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Hardy Version of Ubuntu (version 8.04)

Started by Donald Darden, December 16, 2007, 09:55:07 PM

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Donald Darden

When I had to reinstall my Linux distributions, I went looking for a DVD version of Ubuntu, and found that they had the HardyHeron version out on LiveCD already, so I just went with that.  It doesn't feel or look that much different from the Gutsy Gibbon (verson 7.10) release I tried earlier, and it seems just as stable.  Each time I bother to boot up into any version of Linux, I find more to learn and understand.  You might consider it a great time waster though, so if I were on a tight schedule with major commitments, I would think that would be a bad time to consider switching from Windows.

One big awkwardness that I have run into with trying to have several OSes on one PC is that relying on boot managers to make sence of it all and get you into the desired OS is problematic.  I've used BootPart, a free tool from the internet to manage the NTLDR and Boot.INI settings for Windows, but I have had to manually consolidate settings in menu.lst under /boot/grub on my Linux partitions to get them to work well together.  On its own, grub thinks a yet-unused Ext3 partition is also bootable and mistakenly thinks its Knoppix, but takes the Knoppix partition and calls it just a Debian boot partition.

I've been vainly trying to figure out what has been going on in the VM camp for some time.  What I've read is that VM support should already be in the Linux kernel in the Debian distributions, but I saw no evidence of it.  Last night I chanced on finding it mentioned, but under a different name:  kvm.  When I checked for aht in Ubuntu, I did not find it.  However, when I used apt-get install kvm, it got installed.  I also installed qemu and one other package as suggested.  Before going to bed, I tried kvm --help, and sure enough, it looks like I have my first chance to try setting up Virtual Machines under Linux.

And by the way, Ubuntu lists VM Player as one of the packages that can be added with the Update Manager, but when you try, you get a notice that it is not supported for this distribution.  Just thought I would mention it in passing.   

Donald Darden

Hardy Heron is now in final release!  I had attempted to use the early release version, but backed up to an earlier version when the automatic update process got broken, so I have not tried to use the final version yet.

This is a Long Term Release version, meaning that the developers are committed to providing support to the desktop version for at least 3 years, and five years for the server version.  They have also put emphasis on capabilities for business needs, and extended its range of hardware support.

As readers of my posts should know, I have been very happy with Ubuntu as an alternative to Windows, and what it lacks I have obtained by adding VirtualBox and running Windows in virtual mode.  The results have been very satisfying, and it has worked well on my older PC with just 1 GB of RAM.  The only limitation I have found is that real time applications, particularly games, may be choppy when run under Windows in virtual mode.  But I am not a serious game player, and everything else has been just fine,

I guess it is time to give the 8.04 release another shot.  I've three installs of Linux on my PC, which I did by setting up three separate boot partitions for that purpose, yet my experience with other versions was not as satisfying as just sticking with Ubuntu, so I actually ended up with three versions of the same software on each.  The asset now is that I can upgrade one and still keep the others until I am satisfied with my choices again,

Donald Darden

I checked on what it takes to upbrade from Ubuntu 7.10 to 8.04, and it is simple.  Just use the Update Manager (which comes up automatically if there are updates available, or which you can start manually under System/Administrative/Update manager), secure any updates for 7.10, and you will also be presented with a choice to upgrade to 8.04.

You can also download an .ISO image and burn that to CD (which should also offer you the LiveCD capability), or order the image already on CD.  Shortly after a new Linux release comes out, third parties generally offer a CD through various outlets, such as eBay, where you can get if for a few dollars (being Open Source, it is legal to distribute software this way as long as you only charge for distribution, which generally means the copy, handling, and shipping costs, plus maybe a small profit).

I tried to get the update tool over the Internet, but the sites are bogged down by the current demand,  It will probably be a few weeks before the demand abates enough to allow update via the download process.  For those that do not have a high speed internet connection, the download process is not really a viable option anyway.  So I suggest considering the idea of ordering the CD, at least if you are in a rush to get it.

I was looking at the number of reads for my various threads, and my experience with Ubuntu 7.10 is way up there.  It seems there is a lot of interest in Linux as an alternative, and Ubuntu 8.04 should be a further improvement in a great OS.  So I guess I will also get the .ISO download and reinstall from scratch on one partition, just so that I can document the steps I use, and that will be of benefit to those that are interested.  But I guess I will have to wait for a better time to get the image and get started.

Donald Darden

In looking at postings on eBay for Ubuntu, I found several for version 8.04, some with an additional CD included, and one for version 7.10.  I expect this numer to increase further if there are buyers for what is there.  While none indicate that they are the final release, it probably does not matter too much, since the Update manager will enable you get get whatever new packages have come available.  The price works out to around $8 or $9, including shipping and handling.  That's not as good as free, but it beats many hours of trying to download the image yourself.  But feel free to shop around for your source, as I've found that some items on eBay might be overpriced compared to other avenues, especially as inflated handling and shipping charges there are not uncommon.

Donald Darden

This evening I downloaded both the new install image for Ubuntu 8.04, and I downloaded the alternate image, which supposedly allows you to upgrade to version 9.04 if you have one of several earlier releases.  Together, the two images took a couple of hours to get on to my hard drive, and then I burned a couple of CDs of each ot them.

I then rebooted to one of the alternate CD images, but saw no obvious way to manage an update to an existing install.  I decided to boot back to the Ubuntu 7.10 partition that I wanted to update, and see what options presented themselves there.  Again, I was advised that an update to 8.04 was available, but it was focused on using the internet update method.  Well, the two downloads had gone faster than expected, so I decided to give the internet method a shot.  There are about 1.062 files that need to be downloaded, and the download rate keeps varying between an estimate of just over an hour, to as much as 3.5 hours to complete.

Well, while that is going, I decided to see if I could find some instructions for doing the update from CD instead of over the internet.  The risk with the internet is that something could interrupt the process, whereas if you can download an image and burn it to CD, you should have no problem completing the upgrade from CD.

This is one link that I found that explains the process, but with little elaboration:

This is a quote of the section that pertains:
QuoteUpgrading using the alternate CD/DVD

Use this method if the system being upgraded is not connected to the Internet.


      Download and burn the alternate installation CD.

      Insert it into your CD-ROM drive.

      A dialog will be displayed offering you the opportunity to upgrade using that CD.

      Follow the on-screen instructions.

If the upgrade dialog is not displayed for any reason, you may also run the following command using Alt+F2:

gksu "sh /cdrom/cdromupgrade"

Or in Kubuntu run the following command using Alt+F2:

kdesu "sh /cdrom/cdromupgrade"

I may try this approach with the second partition install of Ubuntu 7.10 that I want to upgrade.

Donald Darden

I didn't really time the process, but I figure it took about 4.5 hours for me to upgrade to version 8.04 via the internet.  The data download rate was consistently very slow, but give it time and the experience should improve as the demand declines.  It went smoothly, otherwise.

So far, everything seems to be pretty much as it was under 7.10.  I did find that I now have Firefox 3 Beta 5, and that is slightly improved.  My VirtualBox install is still intact, and I went right into my Win2kPro virtual mode with no problem.  I was able to play some games during the download phase, and even noted the sudden change in my desktop background,  I only had one question that had to be answered, and that was about my 40-permissions file, whatever that pertains to.

But it's getting late, and that took longer than I expected, so I guess I will close up shop and do some follow up tomorrow.  But before I shut down, I decided to see if I could view and hear a news video using Firefox.  I could hear it, but I could not see it.  On checking the Firefox Tools/Add-ons. I found a number of players had been installed and enabled for me.   There was a default plugin, mplayer 3.50, QuickTime 6.0/7, RealPlayer 9, Shockwave Flash 9.0, and Windows Media Player Plugin (actually this is mplayer again).  These were all enabled, and mplayer was the plugin that was trying to play the video.

