Thursday, October 28, 2010

Surviving, Thriving at Ubuntu Developer Summits

First: to survive, one must attend, in person or remotely. Attending in person involves either asking for sponsorship from Canonical, or paying your own way. Attendence is free, so local folks can register and walk in. Without the encouragement of my fellow Ubuntu-Women team members, requesting sponsorship is not something I would have considered. However, the application process was painless, and I was sponsored! My flight, food and lodging are all included, which is amazing.

Since I have a wonderful friend who lives close to Orlando, Florida where this UDS is being held, I flew in Friday, and spent two wonderful days on the Wekiva River, paddling and boating up and down the river. Besides hours spent catching up on our lives (years spent separated by an entire continent!), we ate simply and slept when we were tired. So I arrived Sunday night rested and ready to work.

Second: Promptness is appreciated. Rooms are shared with a room-mate, so set your alarm early enough to allow time for both of you to shower, dress, eat, and arrive for the first events at nine in the morning. This involves going to bed the night before, rather than spending it at the hotel bar!

Third: Set up what you will need to participate fully in your sessions before they begin. If attending in person, a netbook with good battery life is best, with Quassel-with-a-core installed, along with your favorite browser(s), Gobby (*UGH!*), and time to review the documents associated with the sessions you'll be attending. This involves first reading the blueprints of the issues you find important, subscribing to them, and registering your attendence as essential if this is so. The scheduling software (Summit) attempts to allow every essential person to attend all their sessions by shifting the timing of the sessions. I haven't found a way to go back and change subscribing to subscribing and must attend if there is a way. There are a couple I had to miss because I didn't check the essential box. Once you find out the name of the rooms, join all the room channels in Quassel so you don't have to do this later. I chose Quassel on my netbook because it is lighter in weight than my favorite Konversation, but I didn't have time to set up a core account. I wish I had done, so I had all UDS sessions in IRC.

If you are attending remotely, you'll need to connect to the streams through Amarok or your favorite music/streaming app. Fire up IRC, join all the room-named channels, and you're ready. You might want earphones since some of the voices are far from the microphones. Don't be afraid to "speak up" in IRC, and ask people to repeat things, or to speak more clearly/loudly. If gobby is being used in your session, be prepared to help take notes, fix spelling errors, clarify points, etc. This is a collaboration. Etherpad may be used as an alternate, if the session leader chooses.

Fourth: Eat enough - there are good meals provided, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. I tried to sit down most of the time with people I did not know, and fix that. :-) Drink enough -- not at the bar, silly! Drink enough water to keep you healthy. Coffee is provided, along with tea, pop, snacks, etc. Sleep enough -- this is the hard part. You will be meeting all the people you've been working with all year, many for the first time. The temptation to spend all your time socializing will be strong! Don't exhaust yourself. Have fun -- yes, the work is fun, but there are opportunities to party, to visit local cool sites (here, Disneyland, of course! And Universal Studios, Sea World, etc.). Choose wisely, take lots of pictures, and you'll have a time you'll never forget!

Fifth: Take time to blog, tweet, dent about what you are doing. There are countless people who want to know, or need to know. Be eyes and ears for them.

PS: If I sound preachy, it's my future self I'm preaching to. :-)
PPS: Pictures in a bit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

UDS and You, Wherever You Are

I was fortunate to get sponsorship to the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida, but most of the participants did not! Many if not most folks will be in IRC and listening to the streams, and we on-site participants will be in IRC also, and be responding real-time to those of you who are remote.

Laura Czajkowski has written a great guide to doing this, and I hope you will try it out. Look at the sessions, and pick a couple of them, and BE THERE!

Apachelogger has updated his Icecast script so you can listen right from Amarok. Use the script search to find it, and then select your sessions from the Internet session.

I look forward to "seeing" you there -- especially you Kubuntu folks!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blogger sadness > New Blog

I'll keep up my Linux Grandma blog here for now, but Blogger has started adding an insidious ad across the blog content, obscuring it from the reader. That must be really annoying, and I don't want to subject people to that. Serendipity is the blog software that KDE uses, and so far, it seems great. I might install it on my own server for the other blogs I have, and move the content from Blogger. What a pity; Blogger used to be great.

Maverick Meerkat Kubuntu, released 10/10/10, was quite an adventure in installation, due to PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair), but with the help of my son, and friend maco, and my blogged experience of the last install, I have quite a beautiful install going.

All apps installed well, most importantly Amarok and Konversation. Once I regained my old /home partition, I have my music again, unfortunately without covers and lyrics. However, the new cover-fetching is excellent, and I hope to have that all rebuilt in the next couple of months. Until then I'll be playing "Random" a lot!

While mentioning Amarok, I have to say that it's Roktober, so give! I did, and it feels great. Also, it's great to have it built from git again. All the latest!

