Ubuntu 10.4 LTS (Lucid Lynx) – Dual Booting

On Thursday Canonical released the final spin of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx).  10.04 is a major release for Ubuntu, as it is the Long Term Support (LTS) version.  This means that Canonical will support the desktop version for  3 years and the server version for 5 years.  Other versions will be released in between that time, but they are not supported for as long as the LTS versions. When it comes to Open Source Operating Systems, my favorite has clearly become Ubuntu.  I like the community, I like the company and they way it works fits with the way I think.

I do consider myself an early adopter, so when the new versions are out, I do upgrade.  By jumping in early, I see aspects of the OS that I can learn from and can sometimes contribute back when the final version is released by helping others overcome similar problems.  Having said that, I did start using Lucid when Beta 1 was released.  Do I always upgrade my main computer right away?  Not every time, I have several older computers that I have tried upgrades and install on, so that I can make sure I am familiar with the process.  In addition to the old computers, I have a fair bit of experience with Virtual technology and do spin up virtual systems to test and play with an OS or application.

I have been known to put some peer pressure on my friends to live on the edge with me.  Yesterday was one such day.  I convinced Rich to upgrade his 9.10 install to Lucid.  He runs a dual boot system and has Windows 7 as his other OS.  Many people dual boot, there are certainly times when Windows is the only option (iTunes) and it is necessary to use it.  There is a problem here that the upgrade to Lucid is not overly intuitive when the Grub2 update is installed, nor does it explain what to do very well.  In fact, I would hazard to say that the instructions provided actually cause the wrong decision to be made.  Selecting the wrong options, will break your ability to dual boot into Windows.  I selected the wrong options when I upgraded my system, resulting in a blinking cursor when I wanted to boot to Windows.  I decided to give up Windows on my main computer, and just run Ubuntu.  I’ve running this way for a while now, and am quite happy without Windows here.

When Rich was upgrading, I advised him as to what happened to me – and believed that I had the correct options identified.  Long story short, the install broke his dual boot as well.  Rich needs his Windows install, so fixing him up is my priority.  Researching the forums, shows that many people have run into the exact same issue, and there seems to be a variety of suggestions on how to fix it.  Unfortunately, it seems as though some of the suggestions conflict with each other.  So the trick now is coming up with a plan and following it.

  • Fix the system so it boots into Windows
  • Repair or replace Grub or Reinstall Ubuntu

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on fixing Grub, however I will be writing another article on how to set up Windows to give an Ubuntu option on its boot menu.

Let’s get started…

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Configuring LAMP on Ubuntu

LAMP is an acronym that defines a group of applications to provide basic web services. Those services are Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP. There are variants for Windows (WAMP), MacOS (MAMP) and Solaris (SAMP), along with a variety of instructions on how to install them.  Any *AMP platform will allow you to run programs such as WordPress, phpBB, Joomla and many other applications like these.

So what really makes up LAMP?

Linux – Typically, any distribution will work. This article will focus on setting up the “AMP” portion of LAMP and assumes you already have Ubuntu up and running and thus have no need for the “L”.

Apache – Apache is one of the more common, if not most common, web servers on the Internet. The software is open source and maintained by the Apache Foundation. You could use other web server applications, but then that would not be LAMP.

MySQL – MySQL is a very powerful Open Source database server. It is owned and maintained by MySQL AB, which is owned by Sun Microsystems, which is now a subsidiary of Oracle.

PHP – PHP is a scripting language that helps to drive many of the web applications we all use. It provides for the ability to create logic and dynamic content in your web pages. It’s relatively easy to learn and a plethora of books exist that can teach you the basics quickly.

That’s the back story, let’s  get to the install…

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Ubuntu File Maintenance

Windows users frequently need to perform maintenance on their systems in order to ensure disk space is reclaimed.  These tasks usually involve tasks like, deleting temporary files, removing uninstallers, clearing cache files, defragmenting, etc… While Ubuntu has many of these functions built in, or doesn’t cause them in the first place, it is sometimes necessary to do a little maintenance to clean things up.

I have dug up a few tasks that generally amount to clean up tasks in Ubuntu.  It is worth noting that, unlike Windows, Ubuntu’s file system should not need to be defragmented.  I have heard of a few tools that do something like defragmentation, but the general consensus is that you don’t need them.

Most of the cleanup that needs to be manually done revolves around the removal of old programs and the installer (aptitude) data.  Most of this is kept, by design, so that if needed in the future it will be local instead of downloading the files again.  But, if you need the disk space, here are a few cleanup items.

  • Clean Up Residual Config Packages
  • Clean Up Partial Packages
  • Remove Unnecessary Locale Data
  • Clean Up Orphaned Files
  • Extra:  Clean Up Orphaned Files via Synaptic Package Manager

Whenever I have seen questions around recovering disk space, these are the common responses.  Ready?  Let’s do it!
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Linux Cisco VPN Client on Intel for amd64 kernel 2.6.31

I installed Ubuntu 9.10 on my computer, and very shortly after realized that I cannot connect to my VPN connection at work.  The Cisco VPN client apparently has some issues installing on Kernel 2.6.31, for amd64 (although I’ve seen plenty say it doesn’t work on x86 either).

So here is what I found (and did) to make it work…

Download the vpnclient-linux-x86_64-4.8.02.0030-k9.tar.gz

wget http://projects.tuxx-home.at/ciscovpn/clients/linux/4.8.02/vpnclient-linux-x86_64-4.8.02.0030-k9.tar.gz

Untar the files

tar zxf vpnclient-linux-x86_64-4.8.02.0030-k9.tar.gz

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Sharing Printers from Ubuntu to Windows (focus on Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic)

We’re going to take the easy way, it’s a home network and doesn’t need industrial security.  If you’re the type of person that wants to go above and beyond, just for the experience, I’m sure a quick *sic* read through the Samba configuration docs will point you in the right directions.  There is plenty of Enterprise level documentation out there for Ubuntu.

This detail will primarily focus at people who want to *try* Ubuntu and may be looking at moving from Windows.  I am not going to assume a lot of experience with the command line, but there is a little bit that I did to make it work.  Here is a critical note with any linux OS, back up any file before you edit it.  You can then always go back to the pristine/working file and start over if you need to.  System configurations vary, as to versions of Ubuntu – so your mileage may vary with these instructions – it goes without saying that you should understand what you are doing BEFORE you do it, I’ll do my best to explain but you are responsible for your computer and the results, not me.

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