Linux, Take 2

After a little runaround with bad DVDs, I finally have the new release of Debian running.

The full install is up to 14 CDS (It was 3 when started, and 7 in the in-between iteration – the trend says 28 next time around) or 2 DVDs, so I tried the DVDs. However, I was unable to get a clean read of the entire disk out of Linux, Win98, or my WinXP box at work. I ordered them from the same place I used before. Although the customer service often takes the better part of a week to response, and multiple exchanges are required to get anywhere, they finally did send me the CD version, which worked without a hitch.

The CDs, that is.

A few years setting up Linux the first time, I got a little overzealous partitioning the hard disk. I started the upgrade, but it ground to a halt part way through when the ‘/’ partition hit 100% This release is a LOT bigger (When the new version was first released, I had to edit a config file in the package manager to increase the cache size so it could handle the whole thing.) With the important files copied onto a USB flash drive, I elected to fix the problem.

Yes, for you windows users, I did the equivalent of ‘format C:’

Actually, I set my BIOS to boot from CD first and stuck in the first Debian CD. It kindly offered to reparation my hard disk, and I took the more reasonable default settings this time – of course the install program has also improved in the course of two releases. The install kernel even recognized my USB keyboard without a hitch.

In general the new ‘sarge’ release of Debian is very nice. The release of the 2.4 kernel that got installed on my system also recognized the USB keyboard without any problems, and I can even use the built-in hub, which was causing a kernel exception before. The USB flash device was recognized as well, although it did have errors while I was copying off some files and downloading the security updates from the internet at the same time.

The sound card worked out of the box. I have yet to try the printer, scanner, or boot to windows (but there is an option for it on the boot menu.)

Other niceties include an updated version of Mozilla, with whitelist cookie handling. The new debtags feature and packagesearch programs also, finally, make wading through the 14 CDs of software packages practical.

The new version of aptitude, the package manager, performing upgrades is a separate command – which means I can still install software while waiting for CDs to arrive, which has been a problem in the past. Now that I’m unstuck in that regard, I set up the programs for abc music notation and started transcribing a few pieces from my harp books. Now I can play a midi file at the same time to check my timing. Main problem with this technique is that my harp is a lot louder (and closer) than the little computer speakers, so it can be hard to distinguish the note sometimes.

Posted Saturday, July 30th, 2005 under War Story.