Upgrading Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10

I’m seeing a lot of search results coming in for this topic and while I have answered this in the past, it was for a different version update and will lose relevance.

Also note that Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex is not scheduled to be released automatically until October 30, 2008. Upgrading at this point will update your system to Ubuntu 8.10 Alpha 6. If you wait until October 2nd you will upgrade to the Beta Release and waiting until October 23rd will upgrade you to the Release Candidate.

I’ve been using Ubuntu 8.10 since Alpha 1 and it has been stable and amazing the entire time!

Upgrading from Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10

To upgrade from Ubuntu 8.04, run “update-manager -d” using the update-manager package from hardy. You can do this quickly by pressing Alt+F2 to launch the Run Application dialog and paste and press enter.

This will launch the Update Manager, but it will also at the same time search for release updates.

After the Update manager has launched you should see a button above the updates list box that says:

New distribution release ‘8.10’ is available

There should be an “Upgrade” button to the right of it. Clicking this button will guide you through upgrading to the latest release.

Below is an image similar to what you should see:

So here’s a really quick overview:

  1. Press Alt+F2 to launch the Run Application dialog.
  2. Copy and paste “update-manager -d” and press enter.
  3. Click the “Upgrade” button in the Update Manager window.
  4. Follow the steps and make sure to reboot when you’re told to.
  5. Finished!

An auspicious day in the history of Steve Jobs.

I came across an interesting read today at Wired.com that was focused on Steve Jobs…just for the day.

Sept. 16, 1985: Jobs Quits Apple
Sept. 16, 1997: Jobs Rejoins Apple
Sept. 16: It’s an auspicious day in the history of Steve Jobs. It’s the day he quit Apple and the day he returned.

I wonder if we can expect Steve Jobs to leave the company again on Sept. 16, 2009 (a 12 year period equal to how long he quit the first time). Probably not. πŸ˜› Anyways, this article has some other interesting facts about Steve Jobs and this particular topic.

Ubuntu 8.10: Compiz-Fusion Cube Deformation

This is one of the many things that I have come to love about Ubuntu. Although Ubuntu is not the only Linux distro that comes with Compiz-Fusion, it is one of the most user friendly ones!

Ubuntu has impressed me for a long time and working with Workspaces in Linux has made my occasional returning experiences with Windows a complete nightmare.

I’ve been testing Ubuntu 8.10, code named Intrepid Ibex, for a while now. Well, since Alpha 1 was releasedback in late June of this year. If you want to follow the release schedule then you can find it here.

The current latest stable version of Ubuntu is 8.04, code named Hardy Heron, and while it is a very stable and strong version it’s just not the latest and greatest…which is what I demand out of the software that I use.

I just wanted to share some screenshots that I took today to show off some of the eye candy that Ubuntu has to offer. This time it’s only dealing with Workspaces and how Ubuntu can handle these in a three-dimensional way very well with the aid of Compiz-Fusion.

Here are some screenshots of the different effects that can be selected when navigating between workspaces. They are in the following order: cylinder, sphere, cube (option is entitled none, for deformations)

It’s neat eye candy like this that attracts attention, but it’s performance and reliability that attracts users. What impresses me is that I can have all of this eye candy and all of the software that I need running at any given moment and still only be using ~600mb of ram!

Now you try to run the bare minimum in WIndows Vista and see how close you are to 600mb of ram. With Aero enabled in Vista and all of the normal applications opened I typically use around 900mb. It’s not a major problem considering that’s not even half of the ram that I have available for Vista to consume, however, it is disappointing once you realize that Vista isn’t even offering any eye candy other than “Window Decoration” that is fancier than Windows XP.

Window Decoration is one of the many features that is easily customizable in Ubuntu to the extent that you can have Ubuntu mimic Vista in appearance and behavior if you wanted or even Mac OS X with an application dock.

If you haven’t tried Ubuntu yet then be prepared to give it a test drive when Ubuntu 8.10 is released on October 30th! Installing Ubuntu is easy and it even lets you pick between starting in Windows (or Mac if you’re installing with Mac already installed) and Ubuntu. So you can keep Windows if you already have it and start your computer in either Ubuntu or Windows when you first turn it on!

Maybe I can find some more eye candy and benefits to using Ubuntu over others.

How-To: Digsby+Wine

After getting back into the Digsby scene again I decided it was time to get Digsby running in Ubuntu. I grabbed the latest installer and was well on my way.

I’ll just break down the steps so you can follow along. Depending on the distro that you are using, these steps may vary.