Not exactly sure what to do, I first temporarily disabled all the video plugins, then tried to play a new clip again.  Firefox asked me which player to use, or whether I wanted to save it someplace.  I designated mplayer, at which point it said it did not have a suitable codec for it.  It offered to search for a suitable one, and I agreed, and I had 45 more files download at that point.  After that, the video played properly.  Not only that, but I switched to full screen using the F11 key, and the resulting image was almost of TV qualify.  That's a whole lot easier than the chore I had in getting the earlier version of Firefox to play these news clips.

Donald Darden

I booted up one of my two remaining 7.10 installs, then inserted the alternate CD image, and it gave me the choice of performing the upgrade to version 8.04 at that point.  So I said yes, and told it to check online for any updated packages as it copied others from the CD.  That speeded up the install to about 50 minutes.  When it was checking online, it was very slow, but most of the needed files were on the CD.

So that is two ways to go when it comes to upgrading an older version of Ubuntu.  And of course, upgrading rather than reinstalling means you keep everything else that you might have on your system.  It beats the heck out of resolving problems with having to reinstall different applications, or finding that some applications need to be upgraded or replaced with newer versions, and in the Windows world, that can add up to big money and major headaches.

I also noted that the alternate disk for installing Ubuntu 8.04 LTS has added a tool for repairing an install of Ubuntu as a boot option.  In fact the alternate disk gives you several things that you can do, which are not included on the basic install CD.  You might not need them, but they are worth considering.

I noted that when I searched for Ubuntu 8.04 Download, that I got back some sites that offer the alpha and beta releases.  Make sure you either search for or look for the LTS release, as this is the final version.  The other links are either outdated, or have yet to drop references to the earlier releases.

What I guess I need to do now is to actually install Ubuntu 8.04 from scratch on the thrid Linux partition, and write up the process involved again.  A lot of people are really wary of committing to a change in the OS, probably afraid that they will reach a point of getting bogged down, and unsure if they will be able to extract themselves on their own, or afraid that the setback of getting bogged down will put them off schedule or cost them whatever they have going on right now.

But I've found that the whole thing is really, really easy for the most part, and things that might worry you, like not being able to connect to the internet, happen without any effort on your part.  The best advice is to back up your existing machine, and go with setting up a dual boot process so that you can boot to either OS as you need to, and if you are cramped for disk space, consider adding a second internal drive, or even an external drive as a way to leverage yourself out of that situation.

Windows proves how inferior it is sometimes, such as only letting you repartition your hard drive if you then reformat it when done, and that means losing everything you have stored on it.  There are programs that you can get that can repartition and change structures on a partition for you transparently, and you lose nothing.
When installing Linux, it wants to reformat the partition that you intend to install it to, but it tends to lead you down a path of repartitioning your existing drive at the same time.  If you don't want to tamper with the way your drive is currently set up, you really need to select the manual mode when it comes to selecting the partition to write to.  And for many people, the idea of having to do it manually is scary, because they do not feel that they know enough to make the right choice.

But that's what I do, and I try to tell you what choices I made and why, and the outcome of having made those choices.  And I am encouraged that the alternate CD offers an option for trying to repair a prior install, because that is something I felt was lacking before.  It will be interesting to see what the Install CD has to offer as well.

Donald Darden

I am going to assume that you currently have some version of Windows installed as your primary OS, and that this is possibly your first venture to install a version of Linux.

What is generally suggested is that you get a LiveCD version of the Linux distribution that interests you, burn that to a CD (in some cases a DVD), boot from it, and explore Linux in that mode until ready to commit further.  The install version of Ubuntu is a LiveCD, so you can use it for this purpose.  The Alternate CD has the LiveCD capability removed to make space for other options.

Burning an image, which is a .ISO file, to CD or DVD is beyond the scope of this article.  Many programs are available for this purpose.  Some multipurpose programs that allow you to burn diskcs tend to over-complicate the process. 

