Dan Connolly's tinkering lab notebook

Spring cleaning my desktop with Ubuntu 10.4 lucid amd64

In my original April 2007 episode about this 64bit machine, I went with 32bit (i386) Ubuntu because I got the impression that running quicken involved byzantine chroot/ia32-libs setup. I'm not sure whether those impressions were correct at the time, but they are no longer. Overall, now that I have stopped trying to do things my own special way, Ubuntu 10.4 lucid amd64 is working great.

As a developer, I am careful to rely only on free software so that that my contributions fit within the free software ecosystem, but as a user, I still rely on some proprietary software:

  • Quicken: I started using it over 20 years ago, in the Mac SE era. I rely only on the user interface, exporting the data regularly.
  • Skype: it's sometimes a critical link to my peers; standards-based chat is catching up but hasn't overcome skype's 1st-mover status.
  • Flash: I don't actually rely on this, but I sure enjoy watching my shows on hulu when my wife is watching her shows on the TV.

My first approach to running quicken was to try to keep my old ~/.wine configuration in place, but after trying to debug that for a while, I discovered that the spring cleaning approach (blow it away and start over) worked just fine. This stuff all works out-of-the-box:

  • quicken 2001 installs cleanly on a fresh wine installation
  • The skype for linux downloads includes a 64 bit Ubuntu 10.4 package.
  • Adobe provides a 64bit linux version of flashplayer 10, and if you visit hulu, you can just follow your nose thru "install missing plugins" dialogs.

In fact, my first approach to Ubuntu 10.4 was to try to keep everything in place and just upgrade my 32bit/i386 install rather than doing a clean install. And I took myself even further away from the normal path by trying to upgrade from a torrent. It seemed to make so much sense, since I could grab the whole CD image in about 15 minutes, and the installer estimated several hours to download the packages with http. But for the life of me, I couldn't get the installer to use the local CD image once I had it; it insisted in downloading from the net. I reported that as Bug #574686 and gave in to the notion of downloading all the packages via http. But the result had rough edges that bothered me; flash and pulseaudio weren't getting along, among other things. So I decided to take the 64bit plunge.

Installation notes:
  • I used the alternative CD, since I use LVM. It took 20 minutes to install from CD, once I was done with the partitioning stuff.
  • Did it really discover my timezone automatically? That surprised me.
First impressions of 10.4 lucid:
  • Moving the window controls... are they CRAZY?! The placement of those controls is deep in my muscle memory. Fortunately, going back to the clearlooks theme (System/Preferences/Appearance) fixed that quickly.
  • Why is there a Zim wiki item in the Applications/Accessories menu? There's no zim package installed, so it doesn't do anything. Was something from my previous installation detected?
  • empathy fails as an IRC client; it can't join &foo channels.
  • Adding a printer gave me 2 options that I didn't understand (dnssd: or lpd:); my first guess (lpd:) was wrong, but when I picked the other option (dnssd:), it worked.
  • Sound works, including my iMic USB sound gizmo and my bluetooth headset.
In fact, I no longer have to switch to my Macbook air to use skype audio/video.

For reference: RSA key fingerprint is e2:9d:a8:f7:31:e2:8a:d7:b5:b6:07:57:b5:d4:d8:fd.