Colin Charles Agenda

Why I liked Ubuntu (and my thoughts on Gutsy Werewolf, aka Fedora 8)

One of the reasons I like Ubuntu is because they have a really swanky commercial repository, and they make it easy for me to get some commercial software, without pulling an RMS-styled “Freedom is a feature” on me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Fedora with all my heart, but when you get out of the distribution business per se, you feel that you might just want your primary machine to “Just Work”(tm). And long gone are the days where I carry 2-3 laptops when I travel – I just aim for one (I have lots of photo gear to worry about, instead).

The Feisty Fawn, was a pretty good Ubuntu release. That is, I got my commercial software fix – Sun’s JDK (moot these days, hello IcedTea in Fedora, for instance), VMWare Server (its free, kind of useful for running other distributions), and even Opera (sometimes I’m bored with Firefox, Galeon, Epiphany, I need to test things in another browser).

When Gutsy Gibbon got released, I couldn’t wait to update to the next, best thing. You expect things to move forward, never regress right?

Well, Sun’s software still works. As does Opera. But VMWare, has since, stopped working. Kernel 2.6.22-14 does not come with appropriate VMWare modules. Yes, that means, there’s no vmmon or vmnet loaded (or even, loadable, to be exact). Effectively, they’ve broken VMWare. I wondered why, so I hopped on to a package search, only to find out that VMWare has been removed from the commercial repository. No real explanation that I can find as to why it doesn’t exist.

So, my next option is to maybe build-my-own-package. There’s a guide titled VMWare in Ubuntu Gutsy – Kernel 2.6.22 that might be a good read for those that want to use this. Then I recall why I moved to using Ubuntu daily – I did it to get away from the frustration of having to build things myself. I did it, for the “Just Works”(tm) experience.

My options are to move to using some free software, quite obviously. There’s KVM, Xen, or even VirtualBox. Hey wait a minute, I can get all this in Fedora 8 too, can’t I?

The Gutsy Gibbon was supposed to come with a rocking new tool, displayconfig-gtk (i.e. System -> Administration -> Screen and Graphics). Unfortunately, it is broken beyond all thought. Then I remember an old friend, system-config-display, from Fedora – at least it works, and it has been around for ages (since what, Red Hat 8?). displayconfig-gtk is supposed to give me all the wonderful hotplug goodness of an external display, but it doesn’t. I can manually push xrandr to at least mirror my display (Intel chipset, might I add), which I’m sure I can also do in Fedora 8.

So I’ve come to the realisation that things are broken, and I’m going to have to do things manually, if I want them to work. This is irrespective of if I run Ubuntu or Fedora. Being just an “end user” is hard, to almost impossible.

My needs-to-work-list:

My “it’ll be nice if it worked” list:

I take it that’s enough ranting for today. Congratulations to the Fedora Project for releasing Fedora 8 today. I think Werewolf will be a gutsy release alright.

And a happy Diwali/Deepavali to all Hindus. As an aside, the number 8 is interesting – in Chinese, it loosely translates to being lucky. And November 8 2007 seems to be the “festival of light”. The only way it could’ve been any more numerically lucky is if it were released on 08-08-2008 (a day for a lot of weddings, I assume).

I seem to enjoy asides today, so here’s another. I ran dict gutsy, and it has some interesting definitions:

  gutsy \gutsy\ adj.
     1. marked by courage and determination in the face of
        difficulties or danger.
       Syn: courageous, plucky.
      2. rough or plain; not sophisticated or refined; earthy.
        Opposite of {sophisticated}, or {refined}.
       Syn: earthy, lusty, robust.

I wonder if, definition-wise, Gutsy Werewolf is #1 and the Gutsy Gibbon is #2?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,