Weekly Summary

Some things that didn’t qualify for a unique posting during the past week.

The OS Quest Updates

Full Feeds now really fully feeds. I’ve always used the setting for “full feeds” but due to a feature/bug in WordPress the articles were cut off whenever I used the <more> tag. (btw, that’s not the exact tag). Thanks to a WordPress plugin called Full Text Feed which fixes the problem.

As an aside, the previous post was the 100th post.

Parallels Technology Network (PTM)

Tech.Blorge reports that Parallels has launched a free Parallels Technology Network (PTN). From the PTN page…

The Parallels Technology Network is dedicated to consolidating the efforts and activities of third party developers who create Parallels Virtual Appliances. The Parallels Technology Network includes the Parallels Virtual Appliances Directory, Knowledge Base, and Community Forum.

The PTN includes a free virtual appliance directory. An example of a virtual appliance is a OpenOffice virtual appliance which is ready to run OpenOffice under Parallels on any Mac or PC.

WEP Cracked in Under a Minute

WEP has been one big security vulnerability for awhile. But now it can be cracked in under a minute. Wi-Fi Planet is one of many sites with the story.

Office 2003 Service Pack Planned

Microsoft says it is “backporting” work it did for Office 2007 and wll release it as a service pack. There’s no release date set. The last Office 203 service pack was in 2005. There’s no details on what’s included but there’s expected to be several security fixes and enhancements.

Dell Brings Back Windows XP

Dell is bringing back the option of ordering Windows XP with a new PC. Some have claimed it’s a sign that Vista is in trouble. I suspect it’s more of a case of Dell tweaking Microsoft about licensing. Dell is also saying they’ll office a Linux option. No doubt some people will want Windows XP and small businesses may want Windows XP to stay consistent with what they have.

But unless you have a good reason to buy Windows XP you might as well get Vista when you buy a new PC. It’s the latest OS and if you want to keep you new PC for a few years you’ll probably run into “Vista Only” software in a year or two.

SiteUpTime – Web Site Monitoring

I came across SiteUpTime.com which does web site monitoring, as the name implies. They offer a free plan which I just signed up for to monitor The OS Quest.

The free plan includes:

  • 1 Monitor
  • 30 or 60 minute check intervals
  • 4 Monitoring Locations
  • Email Alerts
  • Monthly Reports
  • Online Statistics
  • Control Panel
  • Web Server Monitoring (http)
  • Email Server Monitoring (pop3)
  • Email Server Monitoring (smtp)
  • FTP Server Monitoring (ftp)
  • Public Statistics

There are some reguirements on the free account. You need to link to their site (I added a badge to the right sidebar) and you need to agree to receive occassional emails about their services. Plus you can only have one free account.

The way the system works is you specify a primary location (of the four) when creating the monitor. If the site in not accessible from the selected monitor then additional locations will be checked. The locations are San Fransisco, Chicago, New York and London.

The also have Premium and Advanced plans which increase the number of monitors, frequency of monitoring and the type of services that can be monitored.

It’s worth noting that your monitoring services, not servers. So if you want to monitor both ftp, web and email on a server you’ll need three monitors.

I just signed up so I can’t really say if the service is as good as it seems. But, it will be interesting to see how Bluehost does, even though a 30 minute interval leaves a lot of time for unnoticed server reboots.

Mozy Mac Backup Beta Goes Public

Mozy had begun the public beta of the MacMozy Backup and the client is now available for everyone to download from their home page. The version is 0.4.1.1 which is a new version for me.

The previous version had failed to work for me in that backups would fail to complete and simply appear to hang up. If I rebooted the Mac this seemed to force Mozy to complete and record that fact. This problem has gone away for the latest version.

I am very, very happy with the latest version as most of my problems are gone. Specifically…

  • Historical backup versions of files can now be restored from the web interface. Previously only the last copy was available.
  • Restores via Backup sets are available from the web interface. Previously they did not display at all.
  • Every backup so far has completed in a timely manner. Previous versions would sometimes hang up.

While I hate the idea of trusting my data to beta software, any beta software, the latest Mac Mozy has the polish of a finished product and is light-years ahead of their final private beta version.