  1. Install the newest version of Wine that you can (in my case I just went with Wine 1.0).
  2. Open up a terminal window and enter the following lines (one at a time πŸ˜› ):
    wget http://kegel.com/wine/winetricks
    sh winetricks corefonts dotnet20 gdiplus
  3. As a safety measure (it may not make a difference at all) I opened the “Configure Wine” application and set the default settings Windows Version to “Windows 2000”. This has seemed to help make applications work in Wine in the past.
  4. Now download Digsby. I used the latest version which was for testers and should be released very soon. So for now just grab your installation from here.
  5. Install Digsby. In most distros of Linux you can just right click on the install file and click Open with “Wine Windows Program Loader”. Follow the steps through the installation and launch Digsby. Everything should be working now!

Basically all you had to do was install the .NET 2.0 framework and gdiplus. I’m not positive on corefonts, but they will only improve compatibility.

Everything seems to be working great! I notice some odd behavior here and there, but the application itself is working great! The only thing that is a bit annoying is that Facebook will occasionally disconnect, but it immediately reconnects. πŸ˜€

New Widget: Latest Snapshots

I just finished writing a new widget that may be helpful to some of you Opera Desktop Team enthusiasts. It reloads the latest builds every 5 minutes by default, but can be configured to any interval.

The widget is very simple, and if you want to test it before it’s available from the Widget repository then you can grab it from my site here.

The current version as of making this post is v1.0, but I’m going to be releasing an update soon to notify you when a newer snapshot build is available and also show in the widget the current build that you are using so it’s easier to reference. πŸ˜‰

If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them on the widget page here. Enjoy!

Google Chrome: First Look at a First Release

Details regarding Google Chrome, which if you haven’t heard yet is Google’s new web browser, were recently leaked through a comic that Google released to a selected crowd of people and then the the world when it was leaked online.

The comic images show many different features of the Google Chrome browser and help to explain what’s different about Google’s browser compared to other browsers that are already available. It’s worth a read and you can read it here.

After refreshing my browser for nearly an hour, Google’s Chrome web site finally became live and I jumped at the chance to download this brand new product and give it a review.

Well the review will come shortly, however, I will go a head and reveal some screenshots of the browser and a first look response: shockingly impressive, simple and very stable!

If you want to download Google Chrome and try it for yourself then just navigate over to http://www.google.com/chrome and download and install away. Google Chrome is currently only available for the Windows platform, but Macintosh and Linux should be available soon!

Google makes a web browser: Google Chrome

Although it was rumored for a long while, there were plenty of people doubting that anything would ever pan out.

Google has released a few details to the new browser in their official blog. Many people have given the rumored browser the name gBrowser, however, Google seems to think the official name should be Google Chrome. Regardless of the name, I think we are all excited to see what this browser will have to offer!

According to Jeff at the Big Blue Ball, Google will be releasing Google Chrome for the Windows platform today!

Google is getting their fingers into everything these days, and the latest foray is a new web browser called Chrome. According to the official Google Blog, Chrome will be available for download on the Windows platform beginning sometime Tuesday, September 2.

Google Chrome is built on top of the Webkit project so standards support and compatibility should be rock solid from the start.

After the initial release in Windows, Google Chrome will be released in versions for Macintosh and Linux.

I’m excited about more competition coming to the table to push and progress the web! I hope everyone understands what this will change!

Stay tuned for my thoughts and a review of Google Chrome. Until then you can read the comic strip that Google posted a link to in the Google Chrome blog post. I’ve taken the time to post the comic here, however, all work done in these images has been done by Google and I am only posting the comic here.

UPDATE:
To keep an eye on Google Chrome and test it as soon as it is released, point your browser to the following address and refresh as frequently as you wish. The link should become live and switch from the current 404 to the product page with a Windows download link. πŸ˜‰

http://www.google.com/chrome

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Google Chrome before it is released you should head over to the entry that is already in place at Wikipedia.

UPDATE 2:
Google Chrome is now available! Download it now! I’ll be posting some screen shots shortly. Screen shots are posted here:
https://www.kyleabaker.com/2008/09/02/google-chrome-first-look-at-a-first-release/

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Now Available

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is now available for testing! If you would like to learn more about it’s release you can find plenty of information on the official release blog post.

If you would like to download and test Internet Explorer 8 yourself, you can find it here:
http://www.microsoft.com/ie8

You’ll find versions for 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008. In addition to English, IE8 Beta 2 is available in Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), and German. Additional languages will be available soon.