The biggest surprise with Mav was installing Skype again, to test my built-in video camera and mic. Previously, the camera worked, but never the mic. I thought maybe it was mis-installed. However, once I unmuted it in pavucontrol (Pulseaudio controller), it worked perfectly!

I've been recently given Kubuntu membership, and am headed for UDS next weekend, to plan for Natty, the next release. Please give me any feedback you'd like me to take to Florida about the future of Kubuntu.

I'll be blogging, at least about KDE, Kubuntu, and Amarok here:

Such a pity about Blogger. ::sigh::

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Post-Maverick Install Woes - no /home

Why oh why? I told the process Not To Touch my /home, which Thomas had so thoughtfully labelled. AND said to use it as /home. But cat fstab shows:
$ cat fstab
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid -o value -s UUID' to print the universally unique identifier
# for a device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name
# devices that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0       0
# / was on /dev/sdb1 during installation
UUID=649ffd64-17b4-4a95-aebe-360413cc3203 /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sdb5 during installation
UUID=dfe16a55-80c3-42c8-937a-4341cb2886c8 none            swap    sw              0       0

Where is /dev/sdb6, which was /home?

I can't deal with this tonight. I can't feel too discouraged, after escaping from the botch-install hell of the last couple of days. Maverick looks and feels GREAT! It's just bizarre to have no settings, and no content whatsoever, not even my old backup. Amarok is lonesome with no music.

Maco asks, in IRC, if the partition is still on the harddisk, which of course has been my question.
sudo fdisk -l
tells me:
Disk /dev/sda: 400.1 GB, 400088457216 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 48641 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000c403c

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *           1        2432    19530752   83  Linux
/dev/sda2            2432       48642   371178497    5  Extended
/dev/sda5            2432        2918     3905536   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6            2919       48642   367271936   83  Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 7958 MB, 7958691840 bytes
245 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1023 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15190 * 512 = 7777280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000ee8a7

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1   *           1        1023     7769654    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
     phys=(1023, 244, 62) logical=(1022, 244, 62)

At this point,
sudo blkid /dev/sda6
to get the UUID for /dev/sda6, which says:
/dev/sda6: LABEL="home" UUID="1e3555c0-f248-446e-a9a7-6a42ab95eced" TYPE="ext4"
Yay! It's still there on the disk, still with it's nice label. Thanks, Thomas!

Now it's time to edit fstab, and add the line:
UUID=1e3555c0-f248-446e-a9a7-6a42ab95eced /home               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1

I did that by using Kate, which is somewhat unorthodox, but it's what I like.
kdesu kate
then append the line above, save as fstab. Finally, I moved my present $HOME in case I need some of the settings or files from the last few days.
sudo mv $HOME /oldhome
and then restart. Let's see if it works!


I want to report success! My /home is all happy, and my /oldhome dotfiles mostly copied back over. This time around, Chromium built OK, and I'm actually editing this blog in it now. Hallelujah, Maverick rocks! If I can build Amarok from source again, I'll be in heaven.

PPS: Amarok built without a hitch!

GRUB2 and chroots, dammit!

Worst outcome from an install so far. Upon automatic reboot, when all is reported success:

error: the symbol `grub_xputs` not found
grub rescue:>

Terror struck my heart, and hopelessness, and googling. I found that not only was I not alone, but it is a result from a long-standing bug, which bothered me greatly as I was installing:, specifically: "Grub doesn't identify SATA drives in the same order as the BIOS." Not only was this extremely confusing to me as I was trying to decide what to do during the install, even though I thought I had prepared very well, but also, "I had to boot from the live image and chroot" as the bug commenter did.

On the other hand,that worked well. See the process here: Guess what the post is called? Fix Symbol 'grub_puts' Not Found When Migrating From Ubuntu Karmic To Lucid.Imagine that. BUG IS STILL THERE. And it bit me, and that hurt. A side issue is that my /home isn't found, but I think I know the fix for that, and I'm sure it is partially my ignorance and inexperience at fault.

There were other possible solutions suggested, which I didn't try. For starters, I could only have one computer plugged into the Internet at a time, which meant I was looking for solutions in one screen, and typing them in on the other. The less to type, the fewer chances of typing errors making the problem even worse. But here they are, if you are in terror as I was, and my solution didn't work, or has disappeared: and


Comment I got by email from Holger Herzog:

Hi Valorie,

I read your blog entry - thanks much for that! - and I ran into further troubles caused by something that was not mentioned on _any_ of the web sites regarding this grub problem:

I have boot fs and root fs on different partitions!

