Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Verdict, or How To Fix Hardy Heron Display

I've finally upgraded my Linux server.
Faced with the prospect of loss of support on Feisty Fawn, and tempted by the prospect of obtaining a five year support programme for nothing, I downloaded Hardy Heron Server from Ubuntu.
The success of the project was mixed and not without difficulties.
On Thursday I tried to back up all my music to a spare drive; much was lost and about halfway through I backed up only my essential files and cut to the chase.

The installation is superior to older versions. However, choosing 'Guided' partitioning resulted in a tiny partition with the Heron in a corner of the drive which had been spare. There was no sound, the video resolution (which was automatically configured ) was only 800x600 and very blocky, and Firefox wouldn't start. To compound matters there was no effective networking as I had given the new installation a duplicate name.

I rebooted to the (intact) Feisty Fawn and tried again Friday night.
This time I ran GParted Live to image the disk.
It took all night, and failed at the last moment to install a mount point on the destination disk.

On Saturday morning I installed anyway.
I was left with the faulty display, no sound and a system which, though partial, had been easy to install.
Particularly noteworthy was the reliability of downloading the iso file to Feisty and burning an image with a right-click.

All day I couldn't fix the display. I remembered an old Edgy Eft trick for sound; simply use Alsa Mixer to change the settings, which are all muted by default.
Fucking stupid thing to do on install, but there you are.
The display resolution was more of a problem.
The configuration in Heron is fully automatic, and the 'fixes' on the internet were typically clueless.
The configuration file was difficult to edit as all the entries now are non-specific.
However, I found the absolute king of fixes on the xorg website after several hours.
They said, "don't use displayconfig-gtk" a utility introduced with Gutsy Gibbon.
So I used it.
It had a list of practically every monitor ever made, including my ten-year-old CTX.
So I selected my monitor, and a list of the proper resolutions appeared; I applied the biggest, and now I have a beautiful, fully working installation.
My personal website was up and running (automatic server start on boot, another improvement) in a short while.

Setting up e-mail was easy, and getting the networking up was simply a matter of re-naming my XP computer (redundant systems make for better maintenance).

All I have to do now is take my time and rebuild my music collection. It's all legal CD Audio source anyway.

PS-: After two days, I am finding that the computer boots twice as fast and operations take place much faster; the directory structure now comes automatically with integrated Music and Document folders, which make filing much easier and less cluttered.
Rhythmbox absorbs new music on instruction without leaving behind key songs, although I haven't seen it auto-find like it used to.

The single negative factor is that when either the music player or the web-browser has ben playing sounds, the other is locked out of the soundcard.
Pity. Feisty used to play any mixture of sources simultaneously.

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