If you have a broadband connection and a Mac, the Mozy Mac software is stable enough to now recommend, with the warning that it is still beta (under development) software. If you want to try Mozy and want support this site you can click here (you also get an extra 256MB backup with that link). Accounts up to 2GB are free and unlimited space accounts are $5/mth. You can use this Mozy link if you’d prefer not to use the affiliate link.

SanDisk Ultra II SD Card with USB

I’d heard about this gadget on the GizWiz podcast. It seemed like a great idea. A SD card that had a built in USB adapter which eliminates the need for a separate USB card reader. Seemed like a great idea to me and I can always use an SD card.

Now that I have the card I’m even more impressed. When it’s flat it’s a regular SD card. I used it in my Nikon D50 without a problem since it works like a regular SD card.

To plug it into a USB port you bend it in half, as shown in the picture. Then it plugs into the USB port and works like any USB thumb drive or external drive. Pictures can easily be copied from the card. It worked fine on my Mac and Windows XP SP2 machine.

Since the card has to fit in a SD slot there’s only so much heft that can be provided. This leads to my concern that the hinges are a bit fragile. Care needs to be taknd when bending the card in half. It takes a bit of force to unlock it. The force should be applied in the middle or on both sides. The hinge should be OK with normal use. If you plug the card into a laptop you should also be careful not to bang it into something since it’s small enough to forget.

The card comes with a hard case, sized for the card, with an attached keyring. The case snaps closed so the card fits securely inside. The drive also comes with the typical hard plastic case that all SD, compact flash and similar cards come it.

I wouldn’t recommend the card for use as a thumb drive replacement since they generally take some abuse (at least mine do) and you don’t need the card if your laptop/pc/printer has a SD card slot. But this is a great solution to avoid having to use a card reader. You can also use it to take pictures and be sure you can read them on any modern PC since most PCs have USB ports while not too many have SD card readers.

This is a link to view the 2GB version.

Superduper!: Disk Cloning/Backup For Mac

Image in this post have been lost.

I’d purchased and used Superduper! with my Mac Mini but when I moved to the iMac I stopped using it. I had used it as a cloner and I didn’t really want to do clones as my primary backup anymore (so I thought) so I switched to Apple Backup. Apple Backup has it’s faults (that’s a different story so see my Apple Backup post) so I decided to give Superduper! another spin for doing backups.

I don’t remember if I ever used Superduper! on my iMac but it was already installed so I fired it up. I was immediately prompted that there was an upgrade ready, version 2.1.4(82) [from 1.5.5 (v74)] so I clicked the button to do the upgrade. It came up as an unregistered version which answered the question if I had used it. The unregistered version does provide a subset of features that will never expire but I dug out the registration number and plugged it into the software.

Installation

Installation is simple. The download is a disk image file (.dmg), open it via double-clicking and drag the SuperDuper! icon to your Applications folder.

Using SuperDuper!

First I started with the basics. I wanted a backup of my home directory, not a clone of the hard disk. This way my backup uses less space and I can put other files on the target drive. When SuperDuper! starts the main screen is displayed.

The first time the program starts the fields up to are blank.

The “Copy” field is the source. You can pick any source drive, internal, external, iPod, USB thumb drives, etc… You do not pick a directory in this field but can limit the copy later. For the “To” (destination) you also pick any drive (other than the source). The destination has to have enough space for the actual files but can be smaller than the source if there’s enough free space for the files.

The “Using” field contains the pre-built (out of the box) scripts for file selection. You can also create your own scripts but that’s beyond the scopt of this review. The “Using” (script) choices are shown in this screenshot.

“Backup – user files” will backup your home directory. “Backup – all files” will clone the entire hard disk except for certain files that Apple says shouldn’t be cloned.

The “Sandbox…” selections are a nice feature of SuperDuper but aren’t really backups. The sandbox creates a bootable copy of your system on another drive (or partition) but the data is shared with you regular boot drive. The sandbox helps you recover quickly if your boot partition fails but your data is not duplcated.

Currently, I only use SuperDuper to backup my user directory on my iMac. On my Mac Mini I cloned the entire drive and could boot off of either drive at any time. I’ll concentrate on my iMac here. I backup it up to a Disk Image. There are two disk image destination options. The first, which is the one I use, is “Read/Write “Sparse” Image. The sparse image can be used over and over and it will grow to accommodate the data. The second type is a “Read Only Disk Image”. This is recreated in full each time. “Read Only Disk Image” is recommended when multiple systems are being restored from a single image.