Essentially, the image is to be placed on the CD or DVD at a precise location so that it can be recognized as a bootable disk.  This is a special type of data file.  Unfortunately, some programs assume you just want to copy the file to the CD or DVD, so stores it on the disk as an intact .ISO file.  If this happens, the disk will not allow you to boot from it as intended.  Some programs have their own idea of what you should do to create a bootable CD or DVD, and this is apart from the step of simply burning the .ISO image to the drive.  Here again, you will not get the results you expect.  If you don't know how to create a bootable disk with the image, then you should either try different methods, or look for instructions that can be found on the internet with a search engine like Google.

Assuming you are now beyond this point, and that you want to retain your existing Windows install, my first suggestion is to use backup/archive software and store your existing configuration and drive content to a backup medium.  Some people like tape storage, others use CDs or DVDs, but my recommendation is an external hard drive, because of the good experience I have had in doing it this way.  The backup software is your choice, but I can recommend True Image from Acronis as being a good product.  There are also free products that will do the job, but you will have to conduct your own search to find alternatives.

The next step is to plan just what you want to do.  If you intend to just overwrite the Windows install, the default options that go with installing Ubuntu will make that easy.  If you have Windows fully backed up, you might elect later to just restore it and overwrite the Linux install during the process.  This option lets you get back to where you were under Windows, but without any elaborate preparation beforehand.

But let's say that you intend just to add Linux to your Windows PC as an alternate OS, so that you can play with it at your leisure, and only move to it full time if it works out for you.  You do not intend to abandon Windows, at least not in the foreseeable future.  This is called a dual boot (or multiboot) configuration.

Multiboots obviously require more disk space, because you are storing multiple versions of operating systems, applications, and data on your hard drive. If you have a really large hard drive, you can repartition it into multiple partitions and use each for different operating systems and applications.  Today, a 80 GB hard drive is considered rather small for Windows, and even 200 or 250 GB can be small if you deal with lots of audio and video files.  Your familiarity with Windows and its applications should help you decide how much you need.

Where Linux is concerned, I would suggest at least 20 GB should be set aside.  For myself, I pushed this up to about 60 GB per Ubuntu install.  When I trid to install everything found on one distro's DVD, I found out that I needed nearly 100 GB.  So while you can generally conclude that Linux is thriftier when it comes to storage, the more you want to install, the more drive space required.

You can likely install a second internal hard drive in your PC.  Most drive controllers can handle at least two drives, but some controllers support one hard drive and one CD-ROM drive.  You can usually replace the CD-ROM drive with a CD-RW (or DVD-ROM or DVD-RW) drive, which is not real expensive, or put in a second hard drive in place of the CD drive.  You may also be able to insert a second drive controller in a free PCI slot and support more internal drives.

And you can often consider adding a USB, FireWire, or eSATA external hard drive.  While more expensive than an internal drive solution, it does work, can simplify a problem, and adds a degree of portability that can be useful at times.

So now that you have dealt with the issue of required disk space, you need to consider how to order that space.  Windows and DOS want the first drive to be drive C, but that is assuming that it is formatted as a partition type that Windows and DOS can recognize.

The BIOS, Windows and DOS, and other OSes all tend to see devices in a different manner from each other.  I covered this in some detial when writing about my experiences when setting up Ubuntu 7.10.  That would be a good read if you are not up on this particular topic.

A repartitioning tool will let you add, delete, resize and move partitions on one or more hard drives.  It will also let you flag what partition type it is, and format it (or iwith some of the better tools, merely relocate existing content in partitions based on their new internal structures).

Something that I have found to help, is to try and use Windows when I create a new partition, then leave it unformatted and without a path or drive letter assignment.  I've used this method as a last resort for getting Windows to correctly recognize the partition allocation later, after I've installed a foreign OS (like Linux) to that partition.  If you know that this can help, you can keep it in mind as you go along.

If you decide to delay and just let Ubuntu or some other distribution do the partitioning for you, then you may not be happy with the options offered or the results of just trusting it to do the right thing.  I would rather define where the partition is going to be and size it, then manually designate what I want the Linux installer to do in that regard.  You also need to set up a small partition the same way that can be used as a Linux SWAP partition.  I size mine at about 1 GB, which is a lot.  The SWAP partition is used for virtual memory, similar to the way that Windows uses a hidden swapfile.  But Linux is generally a more efficient language, and the SWAP partition does not get the same heavy useage, and this is sort of a holdover from the time when Linux had to run on very limited computers.

