In which I succumb to Ubuntu

I had a choice at work – build my own system using generic hardware and wait indefinitely for ordering (3 quotes, preferred suppliers bla bla bla) or go with the standard option and wait, oh, only a month. So I went with the standard option and acquired something called a HP Compaq dc7600. It’s OK and has enough power for my needs. Fired up the Debian sarge installer CD and halfway through I was hit with “no partitionable media found”.

Never seen that before. I Googled and researched and it turned out that this is a very common problem with SATA drives. Basically, the 2.6 kernel in Debian sarge has a limited set of drivers (modules libata and ata_piix) and often fails to detect SATA controllers. Booting from a Knoppix 4.0 CD – no problem, so I know the controller can’t be that unusual.

There are “pure Debian” solutions – use the testing installer, customised install images, none very appealing. So I grabbed an Ubuntu 5.10 image, fired it up and minutes later, had a fully-working system. I like it a lot – it’s essentially Debian but does a much better job of hardware detection with the later kernel, no problems with X11, sound, DVD RW etc., plenty of packages, nice interface. Recommended.

3 thoughts on “In which I succumb to Ubuntu

  1. Ubuntu *is* nice. I got converted after a disasterous FC4 install on a dual-boot box at work (no SATA drive, then a non-functional USB stick, no network card and – by default – no NTFS support in the kernel as it’s not ideologically pure enough). Ubuntu, on the other hand, picked everything up straight away… a step closer to “it just works”, anyway.

  2. My only mistake was not realising that build-essential isn’t installed by default, as with Debian. So when it came to CPAN modules or compiling, I was a bit confused by the absence of cc, make, autoconf, gcc and so on! Aside from that, all very smooth.

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