Thursday, 28 January 2010

Ubuntu Desktop 9.10

For a project recently begun, I needed a Linux virtual machine and I downloaded the excellent Chrysaor VMWare appliance pre-built with Ubuntu Desktop 9.10 (karmic koala) and the VMWare Tools (which actually work as specified - you can cut/paste text and even entire files between your host OS and the VM).

NB I was only able to download this using a direct internet connection, because our company firewall blocks BitTorrent. There don't appear to be any FTP or HTTP mirrors of these VMWare images.

There were just a couple of problems with this virtual machine image, for which I have discovered workarounds.
  1. Timezone persistently defaults to EST, no matter what I do in the time/date control panel. It turns out that certain system files need editing by hand (change to reflect your actual location and language):
    • sudo rm /etc/localtime
    • sudo ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/London /etc/localtime
    • sudo vi /etc/timezone -- set it to Europe/London
    • sudo vi /etc/profile -- add the following line at the end:
      export TZ=/etc/localtime
    • sudo vi /etc/default/locale -- set it as follows:
  2. Login crash: for a while I thought I had broken the system by installing some upgrade or enabling shared folders. The symptom was that when I logged in, the progress bar would be displayed for a few seconds but instead of displaying the desktop, Ubuntu would restart the windowing system and display the login prompt again. I eventually discovered by trial and error that this was due to starting up in full-screen on my second monitor. Provided I always login while the VM is running in a non-maximised window, it seems very reliable. If you're suffering similar problems, look in your vmware.log file for messages similar to the following:
    VMXVmdbGuestLaunchMenuCB: buf is null.
    VMXVmdbGuestLaunchMenuCB: failed: ret = VMDB failure
    GuestRpc: Channel 3 reinitialized.
I recommend that the first thing you do is create a new user ID for yourself with admin rights, and log in under that user to do everything else.

I upgraded Mercurial to 1.4.1 and TortoiseHg to 0.9.2 by downloading the following Debian packages and installing them manually using dpkg -i:
  1. mercurial_1.4.1-1_i386.deb and mercurial-common_1.4.1-1_all.deb from
  2. tortoisehg_0.9.2-1_all.deb and tortoisehg-nautilus_0.9.2-1_all.deb from
Note that Tortoise doesn't work unless you install the python-iniparse package. Version 0.3.1-1 works with Tortoise 0.9.2-1.

I was able to get Eclipse (Galileo) as a Ubuntu package and installed the excellent HgEclipse plugin from using the Eclipse "Install New Software" option.

No comments: