Geertjan's Blog

  • June 14, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager

I've been actively and naturally using Ubuntu since Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn", which means, of course, April 2007, as described here. Now let's flash forward six years or so to yesterday. Yesterday I was on 12.04 "Precise Pangolin", today on the latest version 13.04 "Raring Ringtail", which means I skipped 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal". In general, looking back in this blog over the years, I seem to have installed more "04" releases than "10" releases, which is interesting. I tend to skip one Ubuntu release per year, more or less. Not sure why, exactly. Part of it is that I'm too lazy to backup my data prior to an upgrade and can probably only handle the occasional frantic moments of despair (e.g., the sudden pause in the upgrade garbles that could either be an internal crash or the tiny technicians in my computer simply needing a coffee break) in the middle of upgrades on an annual basis.

The process which I followed to get from 12.04 to 13.04 is completely illustrative of how software updates happen and is interesting from a NetBeans IDE point of view, too. Often, on Twitter and on mailing lists, at least 60% of NetBeans-related questions I see immediately cause a small fuse to blow in my mind while I think, almost out loud: "Well, why don't you just go to the NetBeans Wiki and you'll find the answer there, very easily." But, of course, that's not how we gather info nowadays, we simply go to Google even though we know that each and every software product has its own dedicated site with highly detailed information. Then, when we don't find the answer we're looking for (or we think we're looking for) within 30 seconds, we start yelling "Help this product sucks" on Twitter.

And that's also why I can't explain exactly how I got from 12.04 to 13.04. I basically googled around and somewhere found a command line that I assumed would bring me directly to 13.04 but got me to 12.10. Then I went to the Update Manager, which (several hours later, zillions of new files later, while leaving everything else miraculously untouched) brought me to 13.04.

The other interesting thing is why I wanted to move to 13.04 in the first place. I would have been perfectly happy to have stayed at 12.04 if it wasn't for the fact that the VPN Cisco AnyConnect Client doesn't (or at least not without various low level tweaks, from a variety of random unreliable and contradictory online searches) work on 12.04. It worked before that, but from 12.04 onwards, I couldn't VPN into internal company sites that I need to do my work and had to use a Windows laptop purely for that reason only. That's why I upgraded. However, many many hours later, when I was finally on 13.04, I had exactly the same problems as before! Then I moved to "openconnect", which solved all my VPN problems immediately. But this aspect is interesting from a NetBeans point of view, where I often find myself thinking in response to some question or other: "Come on, you're asking this question, and then it turns out you're on NetBeans IDE 6.9 while the latest release is NetBeans IDE 7.3! Never thought of upgrading, in all these years..?" Etc. Then again, on the other hand, switching from one release of NetBeans IDE to another is a LOT simpler (takes a lot less time, is a lot less risky and a lot less irreversible) than switching from one version of Ubuntu to another.

Finally, a missing piece in my software toolbox on Ubuntu was Cisco IP Communicator, a soft phone, which only has Windows and Mac distributions. I never had it (nor tried to have it) on Ubuntu before but thought I'd give it a try since it would be the final missing piece on my Ubuntu from my Windows world. And, lo and behold, it works perfectly (well, aside from the Audio bit at the beginning, but that's a known problem) on Ubuntu too, if you install it via Wine. (Maybe the biggest plus from the process of updating to Ubuntu 13.04 is the side effect that I now know a lot more about Wine, i.e., the ".wine" folder is a fascinating replication of a Windows operating system.)

And now I'm on 13.04, the world isn't a very different place (not noticed anything new, so far, maybe performance improvements, but maybe mostly because I always assume each release of anything must have performance enhancements somehow). I used to have absolute nightmares setting up Wifi after an Ubuntu upgrade, but everything worked immediately out of the box. So far I don't have anything to mention in terms of differences, but certainly the smoothest upgrade (especially since I upgraded from 12.04 to 12.10 and then 13.04, all in the same set of hours) I have ever experienced. And good to know I'm on the latest release of Ubuntu again!

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Comments ( 5 )
  • Gilbert ARMENGAUD Sunday, June 16, 2013

    While many Linux development is done in C / C + +, most programmers prefer Netbeans to Eclipse as IDE.

    For my part, my system is under Linux Mint 15 Olivia (based on Ubuntu 13.04), and I use NetBeans for its integration of Symfony2 framework and tools for both in Php development, than creating Twig templates.

    Regarding the NetBeans packages under Debina / Ubuntu, I agree that the version 6.9 date and should be updated with 7.3. But given the lack of interest of the community of programmers to do it, I am pleased with the existence of self-executable installation Netbeans for Linux. This is not as clean as installation via packages but it works and gives during installation all informations and constraints to lead to using Netbeans. Sure, it takes effort.

    Gilbert ARMENGAUD

    Béziers - Languedoc-Roussillon - France

  • Joris Sunday, June 16, 2013

    You bring up an interesting point there Geertjan. You write: "Come on, you're asking this question, and then it turns out you're on NetBeans IDE 6.9 while the latest release is NetBeans IDE 7.3! Never thought of upgrading, in all these years..?"

    The NetBeans IDE is just another NetBeans Platform application. And besides the NetBeans IDE, a lot of NetBeans platform application are being built and maintained. One of the reasons (I think) the usage of older NetBeans IDE's is still around is people are a bit stuck maintaining older NetBeans platform applications, built on the platform that came with that older IDE. Ideally we would auto-update our users to the latest NetBeans platform every time, but there doesn't seem a fool proof method of doing that. Instead it seems we are more or less forced to follow the release cycle of the NetBeans IDE to roll out new functionality only available in newer version of the platform. As a results, due to supporting older version of my NetBeans platform application (to a certain extent of course) I have installed NetBeans 6.9, NetBeans 7.0.1, NetBeans 7.1 and NetBeans 7.3. The only solution for this I can imagine if the NetBeans Platform starts supporting updating its internals (the NBMs that came with the installer).

    Perhaps you can ponder on this issue for some time and write a blog entry about it?

  • guest Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Netbeans is a great IDE, but I have found Eclipse to work much better on Ubuntu. For example, using the two-finger scroll up/down on Netbeans usually pops up the right click menu (two finger tap is right click). I'm curious if you found a fix for this?

  • Geertjan Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Never heard of two-finger scroll. What is it and why do I need it? And are you aware of the NetBeans plugin for Ubuntu Unity? http://plugins.netbeans.org/plugin/41822/java-ayatana

  • Neil C Smith Friday, June 21, 2013

    Not sure your parallel entirely works, though, as NetBeans doesn't have the concept of LTS releases (might be interesting if it did). 12.04 is still the recommended Ubuntu release for most, and I've given up using other than LTS on my main machine - I'd rather use any other workaround than update the whole OS for one piece of software, though I understand that isn't always possible.

    I guess you'll not be sticking to just .04 release from now on :-) - http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/03/ubuntu-to-halve-support-window-for-regular-releases

    Best wishes, Neil

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