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LFS 6.8 not ready for prime time!

I was in an experimenting mood today and decided to give LFS (Linux From Scratch) 6.8 a try.  It is intended to be a from the ground up Linux build system that is primarily aimed at being an educational tool.   The goal is excellent!  Sadly, LFS 6.8 is not.  I did not get very far into the book before I began finding evidence that this version, suposedly the “stable” version, needs serious sanity checking.   More than once I found that the directions left me in the wrong directory.   Worse yet, the heart of the build, the GCC compiler build, fails outrageously.   I tried correcting the instructions but found that even with the paths to the files, etc. corrected it still fails.   I have sent note to the developers with what I have found and hope for some good help and feedback.   It is not beyond possibility that I made some bad mistake along the way, but I believe I was following the directions very, very carefully.   I hope the LSF effort continues and a corrected or updated version is released as it would be a wonderful teaching tool.   However, a teaching tool needs to work flawlessly if it is going to succeed in educating rather than confusing or frustrating the student.

Ubuntu 11.04, another annoying “feature”

Yes, I am going to harsh on Ubuntu 11.04 some more.  Even once you have turned off Unity and returned to a classic Gnome desktop, all is not back to “normal”.  Ubuntu 11.04 introduces a really stupid feature know as the “overlay” scrollbar.   Basically, it is a scrollbar tab that replaces the traditional scrollbar found on a windowed item.   It hides when not in use and pops back up into view when the mouse is moved into its area at the edge of the window.   HOW STUPID!  Who really wants to be playing hide and seek with windowing elements on their screen?  Even worse, this “feature” is found by default in all the Ubuntu derivatives also based on 11.04 such as Xubuntu and Linux Mint.   I would encourage the providers of derivatives to NOT accept every new feature that might be foisted upon us by the Ubuntu developers.   Fortunately, there is a way to turn the overlay scrollbar off and return to a normal scrollbar.

  1. Go to a terminal.
  2. sudo to get administrative privs
  3. paste the following into the command line and hit enter (then reboot for the change to take effect)
  • echo "export LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0" > /etc/X11/Xsession.d/80overlayscrollbars

I found this great tip here:

Another good article that addresses this issue and others in Ubuntu Unity.



Ubuntu 11.04 – disapointing

Ubuntu 11.04 is out and, while I am glad to get a updated version of my favorite Linux distribution, I am disappointed in one of the new changes.  Ubuntu now ships with Unity as its default desktop.   I HATE Unity.  It is Linux for complete morons.  I use Ubuntu because I love that it is a nice, polished, Debian based distro.  For me that also means that it uses a mature desktop, such as GNOME or KDE or Xfce.  I am definitely not in the mood to have a newcomer, immature, idiot desktop like Unity thrust upon me.  I have been using Linux since 1996 and am way, Way, WAY beyond such a dumbed down desktop as Unity.  I would have been happy to give GNOME3 a try, but they did not even present that as an install option – WHY NOT???   So, on Ubuntu 11.04 I chose the GNOME Classic desktop (GNOME 2.32) and pretend the other does not even exist.  I am very disappointed in this and hope it is not the beginning of Canonical and Ubuntu moving away from me as a user.   I will be taking some time now to test out the current build of some of the other Ubuntu derivatives such as Xubuntu and Kubuntu.   I really do like good Debian based Linux distributions and Ubuntu has always been the best for me, but if they continue down this road and do not make sure they provide good options for the experienced power user class of folks, then I am not beyond changing to another Linux distribution and saying goodbye to Ubuntu.  I believe that Unity will prove to be a fundamentally bad move for Ubuntu as its main choice of desktop.

bye bye Ubuntu 10.10

It is with a sad heart that I have backed up my files off of my laptop running Ubuntu 10.10, aka Maverick Meerkat, and reloaded from scratch with the previous version, 10.04, or 10.04.1 specifically. I have typically liked to keep up with the latest, greatest version of Ubuntu with the 6 month releases. In that vain, I upgraded my 10.04 system to 10.10 when it was released. I was not cetain there were any new features that I really needed, and 10.04 was working flawlessly for me, but I just went ahead and dove in headfirst and upgraded. That was a mistake. I immediately noticed some glitches in the screen savers and then discovered that there had been radical changes in the Bluetooth management. I often use Bluetooth to tether my 3G phone and surf the web. Under 10.04, the default Bluetooth manager would not handle this type of arrangement in a convenient way. So, all one had to do is install the Gnome default Bluetooth manager, blueman. It paired with the phone effortlessly this way and then the network manager was used to create a DUN dialup connection for the particular cellular provider. It worked perfectly. Ubuntu 10.10 broke blueman. The default network manager was redesigned to basically combine the functionality of blueman and also streamline the creation of the DUN connection for Mobile Broadband. Looked nice, but unfortunately did not work well at all. It absolutely refused to easily pair to the phone without repeated pairing attempts and then when I finally got it to pair and created the Mobile Broadband connection and get on the web, it would not seem to hold its settings requiring a complete recreation of the connection settings every time I wanted to use it. I needed this to work for me out in the field today and it failed me, causing me much lost time and effort. This upgrade was a REGRESSION! Yes, the dreaded “R” word. I should have know that this release was not going to be a good thing when both I and a friend experienced strange behavior post upgrade to 10.10 on very different systems. Then within days, Ubuntu was pushing down over 400 megabytes of sudden critical updates. Seemed strange at the time, but now I know why – 10.10 was broken, still is in some ways as I have described. I learned a serious lesson this time. Never upgrade and good, stable LTS edition of Ubuntu for the latest greatest 6 month release without thoroughly testing the new release on a separate system. So, I post this blog from a nice freshly installed 10.04.1 build of Ubuntu. Goodbye Maverick Meerkat, it was not nice getting to know you. May you be eaten by a Jackal.

MRI, not fun…

Today I had a VERY unpleasant experience.  I have never considered myself claustrophobic, but after having a MRI today I am really beginning to think I might be.  That was a very tight space and the sounds the MRI machine makes are terrible.  I was getting the MRI for a back problem and laying flat on my back is one of the positions that hurt me worst, so of course I had to lay in there that way and be perfectly still.  The space was so tight that I could not move very much even if I wanted to.   I became quite anxious and my blood sugar plummeted.  Generally, just a bad experience.  That was only 25 minutes in that infernal machine!  I now understand what a trapped animal feels like.   Yet, I got a reminder when I turned on the TV how much I should actually consider myself blessed.   They are preparing to rescue the trapped miners in Chile via a capsule only 21 one inches in diameter through a hole they drilled from the surface down to the location of the miners.  It will take a whole hour just to pull each one out and after so many days trapped underground.  Those are truly courageous men and all the people involved in the rescue are just awesome.   My hat is off to them all.   I feel like such a dope for letting that experience with the MRI machine get to me…