Thursday, 9 April 2009

Jaunty Jackalope!

I've had GNU/Linux boxes for years. I think the first distribution I had was Unifix running on an old 486DX266 with about 500MB disk and 4MB of RAM. Then, as various pieces of upgraded hardware found their way into the box, it became Slackware followed by RedHat 6.2 (before RedHat got too commercial for my liking).

These days my server is a 500MHz Celeron dual-processor box with 768MB RAM running Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10. Samba file server, software RAID, caching DNS, Oracle XE, GlassFish v2 and Subversion repository.

There have been occasional flirtations with GNU/Linux as a desktop but, much as I wanted it to, it never quite cut it. Toward the end of last year, I decided to try again with Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 on my new AMD64 laptop. I was pretty excited about it. I'd never tried Evolution as an email client before and loved it. Most of the software looked good and worked well. But after struggling with disappearing fonts and badly sized windows in a manually installed Netbeans 6.5, inability to resume after suspend and no 64-bit Flash plugin for Firefox, once again the idea of a GNU/Linux desktop fell by the wayside.

Anyway, this week I've been trying the pre-release version of Ubuntu: Jaunty Jackalope 9.04. I'm finding it better than ever. The distribution upgrade from 8.04 via 8.10 recovered flawlessly despite my laptop running out of battery half way through. In hindsight it wasn't the best time to dislodge the power cable!

I used the package manager to install Netbeans 6.5 (no need for a manual install now) and added all my usual Java EE plugins and GlassFish v3 Prelude as an application server. It all works a treat. I went for MySQL instead of Oracle this time, partly because there's no package installation for Oracle XE and partly because I wanted to test applications against both. The MySQL package install was a breeze. Subversion client and Netbeans plugin are up and running against my repository and Maven is just Maven.

Adobe recently released an alpha version of a Flash plugin for 64-bit Linux but I couldn't get their installation instructions to work with Firefox 3.0 (copying the to the ~/.mozilla/plugins directory). However, I used the script on this page and all is well. I suspect I may need to undo this at some point as the Adobe plugin becomes available as an install in Firefox but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

There are still a few issues (not all Ubuntu issues per se) but I think it's reached a point now where none of them stop me working:

  1. Suspend and resume doesn't work on my Toshiba Equium
  2. GlassFish v3 Prelude Update Tool isn't working but I've not investigated further
  3. Netbeans doesn't understand the way Tomcat is installed on a Unix filesystem

So I'm happy to say that I'm finally using GNU/Linux/Ubuntu - whatever you prefer to call it - exclusively on my laptop now.

The official release date of Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope 9.04 is 23rd April.


san-ho-zay said...

Further to the above, I've discovered that the issues with the Update Tool are restricted to the Python implementation of the update tool on Linux versions of GlassFish v3 Prelude and not the Java version that's available within the Admin Console. To add additional components, e.g. EJB3 support, use the Update Tool link at the bottom of the left-hand panel in the Admin Tool.

san-ho-zay said...

Spoke too soon! As soon as I started writing new code using NetBeans I ran into the problem that fix imports doesn't work properly. I'm 99% certain that it's an issue with the version of Apache Lucene that is packaged into the version of NetBeans that Ubuntu have packaged. Short term fix is to uninstall the NetBeans package from Ubuntu and manually install NetBeans 6.5.1 from the download site.

George said...

Did you register a bug on the Netbeans 6.5-0ubuntu2 package regarding the Fix Imports problem? I had the same problem as you but only your blog seems to mention it.

san-ho-zay said...

Yes, I did. Or rather I added comments to existing issues on both Netbeans and Ubuntu and linked the two together. The Netbeans issue is 160498 and the Ubuntu issue is 353080. At the time of writing it looks like the package has been fixed in 6.5-0ubuntu3 in Karmic Koala and they are considering how to approach a backport for Jaunty.