November 05, 2007

Updating my OS

What follows is as brief a description as I can make of my experience trying to install Ubuntu/Kubuntu on an older machine at home using Wubi.
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I have a 1.8 Ghz machine with 512 Mb RAM at home. Currently, Windows XP is the operating system of choice. I want to upgrade the OS to some version of Linux without losing any of my old data or applications. Pretty much all distros out there help you partition the hard drive while installing the OS, but I've had issues in the past with that little thing, which is why I haven't gone ahead and done it before. Then I heard about Wubi. It uses a loop-back installer to patch the ISO file on the fly as it installs, creating a file-based installation on your existing partition, without having to resize/recreate any new partitions. It sounded good, so off I went.

I downloaded the current 7.04 installer, which installs Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu/Edubuntu version 7.04 onto your computer. Since I prefer the KDE interface, I selected "Kubuntu" from OS choices, 10 Gb of hard disc space and then clicked go. I watched the installer download the appropriate ISO, install the system and the ask me to reboot the system, which I did. Erk. Turns out that I get a bunch of text streaming up the screen before it all stops on a "Segmentation Error" problem. Huh. Anyway, I rebooted into XP and uninstalled Wubi et al.

On to the Ubuntu forums for research. It turns out that problem is not uncommon. Someone suggested going to the alpha release for version 7.10 of Ubuntu. He mentioned that it would be a bumpy ride, but I figured what the heck. 7.04 wasn't working at all. I restarted the process, watched the pretty little progress bar move to completion and then rebooted. Kubuntu started just fine. Yippee! Now to download some software.

Uh oh. I couldn't get the wireless to connect. I saw my wireless network in KNetworkmanager and entered my shared key, but it kept failing around the 57% complete mark. So back to the forums for help.

As it happens, lots of people were grousing about how the network manager essentially broke in the move from Ubuntu 6.x to 7.x. There were lots of suggestions: install Wicd or Wlassistant and uninstall KNetworkmanager, or manual configuration. I tried them all, starting with the manual configuration, which succeeded exactly as well as KNetworkmanager had succeeded. Next, I downloaded Wicd on my wife's computer, loaded it onto a thumb drive and attempted to install it by right-clicking and selecting "Install using Aptitude blah blah blah", whereupon I received the message that there were 6 Python packages missing. I downloaded those packages and attempted to install them, at which point I was informed that a piece of software actually running on my distro didn't exist. I tried upgrading it to the beta release, but the Python packages still refused to acknowledge its existence. So I uninstalled Kubuntu.

Finally, I downloaded an even more current version of the alpha-alpha release of Wubi and tried one final time. Not surprisingly, it crapped out. Again.

I'm going to try the installer on my laptop. Although the theory of use is great, the execution still needs work.

Posted by Physics Geek at November 5, 2007 02:57 PM | TrackBack StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!
Comments

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one having trouble with Ubuntu and wireless networking...

Posted by: Richard Evans at November 6, 2007 10:07 AM

Re wireless.

I'm on a dell d820 with internal (broadcom, I think). I used Wubi to install Xubuntu (Xfce4) and the wireless didnot shop up out of the box. However, I downloaded the KNetManager (for KDE desktops), added to my panel, and that did the trick for me.

Posted by: Richard at November 11, 2007 12:57 PM