Tuesday, May 01, 2012

At Work with Linux: Ubuntu 12.04 First Contact

Nothing out of the ordinary to report. Rather than upgrade my Ubnuntu 11.10 virtual machine, I created a new VMware VM from the Ubuntu 12.04 DVD ISO. Installation went flawlessly if a bit boring (boring is good). Just to mention this One More Time, in order to setup a non DHCP network connection before you install, go into the Network panel (bring up Dash, type "net" into the search bar and click on the Network icon that appears) and from there set the 'Wired' and 'Network proxy' settings to connect to your network. This will allow you to both install from the DVD (disk or attached ISO) as well as pick up any network updates during the initial install. Or you can wait until after installing to do the work.

The first application I installed after initial system installation was Synaptic. I used Synaptic to further tune the system. I don't know what I'll do the day Synaptic finally disappears from Ubuntu. I hate Ubuntu Software Center. I tried once again to remove all of LibreOffice, and it failed to do that. I had to use Synaptic to remove everything associated with LibreOffice (no, I don't like LibreOffice either).

I used Synaptic to remove all of OpenJava to prepare the system for Oracle's Java.

To install Oracle's Java:
  • I navigated to here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html
  • I selected the Java 6 JDK, which at this time is Java Update 32: jdk-6u32-linux.x64.bin
  • chmod +x jdk-6u32-linux-x64.bin and then execute from the command line to unpack everything locally into directory jdk1.6.0_32
  • sudo mkdir -p /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0 to prepare to make this available system wide
  • sudo mv jdk1.6.0_32/* /usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0 to move it to its final destination
  • sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/java" "java" "/usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0/bin/java" 1
  • sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/javac" "javac" "/usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0/bin/javac" 1
  • sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/javaws" "javaws" "/usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0/bin/javaws" 1
That's what you have to do to get Oracle Java up and running. If this were an RPM-based system such as Fedora, you'd download and install the RPM, Q.E.D.

Nits That Bother Me

In no particular order:
  • Real Google Chrome is not available, only Chromium. Currently Chromium is one version back, while regular Chrome on Ubuntu 11.10 is at the current revision. Didn't install it, will attempt to live with Firefox 11. Real Chrome is available with Ubuntu 11.10 and installed in that VM.
  • Extra work installing Real Java (TM) as noted above.
  • Don't like the super-thin window borders. They make grabbing and resizing with a mouse next to impossible. Instead I go Old School: right click on the window header and select 'Resize'. Works a treat.
  • Can't change anything related to icons or widgets. No themes except Ambiance (default) or Radiance. Totally locked down (for now). It's like dealing with Apple. I guess the decision has been made to totally protect us, the end users, from ourselves.
  • If Radiance theme is chosen then the text on the top navigation bar and window headers is an ugly and nearly unreadable light purplish text. Looks like a bad case of chromatic aberration on a photo. Stick with dark Ambiance. Don't people bother to try these things out? Considering how bad it looks this should have been spotted almost immediately and quickly fixed.
  • The left-hand dock does not automatically move out of the way when I move an application to the left edge the way it did with Ubuntu 11.10. I liked that feature, and can't find a way to turn it back on. Why the hell can't the Ubuntu developers leave working shit alone?
  • Last, but by no means least, was this little gem. Go click Dash to bring up the panel, and click on "Personal File Sharing." Look at the error message. Why couldn't this dialog have given me a link to click to install the "required packages?" What are the "required packages?" This is a major failure in my book, and is one of those endless irritants that drives Linux users either up a wall or back to Windows and Mac OS X. People still write and wonder why Linux isn't taking over the desktop in spite of how "good" Ubuntu is. It's these kinds of details that matter. Screen capture below to illustrate what I'm talking about.

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