Installing Kubuntu 13.04 or Luckily, I Get Paid for This

27. June, 2013

I have now spent many hours trying to install Kubuntu 13.04. As you can see by the time spent, it didn’t exactly go smooth. But before I begin the barrage, let me assure you that I’m a Linux fan, I’m using Linux for many years now, I’m using it at home and even after this ordeal, I’m not going back to either Windows or Mac.

Let’s start with the installer. It’s fast, looks slick … Why are there no keyboard shortcuts? ­čśŽ

Harddisk partitioning. No keyboard shortcuts. Why can’t I format the swap partition? The button is dead but it doesn’t look disabled.

Okay. Let’s put / on my SSD, add some swap, /home on my normal harddisk.

I live in Switzerland, so let’s select that … “ubi-console-setup failed with exit code 141” ­čśŽ Googling quickly got me solution. Okay, let’s go back. Exit code 141 again. Grrr…. Close … Why do I get a desktop now?

Oh, nice an installer icon. Click … why is it asking be *again* for the harddisk layout? Still no keyboard shortcuts … and error 141 is back. Great. Reboot.

Trying again … okay, selecting the time zone triggers the ubi-console-setup bug. Thanks, I just entered my harddisk layout a third time. Reboot.

Germany. No, leave my ***** keyboard layout alone. Just shut up and … harddisk layout again … Maybe I can save some time by not formatting the partitions again?

Yes. Err … no. Now it tried to “backup installed packages” ARGH!!! Okay, that shouldn’t take long … 1 hour …. 2 hours …. Power off.

Harddisk again, yes, format everything. German keyboard layout. Waiting for everything to install from the USB stick.

Creating this stick was an adventure of it’s own. What is the difference between Kubuntu,┬áKubuntu HDmedia,┬áKubuntu active and┬áKubuntu 13.04?

Yay, a desktop.

Let’s switch the keyboard layout. Good.

Where is Chrome or Firefox? Ah, nice, there is a one-click Firefox installer. Click … wait … wait some more … is that thing doing anything?

How do I install software here? Where is aptiude? Where did the Software installer in the System Settings go??? Okay, it’s “Muon”, now. Well, let’s try that.

First, set the proxy. Checking the proxy in rekonq … works.

Starting Muon. Search for “Firefox”. No results. “Chrome”? Nope. “Vim”? Anything? What’s wrong with this software?

I added “Canonical partners” as a repository but there is no indication whatsoever that it accepts this change, that it downloads the new repo or anything. My first impression with Muon: Stay away.

Back to apt-get. Installing chrome works. Starting it … suddenly, my proxy settings in System Settings are gone? Okay, put them back and also add them to Chrome. Good, that seems to work.

Trying Muon one last time. Aha, when I prepare everything with apt from the command line (like downloading the repositories), Muon can suddenly find packages. But it can’t install anything. I click on “Install”, it flickers and that’s it. No error message, the UI gets corrupted and no software installed.

So. I’m now officially on 13.04. The UI looks nice enough.

Trying to upgrade the system. “Muon Package Manager” (what’s the difference between this thing and “Muon Software Center”?) seems to work and it shows me 289 packages ready for upgrades. Apply … wtf!? “The following software can’t be verified. WARNING: Installing such software is a security risk …” Okay, if the official Ubuntu updates are a security risk, why even bother???

*sigh* Go on. ARGH!! “Could not download packages” :-((( Details: “Unable to connect to …” Apparently, Muon doesn’t care whether there is a proxy or not … or … ah, of course, the system has again forgotten my proxy settings. Okay, f*** that. apt-get upgrade. Yes, install all those trojans on my computer, I don’t care anymore. Yes, yes, yes, yes, just do it already.

*Deep breathing*

How do I make the proxy settings stick???

Oh well, let’s just add them to /etc/environment – which is probably the worst way to do it but hey, if the obvious ways don’t work and Google doesn’t turn up anything useful, what’s a man to do?

Conclusion: That was my adventure with installing Kubuntu 13.04. Tomorrow, I’ll try to do some actual work on it.

Overall, I feel that many, many people put a lot of work into the system and all this was ruined by a few small bugs (Muon, proxy settings, Swiss keyboard in the installer).


Windows

28. May, 2013

It’s time again for a rant.

There are people out there who believe that Windows is a “professional” OS.

Okaaaayyyy …

Let’s not bother to discuss what “professional” might mean but I can guarantee you, Windows is anything but “professional.” The reason is quite simple: It’s an OS for everyone. For the average computer user. Professionals use professional tools. They know their stuff, they don’t play with average stuff. You think anything about, say, a Formula One car is average? Even the finish is optimized for weight. Average cars clog the streets, professional cars can haul 400 tons and each tire costs $35’000 alone.

I have a friend who works in a garage. He has a set of tool that costs more than I ever spent on tools my whole life. One day, he had to get nut off. It was already in bad shape from previous attempts by “enthusiastic amateurs”. So he took one of his┬ámetric hexagon nut sockets that was one number too small and a hammer and hammered it on. Afterwards, he screwed it loose, forced the nut out of it’s too tight housing and the tool was still intact – barely a scratch. That’s the difference between what local DIY sells you and “professional.”

Windows is optimized to run without complaints. Errors are deliberately hidden from the user since the average computer user simply can’t deal with them anyway.

I turned away from Windows almost 20 years ago and never looked back. Sure, not something that everyone could or should do. Linux still isn’t an OS for the average user (even though we have come a long way – I can almost always set up my twin-monitor system without having to grab a text editor). But then, I need professional tools.

My fellow students wrote 100 page master theses with Word. I remember them cursing all the time. And we were studying computer science. I did mine in LaTeX: 400 pages, 0 problems. Oh, and I had everything under version control. Not that I would recommend it for everyone. But maybe, just maybe you feel like Windows and other M$ products are wasting your time: Have a look at professional tools.


Suffering From Nepomuk, too?

20. August, 2011

Nepomuk is probably a suitable name for the tool suite. The name is related to the ┬á“Pumuckl” which was a gremlin that causes all kinds of grief and havoc. I think the name is suitable since that’s what the Nepomuk framework and all related tools always did for me: Cause grief.

Either they locked up my computer, crashed my KDE session or hogged some resource (CPU, RAM, hard disk). Just now I installed this sh…software on a new laptop where it effectively prevented me to log in.

Trying to be proactive, I created a bug. Vote for it if you hate Nepomuk, too.

Rationale: We have this stuff several years to grow up. Apparently, it’s not happening.