Okay, so by one means or another, you are now ready to embark on actually installing Ubuntu to its very own partition.  You've got it set up, and you only have to do five things in this regard as the install progresses:  (1)  Tell the installer that you want to use the manual mode when it partitions the hard drive; (2) identify the partiton you want to install it on;  (3) designate that you want to use the Ext3 partition type and make this the root (/) drive; (4) indicate that you want to format this partition as part of the install process;  and (5) select the SWAP partition and make sure that the installer knows that it is to be used for this purpose.

There is something else you will have to do a bit later on, which is to tell the installer where to set up the boot process.  If you don't enable a boot process, then you cannot get to your new OS later.  It will almost be like it doesn't even exist.  So you have to select something, and you do this by indicating which device is to be used for the GRUB boot manager.  If you indicate the floppy drive, which is device (fd0), then you can boot to your Linux partiton by inserting the bootable floppy.  If you designate the primary hard drive and partiton, which is (hf0), then GRUB will replace the Windows or DOS boot process with its own.  Not to worry, as the GRUB boot manager will identify all bootable partitions on your PC and the systems they boot into, and these will be maintained as choices when you boot up.

A third choice is to try and separate the Windows or DOS boot process from the Linux method, which means having the installer put the boot manager on the same partition as it is using for the alternate OS.  I am using the second hard drive's first partition, and I convey this to the installer by entering (hd1,0) (note that drive and partiton counts begin from zero, not one).

If you use the last option, as I did, you would still have a problem, because your system will boot to the first drive, and you have to somehow add another choice to the hidded boot.ini file on the C: drive that will redirect the boot process to the partition where the GRUB boot manager is set up.  I found that a free tool called bootpart will do this for you, but you have to use it after the install is complete, so that it can recover the boot sector and copy it into a file that it can reference for that purpose.  For more information on bootpart, just find it on the web, or read the more thorough explanation made under my 7.10 posts.

Technically, you could also make a bootable CD disk instead of requiring a floppy, and you could set up an install on an external hard drive so that, when the drive is plugged in, the system boots from it in place of from an internal drive.

There is some additional information you have to supply to the installer, which is the user's name, their userid (defaulted to their first name), their password (entered twice), and the name of the PC as it will appear on the network.  You may also be offered a chance to import settings from other installs if you have more than one (I never bother).

It takes a while for the install to complete, after which the system wants to reboot so that it can begun running from the partition where it was installed.  And that is pretty much it, because after the reboot, you just have to log in with your userid and password.  The desktop that opens up will not be that much different from the Windows that you have been using, except that it uses two toolbars, one top and one bottom, to manage your options.   

Donald Darden

I have found one significance between version 8.04 and 7.10 which involves the various drives on the PC.  Under 7.10, these show up on the desktop.  And if you update from 7.10, they continue to show up on the desktop.  But if you install 8.04 from scratch, they don't show up on the desktop.

To find the drives on 8.04, you have to go to Places/Removable Media (yes, there is still a bug where IDE drives are identified as SCSI devices, but now the media is really being treated as removable).  You can't even find the devices under /media as you could under 7.10, until you mount them via /Places/Removable Media.  Then they show up.

But I have three Ext3 partitions, and these just show up as having a label that reflects the assigned partition size.  With three partitions all set to the same size, that isn't good enough.  You will note that the root partition does not show up here in any case, but the other two ought to.  I tried setting a label name under properties for each one, but that caused an error.  I could find out which one each was based on the properties and volume information, or by using Go and clearing the history, then clicking on the specific drive and seeing what showed up.

I finally dealt with the problem by assigning a path and drive letter to the Ext3 partitions under Windows, then giving them a name there as well.  I chose the letters P, Q, and R for the three, then named them DRIVE_P, DRIVE_Q, and DRIVE_R.  On rebooting to Ubuntu, I can now distinguish one from another, and with the names and drive letters alligned, I can reference them via Windows or Ubuntu.

