Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Announcing Ubuntu 10.04 LTS: The Lucid Lynx

Here we go again! The next release of Ubuntu is on the way and it is a Long Term Support version too, 10.04: The Lucid Lynx! I would not expect to see huge difference between that and Karmic Koala due out on October 29th as stability is key in these LTS releases. So maybe a much more polished a refined version of 9.10, I can not wait...here are some clips from the official news release;
clipped from fridge.ubuntu.com

We are now giving a name to the next Ubuntu LTS: The Lucid Lynx.

LTS releases are maintained for five years on the server and three years on the desktop
Our focus will be stabilisation and bug-fixing across the platform with additional refinements in quality in key areas such as user interface improvements, boot experience, browsing and installing the incredible catalogue of software available for Ubuntu, and continuing our tradition of best-of-breed hardware support
It’s stylish and sleek, the bow-tie-adorned James Bond of the feline set, so you can bet we’ll make sure it’s dressed for the occasion. The lynx likes to keep things in perspective, sticking to high ground
Speed is an essential ingredient in the attack of a lynx, and speed remains our goal.
for 10 second booting with Lucid.
community that continues to devote itself to the goal of bringing the best stable free software to an audience of people who don’t think of themselves as computer specialists – and shouldn’t have to, either
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Thursday, 17 September 2009

Playing with the Karmic Koala (UNR, Alpha 5)

Well I waited and waited but I finally decided to take the plunge and download the the current development version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR, 9.10, Alpha 5). So now after about a day of playing and tweaking with it what do I think so far?

Well first off I downloaded the torrent from the Ubuntu testing site. Once the download was over I used the 'USB Startup Disk Creator' to turn a 4GB USB key into a Live CD. After backing-up all the data on my Advent 4211 I inserted the USB key and rebooted. When the Advent welcome screen comes up you just hold F11 briefly then you are given the choice of where to boot from, in this case my USB key, then you are led to the options screen.


The Old:Ubuntu 9.04 UNR Jaunty Jackalope

Here you can test your USB key to make sure it is complete and not corrupted in any way. Then choose to install straight away or give a try in a Live CD environment, which means you get to use Ubuntu but it is running from the USB key, nothing is installed so your current system is safe. I choose the Live CD to see if it would even run. Hit a snag straight away as the computer just refused to boot. I tested everything and retried several times then it worked. No idea why, I did nothing but either way we got to the Live CD environment.

This new version of UNR has refreshed the look of UNR since 9.04. Gone is the places/folders sidebar on the right and now it is just a button on the left. The whole thing looks more polished, feel smoother and everything responds quicker. I continued with the install. This again is slightly better looking and more fluid. You are quickly through the process. As usual I manually partition my hard-drive and include a '/' (approx 10GB), 'swap' (approx 2GB) and '/home' (the remaining space) partitions. This means my home drive can survive from one fresh install to another (though I still ALWAYS back-up). Also you are given the option to encrypt your home folder during the installation process now. After all that I continued with the install.


Screenshot from Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Alpha 5, UNR

Ubuntu now has these information screens that tell you all about it's snazzy features as you wait for the installation process to complete. Being Ubuntu the install does not take long and you are soon rebooting into your brand new operating system.

Straight away you notice the changes, though each time it boots at the moment I always see lines of code, but we are still only in Alpha territory so hopefully this will be gone soon enough. The login screen has changed too, once past that I was staring at the Karmic Koala in all its glory. Though at the moment it is still a bit sick as there were about 350-400mb worth of updates to get. So I began that straight away to get the system as stable as possible.

After that was all done I moved onto installing all my favourite programmes and repos to get Karmic Koala feeling more familiar. A very good place to start with this is Eva's useful guide to Ubuntu 9.04, note that some of the repos referenced here are for Jaunty, but a quick google will find you the precise repos who need.


Screenshot from Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Alpha 5, UNR

Also for appearance I am a big fan of the Human O2 icon theme, the repos for this can be found by CLICKING HERE. I noted that the Ubuntu Human Theme was not installed as standard so had to select it in synaptic.

There have been bugs and programmes crashing since the install. Ubuntu now offers a very easy way to report these, a little box pops up, compiles the report, you have the option of sending a full or a short (for slower internet connections) then you press send! Firefox even opens up and brings you to Launchpad to complete the report process. You may find, like me, that these bugs have already been reported and fixes already on the way. I have found that which each set of updates that trickle down the system gets more stable. I have not had anything crash now for several hours. The best thing to note though is that I have only seen crashes in Alphas of Ubuntu, the final release versions are usually solid.

