A hurdle in the instalation of Ubuntu Hardy Heron

I decided to give a try to Ubuntu Hardy Heron, and installed the amd64 version of it in my laptop.

My gripe is caused by a really annoying issue with the installation in a multiboot system. I have a laptop with four root partitions (Windows, Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu), and obviously GRUB generates the menu that allows me to choose at boot time. The file that GRUB reads is /root/grub/menu.lst, at /dev/sda5 (the Fedora partition, which was the last one).

The annoying issue I mention is that the installation is absolutely smooth but a bootloader is not installer. What this means is that when I reboot the computer after installation, I always get the old GRUB menu, and the new OS does not appear in the list.

The only solution I found is to do the following:

  1. Do a normal install of Ubuntu, but do not reboot
  2. Open a console (after installation Ubuntu lauches a GNOME live session)
  3. Locate the kernel and initrd images I need. They are, respectively: /target/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24-16-generic and /target/boot/initrd-img-2.6.24-16-generic.bak
  4. Mount /dev/sda5 into /mnt/root3
  5. Edit /mnt/root3/boot/grub/menu.lst (the old GRUB menu), and add the lines:
  6. title --------- Ubuntu 8.04 TLS Hardy Heron - sda6 ----------

    title Ubuntu Hardy Heron - kernel 2.6.24
    root (hd0,5)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24-16-generic root=/dev/sda6 ro quiet splash
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.24-16-generic.bak

  7. Reboot

After that, the new Ubuntu appears in the GRUB list.

The procedure is not incredibly difficult, but for a beginner it would be a major showstopper. And, in any case, it is a really sad error.

Basque ads with Ubuntu on them

The Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa (local government of the province of Gipuzkoa in Spain) has a series of advertisings on TV for their i-gipuzkoa.net web site, within a campaign to promote the use of the Internet among the citizens.

The ads depict a family learning to use the net for different tasks, such as finding information or purchasing plane tickets. The remarkable thing is that the computer that the family is seen using boasts a GNOME desktop, apparently running under Ubuntu.

Below I show some screenshots of the videos, that are available for download in the "Videos" section of the i-gipuzkoa.net site. Underneath each picture there is a legend with the video it appears in, and the time (in minutes:seconds format) the image appears in the video.

Image 1 clearly shows that the desktop is GNOME, with its default top and bottom taskbars (only the top one can be seen in that pic), and the Ubuntu logo showing in the top-left corner. The windowing theme seems to be the default Ubuntu "Human" look. It is also apparent that the browser they use is Firefox.

1 - Video 2 (00:52)

Images 2 and 3 show that the browser window has been resized horizontally, so that the Ubuntu logo of the default background can be seen. It is hard to believe that the resizing of that window is casual. The resizing of the browser window (to show the Ubuntu logo) can even be seen in more than one video: e.g. video 8 (image 8).

2 - Video 1 (01:01)

3 - Video 1 (01:11)

The second video of the series shows the father and the son creating a web page for the father's shop. To do so, they use Quanta+, as can be seen in image 4.

4 - Video 2 (00:42.36)

In some clips MS Windows is used (see image 5), but even there they use Firefox (see image 6).

5 - Video 3 (00:39.88)

6 - Video 3 (01:08.64)

Finally image 7 shows that in one clip OpenOffice.org is used to fill in some online document.

7 - Video 4 (00:50.64)

8 - Video 8 (01:05.44)

I find it highly significant that some official ads display such a prominent use of free software, to the extent of the window resizing for showing the Ubuntu logo, as I mention above. The simple fact that someone in the (ignorant) politic class has ever heard about Linux is a great step forward, I believe.

Inkscape tip: make arrow head's color match that of its body

I have encountered the problem more than once, and it is a bit annoying to say the least. Basically, when you build a path/arrow in Inkscape, it starts as a black curve by default. You can edit it to put a marker in either or both ends (Click on the curve, then Object->Fill and Stroke->Stroke Style), to make an arrow, for example.

Now, the problem is that if you change the color of the body of the arrow, the head will remain black, as documented, for example, in A Guide to Inkscape, by Tavmjong Bah. Not nice, uh? The solution is given in the same site, and consists on using a plugin. To do so, select: Effects->Modify Path->Color Markers to Match Stroke.

