Yesterday I finally broke down and took the time to fix Lestat, my desktop computer slash file server slash home network router slash all ’round good bloke, room warmer and white-noise producer.

Tom Cruise as Lestat in the 1994 film Intervie...

Image via Wikipedia


A few months ago, can’t really remember how many, he suddenly decided not to load up the graphical interface and get stuck on something as silly as a battery check. He doesn’t have a [real] battery. He’s a desktop computer.

Obviously because he has a pretty big role in my access to the internets and I have a laptop that can take care of my everyday needs I didn’t really feel like going through the pain of fixing Lestat. But because this is a holiday sort of week in Slovenia and everything is pretty damn slow I went ahead and decided to upgrade whichever Kubuntu was running to the new Ubuntu Natty Narwhal.

Two days before the final version came out. Yep, totally.

Ditching KDE for the new Unity desktop was a particularly hard decision, but I wanted to go with pure Ubuntu because Kubuntu usually lags a bit in stability and is usually just messier around release time.

Lot of good that did.

Obviously when I started installing everything went to shit as usual and what shouldn’t have taken longer than an hour or so ended up burning four hours and still isn’t quite done. I wonder if the next Ubuntu will come out sooner than I’ll be done with perfectly setting this thing up.

First I tried to just do a normal install, but god forbid you don’t have an internet connection, it pretends like it’s going to work, but it doesn’t. So then the next obvious choice was figuring out how to get PPPoE working … as simple as the NetworkManager thing is, I never quite trust GUI tools on linux. There’s no telling what they’ll do.

And in fact later on when I tried to set it up as a router, yep, can’t do that through the GUI. But if you try to mix old school and GUI it just doesn’t work. Wtf. Thanks a lot GUI!? What happened to the good old days when you were just a config generator and wrote it down to the same file as a normal person would?

Actually I still have to do a bunch of manual wiggling around and contortionist acts whenever I reboot Lestat … hopefully I can get this figured out soon. You’d think it would be easier to set up a router from ppp0 to eth0 with a firewall in between …

The next thing that went utterly wrong was admittedly my fault. I forgot that I had used an encrypted home directory and now not only can I magically not get to  many of my old files … /home is on the same partition as the system. Crap.

I would totally expect “Install new Ubuntu” option to at least ask whether I might like /home on a different partition than everything else. That’s just common courtesy … or rather, that should simply be the default.

And finally we have Unity, the wonderful new desktop.


Image by 孤雲出岫 Free Cloud via Flickr


I don’t think I like it.

The music player is crap compared to Amarok2, the launcher simply doesn’t work very well and the dock is a clear ripoff from MacOS … except I can’t quite figure out how to customize it and on my Mac I can.

Another thing that I’ve gotten very used to on KDE4 and haven’t quite figured out here yet are the desktop widgets … does Unity have something like that? I should do some poking around …

It’s not all bad though, I love how integrated the system-wide sound controls and Banshee the music player are. That’s just epic and I heart it very much. The social media geek in me also just adores the fact that everything comes neatly integrated with Twitter and Facebook. It’s just right there! Yay.

Oh and the other launcher, the one with oh so many app icons is brilliant for not-power-users. The fact it also shows “hey, you might like these apps too” is a brilliant way to introduce people to the concept of a package manager. It’s the kind of brilliance I’d expect from the Mac App Store … in fact, the new package manager GUI is leaps and bounds ahead of anything Apple has produced so far for App management.

Shame on you apple! A bunch of opensource geeks outdid you!

Hmm … maybe that’s a blogpost for another day, so nicely flamewar inspiring I just cannot resist.

Oh and what I love the most? I can finally listen to music on my sound system rather than the laptop speakers. Yay!

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