Its been a busy last couple of days for us here at Jumping Bean! During the short time since my last blog I have had to upgraded my laptop to use Ubuntu 6.06, had to upgrade some desktops to Suse 10.1 and one server to Fedora core 5. All I can say is that I am very impressed with this round of distro releases. They are polished and very slick! The open source community is beginning to see the benefits of increasing market penetration. Companies like Novell and Canonical are starting to spend serious money to polish off open source offerings that have been around for years because it makes economic sense.With Microsoft's Vista being delayed yet again till early 2007 (will it ever ship?), businesses have an opportunity like never before to rid themselves of Microsoft lock-in, cut costs and improve IT security!
Java support in Linux distros grow
The biggest benefit for Jumping Bean with this round of distro releases is the improved support for Java. I thought that it would take a few months for Java support to start improving in the Linux distros, following SUN's announcement at Java one this year about open sourcing Java, but it seems that something has been going on behind the scenes for some time. Now getting Java for Suse or Ubuntu is just as matter of selecting it from their package repositories. What a pleasure! Can't wait to see what the next few months bring but I suspect that should SUN move quickly there will be rapid adoption of Java by open source developers. One only needs to look at the Apache foundation to see how many open source developers are already using Java. Now for some brief notes on the upgrades:
Ubuntu 6.06 - Dapper Drake
The Ubuntu upgrade was so smooth it was unbelievable. I made the mistake of initially downloading the full desktop install cd instead of the alternative cd for upgrades, so that was a bit frustrating when I started. I guess I should read the download instructions more carefully next time. Ubuntu now comes in three different variants, namely an iso for new desktop installs, another for upgrades called, wierdly, "alternative iso" why not just "upgrade", and a third for their server version. Aside the mistake of downloading the wrong iso it was a very smooth upgrade. No major problems experienced. I had to re-install the gnome-cups front-end but that was it. Gratefully it fixed it support for Vodacom's 3G card and its support for Java is much appreciated. You can also upgrade via the update manager, once you have installed the latest version, which is nice.
Suse10.1 looks slick. A lot of Novells open source products are now being integrated into Suse such as Zend and apparmor. It also has good support for Java and one can now install NetBeans from YAST. I battled with upgrading though, with different machines giving different problems. A big problem appeared to be some circular reliance in an upgrade to their new update manager which I could only fix by updating through YAST first before updating through the new update manager. There where also problems with the dbus package which I fixed by updating through the online update functionality in YAST as well. The machines are working well now and I must admit I can't remember how I sorted it out in the end. In any event all machines are updated and looking good
Fedora Core 5
There have been a lot fo rave reviews for Fedora Core 5 and they are well deserved. I like Fedora's polish but I don't use it much. I must play around with it some more! My exposure to Fedora Core 5 came when I got a call about a Core 4 server that wouldn't start. Apparently there was a power outage during an automatically scheduled system update which hosed the system. It was maddening as some vital commands, like touch,cp,rpm were causing segmentation faults and the only way to fix them was to re-install the coreutils package and others. I tried to use YUM to re-install but it simply refuses to re-install something once it thinks its already installed. I tried to use rpm to install but this was also seg faulting! I tried to remove rpm with YUM but this would also remove YUM and then I would be screwed. I contemplated using YUM to remove coreutils but then I would be doubly screwed! I tried to do a system repair using the cd's but this was not an option. Eventually I solved the problem by upgrading to Core 5 That all for now. Cheers