So all in all I am very pleased with this new install. The removal of the right hand bar means that your folders are now two clicks away instead of one, but that is something I can learn to live with. The look I think is better, it is much easier to see everything, everything feels smoother, more responsive and everything is working relatively well. The Alpha 6 I believe is due for release today, then followed by the Beta, then a Release Candidate and then the Final Release on October 29th.


Screenshot from Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Alpha 5, UNR

Which reminds me, look out for Ubuntu Release Parties in and around October 29th in your area. There will be other Ubuntu users giving out copies of the latest release and will be happy to help you out with any snags you may have. I went to my first in Dublin for the Jaunty Jackalope release, it was a great experience even though I turned out to be the only non-IT employed person there... effectively a civilian. Though much of what they talked about was above my head, I was the only person with a fully set-up UNR, so it became a popular attraction and a source of many questions. I will certainly be back for the October event. Details will be published here.

Right now I will go back to tweaking and messing with UNR Karmic Koala to see if I can break anything and let the very clever people at Launchpad know. By the looks of it though, they are on the right track. The Karmic Koala will certainly live up to its name.

Ubuntu, Linux for human beings.

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Saturday, 5 September 2009

Using Protection: Buell & Touratech

Well it is about time I started using some protection while riding the mistress, but until some warranty issues were resolved regarding the Buell's exhaust everything was on hold. Though after speaking to my local H-D dealer (Dublin Harley-Davidson) they were kind enough to take in my Buell Ulysses XB12XT while I toured the USA for a month over July/August (more on that in future posts), they preferred this as it allowed them to do the work in their own time. Once this was all done I could get on to adding that much desired protection. The dealer carried out the following warranty work;

-> EMC replaced (due to fault)
-> Exhaust replaced (due to corrosion and then new one camcoated)
-> LED for alarm (had not worked since wiring loom replaced)

Buell Touratech Protection
Camcoated Exhaust


In previous posts I had mentioned that I had ordered some parts from Touratech, these had been sitting on a shelf in my garage since May as I was waiting for the exhaust to be replaced. So naturally the very next day after getting the Buell home I was straight into the garage to fit the new parts to the bike. Note also that earlier in the year I replaced the existing front mudguard with a carbon fibre front fender and carbon fibre upper front fender from Trojan Horse, in the same style as the standard Ulysses (XB12X). I prefer the upper/lower mudguard appearance and the carbon gives the bike an stylish looking front. So the parts to be fitted from Touratech were:

-> Large engine guard Buell XB12X Ulysses
-> Small engine guard Buell XB12X Ulysses
-> Protector for oil filter Buell XB12X Ulysses
-> Oil cooler protection Buell XB12X Ulysses

Buell Touratech Protection
The Touratech Parts

The Touratech parts seem to be of very good quality and they supply all the fittings required. The instructions could be a bit clearer, but they provide enough information and a bit of common sense will get you through the process easily. The first thing that needs doing is the removal of the spoiler. Note that in the photos below you can see the new camcoated exhaust.

Buell Touratech Protection
The Large Engine Guard

Fitting the large engine guard is straight forward. You need to assemble some mounting parts within it first, then it just slides up and into position. When you place it into position do not tighten everything up just yet, also at this stage the oil filter protector can be fitted. This is just a matter of fixing one screw, a cable-tie can also be used to further secure this.

Buell Touratech Protection
Small Engine Guard and Oil Cooler Protector

Next the small engine guard is fitted to the front of the exhaust/engine. Now this is slightly more complicated as the mounting bracket for the top of the guard requires some trial and error to get it just right. Hence some tightening and readjusting will be required. Assembly of the various bits could be made clearer in the instructions, but that is my only complaint regarding the entire process. Once I was happy with the location of everything it was all tightened up.

Finally the oil cooler protector was attached, this was the simplest to do as all it requires is two nuts to secure. All done in a matter on minutes! With that I just rechecked all the other fittings and tightened them all up. Then time for mandatory brew and to sit back to admire the work done.

I have been for a few rides with the new parts fitted and all seems to be going well. Have checked the nuts have not loosened up while the large engine guard has already proved its worth as I came around a bend to find a particularly bad pothole in the road. Sat the bike up but could not avoid the whole...and felt a 'touch down'. Getting back to the garage and having a look under the bike the guard had indeed been scraped, probably saving my freshly camcoated exhaust. Go to my Flickr page for more photos of the parts fitted and how the Buell looks now.

Buell Touratech Protection
The Buell now with the parts fitted

So far so good! I am very pleased with the new parts and the overall look of the bike now. It was my intent to fit some small spotlights (PIAA's or similar) but I may need to wait for some time as another trip to the USA is on the cards within the next 5 months. So will shall wait and see with regards to them...but I am not complaining under the circumstances.

As always, keep the rubber side down!

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