Tag Archives: community

Upgraded to Linux Mint 17 Qiana

Last week I upgraded Mint to Qiana. I don’t like to upgrade my main laptop that often, but when I saw that version 17 would be supported to 2019, I had to do it. I downloaded the ISO and prepared a flash drive for the install. I was ready to take the plunge, but during my quick inventory of installed programs, I started thinking of all the little customizations I had done. Not to mention most of the software I use on a regular basis are not in the default Mint image.

I still wanted to upgrade, but not in the traditional method of installing clean and restoring backups. This upgrade was done in almost one command, apt-get dist-upgrade. But first there were a few commands to run in order to prep the system for Qiana. In order for this to be successful, you need to point apt to thee new repositories. This is done with the following commands running them under sudo. I pass thanks for this post for clean instructions. Another of the many reasons I love Linux; when you want to know something, almost every time someone else did it too and wrote about it. The Linux community is world-wide and really does share the wealth of knowledge. You just have to find it. Each command is ran as a single line as sudo or su.

sudo sed -i 's/saucy/trusty/' /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo sed -i 's/petra/qiana/' /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo sed -i 's/saucy/trusty/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list
sudo sed -i 's/petra/qiana/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list
Once this is completed, you can proceed with the upgrade. But first some words of caution.
  1. Ensure you have continuous power. This means for laptops to be plugged in.
  2. Set the computer to not sleep. Screen is okay but definitely not the main unit.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time for this to finish. I didn’t time it but it did take a couple of hours.
  4. Have backups ready just in case. You do this anyway, right? Are they tested?
  5. Knowing how to recover if something goes south will always help too.

Once you are ready, from a terminal enter these commands in order.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get upgrade

This will start the upgrade process and once it is finished, I ran the last command again. You may be wondering just how did the upgrade perform for me? Somewhere in the process my upgrade failed on one item and stopped. I rebooted and was given a nice green screen but without the login section. I entered a terminal by pressing ctrl+alt+F2. I logged in and ran the command sudo apt-get clean. Followed by sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. At this point the upgrade re-started finishing in about a half hour. The next reboot brought me to Linux Mint 17 Qiana. I am glad I knew a few commands and especially the alternate method of logging in.

Mint 17 is running without any problems, but one. It is not a deal breaker nor is it interfering with anything I do, but it is there and I haven’t tackled removing it as if yet. On my panel I have two network indicators instead of the normal one. They both show identical information and if you stop one, it stops the other. Strange, yes. But like I mentioned not a big deal. If anyone knows of a solution, I am all ears.

Update: I was checking items in the Startup Applications menu under Preferences, and I noticed two networking items. And yes I removed one and when I rebooted the laptop, the extra network item on the panel was gone and networking still functions. That was easy. :)

That’s all there is to an upgrade of Linux Mint 16 Petra to Linux Mint 17 Qiana. The small problems were indeed small and I would not hesitate to go this route of upgrading once again as long as I am not experiencing any problems before the process, I don’t expect problems during the upgrade.


Have You Tried Parted Magic?

In my humble opinion, Parted Magic is simply the best multi-purpose tool-kit anywhere. I know there are competitors if you want to call them that. And they comprise some pretty good tools themselves. But Patrick Verner takes this project to a whole new level. Boot this tool one time and you will see what I mean. The interface is clean, simple and effective. The most used tools are on the desktop and the rest in a simple menu tree categorized by function. Parted Magic will boot on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. One of my favourite features is its ability to run completely in RAM, but has several other boot options. The ISO can be burned to a CD or run from a USB drive. You will find instructions to do both on the website. One more item I like is that the Linux kernel will be very close to the most current release. This one fact should be a clue to anyone that some real work is behind this project and that the kernel will be providing the latest innovations available.

You might be wondering just how do I get this for myself? It is pretty simple actually, head over to the website and donate $5 and download. But wait, isn’t this open source and free? That is what usually will follow the visit to the download site. Yes it is ‘free’ according to the license under which it is released. I for one do not mind the small fee for such a quality set of tools. I carry Parted Magic everyday on a USB drive and a CD sits in my desk drawer too. Thankfully I don’t use it everyday because when I do it is usually rescuing someone’s computer or data. But when I do, I am glad it is there. Everything I could need to rescue data or a system, test a disk, benchmark a system, clone a disk, remove a virus or just move files and so much more is already there in a small footprint, organized and updated. What more can one ask for? I have thrown a few bucks towards this project in the past, but I could have done more and will from now on. If you still think $5 bucks is too much, then you need to read this from Phoronix.

I am behind Parted Magic 100% and encourage everyone who reads this to do the same. This is a project someone can feel really good about supporting and using.






Awesome Raspberry Pi Supercomputer Build

This is in my opinion the coolest project I have ever come across for the Raspberry Pi. You have to check this out if you are true geek. Also they include some of the best most detailed instructions on how to repeat this project. This is a must see and there is a video too.

Raspberry Pi at Southampton


New Laptop, Windows 8 Gone, Installed Linux Mint 14 Nadia

g580Well I finally took the plunge and purchased a new laptop. I got myself a Lenovo G580 with a B980 PDC CPU sporting 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and more goodies. For the longest time, 10 years, I have either used a build it yourself desktop or a second hand laptop. It has been a long time since last buying new. While I did not go all out and get the latest i7 or i anything, the B980 compared rather well on Intel’s site with their newer and last years models. And as a bonus it sits atop the Sandy bridge giving it an extra punch in the graphics arena. All said and done I am happy with the purchase so far.

As you might be guessing from the post’s title, Windows 8 did not last very long on this machine. :) First priority was to disable the secure boot in the BIOS. And I do not give Lenovo much credit in making this intuitive. Perhaps there is industry pressure not to? We’ll never know for sure. Once in the BIOS you have to enable the legacy boot option and other OS options. This disables the secure boot but does not tell you it does. But upon checking you will find it is disabled after doing this. Save the settings and boot normally. At this point you can boot Windows 8 or your favorite OS. I booted the former. I wanted to see it first hand and I knew there would be an app to register the computer.

After a rather lengthy install process and a video or slide to show you Windows 8, one slide and not helpful at all, you are finally logged in to the desktop. What surprised me right off was I was wired to the network and it would only choose wireless as an option. My second thoughts were how clunky the interface was. Once in an application, which was not an issue, getting out was. No instructions, no pop ups, nothing. I managed to get out eventually and did indeed register the laptop with Lenovo. That is as far as I wanted to go with Windows 8. I have had my experience now.

I replaced the 500GB hard drive with mine, Linux already installed, faster spindle speed (7200rpm) and booted. Linux roared to life as expected. But that is not to say there was not any issues to deal with. Apparently this laptop comes with a newer network chip that does not have a module in the kernel yet. My first thoughts were that I was running the Debian edition of Mint and that the drivers were in the non-free category. I had been planning on installing Mint 14 Nadia since its debut but had not yet given in to the task.After all nothing was broken or anything. I fired up my employers laptop and downloaded the ISO burning it to a thumb drive in short time. Once again the install went off without errors and I was running Nadia in no time.

But the wired network was not working nor was it detected. The command lspci did indeed show the chip set, Ather03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR8162 Fast Ethernet (rev 10), but nothing was happening network wise on it. Enter the best Linux trouble shooter Google and I found the answer here in the Ubuntu forums. There were other posts from Google but this one had the crucial step of installing build-essentials. Without it the fix does not work. I had Ethernet in short order once again. Wireless was functioning but where I live there are so many signals that it is degraded all the time for serious connections. So I prefer wired over wireless right now. It should also be mentioned that the wireless is the famous B43cutter and worked right off the bat. The non-free driver was also available if desired.

So far this setup is doing great and there are not any issues that are deal breakers. My only complaint and I do not yet know if it is the OS or the hardware, is when I go the click something the mouse pointer hides itself. Annoying to say the least. Oh well if that is the worst thing then I have done pretty well.

I should also mention that after setup sound was working, video was set to a good resolution and everything just worked as it should. Nice work to the Ubuntu teams and to Clem and the Mint team for putting this together.

Update: I noticed when changing themes the disappearing cursor is gone. I will have to pay attention to which one it was since I had been switching around on them. This is good to know and I will update again if I notice it.


A Solution to Secure Boot For Linux

One developer in the Linux community, Matthew Garrett, has released a bootloader as reported by the H here, that will allow any Linux or BSD distribution to use secure boot . I was very happy to read he had been in development for over a year on this project. This news is very welcome indeed to the Linux community. I am sure it is widely reported but I am not in tune with the developer news so seeing this was a welcome sight. The H also reported on this on November 1st but I must have missed that one. Read it here or follow the first link in the more recent posting.

Linux and secure boot now have a future thanks to Matthew Garrett’s work. This is one project we should all get behind and support one way or another.


Ubuntu and Amazon Search – Love or Hate

Well I am certainly not the only one out there that thinks Ubuntu is starting to take advantage of its user base. Ubuntu announced in beta 12.10 the now famous Amazon Search feature. I had a bad reaction in the gut when I read about this move. Apparently I am not the only one. I think this is tied together with Zeitgeist and the local search indexing. I am not a developer nor do I have inside information so take this as my 2 cents in this ever inflationary times. In other words it doesn’t mean a whole lot.

But whatever your opinion if you are using or considering Ubuntu, you owe it to yourself to investigate and be more informed and form your own opinion. Personally I don’t like the feature and have no plans on running Ubuntu. Were it ever to come to my distribution of choice, LMDE, I might leave that one too.

I can understand the need for revenue from any distribution but I think this method has been handled in a manner not conducive to the communities needs. My biggest gripe that I read about is that it was just inserted without regard and without the concern of the users. But like I said, it is just my opinion and apparently others too.

What do you think?



Secure Boot, Is Linux Ready?

There is growing trepidation in the Linux community when the phrase secure boot is mentioned as it applies to Linux or other open source operating systems. Are you ready for Secure Boot? I personally can see the good that can come from it giving a more secure environment but on the other hand I also see the potential for locking consumers into only certain product lines whether they are open or not. This to me is clearly not in the best interest of open source operating systems or consumers.

There are several Linux distributions that are openly working to be able to implement a secure boot version. A few that I know of are Red Hat with Fedora, SUSE and Ubuntu. There may well be more I simply have not read about so feel free to add to the list in the comments. But on the other hand again, not every camp is very happy with secure boot. Especially when the emphasis is being reported from a Microsoft standard point of view. Last February Distrowatch’s Jesse Smith reported how OpenBSD’s founder was particularly unhappy with Red Hat and Canonical embracing secure boot. I did a quick search and have come up empty with regards to BSD embracing secure boot. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

Linus Torvalds, as reported in Wired, told ZDNet that although not a fan of UEFI, he could not see what the big deal is. Citing the $99 purchase of the right to distribute keys Fedora has purchased. Linus mentions here that the real issue is how the implementation could be vulnerable to hacking and thus not so secure after all.

So now we have major vendors embracing the concept, Microsoft pushing the standard and setting the bar for manufacturers, will you as a consumer have a voice? That is the million dollar question that only time will answer. I think in the end consumers will get the short end of the stick even if open source distributions survive these changes. The number of choices will ultimately drop on new hardware with the current specifications of UEFI unless changes are made in the direction reported by the Linux Foundation.