I also wanted to add VirtualBox back for the new install.  I had previously saved the .VDI image that I had for that partition, copying it to a NTFS volume.  Windows handles copy of large files somewhat faster than Linux, and it ignores the restrictions of ownership and access rights used by Linux, so it is also simpler using it for the purpose.  In looking for VirtualBox online again, I found that it has been moved to the Sun Microsystems site (they bought out the company that made VirtualBox), but it is still free.  Only trouble is, they did not show a binary available for Hardy Heron (8.04).  However, my updates from 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) suggested that the VirtualBox package was the change, so I picked that as the version to download.  And when it came to adding one of these to my /etc/apt/sources.list file:
Quotedeb http://www.virtualbox.org/debian gutsy non-free
deb http://www.virtualbox.org/debian feisty non-free
deb http://www.virtualbox.org/debian edgy non-free
deb http://www.virtualbox.org/debian dapper non-free
deb http://www.virtualbox.org/debian etch non-free
deb http://www.virtualbox.org/debian sarge non-free
deb http://www.virtualbox.org/debian xandros4.0-xn non-free
I chose the top one for gutsy.  Then for good measure, I added it again and changed gutsy to hardy, in case they had added support for 8.04 and just hadn't updated the instructions at the site yet.  The download itself required agreeing to a usage statement, and when I got the file, it showed that it was actually for the edgy release, so my assumptions were good, I guess.  I later got an error on a query to gutsy above, but the hardy entry apparently worked fine.

So that is how I got VirtualBox installed again.  Very easy, as all the heavy lifting was handled by the OS.  I also checked the Update Manager, and there was one update to VirtualBox as well, which I installed.  The last problem was the fact that Ubuntu disables USB support by default, and if you want that, you have to edit

Here is a quote of how to correct this:
The usbfs support has been disable in the gutsy version by default.

It works well after turning it on in the /etc/init.d/mountdevsubfs.sh file.
10/09/07 09:23:02 changed by victor ¶
sudo -s
gedit /etc/init.d/mountdevsubfs

    # Magic to make /proc/bus/usb work
    #mkdir -p /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs
    #domount usbfs "" /dev/bus/usb/.usbfs -obusmode=0700,devmode=0600,listmode=0644
    #ln -s .usbfs/devices /dev/bus/usb/devices
    #mount --rbind /dev/bus/usb /proc/bus/usb

Just remove the "#" in front of the last four lines and save, then exit and reboot.

I did turn in a bug report about how the Ext3 drives are handled, and the problem with setting a new label for drives.  Most people would probably be glad that Linux is being kept separate from Windows, but I like full access to my PC in whatever mode I happen to be.  Safeguards are for those that don't know what they are doing, and I think I do.

Donald Darden

Oh, I wanted to add what I had to do to get my saved copy of my Win2K.VDI file to work under VirtualBox.  After I got VirtualBox installed, I rebooted to Windows and move the VDI file back to the user's .VirtualBox/VDI folder, then rebooted into Ubuntu, started VirtualBox, created a new VE, and told it to use an existing boot disk drive, then I picked the one I had copied into the VDI folder by using the ADD option.

Under VirtualBox, you probably will get another error when you try to start up a virtual session, and it will tell you the following:

QuoteThe VirtualBox kernel driver is not accessible to the current user. Make sure that the user has write permissions for /dev/vboxdrv by adding them to the vboxusers groups. You will need to logout for the change to take effect..
VBox status code: -1909 (VERR_VM_DRIVER_NOT_ACCESSIBLE).

With 8.04, this has gotten a bit harder.  Some people may opt to use the terminal mode to get the job done. but you can do it through the GUI interface.  Just pick System/Administration/Users and Groups.  Then click on yourself and click Unlock.  After authentication (where you enter your password), you click on Manage Groups.  Then you scroll through until you find vboxusers.  You click on that, then you ensure there is a check in each member's box that you want to be able to use VirtualBox.  Then you have to reboot. or logout and back in to activate.