06 December 2007


I finally gave Ubuntu a try recently. I'd previously tried it as a VMWare Server guest and hated it. But that probably wasn't a fair shake, so I installed it on my laptop last week. I was really impressed by how easy it was to get everything set up. It only took a few hours to get it installed and pretty highly customized with some of my favorite packages, including gtkpod, grip, easytag, mplayer, fluxbox, VMWare Server, gkrellm (and a few of its plugins), and grisbi.

About the only thing that really took a while was getting fluxbox to work, and that's because Ubuntu does it rather differently than CentOS (what I'm used to). It took me a little while to realize that I needed to be using ~/.fluxbox/startup rather than ~/.Xclients, and it took me forever to cotton on to the fact that the ~/.fluxbox/keys syntax had changed between v0.9.x and v1.0.x. I'd never had the following three lines in my keys file before, but they're pretty important (you can't easily get to the fluxbox menu without them):

OnDesktop Mouse1 :HideMenus
OnDesktop Mouse2 :Workspacemenu
OnDesktop Mouse3 :RootMenu

About the only thing I couldn't do was install native drivers for one of my wireless cards. I have two cards: a Linksys WPC11v4 802.11b card and a Netgear 802.11g card. The Linksys card has open-source drivers which support monitor mode (so that I can run kismet), while the Netgear card only has Windows drivers. It was very easy getting ndiswrapper and wpa_supplicant set up for the Netgear card, but I never got the Linksys drivers working. Looks like other people have had the same trouble, and the solution may be to try a different kernel. Oh, well.

Anyway, it was all pretty easy, and I may start using Ubuntu on all my desktops. And O'Reilly's Ubuntu Hacks was pretty helpful.

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