My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

8 Articles Tagged with “Ubuntu”

  1. Cutting the iTunes cord

    I’ve been using Ubuntu Linux as my primary operating system for several years now. Ever since I first tried Linux, I’ve dual-booted it alongside a Windows installation—this means that when I turn on the computer, I can choose whether to start Windows or Linux. Once upon a time, Windows was the default. No longer!

    Ubuntu has steadily improved over the years, as has my familiarity and proficiency with Linux. Indeed, much of what I do on the computer is faciliated by using Linux. For example, in university I started using LaTeX to typeset math proofs, and Linux has several great LaTeX editors (I like Kile). I also spend a fair amount of time coding, and Linux makes installing development stacks for LAMP or Python a breeze. Plus, I’ve started using git, which on Windows is an experience … well, it’s an experience.

    Still, Windows still has the edge for certain tasks. This includes SMART Notebook, the software I use for preparing lessons—to its credit, SMART has a Linux version, but it doesn’t receive updates as frequently, and it doesn’t perform as well as the Windows version. Steam used to be a major reason for me to boot into Windows,…

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  2. Dusting off the Dell

    My computer is a Dell Inspiron 6400, and it turned five years old last month. It’s been good to me. I replaced the battery once, about two years ago, and the keyboard twice, once under warranty because I broke a key—er, it snapped off—and once because the space bar was getting worn out. Sometime in the past few year years, the left corner of the white trim on the palm rest cracked. Otherwise, this computer has served me well, and it has never let me down.

    But it was getting a little old. And slow. And loud. Despite having a cooling mat, the fan was on full blast pretty constantly—especially in Ubuntu, which is a shame considering I use it as my primary operating system these days. After five years, I suspected that a lot of dust had accumulated inside the laptop. Since I’m not a hardware person, I was worried about opening it up—but if I plan to keep it for at least another two or three years, which I would love to do, I want it running at its best.

    Last week I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and went down to Northern Computers to…

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  3. Tying the knot with Ubuntu

    My summer research project involved extensive use of Macaulay2, a computer algebra program. Essentially, what Macaulay2 does is make it easy to do computations on different types of abstract algebra objects, like rings and ideals. Since there is no native version of Macaulay2 for Windows, my options for running it these past two summers have been: run it in Windows under Cygwin or, once again, dual boot Windows and Ubuntu (or Kubuntu). Ubuntu and I have a love/hate relationship, as I have testified on this blog before. It’s been a while since I last blogged about my adventures with Linux, and now it’s time for an update.

    Last year I was using Kubuntu 10.04, and the experience was immediately better than any other time I've tried using Linux. Maybe it's a truism, but with each new release, more features in Ubuntu work out of the box for me, which of course makes it much nicer to install and use. Whereas earlier versions like Hardy and Gutsy played havoc with my display or printer, Karmic Koala was actually an enjoyable operating system to use. It had one problem, however: when in Kubuntu, my network card would keep dropping wireless…

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  4. No luck with Linux

    Every time I try to get Kubuntu working, I become more and more convinced that Kubuntu just doesn't want to be friends with me. It's always a mixed bag. It's not all Kubuntu's fault--it's a very nice Linux distro, functions well--sometimes I'm to blame. Still, the learning curve--and the bumps along the way--are disheartening.

    Yesterday I decided to do a clean install of Kubuntu 7.10 ("Gutsy Gibbon"). My hard drive was already partitioned because I had Feisty installed, but I didn't have the time to devote to learning how to use Feisty properly. Unfortunately, the installation decided that I had burnt the disc at too high a disc speed--but it didn't tell me this until 63% of the installation was done. As a result, Grub was destroyed, and I couldn't boot into Windows. I had to download the image again on another computer and burn it to my last CD-R at a lower speed. Then I ran the install again and prayed it would work.

    Luckily it did. Kubuntu started up fine, and the wireless worked out of the box, which really impressed me--it didn't with Feisty. All of my monitor's screen resolutions weren't available, however, so I decided…

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  5. My Kubuntu adventure continues

    Yesterday I took it upon myself to try and fix my wireless in Kubuntu (as it was broken). It eventually boiled down to plugging in an ethernet cable and upgrading to Edgy. Once I did this, KNetworkManager decided it would work again. :D

    With wireless working I was much more amenable to playing with Kubuntu. The next step was to get Firefox up to snuff--however, this proved to be a harder task than I first thought it would be. Several of my extensions did not seem to install properly, and they caused Firefox to behave oddly. I finally managed to bludgeon them into working, with the unfortunate exception of ColorZilla, which apparently does not work with Ubuntu. Suffice it to say that after that frustration, I finally have Firefox working. I'm keeping my bookmarks synced amongst Windows, Kubuntu, and my USB drive with Google Browser Sync.

    My printer is still working without any problems! ^_^ That means less frustration for me. And I have no trouble accessing our desktop from my computer, although I've yet to get the desktop to be able to see this computer while it's in Kubuntu. But one step at a time. DVDs and music…

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  6. My computer broke Ubuntu (or did Ubuntu break my computer?)

    I tried updating to Dapper today. It did not go so well.

    You know how I keep talking about my computer overheating? Well, the problem is avoidable in Windows. In Kubuntu, my computer overheats within minutes. So I still tried upgrading, but unfortunately, it overheated. I tried it from just the command line, but it still overheated--in the middle of depackaging the files I finally managed to download.

    Now I have segmentation fault errors when I try to boot into Kubuntu. :/ So I think I'll just wait for the Dapper CDs that I ordered and do a clean install...I don't have anything important on there anyway, so I might as well start fresh.

  7. Planting and Ubuntu

    Yesterday we bought fertilizer and topsoil for our big garden and spread it around in preparation for planting. We've decided to plant lettuce, carrots, and I think sunflowers. Note to self: get more topsoil next time; four bags is not enough. And we need more peat moss.

    Ubuntu 6.06, the "Dapper Drake", is coming out today! :w00t: It's already available on many mirrors, although I'm waiting for one in Canada before I actually upgrade. I will probably do it sometime tonight. While I still fear that my computer will overheat and such, perhaps Dapper will hold some improvements in that area and others.

  8. Dual booting my emotions

    Lots of updates (the site moved servers).

    I installed Ubuntu Linux on my computer. Now it is a dual boot Unbuntu/Win XP laptop. There are some hardware issues with the CPU and heating, but otherwise it is pretty cool. Ubuntu has almost everything that I need, including the GIMP and a functional word processor. I'm still a Linux newbie, but I'm learning as I go.

    School continues to wind down. The schedule continues to be affected by our impending closure. My exams, mostly held in-class, are going pretty well (100 in English and 97 in Science). I took the second part of my English exam on Tuesday but have yet to receive a mark, I think I'll get it on next Thursday. My History exam is on Monday, followed by the second part of my Science exam on Wednesday.

    The impending closure continues to loom. We had a "Blue Bear Bash" on Wednesday. We got to see pictures of our school and its students through various decades. FWCI has been around for 107 years, since 1898. It's seen two World Wars, the Cold War, the invention of the radio, television, computer. . . . What saddens me the most…

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