Then you have a choice of options. You can repair permissions before the copy (only available when doing a full clone). You can do a “Smart Update” which means it will only make the changes (add/modify/delete) necessary to make the destination match the source. It’s much quicker to do the backup this way. You can also optionally erase the destination instead and start fresh. Other options include only copying new or updated files (nothing is deleted). These last two items are intended for merging images and should not be used to create a bootable disk.

You can also tell SuperDuper! what to do when it’s done: quit SuperDuper!, nothing, shutdown computer, sleep computer, restart from the destination, or set destination as startup disk. The last two options are only available if a full clone (not just user files) was done to a physical drive (not an image file).

I didn’t use any of the Advanced options but they include running a shell script before or after the copy, copying the ACLs, to create a disk image of the backup (in addition to your backup). You can also automatically install a package on the destination once the copy is done.

Once you’ve set everything the main screen will tell you what’s going to happen.

You can click “Copy Now” to start immediately. You can also click “Schedule” to set up a recrring schedule. Multiple schedules can be configured and the options for each schedule are presented on one screen.

Like the main screen, what’s going to happen is clearly described.

The Mac cannot be asleep (or off) when the scheduled time arrives but unlike Apple Backup it’s not affected if the Mac is scheduled to awake just before the scheduled backup time. Even the “Smart Update” can take some time if it has a lot of files to check (like your entire drive) but this is true of any backup software. (But “Smart Update” takes a fraction of the time on my Mac. Last night it took 14 minutes in total. It had to evaluate 186.2GB containing 159,641 directories, 726,663 files and 30547 symlinks. It had to copy 4,905 items totaling 7.95 GB which was 556 directories, 1,915 files and 2,434 symlinks.

Restoration is simple. To restore individual files just attach the external drive and drag the files back. If the backup was made to an image files simply mount the image file and drag the files back. To recover from complete disaster you can either boot from the cloned drive (if a full clone was done) or boot from the OS X DVD and run the Disk Utility to restore from the external drive or image file. The SuperDuper! manual has complete (and short) instructions. The important thing to remember is SuperDuper! doesn’t have any native restore functions. It clones/saves the files in a way that can be accessed through OS X or, in the case of a complete failure, through a standard OS X restore process. You do not need SuperDuper! to do the restore.

SuperDuper! also includes ability to create copy scripts so you can customize what gets or doesn’t get copied. You can either modify the four standard scripts or start from scratch.

Summary

Pros

  • Excellent Value- I bought the software back in September of 2005 when it was version 1.x. When I fired it up this week it was upgraded to version 2.1 at no additional cost. I couldn’t find an upgrade policy on their website, but I’ve never been charged for an upgrade since I purchased it.
  • Don’t need SuperDuper! to do a restore. No hunting for or configuring a program to get your files back.
  • Scheduling option works when the Mac just wakes up, unlike Apple Backup (sorry, had to mention it again, it’s a pet peeve of mine).
  • Easy to understand interface that clearly says what it will do based on your selections.
  • Backs up all attributes. I did not have any problems with missing meta data when restoring files. This probably in part due Finder being used to restore the files, but the quality of SuperDuper’s copy engine shouldn’t be minimized. Finder couldn’t copy what’s not there.
  • If you clone the entire disk then recovery is as quick as booting from the backup disk if your main drive fails completely.

Cons

  • Basic disk cloning/file copy only. Lacks more advanced backup features such as keeping historical versions. You could use the scheduler to set up a rotation to different backup location but this would use a lot of disk space.

SuperDuper! is a low cost method of getting quick, reliable safety backups. It doesn’t include advanced features like encryption (useful for safely storing backups outside your house) or the ability to manage multiple or historical backups. What it does do is reliably and easily clone disks and copy data as good as or better than anything that I’ver seen. If you don’t need those advanced features then SuperDuper! is all you’ll need. If you want those advanced features you’ll probably get SuperDuper! as a disk cloner and then license the full version to use it as a quick, reliable safety backup.

Try/Buy

Superduper! is currently available for $27.95 from Shirt Pocket Software. There’s a trial version available. The trial version can be used forever. The features missing from the trial version are scheduling, smart updating, sandboxing and scripting. If you’re going to be using SuperDuper for backup’s you’ll want the licensed version.

