Aug 06

kubuntu vs mandriva/mandrake

I recently switched linux distros, and felt like it was an important enough event to talk about it.

Warning there’s a lot of fluff. So have fun reading it.

Before you even start thinking about oh he was unsatisfied with mandriva/mandrake let me stop you there.

I was happy with mandriva. My experience was great with it. It made me fall in love with linux/KDE.

I had a great time running my server on it, and there’s a pretty good chance I might do it in the future.

Then again …

My move to kubuntu was sort of … forced.

My server kept crashing I believe it was because of hardware problems, and not software, of course you never know I could have caused it myself. I recently upgraded my ram so I had 700mb on the old server so I wouldn’t have to fork out the $$ for a new computer. Even tho I knew it was getting time. That computer was 2 years old, and I was keeping my eye out for a good deal. I figured I could increase performance if I just added more memory, and it would feel like I had a faster computer. So I did.

It was great at first, and then funny things started happening. The drive light would come on, and stay on. So I figured maybe … it was time to reinstall linux. Just to be safe. Maybe there were packages on there I didn’t need. Then … I reinstalled 2006.

The whole process for me was a decent day’s work. No big deal. I had /var in a partition, and /home in a /partition so when I reinstalled mandrake was nice enough to let me keep almost all my data. * I still backed up * In fact most of my data is on 2 computers just in case. I’d rather have week old data than loose years of memories.

So I did that, and the problem still happened. Who knows … lookin back maybe I haphazardly installed too many pop servers …

I was happy with mandrake/mandriva I knew where everything was. I liked the fact that perl, and php were automatically installed when I installed apache. It was easy using urpmi, drakrpm, drakconnect, userdrake etc.

Maybe it was time to break down and get another computer/server. After all 365×2 years isn’t that bad for a cheapo < $400 computer. I didn't see any other options I needed another comptuer. So I head over to walmart, and bought an emachine W3502. Not a bad machine at all. Many people I've heard compalin about emachines, and I own 3 of them. I my opinion it's not the machine it's the person running it. I have a 450 mhz gateway that I can still use. - I don't but I can. After that I hopped over to Sam's Club - incidently my son's name is sam (He thinks it's his store.) - I figured if I'm doing this I'm doing it right I got a 250 Gig hard drive for under $100. My new server cost me $450 plus tax. Not bad. I'd been drooling over that hard drive for months. 250 gig was more than enough space for everything. After turning it on, and making sure it booted I quickly turned it off - windows *ick* - It's an insult to use software with a smiely like XP. I have yet to accept the agreement. I'm wasting an 80 gig hard drive having that on there. Popped in my linux cd. Usually I have to do some tweeking to get it to go, I figured worst case senerio I'd have to install in text mode. Not impossible, just not convineient. It froze .. ok. No big deal try vgalo. It froze again. Ok no big deal. Tried text. It froze again. While detecting the PCI. I was bummed. My new friend wasn't going to take that os. For 5 hours I tried a combination of noapic and apic=off. alt0, alt1 etc. I tried as many combinations as I could think of. Even searched the web, and tried #mandriva on irc.freenode.net. Nothing anyone suggested helped. I even tried a trick where I installed linux on one box, and put the hard drives back on the new box. Somewhere in there a person I respect Hawkwind recommened using kubuntu. He had recently switched to that linux distro and I figured why not. Kubuntu is basically Ubuntu but with KDE installed. I guess I downloaed a live cd or something because it booted right into KDE. Which for me was kinda weird. After playing around with it a little I clicked the install button, and was off and running. Spent about an hour just deciding how I would set up the hard drive. Partition wrong now, and I'd be feeling it later. I don't like a bunch of small partitions. Since this was a new computer I installed kubuntu about 5 different times. Mostly because I installed a package wrong, and didn't know about dpkg-reconfigure. Kubuntu uses the apt-get system. So instead of urpmi to install you have to apt-get install .

Adept is a really nice package manager after you get used to it. There’s another package manager right off the main Kmenu. It’s ok, but I didn’t like it as much. Maybe it’s because I knew what I was looking for. Knetload, apache, mysql, php, maybe perl.

