Updated to Ubuntu 8.10

I just updated my system to Ubuntu 8.10. Since I had a separate partition for /home, I opted to actually reinstall while retaining the files in /home. The rest of the post is a laundry list of tips.

I could not find a blank CD or CDRW, so I opted to write the installation 8.10 ISO to a USB stick, then rebooted with the USB stick and finally installed. It was really fast and and convenient.

All hardware was properly detected (sound card: snd-hda-intel, wifi: iwl3945, bluetooth, intel graphics card). Regarding the sound card, some kind soul probably submitted the PCI ID and model information to the ALSA project, so there is no need anymore to specify manually.

I upgraded the stock OpenOffice.org 2.4.1 to OpenOffice.org 3.0. There are many ways to do it, however the easiest is to simply add the software source

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/openoffice-pkgs/ubuntu intrepid main

and let the system update itself automatically. For more on this, see the instructions at softpedia.

OpenOffice.org does not support OpenType fonts yet. I had the impression that OpenOffice.org 3.0 could see OpenType fonts but had trouble printing or exporting to PDF. My test showed that OOo 3.0 could not see OpenType fonts such as the ttf-gfs-* fonts, even when trying to force loading with spadmin. OpenType support is scheduled for the next version of OpenOffice.org. For now, we can use the wide range of TTF fonts.

I installed VirtualBox by adding the repository details described at the VirtualBox Linux Download webpage. Then, I tried to search with Add/Remove or Synaptic, however I could not find the virtuabox package. Only the virtualbox-ose packages were visible. It appears there is some sort of bug in the package description. If you open Synaptic, then click on the Origin (Προέλευση) filter which shows packages per repository. Select the virtualbox repository and you can eventually see virtualbox-2.0. Pretty weird.

For Evolution Mail, previously one would package the files manually and then restore them. This was error-prone because the account information are saved in gconf, the passwords in ~/.gnome2_private, etc. The proper solution is to remember to perform a backup before installing a new version of Ubuntu. In Ubuntu 8.04 and Evolution (from GNOME 2.22) there is an option to backup your settings, which includes mails and all. You finally restore in your new system; when the new Evolution starts for the first time, you are asked whether you want to restore a previous backup.

Firefox would freeze momentarily for some strange reason. I run from the command line and I noticed that some pages that had references to Flash material would freeze Firefox while trying to locate the Flash plugin. This was solved be installing flashplugin-nonfree.

I installed the updated Greek layout, so I can now type ϡϠϸϕϟαϛϚϖϐʹ͵ϻϺ«»ᾶᾅἒᾥ in the same layout.

Update #1: Ubuntu 8.10 works better with a dual head configuration. In System/Preferences/Screen resolution, you can activate the second display. The utility realises that the (currently) hard-coded maximum virtual display is not big enough to accomodate both monitors, and it asks you to edit automatically the xorg configuration file in order to add the setting for you. After a logout and re-login sequences, dual head works. Sadly for my graphics card, this means that there is no 3D support in this mode. With Intel 965GM, if the virtual screen does not fit in 2048×2048, then you no can haz 3D. Actually, if I align the displays vertically, they do fit and I would be able to get 3D.

Update #2: Time to put the system temperature sensors (CPU, hard disk). For the backend, we install the lm-sensors and hddtemp packages. With lm-sensors, we need to run sudo sensors-detect so that the appropriate settings can be detected. If you have a recent Intel CPU, this will probably find that you need to add the coretemp kernel module to /etc/modules, then reboot to activate it. For the hard disk temperature, simply install hddtemp and choose yes when prompted to add the hddtemp service. For the front-end, install the sensors-applet applet. You need to logout and login again so that this applet, called Hardware Sensors Monitor, appears in the applets list. Once you add, click to enable all available sensors in the preferences.

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