Mozy News Update

Mozy made the news this week by signing a big deal with GE. Both TechCrunch and the International Herald Tribune are reporting the story.

Based on the stories GE will be using the MozyPro version of the software to back up 300,000 desktops. MozyPro is similar to the free consumer software but they add 24/7 support, server support and centralized administration. Mozy has 25 employees and they say they’ve signed up 3,000 companies since December.

You can click the banner below to sign up for a free 2GB account. Currently only Windows is supported. They have a Mac client in early beta which you can read about in various posts I’ve made. But the Mac Mozy client is still a earlier beta and not ready to be trusted with your critical data.

Mozy Mac Beta Software Update

This post is obsolete and the images have been removed.

Mozy has released an update to their Mac client software which is still an early beta. The version gets bumped from 0.4.0.8 to 0.4.0.9.

I’ve been having a problem with the software lately where files vanish from the server. Although it appears they actually get removed by the client since I see delete messages in the log. Sometimes they get backed up again at a later time although at the moment I’ve only got 341MB out of my 1.2GB backup on the server. I’m hoping this release fixes that.

I downloaded and installed the update. Then I wen into “Configure Mozy” and noticed many of my backup sets had a size of zero. So I double-clicked each one, put the cursor in the search field and hit enter. When it listed the found files I saved it. I had previously done this instead to resolve an issue where the estimated sizes were outrageous but I held off doing that for now.

Then I fired off a backup. The size and time estimates indicate it’s going to do all the missing files. It’s telling me it’s got a little over a day left but in the past (with earlier versions) it ended up being much quicker as files were “found” on the server. The time is reasonable since I have a relatively slow 384kps up. I’m hoping it’ll take that long since finding the files in the past wasn’t permanent and they soon vanished again.

Even though I’m not going to trust my backups to beta software I’m hoping this will resolve my vanishing file issue.

Ubuntu 7.04 First Look

This post is obsolete and screenshots have been removed.

It’s finally time to take the new Ubuntu release out for a spin. As background – it’s been about 2 years since I’ve run any version of Linux except for a brief attempt to run Ubuntu 6 on my laptop. That doesn’t count since I spent all my time trying to get wireless working and went back to Windows XP when the effort out-weighted the reward. Based upong what I’ve read Ubuntu is the most popular linux distribution and it’s strong point is that it’s easy for a person to start using it. It may not be the “best” since that depends on your definition, but the ways it’s set up makes it easily accessible to people. So my approach will simply be to fire it up and work my way through the applications and features as they present themselves. I wrote about the installation of Ubuntu 7.04 under Parallels here.

I had noticed after the installation that sound wasn’t enabled. So first I went into the Parallels VM configuration and added sounds. I picked default audio as both the output and input devices. I also change the VM configuration to use the phyiscal CD/DVD drive rather than the Live CD image which I had installed from. This change appeared to speed up the boot time.

I boot the Ubuntu VM and log on. I hear the Ubuntu music during the logon so I know the sound is now working. I’m drawn to the right half of the top menu bar:

 

First, I have a message that there are updates. The icon to the right of that has a warning triangle. Holding my mouse over it shows “No Network Connection” which would cause a problem getting the updates, so I click it. I get the options shown in the screenshot to the left. I click “Wired connection”. The icon animates itself to show it’s working and then displays a message that I’m connected. The warning triangle is now gone. [As an aside, the network is disabled on every boot and has to be enabled each time. This could be due to Parallels and I’ll look into it at a later time.]

Now that I’m on the network I click the icon the check for updates. There are two of them.

 

I click “Install Updates” and then get a prompt to enter my password. I get a warning that the software can’t be authenticated. I go ahead and allow the update. The update is quick and I quickly get a message that it’s complete. The update icon is gone from the menu bar now.

I’ll start my tour on the left side of the status bar. Rather than dig into the menus I’ll start with the icons. From right to left I click on the question mark which is obviously help.

 

This brings up the help center which is shown to the right. (Click to see it full size.) The “New to Ubuntu” section has “Basic Computer Skills”, a desktop overview, describes the role of the administrator and a section for Windows users. The help topics are pretty good but I don’t see a lot of people reading them, there going to dive right in, which is what I’ll do in a minute.

