[LAU] notes regarding a new installation

david gnome at hawaii.rr.com
Tue Feb 18 00:56:25 CET 2020

On 2/17/20 5:41 AM, Dave Phillips wrote:
> Greetings !
> After many (too many ?) years using Fedora 23 I decided/admitted a 
> system upgrade was long overdue. I chose Ubuntu 18.04 simply because I 
> recently installed it on a Toshiba Satellite laptop - a fun story itself 
> - and am satisfied with the results, especially after installing some 
> Ubuntu Studio components. Anyway, that machine is now a smooth-running 
> gun, so I figured, "Why not put Ubuntu on the desktop iron ?". And so 
> begins the tale...

I recently replaced my dying System76 laptop with a Dell XPS-15 7590, 
with Dell's external Thunderbolt dock because the laptop has no Ethernet 
port and not enough USB ports.

Ubuntu fired up from a USB stick (created with unetbootin, btw) but had 
problems with the dock. I tried Ubuntu 19 because Ubuntu 18 doesn't work 
with the dock or the laptop's wifi hardware. Ubuntu 19 claimed to 
support the dock, that's why I chose it.

Debian Buster Live started from a USB stick, worked with the dock just 
fine, and installed fine. Everything just works.

> My DVD drive is broken,

The DVD drive in my desktop machine works - but there's no connector 
available on the current motherboard for it.

The old System76 laptop still works (sort of) and has a working DVD 
drive. So I boot it from a Debian Buster USB stick and plug a network 
cable in when I need to get something from a CD or DVD.

> so I planned to use the same bootable USB stick 
> I used for the laptop. That was the first problem. I tested the stick on 
> the desktop and discovered that my mobo wouldn't boot from it, 
> regardless of BIOS settings for boot selection and order. At last I 
> thought that the stick wasn't recognized because of the file system 
> type, so I created another bootable stick. This one was recognized, but 
> only long enough to inform me that there was no operating system on it. 
> Okay, a little more googling helped me out, I tried a different stick 
> preparation software because unetbootin has problems with some mobos. 
> This time the stick booted properly and at last I had an Ubuntu display.

Hurrah! Although I hate the Ubuntu desktop environment. Very clumsy!

>  From that point the installation was trouble-free - including the 
> addition of the Ubuntu Studio stuff - until reaching the part where I 
> installed the nVidia drivers. I had added a new graphics card, so I had 
> to jump through a few more hoops before I finally had a working video 
> setup.

My laptop has Nvidia hardware, too. I've not installed the Nvidia 
drivers. No need for them, in my opinion. I'm not a gamer and the Nvidia 
hardware in the laptop isn't anywhere near powerful enough to drive a 
game at the laptop's 4K HDR resolution.

The Windows 10 installation that came on the machine has an option to 
install Nvidia drivers. I haven't done that because it seems to require 
either a viable Microsoft login or a separate NVvidia login - neither of 
which I have.

> Software installation was a breeze and I soon had a complete development 
> environment. Again, no significant problems building and installing my 
> most-used software.

I didn't have to build any software outside of an attempt to build the 
wifi drivers under Ubuntu, trying to get the wifi to work.

> Email proved to be the final bug-bear. I was able to configure for 
> incoming mail without trouble but my outgoing server simply was not 
> functioning. I called my ISP, had a long chat with a helpful fellow, and 
> still had no outgoing mail capability. At long last I found an on-line 
> report regarding the same problem and discovered that a single setting 
> should be changed. I made the change and finally have outgoing mail again.

Hmm. I just backed up my home partition and restored it on the new 
machine. Email worked exactly as it did before. Didn't need to change 
anything. You don't sound like a "normal" email user.

> Two days configuring this machine. Why I still don't usually recommend 
> Linux to normal users.

It doesn't sound to me like you have much in common with so-called 
normal users. My wife's a normal user, completely non-technical. 
Installing Linux for her has always been easy. The only difficulty we've 
had to deal with has been the same on both Linux and Windows sides. Both 
OSes seem to think that because it finds an HDMI monitor, it also needs 
to send all sound output to HDMI. Kind of useless since her monitor has 
no sound capability!

I have a friend who's been trying to make a career in songwriting and 
singing. He's been a Windows user from the beginning. He's never 
installed a Windows system from scratch, either. He uses pre-built and 
configured systems from Musicians Friend. Even with their experienced 
technical support, they've had to jump through hoops to make Windows 
work for his pro audio needs.

David W. Jones
gnome at hawaii.rr.com
authenticity, honesty, community

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