first click “reload” and “mark all upgrades” and “apply” after you have gone to “settings” / “repositories” and had a look around there. I always exclude sources, since I rarely need them. Then there is the issue of how many updates you want (after also looking at third parties like Medibuntu) – adding:
“pre-released updates (hardy-proposed)” puts you even further out on the bleeding edge, but if you are doing it, then you might as well do it properly, init?!? If you are not wanting to right at the forefront with some stability as cost, then wait for Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04.1
You can also go down that way from the beginning either via the initial Kubuntu download page or from this list:
http://se.cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu-kde4/releases/8.04/release/ – of you don’t know which version you need, then it is probably this one:
or even better as a torrent:
That should give you 8.04 with KDE4.
What else can you say about 8.04 smHardy Heron? It shuts down really fast on this machine and the whole compiz thing with bubbly flaky fish like windows and rotating cube with filling and what not is all in action, but I have switched all that off – even the precious “ALT+TAB” routine leaves you dazzled in semi-opacities. Too much for me. I just want a tool, not a toy.
What I could need was for Firestarter to include an interface to very easily install and configure DHCP for internet sharing via Firestarter, which works a charm (apt-get install firestarter and run via Applications, Internet, Firestarter and then configure your two interfaces.
(NB: first apt-get remove network-manager, since it just doesn’t make sense when you have two interfaces sharing via Firestarter.
It also seems bizarre that once has to fumble so much to get to see some proper temperature output – but at least you might be lucky with a combinbation of these two sets of information:
“It might be worth noting that you mostly need to reboot between running sensors-detect and running sensors, especially if the ISA bus driver needed to be loaded.
For people who are new to Gnome desktops (like Ubuntu) you get sensors-applet appearing by right-clicking on the bar at the top of the screen and selecting “Add to Panel…”, then selecting the “Hardware Sensors Monitor” in the “System and Hardware” section.”
For laptops in particular – and when doing multimedia work or used in warm places – it is rather nice nice to be able to see the temperature of the CPU the system as such and the HDD as well. For the latter you should do apt-get install smartmontools and add the sensor and configure it by right-clicking on the icons that appear after you have added the applet that it all depends on: in fact begin the whole process by doing:
apt-get install sensors-applet
“Medibuntu (Multimedia, Entertainment & Distractions In Ubuntu) is a repository of packages that cannot be included into the Ubuntu distribution for legal reasons (copyright, license, patent, etc).
Some of these packages include the libdvdcss package from VideoLAN and the external binary codecs package (commonly known as w32codecs) used by MPlayer and xine.”
This is your route to DVD play back and other things that are useful for the temporary pragmatist:
apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
apt-get install kubuntu-restricted-extras
apt-get install xubuntu-restricted-extras
….and from the on in you’re on your own with synaptic…. perhaps you want Sun’s Java or vlc and its plugins, I certainly do add them, and also xchat and encryption for thunderbird (“enigmail”) and pidgin. I also prefer old skool music applications, like XMMS, but it has finally been removed, after losing .flac in the world of Gutsy it is now dead. A good choice seems to be Audacious with plugins – replaces it well. Until they actually develop sensible and useful database driven music apps that can actually handle a huge collection (40k+ files) I stick with the old way, and it works just fine!
Some of the ways of doing things described above, were first written here.
Remember that computers ought to be free, open technology and not black boxes. Learn to use the internet in a social DYI manner – close the windows!