If you would like to see an overview of the new features implemented in Internet Explorer 8 then you can find them in great detail here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/08/27/internet-explorer-8-beta-2-now-available.aspx

Enjoy the early notification so you can be one of the first to test out Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2!

UPDATE (2008-08-28 @ 12:38 AM):
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 passes the Acid2 Test! Reports were made back in late December 2007 that internal builds of Internet Explorer were passing the Acid2 Test, but now we have a public release that is passing.

On the Acid3 Test, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 scores a 21/100 with a notification at the top of the window stating that:

This website wants to run the following add-on: ‘MSXML 3.0 SP10’ from ‘Microsoft Corporation’. If you trust the website and the add-on and want to allow it to run, click here…

After running the “MSXML 3.0 SP10” add-on, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 still only scores a 21/100.

Microsoft Desktops: New Virtual Desktop Manager for Windows

If you’ve ever used Linux for a while and started to get familiar with it then you probably used Workspaces (or at least on occasion).

Most people who get used to Workspaces find it difficult to live without them and switching back to Windows can be difficult or not even fully possible.

Now you can have your Workspaces in Microsoft Windows with Desktops!

Desktops is currently at version 1.0, but runs smoothly. By default it comes with four workspaces and is a single executable file. No installation is required at all!

So far, I really like the direction that Desktops is going! It seems that a lot of work has been put into it to make it work as intended. However, I did find several flaws with the behavior and limitations that Desktops currently has.

Upon starting, you will notice that none of the other workspace areas are activated until you select them. Selecting them takes a short period of time to configure that workspace and show applications that are apparently pre-decided for all workspaces (such as system tray applications and icons).

There was no way to drag windows between workspaces and that caused other limitations. Web browsers such as Opera and Firefox don’t like to run more than one “instance” of the application. It’s easy to open more windows to separate your tabs, but what happens when you’re in another workspace and need a browser window? Clicking the little application icon will most likely result in one of the two.

You will receive a message explaining that there is already an instance of the browser running (in another workspace of course) or your browser will interpret the action to mean that you need another tab and simply open another tab in the window that is not even visible (on another workspace).

These can be frustrating alone, but one of the most frustrating things is that your applications such as Winamp, AIM, Digsby, Trillian, Windows Live Messenger or where you’re using are not accessible via the Β system tray in other workspaces so you won’t get a visual notification when that girl that you’re interested in sends you a message on AIM inviting you out with her for a night in the club. πŸ˜‰

I also noticed that Aero didn’t work on workspaces 2-4 on my system. Maybe it’s still too soon to expect flawless performance though. πŸ˜›Β Maybe these will be fixed in the near future.

If you’ve followed little tools like this that Microsoft has released in the past then you may have also seen Virtual Desktop Manager which was released a while back. Another desktop manager worth mentioning is Vista/XP Virtual Desktop Manager which offers some features stunningly close to those found in Linux!

How-To: Share your Internet connection between multiple computers (Ad-Hoc)

If you’ve ever been in a situation similar to mine where you have multiple computers, one Ethernet cable and no wireless router then don’t sweat it. You’re still in luck!

If one of your computers has at least two network cards, for example an Ethernet port and wireless capabilities, then you can connect one computer via the Ethernet connection and broadcast that same connection over that computer’s wireless card so that other computers can connect. I’ll show you how below.

I will be walking through the steps in Windows Vista, but the steps should be the same across all platforms. If you’re using a different platform then just try to find the same dialogs and options on that system and everything should work fine.

  1. Open the Control Panel. To do this, go to Start->Control Panel
    If you’re in Windows Vista and your Control Panel window looks like this:

    You will need to click on the option labeled “Classic View” in the upper left corner of the window. This will change the layout of the Control Panel so that I don’t have to rewrite this How-To in multiple different directions. After changing the layout, your Control Panel should look like this:
  2. In the image above, the icon for “Network and Sharing Center” is selected. Double click on this option. When the window changes you should see a list of tasks in the left column. Click on the item from the list labeled “Manage network connections“. This will open a new window that should show the network cards available on your computer.
  3. Make sure that your Ethernet cable is plugged into your computer and your Internet source and that the Internet connection is working fine on that computer. Now right click on the option labeled “Local Area Connection” and select “Properties” from the menu (User Account Control will most likely ask you if you wish to continue and just agree and click continue if it does).
  4. The Properties window will open on a tab labeled “Networking” with a list of items that the connection uses. Just ignore all of that and switch to the tab labeled “Sharing.” The options on the “Sharing” tab should be selected as follows. Enable the option labeled “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” Disable the option labeled “Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection.” After matching these settings, click “OK” to save the changes.
  5. You can now close the window for “Network Connections” and reopen the window for “Network and Sharing Center.” If you have already closed this window by accident then you can follow steps 1 and 2 again, except this time instead of clicking on the option to “Manage network connections” you want to select the option to “Setup a connection or network.
  6. When the “Setup a connection or network window opens, it will have a list of networks that you can setup. The one that you want to setup is selected in the image above and is labeled “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network. Setup a temporary network for sharing files or an Internet connection.
  7. When the “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network” window is open, it will explain a little bit about the network. Just click “Next” until you get to a form that is empty and looks like the form below:

    You need to give the network that you are creating a name that you will be able to recognize and it can be anything that you want!

    You also have the option to add security to your network. I highly advise this as you have more control over your network, so just select the option for “WEP” and below it enter some form of a password.

    You can click the option to “Display characters” while you are entering the key/passphrase. This will make it easier to make a new key for your network.

    Don’t forget to also enable the option to “Save this network” if you plan on using it later!

    If you hover the text box for the key/passphrase, you will see a notification tooltip that explains how the passwords work. You should follow those instructions to create your password and make sure it is the correct length as specified in the tooltip.

  8. Click “Next” to complete the setup and close any open windows. Your Ad-Hoc network is now setup and you should now be able to see a wireless signal on your other computers. Connecting to your network will require the users to know the key/passphrase that you entered, but once connected..all of the other computers should be able to browse the web and connect to instant messengers…anything you need!

If you have any questions then please ask them in the comments! Just remember to follow the steps closely before asking. Enjoy!

Windows Vista: Wishlist

As I slowly tweak my installation of Vista Ultimate (64-bit) I’m beginning to realize that I really like the Ubuntu Linux desktop environment.

I keep finding myself tweaking things that are basically already there in Linux. For example, I have dual screens (multiple monitors) on my desktop computer and I hate the fact that Vista will only allow my to have one task bar and in only one monitor.

My solution was to install UltraMon, which allows me to have a task bar on the second monitor that even holds it’s own window list. So now my windows that are open on monitor #2 don’t show up in the task bar of the other monitor. It’s much more organized! This can very easily be accomplished in Linux without the need to install extra software.

On top of that, UltraMon adds some cool little buttons to the top of each window near the minimize, maximize and close buttons. The two buttons that are added allow me to do the following:

  1. Stretch the window across both monitors for a double full screen effect. This can be handy at times!
  2. Move this window to the other monitor. This is very handy indeed. It just switches screens and even holds the same place on the other screen as it did on the first one. This works back and forth.

I would also have them install more gadgets by default in the Windows Sidebar. I had to go and download several that I thought were very useful.

  • System Monitor, which allows me to keep track of several things including: CPU, RAM, Wireless connection with a progress bar for strength, IP Address and External IP Address and even Battery Monitor (which I obviously don’t use on my desktop, but it would be great for my laptop…if it would even hold a charge, lol).
  • Wireless Network, which just shows a better signal meter and percentage as well as the network connecting name. It just looks better than the one you can use with System Monitor.
  • Volume Control, just a meter that looks similar to the wireless signal meter, but you can scroll through the meter to increase or decrease the volume very easily. I love it cause I hate clicking on the tray icon to change the volume setting (you can scroll on the tray icon as well, but there is one cool thing you can’t do with the tray icon..). You can even middle click on the volume gadget meter and it will toggle mute on and off! Very handy and quick!
  • DriveInfo, shows you a hard drive with a progress bar below it indicating the percentage of the drive used. It also shows the amount used in MB/GB/TB what ever you may be using, the drive letter and a number percentage. Just pretty cool for keeping a close eye on your drive…but not wasting any time at all.
  • The last one that I added to the list was the GMail Counter gadget. I love this one. It just gives me a count of the unread messages I have in my inbox and there are others that give you previews (GMail Checker), but I don’t need the previews really. I really like the fact that when it finds new mail, I get any kind of notification sound I want and currently it’s the classic “You’ve Got Mail” alert! I love it!

After adding those gadgets to the list of available ones and adding them to the Windows Sidebar, I had to add a couple weather gadgets. One for home and one for school. That just topped it off!

