Ubuntu packages

Still not online at home, which makes my installation of Ubuntu a week or so quite frustrating: there really isn’t much I can do with it. Still, Pipex will be providing me with 6mb/s broadband in a week or so, which is something to look forward to!

Was having a poke about on Ubuntu though last night. I browsed through the repository of applications I can download and install, and was surprised to see that the majority of them state that they are unavailable for my system. This includes standard apps like Gnumeric and Abiword.

Could this have anything to do with the fact that I wasn’t online at the time, or is there something I should know about being able to install packages on Ubuntu?


First Linux Steps

I took my first steps with Linux this week. At the start of the week, I installed Ubuntu on my old Toshiba laptop. It installed beautifully, and ran very nicely. Very quick to boot up indeed. In fact, I really, really liked it – especially as I am likely to be using the laptop mainly as a typing machine, the speed and efficiency of Ubuntu was very appealing.

But I have one other use for the laptop, and that is as a testing ground for web stuff. I wanted to get Apache, PHP and MySQL running on it, so I could play about with stuff like WordPress, phpBB and MediaWiki without running up hosting fees or being tied to being online.

As far as I could tell, I couldn’t get those three packages on my Ubuntu setup without web access and downloading them from a repository – and this laptop isn’t hooked up to the web, at least, not yet. That’s a headache I’ll face some other time. It would appear that the price paid for the clarity and speed of Ubuntu is a lack of options for extended use.

So, I installed Mandriva 2006, from 3 CDs compared to Ubuntu’s one. I chose to install everything I could from the start, and soon had a working WordPress install on my laptop. As a beginner, I was delighted. But Mandriva clearly has its own problems – it’s really slow to boot up, and generally the KDE setup it uses is a lot flabbier and slower that Ubuntu’s Gnome. At the end of the day, though, it does what I want it to do, so I am sticking with it for now.

I ought to reiterate though that I was really impressed with Ubuntu, especially for beginners – and by that I mean beginners with computers, not just Linux. From an easy-peasy one CD install, you have every kind of application you could feasibly want from the off. An excellent choice for quickly setting up a working, fully operational system. No doubt that’s why the Ndiyo chaps use it.

I am left with a few issues with Mandriva though. I had to fiddle about to get it to stop crashing on bootup – graphics cards issues. This, for some reason, has left the laptop booting into text only mode, requiring me to enter the kde command to load the window manager. Also, logging out of KDE at the end of a session only returns me to the command line too. The shutdown now command works to a certain extent, but I still have to hold the on-off button to get the machine to switch off. If any one has any ideas on this, let me know.

[tags]ubuntu, mandriva, linux[/tags]