A magazine about Ubuntu

Full Circle Magazine » Issue 4

Full Circle – the Ubuntu Community Magazine are proud to announce our fourth issue.

I know, I’m going to get more user submitted complaints about rambling on about Ubuntu, but I’m more and more excited about Linux as a real alternative to Windows.  I’ve been thinking about trying to install it on my parents’ computers because I can log in remotely and fix things for them.

I mean, my dad is running Windows 98 on his desktop.  As a computer dork, this is roughly the same as a dentist allowing his father to lose all his teeth due to cavities.

Anyway, Full Circle Magazine is accessible for the non-geek, although some of it will seem like a foreign language.  But I mention it more as a symbol of things to come – there was an article in the previous issue (That I actually haven’t read, but the new issue mentions it) about someone installing Ubuntu on his grandmother’s computer, and how happy she’s been with it.  When people who didn’t use a computer until well into adulthood start using and being happy with Linux, it’s good for everyone.

Imagine you could go buy a computer, and they’d ask you, “Which operating system would you like?”, and you could choose whatever you wanted.  There would be real choice, and real competition.  Right now, for the vast majority of people, you either buy a Mac or you run Windows.  But Ubuntu isn’t far off.  And if Ubuntu succeeds at bringing Linux to the masses (And their deal with Dell is a huge step forward), then other distributions will follow.

Anyway, it’s exciting.  At least, I’m excited.

N Exactly IMBY

Welcome to MissionDCFacts.Com – A Fact-Blog based on FACTS!

Central Union Men’s Shelter is seeking to move from the current location they own and maintain at 14th and R Streets, NW. The current location houses an approximately 30,000 square foot men’s shelter containing 84 beds. The Mission is seeking the new facility on Georgia Avenue to be built at a whopping size 70,000-80,000 square feet and 200-250 beds – more than doubling their current size.

I’ve been meaning to look up this website ever since I ran past a few signs on 11th Street advertising it. It seems that, because 14th and R is such a sought-after location, they want to build condos there. And since Georgia Ave is still a little rough, they’ll put a giant homeless shelter there.

I have no idea how I feel about this. It does feel a little like the rich developer taking advantage of the poor residents of less gentrified area. On the other hand, the guy is probably just making a good business decision – take the prime real estate for condos, and move the homeless shelter to a cheaper neighborhood.

But it’s not exactly my neighborhood. The proposed site is not somewhere I pass by very often, if at all, even if it isn’t all that far from my house.

I think it’s kind of funny how the website I linked goes to great lengths to describe the fancy development in Alexandria where the head of the Mission lives.  Although I do agree – I’m always somewhat annoyed when someone who lives in expensive Virginia suburbs tries to make rules for DC.

Anyway, I’m not sure where I stand on this.  But I finally remembered to look at the website, so I thought I should mention it.

I win again!

That’s two more parking tickets adjudicated. I guess that means forgiven. I leave looking that up as an exercise for you, the reader. DDOT got back to me, and said that the Zone 1 parking restrictions were not supposed to be enforced until August 27th, so both of my tickets will be forgiven. So, if you live on the 1400 block of Harvard Street, NW, and you received a ticket for failure to display a Residential Parking Permit for Zone 1 before August 27th, 2007, you still have time to contest it. Contact the DMV, or contact Councilmember Graham’s office if that doesn’t work. Just don’t pay that ticket.

Response from DDOT

Jonathon  – Michael Miller of my staff delivered letters to the residents of the 1400 block of Harvard Street, N.W. at the end of July, informing them that the beginning of the enforcement date for the new RPP block would begin on August 13, 2007. Residents of new RPP blocks have always been informed by letter, since the beginning of the RRP program in 1976, that their block has been approved for the installation of RPP Zone signs. DPW parking enforcement was always informed not to enforce the new regulations until the enforcement date on the letter, even though the signs are usually installed before the enforcement date. This policy has worked for the most part, over the past 30 years, except for occasional slip ups by either parking specialists, parking enforcement or sign installers from the shop.

In the case of the 1400 block of Harvard Street, N.W., I received e-mail complaints that enforcement of the RPP restrictions on this block had begun before the enforcement date of August 13, 2007. The citizen’s complaint on the e-mail message was that he was going to purchase his RPP permit the next day. I figured other residents of this block would need additional time to buy their permits, so I asked DPW enforcement on August 9, 2007 to suspend enforcement of the RPP restrictions on this block until August 27, 2007.

