Ubuntu: 6.10 (Edgy) to 7.04 (Feisty) upgrade

Today, Ubuntu made their latest release, 7.04 Feisty Fawn. I’ve been using Ubuntu since before their first official release and love it. They’ve really come a long way in making Linux a usable desktop for the average user. Overall, this upgrade went pretty well, though I ran into a couple problems.

My first, and biggest problem, is that upon rebooting into Feisty, the boot process stopped for maintenance. That’s never a good sign; Linux wasn’t able to identify several of my hard drives. “That’s no big deal.” I thought. “I’ll just log in and see what’s up, I know my data is safe.” Well, it turns out that in Feisty, the way drives are mounted has changed. No longer are IDE devices mounted using “/dev/hd*#” instead, they’re assigned to “/dev/sd*#” where * is a letter that may or may not match up with the old hd* designation.

Since I have a mix of SATA and IDE drives in my machine, things got complicated pretty quickly. My /etc/fstab (which controls which drives mount where) was in shambles. The computer was trying to mount devices that had changed names. The default way this is now handled in Ubuntu is by assigning a UUID to each partition. This ID allows devices to be mounted no matter what order they’re plugged in, which is cool. If I wanted to reorder my drives and still have them mount in the same places. It’s not so cool when your drives no longer mount and you aren’t sure what’s what.

After some experimentation, I was able to identify all my drives (by mounting every device and seeing what it contained). I then found the UUIDs for each device and edited my /etc/fstab by hand. This is not what I expect from Ubuntu however. If a “normal” user (think Mom or Dad) had run into this problem, they would have been lost and probably would have never recovered their data.

A bug report has been opened and hopefully is solved soon, this is a major problem.

My second problem is that metacity no longer starts up on login. This appears to just be a setting in Gconf that needs to be fixed (things work fine with a new test account). I’ll update this post with the fix once I find it.

Update: I tracked this error down and at some point I apparently created a .gnomerc file when I was playing with compiz. It contained the following information:

export WINDOW_MANAGER=~/.gnome-compiz-manager/openbox

Why this didn’t cause a problem before, I have no idea. I deleted the file and metacity starts again.

Razr V3m and iSync

While trying to get my new Motorola Razr V3m (from Alltel) to sync my Address Book and iCal with my computer, I ran into some problems. Namely, the phone would be recognized and would be added to iSync, I could only sync Address Book entries though, iSync told me that syncing iCal to the phone was not supported.

My previous phone was a Razr V3, and I was able to sync both Address Book and iCal with it, so I didn’t really believe it wasn’t possible. After searching around the internet for a while, I ran across a solution that worked at whopack.com. It involves changing a iSync file, so make sure to create a backup of any files before you edit them (just in case). Continue reading

Continuing the Saga…

So, I’ve posted a couple times recently about my iBook. The hard drive died, I sent it in… had some issues when I got it back. Then no web browsers worked properly. Well, the hard drive is dead again (or something).

On boot, I see this screen:

What’s this mean? It’s searching for a device to boot from. So, I shove my install media in (my 10.4 install DVD and my System Restore DVD) and get this during the install:


Yeah… it can’t find the hard drive. I was having the same problem when I got it back earlier this week, but was able to get it working via the system restore disk. No such luck anymore. Apple will be getting a phone call from me when they open at 9am EST tomorrow morning. This will be the 6th time I’ve mailed my iBook back to them.

EDIT: And a new box is on the way to me.

Web Browser Problems on OS X

I’ve spent a good bit of my night attempting to solve a problem I ran across earlier after reinstalling OS X (10.4.latest) on my iBook. Most web pages aren’t rendering correctly in any browser that I install.

Safari’s behavior:
Notice the search box. Also, uploads to flickr aren’t working.

Firefox, Camino and Opera’s behavior:
Quite a bit of the content seems to be there, no text though…

I’m a bit clueless about what to do next. Deleting profiles and preference files seems to do absolutely nothing. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Note: Pages that are simply html seem to render fine.

Apple iBook G4 Woes

I’ve had an Apple iBook G4 for almost 3 years now and most of the time, I like it. At 1GHz, it’s slow, especially when I try to use Photoshop CS2 and Camera Raw. I don’t have many major complaints though.

Well… technically I only have 1 major complaint. The build quality is less than optimal. And by less than optimal I mean that over the past three years, it has gone back to Apple for:

  • a hard drive,
  • 2 slot loading CD drives,
  • a bezel replacement as it was chipped while having a slot loader replaced,
  • and now, another new hard drive.
  • That’s not to mention the batteries I had to have replaced (Sony’s fault) and the 2 power adapters I had to replace. I honestly don’t understand it, I practically treat this thing with kid gloves. I’ve got a messenger bag it travels in and a padded neoprene sleeve for putting it in my backpack.

    Honestly, I’m getting sick of it. Apple’s design choices don’t help the issue either. The construction isn’t modular or user serviceable at all. The hard drive dies, it gets shipped to Apple. The slot-loader dies with a CD that won’t eject, it gets shipped to Apple. How can this be economical when they pay overnight shipping each way?

    Whatever, my next laptop probably won’t be a Mac. I want something I can use without having to mail it off twice a year to get something fixed.

    Day 65 - Broken Laptop