Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ubuntu Global Jam - Lessons Learned

At first our Jam experience seemed like a failure. We had two attend, and one of them was me. Thank goodness for Charles (acerimmer); his arrival made the afternoon fun. The first difficulty was Internet connectivity -- my laptop reported that it was getting a good wireless connection, but I was only able to use IRC and get webpages for about 10 minutes in the four hours at the library.

So the ability to connect with others around the state, and around the world was pretty much nil.

Technically, I was unable to load Kubuntu Mav in a virtualbox. I found out from Charles that I had not allocated enough memory, and that K/ubuntu's package might be missing a crucial xorg.conf file. Since the Kubuntu developers didn't mention this last point, more investigation is needed.

Also, I was unable to fully load the Mav LiveCD. I found out that my issues were not uncommon: This is still alpha software, after all.

My liveUSB key was also a fail, giving the same error message to both me and Charles. I found out that it wasn't my fault, but that of Lucid. After removing that useless LiveUSB install from my cute little 8-gig USB key, I copied the ISO onto it, but Charles was unable to load it into a virtualbox on his laptop either -- incompatible 64-bit systems! I'm not sure what that's about, but hope he'll file a bug about it.

After we talked some about upcoming LoCo events, we decided to leave early. We had both run out of options for testing.

However, the Jam continues through Sunday, and once I got home and got connected again, androidbruce gave me a great idea: swap out my present hard drive for my old backup one, and install on that! Although I was unsuccessful at partitioning off the old backup, which is mostly music, not much harm done to lose it, either. I had hoped to save it, just to be able to play some music during testing. Oh, well! So, as Scarlett O'Hara so wisely observed, Tomorrow is another day!

PS: Also -- more publicity is better! Craigslist? Any other ideas for spreading the word?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Learning New Skills: Reformat, Partition, Backup, Virtualize

Too much peace and quiet is too much, I guess. As soon as the current skill-set is working, I seem to need to add more complexity. Tomorrow is Ubuntu Global Jam, designed to get *buntu users together to test new software, the next release, work on bugs, clean out stale wiki pages, and other useful stuff. Seattle-area members of the Washington LoCo are gathering at the Rainier Beach Library tomorrow for Global Jam, so I thought I would try out Kubuntu Maverick, which is at the end of alpha. I figured backing up my current ~/home would be wise, so I bought a hard-drive at Costco for $99. For under a hundred dollars, I got 1.5 terrabytes!

Unfortunately, I hadn't done my research ahead of time, and it turns out that this Seagate model, the Free Agent, doesn't really like Linux, and isn't supported. Plus it was NTFS, so I figured out how to re-format it into EXT3, here: Basicly, use sudo fdisk -l to figure out what you have, and then mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1 to re-format.

I asked some friends what the best Kubuntu partition manager was, and it turns out to be Partition Manager, hahaha. On the other hand, I'm not sure I got it successfully partitioned, but I decided that I could always do that later, if necessary. So after doing a bit of research, I settled on LuckyBackup to manage the backup, because it's a nice light GUI on top of rsync, which rocks. Set it up last night, and let it back up during the night. It feels GREAT to start out a day with success! I let it update ~/home this morning, and also backed up /usr.

Next step, ask the developers in #kubuntu-devel what is most useful for tomorrow. So, now downloading (very slowly) the Maverick 64-bit ISO, and investigating how to install Virtualbox for testing. Using a guide to getting it going. It really was very easy!

I found another guide for those who are testing inside the environment, at The seamless mode ( seems like it is worth trying out also.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Amarok Quick Start Guide in Translation

Thanks to the hard work of the wonderful Amarok Promo Team, we now have the beginning of the Amarok Handbook completed, and in the able hands of the KDE Translation team ( It's quite exciting to see the completed pages roll in on #kde-www. Neverdingo has written a wonderful blog post about the procedure: If you love Amarok, and have ever thought about translating, now is the time to step up! This is going from our small team, to the larger team of KDE, and it is thrilling to see.

I guess we did something unusual, beginning our Handbook in the KDE wiki system. I'll have to say that comparing the process to our old way, which was using Google Docs -- it is like night and day. The one advantage of Gdocs is that you can tell who is also editing, and what they are doing, but we got around that, for the most part, by communicating in our IRC channel. There is simply nothing better than seeing your document take place marked up and looking professional! Wiki markup isn't complicated, and the guides ( and are easy and helpful to use.

I will never again use Google Docs for more than just text. The wiki rules! Userbase is awesome! Thank you, thank you, KDE.

I understand the next bit of this process is the DocBook markup, which sounds mysterious and scary still, since I don't know much about it. There is a guide to that as well, which I'm sure I'll be consulting often. For now, though, we'll concentrate on finishing the rest of the Handbook, for those who need more detail about the finer points of using the best music program of all time, AMAROK!

Thank you Mamarok, and Willem, Nightrose and Pete, Abhi and Adrián, Emilio and Dima for all your work. You've been GREAT.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amarok 2.3.2 Beta 1, "Sentinel" released

Our Amarok students are still finishing up this year's Google Summer of Code projects, and we'll hopefully release them some time later this fall, when they are fully tested and working. Meanwhile, help us weed out some bugs to make Amarok 2.3.2 the rock solid release we want.

Amarok 2.3.2 Beta 1, codename “Sentinel” is out.

Since the last release in the 2.3 series the Amarok team has been working through the laziest days of summer to implement very much needed fixes, changes and even some new features, especially concerning filtering and podcasts. Read the full announcement here. Please report bugs:

Kubuntu package available here:

The new Quick Start Guide is nearly ready: Please ping me with any complaints, suggestions, or offers of help!

The Sentinel 3270 ft., Yosemite.

The Sentinel in Yosemite Park, California USA. "The Sentinel 3270 ft., Yosemite." Digital ID: 435032. Watkins, Carleton E. -- Photographer. 1861-1866