A fresh start, whether I like it or not

Published: 20 Oct 2008

Tags: computing, life, linux

I’m learning a lot of valuable and hard lessons when it comes to Linux and hard drives. With my recent upgrade to 320GB of base-2 storage goodness in my eeePC 1000h (the stock 80GB just wasn’t cutting it anymore), I was fortunate enough to have an external hard drive enclosure handy and was able to transfer my files over effortlessly. Linux, however, can be a royal pain, and ultimately, I ended up creating a great deal of permissions errors on my disk and scrambled almost 98% of my new hard drive’s contents.

For those who are not to knowledgeable about file system, this is a really bad thing to have happen. In the end, the only fix for my problem was to reinstall my system (Ubuntu 8.04, woo!). But this time around I decided to try out Ubuntu Netbook Remix, a community optimised version of Ubuntu Linux for smaller laptops, which has actually impressed me right off the bat.

While I normally sit at my desk with a large external monitor, the eeePCs screen is marginally big enough to accomplish most computing related tasks without making a user want to smash the thing (you never realize how nice it is to have a lot of screen real estate until it’s gone). Netbook Remix includes a customized version of Gnome that maximizes screen space and improves the way programs are launched (a desktop menu displays the usual Gnome menu and preferences with big, bright, easy to read text and icons), and greatly improves the usability of the GUI desktop. It also adjusts the screen resolution properly on my external monitor under Gnome (gotta love it when some things just work). This was something my old install of Ubuntu 8.04 seemed to have a problem, so I’ve got that going for me (which is nice).

Anyhow, it will be a long process to grab files off of my old hard drive and slowly rebuild to the state of my previous install. I guess this speaks to making a good habit out of backing up, maybe it speaks more to the level of caution one should exercise before attempting ‘sudo chmod’, but things have not been too bumpy so far. I can’t say I’m looking forward to getting VMWare working again or setting up my LAMP server (both require a lot of configuration), but I’m sure this new system will be better off than the semi-corrupted one I’ve been using the past few days on my other machine.

It will also give me the opportunity to document the process of getting everything up and running on this new netbook, something I’ve intended to do the last time I went through a reinstallation but didn’t bother keeping up on. So far I’ve only gone through the process of installing Ubuntu’s third-party codec package, because listening to music is nice (why don’t they include these by default already? Blah, blah, yes GNU, whatever), but I think I’m going to work towards getting my system to a fully functional state and image the disk for a backup which will certainly become necessary in the future. Then it’s as easy as scheduling incremental backups, baby!

Good thing I just bought that new 1TB hard drive on NewEgg too. Now if I only had an external 3.5” enclosure handy…