One thing that also irritates me is the fact that when I’m downloading updates I can’t tell which update it’s currently downloading and how much of it is downloaded other than a rough estimate in the form of a percentage. I loved how in Ubuntu I could drop down a list of the files that are being downloaded and see in real time how much was downloaded for each file as well as over all. Sure they want to keep it simple in Windows, but a drop down arrow with more details wouldn’t be all that hard to add on and would be out of the way.

I also wish that Windows would come with a couple other browsers installed by default. I’d like to see Firefox, Opera, Flock and Safari installed along side Internet Explorer by default. I know Flock is just a derivative of Firefox, but the difference in uses of the browser are enough to make it worth adding.

This would clearly add to the needed space for installations, but I ‘ve got to tell you that Microsoft has never been good at using hard drive space. I’ve currently split an 80GB drive into a partition of 50GB for Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit and 28GB for Ubuntu 8.04 64-bit and ~2GB for Linux Swap space. Of those, Ubuntu is currently fresh installed with about 10 extra installed applications and it’s only using ~6GB of the 28GB available to it. Windows Vista is a fresh install with about 10 installed applications (most of which are the same as the ones I added in Ubuntu) and it’s using ~30GB.

Okay, so I just finished installing Windows Vista SP1 and had to do a couple reboots in the middle of posting this and apparently SP1 actually clears some junk from your computer, because now I’m using ~28GB! That’s almost 2GB less than what I was using before and that’s even after an update with a service pack! It would be really cool to see the installation size continually shrink as the other service packs are released! Maybe to something under 10GB would be great! The fact that Vista is still using ~28-30GB on a fresh install with the exception of ~10 applications (UltrMon, flash, browsers and messengers) is just crazy when you compare the graphically updates to Vista vs. XP and then compare Vista to Ubuntu and the installation size of Ubuntu.

Now that is just sad. Ubuntu supported my wireless card straight from the first time I logged in. In Vista I had to logout, login to Ubuntu, download the drivers and save them on the NTFS partition, reboot into Vista and install them. How sad is that? With all that hard drive space used there wasn’t a single supported driver found! The driver that I had to manually download works perfect, but the fact that it wasn’t already installed with Vista makes me wonder what the ~28-30GB of space is used for!

I’d also like to see a repository similar to the “Add/Remove Applications” feature in Ubuntu and several other Linux distros. This would be a great way to provide alternative applications without wasting installation space by installing them all initially. In Ubuntu, the list is broken down into categories such as Internet, Accessories, etc. and makes the task of finding and searching for new applications very simple. This would probably never reach a Windows system (integrated with the operating system by default), but it would be a major improvement!

In a quick recap, here are the things I’d wish for Vista to be a little better:

  1. Microsoft should either buy UltraMon and work it straight into the operating system or implement their own support for handling multiple taskbars and making workspace functionality better. In Ubuntu I use four workspaces on a daily basis and I find it hard to work without them. Since Windows doesn’t even have spaces it should at least make the best possible use of the limited space available.
  2. The gadgets are a little lame, but they are definitely promising. They can be very handy and I listed a few gadgets that are actually useful and serve a purpose. They speed-up my activities in Vista a little and they should help anyone really. I think Microsoft should be including a larger selection of gadgets by default. Only the best of the best, but a wide range of default ones would be great!
  3. Windows Updates should be a little more helpful and informative. Sometimes I want to know the exact update that is being downloaded while it is being downloaded and even watch the download progress. I want to be able to see what my operating system is doing and not just be told about what it is doing.
  4. I think a wider selection of applications should be installed by default. I listed several of the major web browsers, but I’m not just mentioning this to boost the web browsing industry. I’d like to also see alternative messengers such as Pidgin, Miranda, Trillian, Digsby, etc available for the users to choose from. Maybe even Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk.
  5. Installation size is becoming less and less of a problem or issue these days, but don’t we all like to see that the applications that we are using are optimized as much as they possibly can be? I know I have three other hard drives and almost 2TB of storage space on my desktop, but that doesn’t mean that I want my operating system wasting space when it could be using it much more efficiently.
  6. Microsoft should handle a repository list similar to how Linux does so that we can look through a list of applications that we can install that are very popular. This would mean that we have fast access to installing a wealth of applications and at the same time are not wasting space by having them pre-installed. I know this will probably never happen with Windows since it has survived so long without this feature, but it would dramatically improve the end-users experience with finding and using new software that they may have never heard of before.

That’s about all I care to write about right now, but Vista could use plenty of other improvements such as workspaces and wobbly windows. These can most likely be added on with third party applications, but they should simply be available by default like they are in Ubuntu!