But first, I didn’t enter in any password for a root user which was different than my earlier Linux experience so I read the “role of administrator” section. Functionally it’s very similar to what Mac users do. The first user created has “sudo” (means “superuser do” but think administrator) access by default. Other users can be given sudo access but don’t have it by default. When there’s a need for administrator access (when sudo needs to run) you’ll be prompted for your password (assuming you have sudo access). The password will be remembered for 15 minutes to cut down on annoying multiple prompts.

Time to stop reading the help and click that envelope icon which is obviously e-mail. Holding the mouse over it tells me it’s Evolution Mail. The configuration wizard starts when I click the icon. I configure my demo IMAP mailbox (I’ll cover the configuration in a another post). The version of Evolution is 2.10.1 which is the latest version. Information on Evolution can be found on it’s project page on the Gnome website. Evolution is similar to Outlook in that it handles email, calendaring, tasks, memos and contacts. If someone is looking to use Ubuntu as their primary desktop Evolution may be a better choice than Thunderbird because it ties email, calendars, memos and contacts all in one application. Business wanting groupware would certainly be interested but my focus is more on the individual. I’ll be installing Thunderbird if it doesn’t turn up later in the tour so I can have consistency across OS’s. I send and receive a test email to verify it works then shut down Evolution.

The next icon fires up Firefox. The version is 2.0.3 which is the latest version. The nice thing about Firefox is it’s consistency across platforms so I’m not going to spend a lot of time with it. The available search engines in the search bar are shown to the left. I try the “Ubuntu Package Search” by searching for Thunderbird. While there are 53 matches, it doesn’t appear that Thunderbird 2 has been packaged up for Ubuntu yet.

Enough of Firefox for now. Time to dig into the menus. The Applications menus lists Accessories, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office Sound & Video, and finally Add/Remove.

“Accessories” includes a calculator with Basic, Advanced, Financial and Scientific modes. There’s also a character map utility and a dictionary which work as expected. Tomboy Notes is a post-it note type application that allows linking and searching notes in addition to web and e-mail links, spell check, fonts and bulleted lists.

A screen shot utility that can take the entire screen or just a window is also included while terminal is also available through the accessories menu. Rounding out the accessories are a disk usage utility and basic text editor.

The “Games” menu includes 17 selections including Solitare, Blackjack. Chess, Freecell, Mahjongg, Mines and Sudoku.

There’s four programs under the Graphics menu. F-Spot is a photo manager. Version 0.3.5 is installed and it’s the latest version. Gimp 2.2 is the image editor. A new bug fix update for Gimp was released a few days ago so the version delivered with Ubuntu is out of date. Version 2.2.14 is the latest while 2.2.13 is delivered with Ubuntu. gThumb Image Viewer and XSane Image Scanner round out the graphics programs. Ubuntu has version 2.10 (the latest) of gThumb even though it was released on March 19th. XSane is a frontend to the SANE libraries that allows you to work with scanners. XSane is up to version 0.994 although it’s a slightly older 0.991 delivered with Ubuntu.

Then there’s the meat and potatoes office menu that includes Evolution (same as the icon on the menu bar) and the OpenOffice.org(OOo)components for Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentations and Database. Version 2.2 is the latest release of OOo and is what’s delivered with Ubuntu. OOo is a MS Office replacement and can read Office files through the Office 2003 versions. It can’t yet read Offce 2007 formated files although they are working on it. But as an Office Suite it’s comparable to the Office features.

For entertainment, the “Sound and Video” menu includes Totem Movie Player 2.18.1, Rhythmbox Music Player 0.10.0, Serpentine 0.7 Audio CD Creator, Sound Juicer CD Extractor and finally Sound Recorder 2.18.0.

I’m not going to go through all the menu selections under Places and System, but the highlights are:

  • There’s a CD/DVD creator under the Places menu. It works similarly to the OS X “Burn” folders or the XP “Send to CD” context menu.
  • The Network Places has the ability to connect to a Windows Network (I’m unable to test it) as part of the network browser.
  • Of course, there’s a search selection under the Places menu

The System menu has all the expected Preference options and System tools.

