Cairns and Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2011 | | In , , , ,

Meet Cairns

Dell Optiplex GX260
small form factor
One of the computers I received from the local library, a small form factor edition of a Dell Optiplex GX260 tentatively named Cairns, is slated to receive a Kubuntu Maverick install soon. Cairns has 640 MB of memory and ran the Kubuntu Maverick disc without any hitches (aside from the 'cannot boot from this disk' error it threw when I first tried to boot it. A reboot convinced it of the error of its ways). It stayed idle for a day and a half while I forgot I'd left it on (it runs a lot more quietly than Kurdnatta ever did, but he had some hard disk issues), and when I returned, it was as good as it had been when I left it. That was a few weeks ago.

I didn't have the same kind of luck with the disc when I tried installing it a few days ago. The LiveCD hung twice: once before it got to the live desktop and the other after I told it I wanted to install. It worries me that this version kicks out the same getpwuid_r() error that made me rip Lucid off my other test box. Black Screen of Death, they call it. I'm sincerely hoping this edition has fixed that glaring and unforgivable error. The end user, even on a Linux system, should not be forced to hack her own GRUB in order to have a usable system. Even the LiveCD threw that error.

I checked the LiveCD for errors and it came back clean. It doesn't help that the CD drives on these library computers are the slowest ever produced by mankind. The small form factor machine has what amounts to a laptop CD drive. It has no motor to open and shut the door and is therefore a lot smaller, but it sure does make a lot of racket while it takes ten minutes or more to go from the splash screen to the Live desktop. *whirrrr-grindgrindgrindgrind-snick-whirrrrr*

I seem to have a problem with Kubuntu LiveCDs locking up on various machines. BotanyBay wouldn't run an earlier version (Karmic or Lucid, I forget which) for more than half an hour (during which I fiddled and poked at everything I could, 'cos I'm like that) before locking mouse and keyboard and requiring a reset.

My laptop, currently running Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackelope with about five window managers available (KDE is my favourite), is in need of an upgrade. Things have started failing or behaving oddly, and Jaunty is out of support. Having used Windows for so very long and having had odd behaviour from Linuxes in the past, I'm leery. I need to remember to back up the system, or at least my important documents, to my terabyte drive before I do the upgrade. I would burn them to a CD, but K3B is one of the things that's not working properly anymore. *facepalm*

The install

I've managed to get Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat installed successfully on Cairns. No real problems: the install was very smooth. It booted up fine and I'm streaming ambient downtempo electronica from from it right now. I haven't had a chance to really work with the system yet. It should ultimately become my new print server (with Windows XP as the only OS choice for the scanner, unfortunately), but before I set it to its new job I may take it into the bedroom to have a machine in there that runs Kubuntu. Once I'm settled in with the new install, I'll make sure everything's backed up here on the laptop and *gulp* set about doing my upgrade to 9.10. I'm hoping that won't be too much of an adventure. More on how Maverick and Cairns get along to come.

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