George Carr- See message below. [Me] received a ticket on August 15th and on Aug 16, 2007 for violation of the RPP restrictions in the 1400 block of Harvard Street, N.W. Since parking enforcement was supposed to be suspended on this block until August 27, 2007, would you please work with [Me], resident of [1400 block of] Harvard Street, N.W. PHONE # (202)555-1234. to adjudicate his two parking tickets. Thank you George, I have always been able to count on you in the past.

[Charles Whalen, DDOT]

Ubuntu is working like a charm

Everything is working.  My screen resolution is a lovely 1280X800, everything works, and I’m pretty friggin’ happy.  Vista is still broken, but I haven’t tried to fix it.

As promised, I have written up my HowTo.  Here I explain how I got Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) running on a Lenovo Thinkpad T61.  It wasn’t easy, but hopefully I can help make it a little easier for everyone else.

So, click here to find out how I installed Ubuntu.

Howto – Install Ubuntu Feisty on a Lenovo Thinkpad T61

So, you have a new Thinkpad. I have a T61 with the Nvidia 140M graphics card. Ubuntu Fiesty doesn’t seem to like that card, and it’s been a pain in the neck to get it working. But it’s working now, and here’s how I did it. Before we go any further: This tutorial is just what worked for me. I make no promises, guarantees, or anything else. This may turn your brand new computer into a really pricey paperweight. Use of this tutorial is ENTIRELY at your own risk. I am willing to give advice if you get stuck, but I’m a Linux noob. The Ubuntu forums are likely to be more helpful. Anyway, I make no promises, I just want to share what worked for me. First, the regular installer doesn’t work because you don’t get any sort of GUI. So, go to the Ubuntu downloads and get Ubuntu 7.04 Desktop edition. You want the version for 64 Bit AMD and Intel computers. Below the green download button, you want to check the box where it says, “Check here if you need the alternate desktop CD. This CD does not include the Live CD, instead it uses a text-based installer.” Then click download. You know how Windows probably asks you to open it with whatever your cd burning software is before you even download the file? Well, don’t do that. I tried, and it didn’t work. If you are not familiar with MD5 checksums and burning ISO images, check this tutorial. It should tell you all you need to know. Once you have your cd, put it in your cd drive and install using the text-based installer. The only issue I had with the installer was partitioning the drive. I have a 120GB drive. I read somewhere that Vista requires 30GB (As an aside, good grief, Microsoft, no wonder old Windows machines run really slowly. Do all your operating systems have such ridiculous requirements?), so I set my partition to 90GB. Well, Vista took that to mean something really, really bad happened, and now wants me to recover Windows. It refuses to boot. Some may see this as a blessing, and I’m not going to argue, but I had hoped to keep a working Vista install for those rare cases when it’s just more convenient to use Windows. Anyway, getting Vista to work is a project for another day. That’s why this tutorial is provided with no guarantees. Once you have Ubuntu installed, you have to boot into the recovery (that is, text-only) mode. Log in using the user you created during installation. Then the real fun begins. Install development tools sudo apt-get install build-essential Setup ethernet connection sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces Add the following to the file: auto eth0 iface eth0 inet dhcp Save the file and close. If you don’t know how to use VI, Google is your friend. Restart networking sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart Test to see if it works ping www.google.com Stop pinging. Someone can probably tell me how to ping like Windows, where it tried a few times and then stops, but I didn’t bother to look it up. ctrl-c If you get this error – sudo: timestamp too far in the future: Try rebooting with Ctrl-Alt-Delete Remove old Nvidia file sudo rm /etc/init.d/nvidia-kernel Disable the installed Nvidia driver sudo vi /etc/default/linux-restricted-modules-common Add this line DISABLED_MODULES="nv nvidia_new" Save and exit. install nvidia drivers sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx sudo nvidia-xconfig --add-argb-glx-visuals --composite Restart sudo reboot Update Ubuntu (This might have been a good idea earlier in the game. But this is where I did it.) sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get dist-upgrade Restart sudo reboot Get the new Nvidia driver installer Create a temp directory in your home folder cd sudo mkdir nvidia_temp cd nvidia_temp Download the driver installer Make sure to check this url – it’s current as of 8/28/07 sudo wget http://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/100.14.11/NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-100.14.11-pkg2.run sudo sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-100.14.11-pkg2.run It will ask you about runlevels. Ubuntu apparently doesn’t do runlevels. Continue with the installation. Mine had errors, which I ignored. Reboot, this time start up in regular mode. You should have a functional graphics card. Unfortunately, it’s only partially functional. Mine only supported 1024X768, which is totally unacceptable. Reconfigure X From the menu at the top of the screen, select “Applications”, then “Accessories”, then “Terminal” to open a terminal window. At the prompt: sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg This will open a little wizard. You can leave all the defaults for the most part. However, it is important to select “nvidia” instead of “nv” from the big list of drivers. Select “1280X800” from the list of resolutions. When it asks to specify “simple”, “medium”, or “advanced”, just pick simple and choose “Up to 14 inches”. That is, assuming you have the 14″ screen like I do. Now, you can click the red icon at the top right of the screen, reboot, and your screen resolution should be set to 1280X800. Update: I finally got around to checking the sound, and it turned out I had none. However, if you go to this Ubuntu forum thread and follow the instructions from forum user fmhoyt, sound should work fine. From here, you’re on your own. The Ubuntu Forums are great. Lifehacker loves to talk about Ubuntu. Del.icio.us is also a really good resource for cool stuff to do with Ubuntu. There are lots of cool apps and tricks and whatnot. So, have fun. Resources:

All you need to know about DC parking tickets

To the person who found me by searching for “can you get a parking ticket in dc for having va tag where there are no sign”:

Yes.  If it involves a non-moving car, you can get a ticket for it in DC.

If you remember that rule, you may save yourself a few parking tickets.  I won’t say that you will save yourself from getting any parking tickets, because that’s impossible.  But you can perhaps minimize them by assuming that you will always be ticketed.  You will usually be right.

Anyway, I suggest you contest any ticket you might receive.  It makes you feel better, and you can do it by mail, so it hardly costs anything.

And then there was one

I have one functional OS. At least, mostly functional. I’m running Ubuntu now. Still no Windows, but I haven’t tried to fix it.

My graphics card is not 100% (I don’t have resolution higher than 1024, which kind of sucks). And the Gnome settings manager, which I haven’t tried to fix. But wireless worked right out of the box, and here I am, posting away on the new machine.

It’s pretty exciting. Still a little way to go, but my confidence is renewed.

Fully functional operating sysmtems – zero

My brand new laptop is currently non-functional.  Vista boots up into the recovery manager, which I suspect wants to “fix” my Ubuntu install.  I didn’t mess with it for very long, but it didn’t want to start up Windows.

Ubuntu will come up in text-only mode, but not in normal mode.  I suspect that I need a driver or something for my video card – I think others have had this problem with Ubuntu and a Thinkpad.  So I’ll try that today after work.

I think I’m going to try and write up a HowTo for installing Ubuntu on the Thinkpad.  There are a bunch out there, but my mommy says I’m good at explaining technical things to non-technical people.  I think there could be a bunch of people who are like me – fed up with Windows treating me like an idiot, technically savvy but not an expert, and willing to do a little extra work to get a computer that makes us happy.

First impression of Vista, heading for Ubuntu

Ugh. It’s pretty unappealing visually. It’s like they took all the things that were good about any other operating system, ever, and threw them away. To be fair, I was expecting to hate Vista, and I suspect it is not possible that I could have liked it at this point. But still.

So, I’m downloading the Ubuntu Feisty alternate install disk image. That was my plan all along when I got the new computer, a Thinkpad T61. It’s almost done, so I’m going to go burn it and try the install. Should be loads of fun.

Update:  I’m on the old computer now, as Ubuntu is “Installing the base system”.  Not sure how long this is going to take.  I should probably get to bed soon.  The wife isn’t feeling well, and she’s already in bed.  We rarely go to bed separately, and on her way to bed, she said something to the effect of, “Don’t stay up too late playing with Ubuntu”.  She’s probably asleep now, so she won’t know how late I stay up.  But she’ll probably read this tomorrow, so, whatever.

It’s selecting and installing software now.

FYI – trying to install Ubuntu on a Thinkpad T61 requires the alternate, text-based install.  For whatever reason, the gui-based install just doesn’t work at all.