Then I had to mount the _root_ fs partition as described in the tutorials and _additionally_, I had to mount the boot fs under "boot" under the mounted root fs:
mount /sdROOT /mnt/temp
mount -B /dev /mnt/temp/dev
mount -B /dev/pts /mnt/temp/dev/pts
mount -B /proc /mnt/temp/proc
mount -B /sys /mnt/temp/sys

AND, additionally:
mount /sdBOOT /mnt/temp/boot

Otherwise I got an empty "grub>" prompt with no kernels found by grub.


Problem presented in #kubuntu tonight with the same problem (and maybe the same bug cause) where grub was installed onto the USB key instead of on the hard drive. And even after Grub2 was installed on the HD,
sudo apt-get install grub2
still was non-booting. The magic command which finally fixed grub
sudo grub-setup /dev/sda

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Installing Maverick anew; Cliff Notes version

I was going to write a long rant/whine about my botched upgrade and re-install of Maverick on 10/8, but it's both painful and boring. That said, being back on a horrible install of Lucid (KDE on top of 32-bit Ubuntu) is painful and boring. ESCAPE!

My zsync trick didn't work, since I didn't want a liveCD, but the alternate install. And the torrent stopped working, probably courtesy of Comcast. Thanks, Comcast! Wget, however, works wonderfully. For instance, this is the command I used:
Less than ten minutes later, I have my image, and can write it to the thumb-drive. While the ISO is downloading and writing to the drive, I need to figure out where /home is, so I save that.

I'll spare you reading my over-long novel about a botched Lucid upgrade/re-install, by culling the highlights. Use
sudo blkid
to see your partitions. This time, what I see is:

/dev/sda1: UUID="28de0df5-ddbb-4bf9-a61a-e7a5aa007f2a" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sda5: UUID="dfe16a55-80c3-42c8-937a-4341cb2886c8" TYPE="swap"
/dev/sda6: LABEL="home" UUID="1e3555c0-f248-446e-a9a7-6a42ab95eced" TYPE="ext4"
/dev/sdb1: LABEL="New Volume" UUID="0741-0B7E" TYPE="vfat"

/dev/sda1 is my present Lucid install, which I conclude by process of elimination. I'll be glad to see THAT disappear! Sda5 swap is swap, which will stay as-is. Look at that LABEL="home" on sda6 -- that stays put. The sdb1 New Volume is my thumb-drive.

One of the reasons my last Lucid install experience was such a nightmare, was that I was already stressed because of the botched upgrade, and consequent dead laptop. Within the alternate install windows, I didn't realize I could still access the command prompt, by using
. Try that; you can use it any time, anywhere! While there, maco told me to use
sudo mount /dev/sda5 /media ; ls /media
to see what was in sda5, and then we stepped through all of them, so see which was /home. Remember to
sudo umount /media
before stopping, or
sudo umount /media ; sudo mount /dev/sda6 /media ; ls /media
if you are going to continue to step through your partitions, and
(list) the contents. Of course substitute the numbers you see in your own

I'll write about the actual install when I do it tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Necessity, Mother of Learning Zsync

I don't need to invent, just learn! My recent Kubuntu update from Lucid to Maverick RC broke YouTube. Actually, it broke my ATI graphics card driver, and the cure, as Jussi told me, is to re-install Maverick.

I have the alpha ISO on my hard drive, and slow as my Internet connection is here sometimes, I really didn't want to download essentially the same file AGAIN. Zsync to the rescue! As explained here,, if you use zsync on a ISO CDimage, you will get only the parts you need, not what you already have. So, I downloaded zsync, and did the command
You will need to replace the cdimage URL to the one you want, of course! Rather than taking over 3 hours, as it did to download the alpha, it took about ten minutes!

This is a wonderful tool for ISO testers to use, since you will not have to constantly download almost identical files. *Learned another tip about zsync from MJEvans at today's Maverick Release Party. Change the name of your old file to be identical to that of the new file before starting the process, and it will happen without any need to add additional filenames to the command line. Clever! Thank you Michael!

In Kubuntu, there is a magic program called usb-creator-kde. After the ISO is written to my little USB drive, all that remains is backing up my home partition -- just in case! And then re-installing Maverick Meerkat. I'll update this if anymore learning takes place!

Update: The download and write processes described above both went perfectly. However, the daily file I chose to install was NOT a perfect fit for my equipment, and I made a bad choice, in retrospect, in choosing to attempt a fresh install when I did. More details in another post.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10.10 Maverick Meerkat Release Party, Burien Washington

Let's hang out, celebrate Maverick Meerkat release, and show off the shiny and new. Then we'll sup on some delicious pizza! See you there.

Bison Creek

Bison Creek Pizza, 630 SW 153rd St #F, Burien, WA 98166-2260

Google Map of Bison Creek Pizza

Another fun production from your Washington Ubuntu LoCo (Local Community). Oh, and I just found out that we can use the cloud-server for free on Sunday, courtesy of Canonical. For more information, see:

Register here:

Official announcement on the wiki here: