Monthly Archives: October 2007

Hello Ubuntu

Ubuntu logo

Since 2002 when I first started running a server in my house, I’ve gone through Red Hat, then Fedora (2004). The machine I was running this on was really beginning to creak, and it didn’t like having new bits and pieces added to it. When I moved house, the server was powered down and has remained that way until now.

Due to the craziness of OS licencing, it was cheaper for my boss to purchase a new computer with a Windows licence than to directly buy one. Thanks to a synergistic and complimentary deal, I relieved him of the box sans Windows licence so I now have a shiny Dell 5150 with dual core processor, a stack of memory and even … an optical drive, something I was missing on my old machine.

Ubuntu was something I’d heard a lot of about over the years, and seeing as it looked so nice I thought I should give it a whirl. After booting the box into Windows, I used the fantasic UNetbootin tool to grab the file to get my Ubuntu installation going. After a quick reboot, all Windows files were gone and an automatic download over the Web was underway. I didn’t measure exactly how long it took, but somewhere in the region of 30 minutes later and after entering a few passwords, my new box was up and running having found all the hardware without problems. Maybe that’s to be expected seeing as Ubuntu is the Linux variant that Dell offer directly.

Using Ubuntu is just a fantastic experience, and it’s so nice to see all the improvements since I last played with Fedora. The Synaptic package manager, which lets you select upgrades to both OS and applications in one neat window, works fantastically. Web browsing, document editing, email … all just feel great and work intuitively. Check this quick summary. If you want to try it out, download the CD and you can run it on your <insert other OS> computer without affecting any files, thanks to some Live CD magic.

Russ and Matt are both big fans of Ubuntu and I was going to link to some of their posts for useful reference, but there are too many, so here’s useful links on Russ’s site.

Recycle This Quiz

Before taking today’s BBC quiz on recycling, I would have liked to think of myself as very pro-recycling. At home I recycle and have done for years, even when it meant a long walk to the drop-off point. At work I currently take anything recyclable home, and am part of a small group working to encourage further recycling in the office.

My score of 3, then, was a disappointment, although perhaps it shows just how confusing and misunderstood the symbols are. Once you’ve done the quiz, you can brush up on all those symbols here, here and here. Let me know how you get on!

Friday Snippets

It’s been AGES since I did one of these quick wrap-up posts, so here goes:

  • Chicken Out, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s campaign for increased awareness of where our chickens come from gives some food for thought(!). There’s some nice recipes too plus this one on the River Cottage site.
  • still with food, the River Cottage site has a great local food finder.
  • R.E.M. have their first ever official live album out with some tantalising tracks on there.
  • Stereogum are celebrating R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People album being 15 years old, with a free and downloadable album of covers called Drive XV. There’s a lot of comment and interesting stuff attached to the tracks including comment from Mike Mills, R.E.M.’s bassist. Well worth the listen.
  • if you’ve ever wondered what happens at the Edinburgh Rat Race, you can now find out thanks to a nice DVD by DreamTeamTV (or by asking someone who recorded it from TV a few weeks ago 😉 ). I’m in it for at least half a second.  Dates for the 2008 races in Bristol, Edinburgh and London are now on the site, with some new events promised to be announced soon.
  • according to Tom, the International Space Station should be visible with the naked eye tonight over Edinburgh. Here’s the full detail. Enter your own location to see when it will be flying over you.

Time to get out of work and enjoy the weekend!