/etc/sources.list
##############################################
### More sources avaliable at              ###
### http://ubuntulinux.nl/source-o-matic   ###
##############################################

deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper main restricted
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper-updates main restricted
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper-updates main restricted

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'universe'
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## universe WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security
## team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper universe
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper universe

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'backports'
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security main restricted
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security main restricted
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security universe
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-security universe

##############################
### Added from a web page. ###
##############################

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper main restricted universe multiverse

## MAJOR BUG FIX UPDATES produced after the final release
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-updates main restricted universe multiverse

## BACKPORTS REPOSITORY (Unsupported.  May contain illegal packages.  Use at own risk.)
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu dapper-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## PLF REPOSITORY (Unsupported.  May contain illegal packages.  Use at own risk.)
deb http://packages.freecontrib.org/plf dapper free non-free
deb-src http://packages.freecontrib.org/plf dapper free non-free

## CANONICAL COMMERCIAL REPOSITORY (Hosted on Canonical servers, not Ubuntu
## servers. RealPlayer10, Opera and more to come.)
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu dapper-commercial main

To update your respritories instead of running urpmi-update you type apt-get update. That will update the list of packages. It goes pretty fast compared to when I used to get a hdlist in mandrake. Then again, it could just be the new computer.

One of the most annoying things I experienced in kubuntu is that Konsole kept beeping at me, and I had to press tab twice *argh*

~/.inputrc
set show-all-if-ambiguous on

Add that single line, and your tab problems are over. I miss mandrake.

One really nice thing about kubuntu is you don’t have to *pay* to get the update icon to work. Mandriva makes you join their club. Kind of back handed considering … *it’s free*

The oddest, and most annoying “feature” of kubuntu is their inssent use of sudo. I want to be root. I want to know I can edit files using kate, and not have to keep typing sudo over and over. Maybe I’m missing something, and you can sudo once, then edit stuff.

The way I got around this is I sudo passwd, entered my password, and then su ed and logged into root. ARG problem #2. Apparently when I did that I lost my DISPLAY. Things just weren’t working right .

I couldn’t run my beloved text editor kate. A program I use 95% of the time.

After doing an su -h I discovered that I could su -m or su -p and have the DISPLAY variable. There were problems with this. I’m sure that there’s 1-10 lines of code somewhere if I had, I could fix the problem, but for now su -p is just what I have to live with.

I added this.

# ~/.bashrc
alias sup='su -p'

I never use it because.

Shortly after doing that I discovered yet another mind boggling problem. cd didn’t take me to /root. It took me to /home/erm. ARG

That’s just plain annoying.

So if I write a script that I want to got to home I have to exit out. su without -p then run it.

No big deal. I can deal with this.

Next thing that was a bad thing, that turned into a good thing was this. I tried to install php-mbstring. It didn’t exist. That sucked. I spent a day rewriting a script that worked fine before. I didn’t feel like recompiling php just for 1 function. I found out that I could easily use the php imap package to connect to the server, download the mail straight from the mail box vs a piped alias in postfix.

Overall my experience with kubuntu is this.

Pros

  • Better Package Management
  • It won’t let you install 2 pop servers by accident *good thing*
  • Free update
  • No tweaking to get it to install.
    • With mandriva I usually tried 2 or 3 times before I figured out if vgalo, vgahi, text, or linux would work best.
  • The software is more up to date.
    • This is really apparent when you install firefox, and it’s 1.x and 2.0.5 has already been released.

    Cons

    • One tab in the shell would have been nice to complete.
    • No Root Account
    • No galaxy style in kde? Oh well I can deal with it.

    Overall kubuntu has done a great job at making a great linux. It’s 95% like mandriva. The area’s it’s not it either drives you crazy, or you learn to live with it.

    Honestly the more I use it the more I like it. It’s been a little frustrating at times, but at the same time it’s been fun getting used to this new distro.

    If mandriva is giving you a hard time, why not try kubuntu.

    Erm

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