Why Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” is meh

Don’t get me wrong, I love Ubuntu. I use it every day. In fact, it is the only operating system on both my laptop and netbook. I have divorced myself from Windows entirely, and no longer find myself wishing I could do things the “Windows way”. Actually, when I go to work and have to use Windows XP (government department so they are still evaluating Windows 7), I get very frustrated that it is slow (even on a relatively new machine) and has a number of annoying traits, including a lack of tabs in the file manger, Windows Explorer.

So why do I find Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” meh?

I have been running Ubuntu 10.04 since Beta 3. I have participated in the bug fixing process and resolving an issue with my laptop’s ATI video card. I have watched the default search engine go from Google to Yahoo and back to Google. I have watched the buttons to maximise, minimise and close windows, move from one side to another, then change their order.

However, I am still waiting for three two bugs to be fixed, all of which probably won’t be.

One: the default music player is Rhythmbox, but it can’t see a library that is accessed via a Windows share. So, for example, you have a NAS device which stores your music library. You’d think that putting in smb://NAS/music would work, but Rhythmbox can’t see it

Bug report here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/rhythmbox/+bug/273294

This is now fixed.

Two: The workaround to the above bug is to mount shares by putting an entry into the “fstab” file. However, if you, like me, use a laptop with a wireless connection then you run into a bug with Network Manager which doesn’t unmount these shares cleanly before shutting down, delaying the shutdown. I raised the first bug report for this issue more than two years ago, and it is still not fixed.

Bug report here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/network-manager/+bug/211631

Three: This last one is fairly minor, but still annoying. The file manager, Nautilus, displays the path to what folder you are currently using in two ways: using “breadcrumbs” (which are just clickable icons displaying the path) or using the full path in a text field. There used to be a way of easily changing, but some moron upstream (meaning that it wasn’t an Ubuntu decision, but a Gnome decision, which has flowed down to Ubuntu) disabled that. I have used the workaround to get the text box to display permanently, but I shouldn’t have had to do this

Bug report here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/nautilus/+bug/508632

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But this still doesn’t explain why I think Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” is meh.

Recently I set up Windows 7 for a client. I have been using Windows since Windows 95 and not much has improved: it’s still a long, involved setup and customisation process, requires lots of third-party software to secure it and protect against viruses, trojans and general malware and to get basic functionality such as a PDF reader. Generally speaking, I found the whole process as frustrating and annoying as it always was.

Even with the slightly annoying bugs mentioned above, Ubuntu installs and boots quickly (20 minutes to install, and about 30 seconds to boot on my old laptop), does everything that I want to do and does it with effortless style (see screenshot on right). Amongst other things, it has a PDF reader and an office suite built in, so pretty much everything I want to do works right “out of the box”.

And that’s why I find it “meh”. It is kind of boring, simply because it works so very well. Given the choice, I wouldn’t use any operating system except GNU/Linux.

Moving WordPress to a new host server

I am writing this post as I want to keep a record of what I have done to move my blog from one hosted server to another hosted server, but keeping the same domain name. I also want to document this process, as it was slightly different to the the WordPress documentation.

The old server I was on used Plesk to manage the server settings and software installations. The new server uses CPanel and Installatron (not Fantastico). The outcome (a working blog) is essentially the same, but the way of getting there is a bit different and there are some limitations of each which affect the way of moving the blog across. For example, CPanel has a limit of 7 characters for a database name, so I couldn’t create the same database schema and restore directly; I had to use the database that gets installed by Installatron and change the table structures. Sounds complex, but in fact, it is trivially easy.

WordPress uses a combination of files to create the look and feel of the blog and a database to store the actual content. Both Plesk and CPanel’s software installers configure both of these for you. It is easier to let them do their jobs and work with them rather than against them. This is what I did…

  1. Backup the existing install: log in to your WordPress install as Admin, Tools, Export. This is only a partial backup, but is a good thing to have (if all else fails, etc)
  2. Make a full backup of all files in the existing WordPress install. This is probably accomplished using an FTP client
  3. Make a full backup of the database, probably using phpMyAdmin. I looked at some documentation which had certain settings, and I also saw that someone posted somewhere that the phpMyAdmin export defaults are fine. I didn’t change anything and just exported the database. When I restored it worked perfectly.
  4. Add the new servers nameservers to your domain records. Leave the existing ones in place. This is required for Installatron on CPanel, so that when it tries to install and resolve the DNS settings, it actually works, but you still have access to the old installation
  5. On the new server, use Installatron to install WordPress. For the database settings, select “automatically manage”
  6. At this stage, you have a vanilla working blog on the new server
  7. Copy across themes, plugins, uploads (and anything else which may be required)
  8. Restore the database to the new server, probably using phpMyAdmin. Installatron created a series of database tables with a random 2 to 4 letter prefix, so you’ll see those tables and the ones that you have imported from your old server backup. For me, all of the tables from the Plesk installation were prefixed “wp_”
  9. Change the “wp-config.php” file from the random 2-4 letter database table prefix, to the “wp_” (or applicable) prefix. Save the file
  10. Drop the Installatron tables from the database, leaving only the tables that you have restored (you’ll see that there’s a significant size difference, with your old tables containing all of your content so they’ll be much larger than the Installatron ones)
  11. Delete the old nameservers from the domain records. Wait for the DNS caching to timeout (may take anywhere between 5 minutes to 48 hours)
  12. Look at your blog on the new server! Check all settings and make sure everything is OK

I also backed up all the mail accounts, email redirections, etc and transferred those from the old server to the new server too, then deleted the domain hosting account off the old server.

I hope this helps someone if they are slightly confused about how to do this. Please leave a comment (it will be moderated) if you want me to clarify anything in here.