Taking the plunge – Resolution Blues

Well, the problems I had with resolutions during installation were not isolated to the LiveCD – alas, even though I now have Ubuntu 7.04 installed, I am unable to set my resolution higher than 800×600. I’m Googling for a solution, and will update this post as I make progress.

Taking the plunge – Part 2

Well, that was quick before I ran into a problem! During the first boot on my desktop computer (pre-installation), Ubuntu defaulted to run in 800×600. This wouldn’t seem like a huge deal for me during the installation process – however, the installer needs a few more vertical pixels than that. The “next” buttons for the wizard weren’t visible/clickable at all!

I tried changing the screen resolution using the System menu – however, I was only able to choose between 640×480 and 800×600.

I figure I should mention what my setup involves. I have an ATI Radeon 9600 All-in-Wonder, with a Samsung SyncMaster 174v monitor. I’m not sure which one of these is the culprit, though I found a post about someone else with a Radeon card who had the exact same issue. I figured out an easy-enough workaround, though – moving the default panels from the top and bottom to the sides of the screen. I suppose hiding them would have been an option, too, but I wanted to keep them there. Right-click on either panel, choose “Properties,” and change the “Orientation” setting to the left or right. Then move the Installer window to the top of the screen, and you can at least view the tops of the buttons.

I wish that the installer were usable in 800×600 with, even if it involved using some sort of scrollbar. It seems unlikely that they need that full amount of screen real estate, but we’ll see.

Hopefully the next post won’t be for a while longer… 🙂

Taking the plunge (Switching to Ubuntu)

Ever since Mac OS X was rolled out in the University of Michigan computer labs, I’ve considered myself a multi-platform computer user. I use different OS’s for different tasks – most of my development and work-related tasks are done on a Windows machine, while I use my Powerbook for casual browsing/e-mail and music-related tasks.

My work with Linux was typically limited to console-based use, though – I administer several Linux webservers, and can achieve all I want through the commandline over SSH. Recently, however, I’ve had a desire to broaden my use of Linux to “desktop use” – especially since it appears that I can get seamless virtualization of Windows apps inside Ubuntu with relative ease. I’ve been watching Ubuntu for a while, playing around with it inside the VMWare player, and decided that now was a good time to make the switch for real on my primary desktop computer.

Over the next few blog entries, I plan on documenting any pitfalls I’ve encountered, in case anyone else runs into the same.

The first thing I had to was convince my wife that switching to Ubuntu was right for us. She liked the logo, so that was a good start. What was even more helpful was the Installer/Live CD, though. I was able to show her Firefox, OpenOffice, and the general UI of Ubuntu without having to commit to anything. She wasn’t particularly wowed at this point in the time, but that’s sort of the point – the interface is something that just seems “right.” It’s not shocking, it just works how you would expect it to.

Next up, preparing my system for the switch. We’ve got loads of documents, including every paper from college, lots of programming projects, gigs and gigs of photos… all on NTFS partitions (split across one internal and two external drives). Using the LiveCD, I was able to see that Ubuntu read those partitions just fine. I decided to copy all of our data from the internal drive onto one of the external drives, format the internal drives using an open filesystem, and keep both the external drives as NTFS for now. While I did title this post “Taking the plunge,” I’m not ready to jump in headfirst – I’d like to be able to get out of the water relatively easily in case anything goes wrong.

Finally, I used an Ultimate Boot CD for Windows that I made a while ago to make a backup image of my primary Windows partition. I probably could have done this using some sort of free program without having to use the UBCD, but since I had it, it was easier to just go with it.

Next entry: the installation process!