Ubuntu 7.10, My Easiest Operating System Upgrade Ever

Just a few days ago I wrote about the launch of Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon, friendly name for version 7.10 of one of the most popular Linux distributions, and my current favorite. Then, just a few days later, my preferred open source graphics project released its new version: Gimp 2.4, which required some new libraries included with Ubuntu 7.10.

What else did I needed to make the jump and upgrade my boxes from Feisty Fawn to the new Gutsy Gibbon? Well, just a little time and peace of mind to make sure I wouldn't lose any of my settings, too much work here these days to waste my time reconfiguring everything.

So, I followed the upgrade instructions for Ubuntu. A click here, a click there, waiting for some files to download while I watched a movie, some more clicks and, what?, is that all? Yup.

This is one of the easiest operating system upgrades I've ever experienced. The Ubuntu guys have done a great job to offer an ultra friendly upgrade process with easy to understand dialogs all the way. I was able to move from Feisty Fawn to Gutsy Gibbon in two desktops, Flenser and Woodcarver, and one laptop, Amber, maintaining all settings intact. All of these machines had several virtual hosts running on Apache, with a few MySQL and PostgreSQL databases and some users managing email with Evolution. Nothing too complicated, I know, but anyway, it's nice to upgrade and have everything in place.

The final version of Gimp 2.4 is not there yet, Gutsy comes with a release candidate version, which works perfect for me, but it's just a matter of days until we get it on the repositories.

So, if you've been waiting for that upgrade to the latest Ubuntu wait no more, you can do it, literally, while you sleep. Oh, and then tell us about it, ok?

Ubuntu 7.10, Gutsy Gibbon, Finally Available

Ubuntu Gusty GibbonThe Release Candidate of Ubuntu 7.10 has been available for some time already but just yesterday, October 18th, the final version was officially launched.

A few of the new features:

  • Gnome 2.20.
  • Compiz Fusion, the reunion of Compiz and Beryl, enabled by default.
  • Quicker user switching.
  • Firefox plugins can be installed right from the operating system.
  • X, screen and video drivers can be easily configured from a new GUI.
  • Automatic printer detection and installation.
  • Now it's possible writing, as well as reading, to NTFS partitions.

So, wait no more, download Ubuntu 7.10 now and tell us about it.

I still need to find the time to upgrade Flenser, Woodcarver and Amber (by the way, it seems a System 76 Pangolin made it to the home page of Ubuntu), hopefully I'll do it quite soon.

Programming Facebook Applications in a DSL Based Server

I recently posted a few ideas on the opportunities for web developers in Facebook.

I decided to use DynDNS for creating a host name for my local DSL connected Ubuntu box, it's easier editing and making changes that way instead of using the other servers I have in a couple of data centers. I used the hostname as a callback url for a Facebook test application. Facebook saw my host and the application worked as expected.

A couple of hours later I disconnected from the Net to take a break, when I got back received a new IP address from my ISP's DHCP server and DynDNS updated my host information to point to the new IP. Unfortunately now Facebook can't find my callback url anymore. I tried editing settings and changed the host name to the new public IP address to discard, still no luck and I'm getting this error:

The URL http://xx.xx.xx.xx/facebook/application-name/ did not respond.

There are still a few kinks Facebook and the makers of application-name are trying to iron out. We appreciate your patience as we try to fix these issues. Your problem has been logged - if it persists, please come back in a few days. Thanks!

Is Facebook caching my older IP address? That was my first thought but even putting the actual public IP of my box in the callback url didn't work.

Is this a temporal glitch in the Facebook Platform or am I missing something else?

I'll keep testing but if you have any ideas I'd love to know.

Fixed: I'm an idiot! I forgot changing the IP address of my database server, also in my local box. Now everything's working again.

Hit the Road with Ubuntu and a System76 Pangolin

Just a few days ago I wrote about Dell, Ubuntu and Linux conquering the world in 2007. Today I'm the proud owner of a brand new System76 Pangolin.

System76 Pangolin

Her name is Amber (she joins Flenser, Woodcarver, Alpha and Manny) and she's a nice Core 2 Duo T7200 laptop with a gorgeous 15.4" wide screen and 2 Gb. of RAM running Ubuntu Feisty Fawn.

Ordering from System76 was a great experience, I was able to pay directly from my checking account, I got quick and friendly email replies from Carl and Erik to all my questions before and after buying and they even upgraded my shipping to 2nd day UPS for free.

The laptop works perfectly out of the box. I turned it on, followed Ubuntu's simple wizard to create my user account, which runs the first time you boot, and it detected my home Wi-Fi network instantly. I was browsing the Net in just a couple of minutes. I'll be telling you more about sweet Amber in a few days, she's now my main computer.

I plan on buying another laptop later this year and even if I'd like to try a Linux Dell I'm quite happy with my first System76 and could go for a Serval next.

Anyway, if you're on the market for a Linux laptop, System76 is highly recommended. Meanwhile, why don't you meet Amber on Flickr?

2007: The Year For Linux on Laptops

A few months ago I knew about a cool small company: System 76, embraced by many in the Linux GNU community because they were one of the few selling desktops and, specially, laptops with Linux preinstalled.

Running Linux on laptops has always been problematic because many hardware manufacturers are too reserved with their software, hence the development of open source drivers is harder or sometimes just impossible.

Even if any modern Linux distribution includes many drivers and can detect a lot of current hardware, expecting full wireless, video and multimedia support in laptops was often some kind of a gamble.

But that's started to change and System76 has been one of the best examples of companies providing open hardware and writing their own drivers for Linux. The company even has a forum hosted by Ubuntu, the distribution pre-installed on all their machines.

And there were so many great testimonials of people using System76's laptops with Ubuntu that I couldn't resist and ordered mine a few days ago, it should be arriving next week.

But that's not all, the biggest computer manufacturer in the world, Dell, started listening to their users some months ago, they asked for, actually screamed for, you guessed, Linux. After a few weeks Dell told the world the good news, they would start offering desktops and laptops with Linux pre-installed, goodbye Windows tax!

Yesterday, May 1st, 2007, we reached what I think is the tipping point of Linux:
Dell announced a deal with Ubuntu, which will be preinstalled in their Linux desktops and laptops.

There's no doubt that this move will make the number of Linux users skyrocket.

The world is changing, there's no coming back, and you know what? Even if the change started many years ago thanks to a few great minds and now we are millions of Linux geeks around the globe, Ubuntu, System76 and Dell have already earned their place as very important players.

And of course, I already have a Linux Dell laptop in my wishlist.