Ubuntu 11.04

The new work laptop received a few months ago had Windows preinstalled. I never got around to uninstalling it and moving to my standard Ubuntu setup. But then last week a whole series of mishaps happened starting from a conversation with a colleague where I shared my desktop with him via Skype.

Type "bsod skype windows" in google and you'll see this. In other words, Skype's more interesting features simply are not compatible with Windows.

Recovering from that scenario was next to impossible. There was some environment variable I had to unset somewhere, but my laptop would start up and then, after about 4 seconds, would shut down again, after which it would restart automatically, and then crash again 4 seconds later.

There were various random pieces of advice about what to do, i.e., go into some internal bios menu or other, which only messed things up worse in the end.

Eventually, many hours later, I was back on Ubuntu. Now Ubuntu 11.04, Natty Narwhal. Apart from the recent break, I've been a user of Ubuntu since 9.04, Feisty Fawn. Now that I'm back on Ubuntu, my aims & intentions need to be clearly stated so that I have a reference point later:

  • Keep the desktop clean.

  • Put related things into the same folder. E.g., all NetBeans projects in a NetBeans Projects folder.

  • Have as few non-default things installed as possible. Right now, that's Mercurial, NetBeans, JDK 6 Update 25, Skype, Thunderbird.

  • Periodically, i.e., weekly, go through things and just delete stuff that isn't recognizable anymore. E.g., remove screenshots if you're already using them somewhere. The longer something stays around the more important it seems. And then the longer it will stay.

I must say I really like Ubuntu 11.04. I think things have gone a bit far in emulating Mac OSX, I wonder who that's supposed to please (there's a reason I'm not on the Mac, so why bring the Mac to Ubuntu), but it's not disturbing me too much.

I did notice that suddenly title bars of applications would disappear, this happened once or twice, but was solved by a restart. When that happened, the whole Mac-effect of everything being shared within a single menu bar seemed to suddenly happen, unasked, which was a bit odd.

I guess the biggest enhancement for me is not so much related to Ubuntu. It's that I completely deleted my Windows partition, with everything in it, i.e., everything I had before is now gone. Not as bad as it sounds since anything of value should have been on java.net or elsewhere. Better a clean system than a cluttered one, even if that means sacrificing one or two really important things that you only discover later you erroneously deleted.

Oh well, here's to the new world of Ubuntu! From here forward, screenshots in this blog and in tutorials I work on will be taken from Ubuntu.


Glad to hear you're back on Ubuntu, Geertjan! :) I've had some problems with Ubuntu 11.04's Unity interface, which in the end resulted in me staying (for now) with the classic interface (choose 'Ubuntu Classic' when at login screen). This way I can try it out every few weeks (as new updates and fixes are rolled out) and wait for possible improvements.

Posted by Ernest on June 06, 2011 at 03:43 PM PDT #

"suddenly title bars of applications would disappear, this happened once or twice, but was solved by a restart" -- You may use Alt-F2, then "compiz-decorator --replace", which get back window borders again. Compiz in 11.04 is little bit buggy for now, update is coming.

Posted by eros2 on June 06, 2011 at 04:29 PM PDT #

wow, what a review of 11.04!

Posted by guest on June 06, 2011 at 04:33 PM PDT #

I deleted my Windows partition two years ago. :) Unitiy interface is just awesome. Compiz appears to get stabilized recently. I am not experiencing mentioned problem anymore. NetBeans 7.0.1 build #201106020000 is playing nice with JDK 7 build #144.

Posted by schkovich on June 06, 2011 at 09:13 PM PDT #

You can start using Ubundu one or dropbox along - from now - so that you have everything (or sort of everything) to the cloud. Re-install or reformat free ;)

Posted by Paris Apostolopoulos on June 06, 2011 at 11:53 PM PDT #

Geerjtan, I've upgraded to Natty myself a few weeks ago. The Unity interface is a bit weird to say the least, but yeah, I've had my window borders disappear on me too. Eros, thanks for that tip. I have a laptop whose motherboard is fubar (causing any hard drive I put into it to crash hard). So, I use it as a dummy terminal (running Ubuntu on a flash drive) and it works nicely for me in that regard. I can always still use NetBeans/Eclipse remotely within my LAN. BTW, I use Eclipse for EJB development for use on JBoss. Unfortunately, NetBeans still eventually runs out of heap space when running JBoss (the console output window in NB eventually fills up). Least it still does it in NB 6.9 for me. Is it just me or does Oracle's blogging software not formatting comments correctly?

Posted by guest on June 07, 2011 at 12:41 AM PDT #

I'm an Ubuntu user for 4 years now, and very happy! The only point here is that I prefer to use LTS versions. Yes, I get worried sometimes in not to be up-to-date with new softwares. But I think it worth, since LTS versions tend to be very much more stable. Oh, and I use Netbeans IDE downloaded from netbeans.org site, not from Cannonical packages. You should try Evolution instead Thunderbird, just to keep the default software too.

Posted by Paulo Pinheiro on June 07, 2011 at 02:37 AM PDT #

In netbeans.conf edit netbeans_default_options add the follow: -J-Dnetbeans.keyring.no.native=true

Posted by xtecuan on June 07, 2011 at 04:59 AM PDT #

Hi Geertjan I'm pleased to see that you like Ubuntu 11.04 - I love Ubuntu and the open source world of software in general. So will you be removing LibreOffice and installing OpenOffice then? If you really appreciate Linux (and open source software) then perhaps you could try and pursuade your "lords and masters" to stop attacking (or trying to own/control) key open source projects like Android and OpenOffice/LibreOffice and start working with the open source community instead. Every attack that Oracle makes on FOSS will result in money spent within competing companies such as Apple or Microsoft rather than Oracle. The policy is very destructive and ultimately self defeating. If Oracle left Android alone or even HELPED (shock, horror!) then Java usage worldwide would INCREASE - almost certainly to Oracle's benefit. If Oracle properly supported the ODF and promoted OpenOffice/LibreOffice (as a community project) then this would benefit the community and Oracle as well. We WANT to work with you guys and compete with the likes of Microsoft and Apple so that consumers can have real choice and alternatives to the current proprietary incumbants - but not by being slaves to Oracle's business plans and controlled. (The more Oracle tries to take control on open source projects - the more they will slip through Larry Ellison's fingers.) As a key player within the NetBeans project - you are helping to promote a fantastic software development environment - truly cross-platform and great for other languages like C/C++ and Python as well as Java. Please help by registering your disapproval at the attacks on FOSS projects and perhaps FOSS and Oracle can begin to trust each other again as Sun and the FOSS community managed to do (at least eventually).

Posted by guest on June 07, 2011 at 07:26 PM PDT #

FYI: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/compiz/+bug/727143

Posted by guest on June 10, 2011 at 12:11 AM PDT #

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Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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