 

Summary

As expected, Ubuntu has a full complement of applications from browsing to a full office suite. I can see where Ubuntu gets it’s reputation as an accessible OS. They present one choice for each function, unlike many other Linux distros which present multiple choices for various tasks. For example, other distros have multiple browsers and email clients. While there’s sure to be debate about whether or not the choices made were the best or not, it’s certain that a large number of people would side with the choices made.

I was also happy to see Gnome was easy to use. I had seen it before in other distributions (and a couple years ago) and found it confusing and hard to use. That certainly isn’t the case here. If I was looking to give someone a desktop that would be used primarily for browsing, email and multi-media Ubuntu would fit the bill. Anyone familir with Windows could sit right down and start using it.

I haven’t tried configuring wireless yet. I’ve never been able to configure a reliable wireless connection on the hardware I have available. Ubuntu claims to simplify and improve wireless configuration but it will be some time before I put that to the test.

I look forward to starting to use the applications to see if Ubuntu’s as functional as it appears.

Next up I’ll take a look around Vista and see how the default install looks and compare it to Ubuntu.

Windows Vista on Parallels

This post is obsolete and the screenshots have been removed.

After my (eventually) successful Ubuntu install on Parallels I decided to try and continue my streak and install Vista. I had licenses for Ultimate and Business. Parallels doesn’t support the 3D Graphics needed for the Aero interface and Bitlocker disk encryption isn’t supported in a virtual environment so I won’t be able to see these features of Ultimate. But with Ultimate I’ll be able to see all the features available in the Home editions.

Out of curiosity I went to Dell and found a machine that included Home Basic in it’s price. Home Premium added $30 to the price while Ultimate added $199 to the price. Before giving into to the implied benefits of something named “Ultimate” check out the feature comparison at Microsoft. You’ll probably find Home Premium is all you need. If you want the Aero interface features they’ll cost you $169 since there’s not much else in Ultimate a typical home user will use. I thought I read where Microsoft would have some “Ultimate Only” add-ons but nothing like this jumps out on their website. Maybe they’ll show up once I start running Ultimate.

Installation of Vista under Parallels was straightforward and easy. The process was the same for both Business and Ultimate. I selected File -> New from the Parallels menu to create a new VM. I selected a “Windows Express” installation on the first wizard screen. Since it was basically a straight click-through installation the screen prints are here, at the end. The wizard screen were self-explanatory – select Vista, enter a serial number and name, specify a name for the virtual machine (if you don’t want the default provided) and select whether you want to install from a physical CD or CD image. I do all my installations from a CD image and keep the images on a external hard drive. I find it easier than having all these CDs around (that I can’t keep track of anyway) plus the installation is faster and my physical drive is available to watch a DVD while the install runs. Parallels has a “Parallels Image Tools” that can make an ISO file from the CD/DVD so you don’t need any additional software.

As I said, the installation was straight-forward and without incident. The install was completely automated once I clicked “Finished” in the wizard. It appeared to be faster that the Ubuntu 7.04 installation although I didn’t time either one. The Parallels tools are needed in the guest OS and they are automatically installed at the end. There’s a warning to accept any security prompts of which there are a few. The only manual step was to set the correct time zone the first time I booted into Vista.

When starting up the Vista VM in parallels it goes right to the desktop without prompting for a password. I never entered an ID or password during the installation so I did a logoff. The ID that appeared for me to logon to was “Administrator”.

This implies that I’m running as the administrator under Vista which isn’t recommended from a security standpoint. It’s maybe less critical when running in a VM, especially one that does not run all the time. I’ll leave it for now but I’ll make a note and look into it down the road. Also, the account password was blank. While it’s a virtual machine that’s another configuration choice that’s likely to get the VM clobbered at some point down the road.

Coherence mode is enabled but the VM starts in a window.

The stats for the installations

Windows Vista Ultimate

  • Memory: 512MB
  • Screen Resolution: the screen sizes itself for the size of the window it is running in
  • Hard Disk (as seen by guest OS): 31.2GB of which 7.36GB is used
  • Hard Disk used on Mac: 5.5GB
  • Hard Disk Image Size When Zip’d: 2.6GB
  • Sound is enabled
  • USB is available

Windows Vista Business

  • Memory: 512MB
  • Screen Resolution: the screen sizes itself for the size of the window it is running in
  • Hard Disk (as seen by guest OS): 31.2GB of which 6.68GB is used
  • Hard Disk used on Mac: 4.9GB
  • Hard Disk Image Size When Zip’d: 2.6GB
  • Sound is enabled
  • USB is available

In both cases the screen resolution starts up at 640 X 480 if you don’t do anything, but the resolution changes as you size the window. By default 16MB is assigned to video memory which supports resolutions up to 2560 X 1600.

