Following on from my last article about Breezy I’m afraid things have not gotten any better. KUbuntu is just broke! At first I thought the mac style control panel was really cool until I discovered that I can’t get into administrator mode on any of the dialogs. I click the button, enter the password, the border goes red, the panel goes blank, stays blank for some timeout period and then brings me back to the non-admin display. I can click that button all I want but I can never edit any settings that you need to be root for. Yet again not acceptable from a Linux that is supposed to be for "human beings".

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I’d read some good things about the Breezy Badger release of Ubuntu on Planet MiNDS> so I figured I’d give it a go. Simply put, I’m not impressed. Things started off bad when the installer messed up because it made retarded assumptions and now that it’s up and running it is still causing me trouble.

Why the Breezy Badger Install sucks

Firstly, the installer made two assumptions that resulted in me having to intervene and switch to a terminal to sort it out. That’s all well and good for seasoned Linux Users but is totally un-acceptable for a distro that makes a big deal out of being "Linux for Human beings".

Firstly, I find it retarded that the installer even tries to go online, but it does. Fair enough. Where things get really retarded is when it tries to go online WITHOUT ASKING IF YOU NEED TO USE A PROXY! It just sat there. I figured it would time out ….. 5 minutes pass ….. another 5 minutes pass …. I give up and switch to a terminal and kill the process. The installer recovers but skips some setup steps. It was all recoverable later but only with some vi editing and farting round on the command line. Again, no problem at all for a seasoned Linux user but a really big deal for Human Being like my mother!

Secondly Breezy decided that after it had detected my graphics card it should set the resolution, not to a safe number like Windows or OS X would do nor did it ask me what I wanted like Fedora does, nope, it just decided to set the resolution as high as the graphics card can go. Thing is my monitor can’t go as high as my graphics card so as soon as my machine re-booted after the install I got a blank screen when X started and a message from my monitor telling me it couldn’t handle what it was being fed. I fixed it by firing up a terminal and editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf but again, no average user is going to be able, or willing, to do that!

In summation, the installer could have saved me a lot of bother and made the whole experience more pleasant by asking me two simple questions:

  • Do you use a proxy and if so where is it?
  • What resolution would you like from this list your graphics card can handle?

These are simple things that would have made a huge difference and that the Fedora installer lets you do in a nice GUI. When it comes to installers, KUbuntu is FAR behind Fedora as far as the average user is concerned.

After the Installation

There are also two things that are really annoying me now that the system is installed. Firstly, I installed both FireFox and Thunderbird with apt yet when I try to open a link from within Thunderbird NOTHING happens. It’s not that it uses the wrong browser, it just doesn’t use ANY browser! I’ve been copying and pasting links all day and quite frankly it’s a real PITA!

Secondly, I can’t get the MS fonts from apt like I could on the previous release of KUbuntu. I’ve enabled all the repositories and I’ve tried every apt-cache search permutation I can think of and still no joy. It says there is a package that other packages refer to that does what I need but it can’t find the blooming thing!

On a less important note, Niall gave me exceptionally high hopes on the shinneyness of the GUI describing it as "OSX shinny" in his recent post about Breezy, but I was disappointed. It’s nice, very nice even and certainly nicer than the previous KUbuntu or the latest Fedora but it’s still far from OS X shinny I’m afraid.


If you are a Human Being and you want to use Linux, use Fedora!


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This little guide is just a greatly padded out version of instructions I got from Misha but since we have quite a few Ubuntu users and quite a few Java programmers in MiNDS> this should come in quite useful.

Basically this is the Debian way of installing the Sun JSDK so that it can be managed with dpkg and hence easily upgraded or removed at a later date.

Firstly, since Ubuntu IS a distribution of Debian really I will just refer to Debian in these instructions but the instructions also apply to Ubuntu and in fact it was on Ubuntu that I tested this. Also, these instructions assume that you are logged in as a user who has access to root via sudo.

The way this will work is that we will use a Debian package called java-package to turn the binary Linux installer we get from Sun (or IBM and others too) into a proper Debian package (.deb) and then we will use Debian’s package manager (dpkg) to install that Debian package.

The first step in the process is to install the java-package program that will allow us to create the .deb file. To do this simply type:

sudo apt-get install java-package

If you are asked for a password it is for sudo and you should enter your own login password.

The next step is to go to and download the Linux binary installer for the JSDK that you want to install. DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE LINUX RPM FILE!

The next step is to use java-package to turn this binary file into a Debian package, to do this move into the folder where you downloaded the binary file from

NOTE, if you are doing this in the college on your machine for your 4th year project you will have to copy the binary file to /tmp and work from there because local root does not have access to your NFS mounted home directory.

For this step you will need fakeroot, if you don’t have it installed install it with apt-get like so:

sudo apt-get install fakeroot

Once you have fakeroot installed and you are in the right directory start the packaging with the command (replacing file_from_sun.bin with the actual name of the file you got from Sun):

fakeroot make-jpkg file_from_sun.bin

This will now appear to run the Sun installer but rather than installing it into your system it is extracting it to a temporary fake root file system and then creating the .deb file from the files in that fake file system. During this stage you will be asked to agree to the Java license agreement.

When the above command completes (will take a few minutes) a .deb file will have been created in your current folder. This is the file that we will now install with dpkg as follows (replacing name_of_deb_file.deb with the actual name of the .deb file created):

sudo dpkg -i name_of_deb_file.deb

And hey presto you are finished, when ever you want to get rid of that JDK all you have to do is (replacing name_of_deb_file_without_The_extension with the name of the generated .deb file but with the .deb extension left out, e.g. sun-j2sdk1.5):

dpkg --purge name_of_deb_file_without_The_extension

You can then install a new JSDK in the same was as described above or just leave your system Java free (heaven knows why you’d do something mad like that!)

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