If you are a Debian user, you might encounter a problem: a window pops up saying The inkex.py module requires PyXML. This has been reported as a bug, and also happens for Ubuntu. The solution is to install the python-xml package, which is not always installed by default when you install Inkscape, it is just "suggested". This means that when you install Inkscape (aptitude install inkscape), aptitude will tell you something like "The package python-xml is recommended, but it is not going to be installed", and will go on happily. If (like me) you ignore the suggestion, you will not have the python-xml package installed, and some extensions, like the above, will not work (however this allows the users that do not want to use the plugins to have a lighter instalation, if they so wish).

Don't try this with Windows

I found out in FayerWayer about the things you can do with the Wiimonte (the remote of the console) and a GNU/Linux computer with Beryl.


Yes, it seems rather useless... but I looks great! Besides, think of the possibilities. And still some people will keep on saying that Mac and Windows lead the desktop innovation!

Installing Ubuntu Dapper Drake

After failing misserably to run Xgl in Debian Etch, I decided to install Ubuntu Dapper Drake (which allegedly supports it) in a spare partition of my hard disk. Below is the timeline of such an instalation:


Turn on computer, insert Ubuntu CD. Choose "run the CD as a LiveCD". See it loading.


The LiveCD has booted, and I already have a fully functioning GNOME desktop. I spend 2 minutes playing around.


Select a link for "install Ubuntu on the hard disk", and answer a couple of questions (username, password, language, time zone, keyboard layout), and off it goes...


It starts copying files to the hard disk.


Everything done. Asked whether I wanted to go on using the LiveCD by now, or directly restart to use the Ubuntu installed on disk. I choose the latter.


I am presented with GDM, which asks me to log in.


I am already inside GNOME, running my freshly installed Ubuntu OS!!


4 minutes for LiveCD working 100%, 20 minutes for full installation.

GParted and my laptop

OK, yesterday I bought a laptop (my first ever), and I am so excited about it! It's specs:

Fujitsu-Siemes Amilo PI1536
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2x2.0GHz
RAM: 2x1Gb
HD: 120Gb SATA
Display: 15.4 WXGA
Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 (128Mb dedicated/512Mb shared)

I chose it for its high quality CPU, and half-decent graphics card. It turns out most sellers have a large Core Duo stock, but a pitifully short list of Core 2 Duo models. Hence, they want to sell their already outdated Core models, and offer little choice in Core 2s (and a bit higher prices, although Intel sells them both at similar prices). The little choice in Core 2 Duos made it difficult to me to find what I was looking for, but I finally did.

However, this post is not only dedicated to spread my happiness. I also wanted to praise the Free Software program GParted, which I just used.

As any laptop+Linux user has experienced, usually Windows is pre-installed and shipped with the computer. In my case, I wanted to have it, so no problem with that. The bad part is that, of course, the whole hard disk is usually a single partition, with Windows being in it. Since I wanted to install Linux also, I had to make partitions. Although the laptop came with CDs for all the software that comes pre-installed (Windows included), I wanted to try to resize the Windows partition, and make room for the other partitions, without destroying the Windows installation.

I downloaded an Ubuntu ISO, burned it, then restarted the laptop with it. Good thing of Ubuntu is that its CD is a Live CD, which means that can be run without installing anything in the hard disk. Ubuntu started flawlessly, and I was presented with a GNOME desktop. There, I started GParted, and a simple, yet visually pleasing, GUI opened, and I point-and-clicked all the settings, which took me from:

1x 111Gb partition under NTFS


1x 15Gb (NTFS)
1x 512Mb (swap) probably wasted disk, but oh well...
3x 10Gb (ReiserFS)
1x 50Gb (ReiserFS)
1x 18Gb (NTFS)

This way, the second NTFS partition can be used to store files Windows can access (I have to try if Linux can access that. If not, I'll reformat with FAT32), and I still have room for three Linux distro installs (10 Gb Reiserfs), and a big home/ that all Linux-es can share.

Now, the delicate part... rebooting into Windows. I held my breath while the computer rebooted, but it did so fine. Windows started without problem, it just performed a disk integrity check at startup (which finished OK), and then said it had found new hardware, which turned out to be the second NTFS partition (the E: drive now). As we are used to with the stupid Windows, I was told to reboot to have the system recognize the recently-discovered hardware. So I did, and it worked!

Now Windows is installed in the 15Gb NTFS partition (and recall I didn't reinstall anything. What was there, is still there), and sees a second 18Gb partition. As for Linux, I am looking forward to installing Debian, Ubuntu or something...