View Full Version : [ubuntu] Backing Up Beats Going Forward Sometimes

May 4th, 2009, 11:29 PM
I'm sure some will come here just to see what the subject is, after such an unusual title. Well, what it is, is that the best Ubuntu release I have found so far was one that called itself the prefinal for Ubuntu 8.04. In conjunction with VirtualBox, it really satisfied my needs to have Windows installed as a client rather than host. Something considered unusual now is that it even let me copy the first VM of Windows to some alternate VMs so that I did not have to keep installing and updating Windows over and over, and it let me have the other drives in the system appear like magic on the Desktop, which made them most convenient to access.

But then they came out with the final version of 8.04, the inched up to 8,04.1, and worked up to 8.10, and each time I found a bit of gain in some areas, but only after sacrificing something else that I had come to like.

Now they are up to 9.04, and one of the Ziff-Davis Publication editors wrote a glowing piece about how it outshown even Windows7, so I figured it was time to move on up.

My mistake. Things aren't right in 9.04, nor in the VirtualBox 2.2.2 release that goes with it, and the gains are not even apparent. First, the Root Terminal mode in Applications/System Tools wants a password, and you give it one, only it just goes away. No terminal window is opened. Second,with a new install of Ubuntu and VirtualBox, there is no way to access other drives and removable media via Places anymore. Third, they completely dropped the Screen Resolution setting under System/Preferences, so now you have to find it under Display, only the link there isn't that obvious. Fact is, with an NVidia card installed, you have to use a second toolbox for adjusting the video card, and it does not even save whatever settings you make, so you end up having to get into terminal mode and use gksudo nvidia-settings to get the settings to take. That's obviously a kludge, and it took me days of online searching to find it.

Is that the worse of it? Heck no. With VirtualBox 2.2.2, you cannot get high screen resolutions or graphics to your client OSes, so many things don't work there as they should. Forget playing a lot of games or doing anything with images, for example. Now you have to tell Sun VirtualBox which device to boot from, but the boot process is so fast you probably cannot press the F12 key in time. And to set up a new OS as client, forget trying to do the install from an ISO image, as it won't boot from that. You have to burn and use a real CD to get the install to work. But does it work? Well, almost. I got Windows 2000 installed, but it balked at letting me add Service Pack 4, something I never had a problem with before. And as to Office 2000 Pro, it failed to install because for some reasion VirtualBox choked on AW.DLL, even though it was evidenced on the install CD and had worked before.

So is there anything that I liked about 9,04? Actually yes, after a fashion. It did not indicate to me that there were any proprietary drivers that I could install for my NVidia video card, which was messaged to me in earlier releases, but you might find some reference to them under Applications/Add/Remove, but you have to search for NVidia, then figure out whether your card is a legacy one or not. You put in the wrong driver, you may have a lot do do over again. But finally, and I don't even remember how it came about, what with trying to pull dpwm and install various package suggestions, I got a message that I had a choice of two proprietary drivers for NVidia, and I chose the most advanced one, and it worked fine. In Ubuntu, at least.

Also, 9.04 can overwrite earlier versions of Ubuntu and leave any user data and files intact, which is really good, and VirtualBox will tolerate any VM installs done earlier, which is also good, but blows it when it comes to letting you create certain new ones. Now that's not what I consider a move up, so I am reverting until they get some of these obscure little bugs worked out. I even tried to log into the VirtualBox forums to leave some messages there, but their site just fouls up my efforts to log in, and I finally gave up after maybe 30 attempts. I guess they don't want to hear from me, but since it isn't me personally, I'm more inclined to think "from us", of you follow my drift.

At least I kept disks of my earlier versions of Ubuntu, and it is good enough that I'll stick with it, one version or another. Too bad they can't seem to get it right and keep it there, always wanting to make more changes and stuff, or not taking time to make sure that they didn't inadvertantly screw something else up when adding or modifying something. But if you think this is bad, just try to put Windows 2000 on as host on a modern PC with large capacity hard drives, or sink your teeth into Vista. Then you might know what real troubles can be.

XP isn't so bad, at least not right now, but it's going nowhere fast. At least with Ubuntu, you have the expectation that eventually they will get it right in all major respects. I figured there were on the average about 50 Ubuntu updates a week, against Microsoft that only bothers with a few security updates for its older products every few months. Any real upgrades are targeted at their new offerings, which they will gladly sell you after working to convince you that you don't want their old stuff anymore. And just to make sure that message gets across, they will stop sales and cut support at some point to leave you with no apparent outs. Except to either buy more stuff from those that sold to you before to replace what you already have, move on to something like Ubuntu, which is just what I am doing.

Longish, I know. But it serves as something of a summation as well. It ticked me off when three people reported that VirtualBox 2.2.2 would not let you boot and install from an image, the same experience that I had had, only to be told that they must have done something wrong and needed to try again. I've been at the PC game for over two decades, having worked on mainframes before that, and you have to give users more credit than to just assume that they are wrong when they find fault with your work. We aren't perfect, you know, and we have to check out what we are told to see if there is any basis for it, then take steps to bring clarity to what needs to be done if nothing else.