Screen Shots

The screenshots have been removed.

 

Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) On Parallels

This post is obsolete and the images are removed.

I had downloaded Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) last night in preparation for installing it tonight. I figured I’d get home and knock out the installation in short order. So I got home put on a pot of coffee and got to it. The good news is that by the second pot of coffee the install was actually running. The additional good news was I had a working installation by the time I was done. The bad news is it took so long I haven’t had a chance to try out Ubuntu yet.

I’m doing a new install, not an upgrade. To keep the problems short and simple – I couldn’t boot the live CD under Parallels but it booted fine on the Mac itself (an Intel Mac) and my PC. Various things, like turning off acpi changed the error but the result was always failure. Here’s how I eventually got a successful install. (Click on the thumbnail to see the full size image.)

Start Parallels and selected File -> New from the menu to start the installation assistant.

 

Select a Typical VM and the OS selection screen was displayed. Select Solaris as the OS Type and Solaris 10 as the OS version. Yea, I know, it’s not the right OS. But selecting the “correct” Linux Kernel 2.6 doesn’t work. This one does.

 

Then you’ll be asked to name the VM. It will default to Solaris, change it to something meaningful, like “Ubuntu”. Expand “More Options” and make sure the folder name was also changed to the name you typed (or similar if the folder already exists).

The last screen in the wizard asks for the CD location. I was installing from the ISO image I downloaded so I selected “ISO Image”, clicked the “Choose…” button and browsed to the ISO file I had downloaded.

 

When I clicked finish the VM fired up and started booting from the CD image. When the “boot: prompt appears type in “live acpi=off” and hit enter.

The screen then goes blank for a long time. The CD icon in the lower right will flash green to show there’s activity.

Eventually the desktop will appear.

 

Double-click the “Install” icon on the desktop to start the installation wizard. The first three screen prompts for the language, timezone and keyboard.

 

The next screen asked about disk partitioning and I accepted the defaults.

 

This results in a 33.6 GB partition in Ubuntu. But since Parallels only expands the disk as needed the size on the disk once the installation was done was only 2.3GB. Zipping it up for archiving resulted in a 495MB file. (These numbers are right after the fresh install.)

Next up was the migration screen. Since there was a new install there wasn’t anything to migrate. After that was the screen to enter the information for your user account. The computer name defaults to Username-Desktop.

You’re shown your choices. The installation will start when you click “Next”. The installation itself took a very long time, about 20 minutes. The activity lights in the lower right let me know things were moving along.

 

I restarted. The bootup also took a long time. I thought I was back to my original problems but eventually it came up and I could sign on. I up’d the memory from 256MB to 512MB and the video memory from 4MB to 16MB and this helped on the next reboot which was a reasonable time. Next to it is a screenshot of my newly minted Ubuntu VM desktop.

 

I checked for updates and there weren’t any.

 

When I go shut down Ubuntu it hangs up on a blank screen rather than closing out the VM. I wait for the activity lights to stop then shut down the VM.

 

I decide to change things over from the Solaris settings. I open the settings for the VM (Edit -> Virtual machine from the menu when the VM configuration summary screen is displayed) and change to OS type to Linux – Other Linux Kernel 2.6.

 

The disk image for the virtual machine is still named “Solaris” which annoys me even though it shouldn’t cause a problem. The image files are stored in ~/Library/Parallels by default. There’s a subdirectory for each VM and the image file is in there with a “.hdd” extension. I renamed the file to Ubuntu.hdd. Then I opened Ubuntu.pvs (located in the same directory) in Text Editor. Locate the line that says “Disk 0:0 image = solaris10.hdd” and change solaris10.hdd to Ubuntu.hdd (or whatever you called the file) and save the file. The line may be different if you used different values during the setup. Make sure you use Text Editor or another editor that won’t change the format of the file.

Exploring Ubuntu will have to wait for another time, but at least it’s installed.

 

Ubuntu is available from their website.