May 3rd Meeting Notes - Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

Meeting started promply at 6:30 with Darin presenting on the newly released Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin. We had 9 members present including a new attendee Tammy. Nice to have a woman present at our meeting with both a technical and user focus. Darin started off with showing off the monitor capabilities of his nVidia based laptop and high resolution. Dual monitor support was excellent, and he showed us both twinmode, a new function that takes advantage of two monitors and extending the screen on to the second monitor, and mirrored mode. His Dell computer has a high resolution display at 1920X1200 wide screen which displayed well on the Library's overhead projector as well. The nVidia display driver he was using is from the PPA at Ubuntu Updates PPA. He noticed that the nVidia driver that he downloaded and installed earlier in the day was not in the list for some reason, probably pulled for problems. After the meeting, he determined that he could install install ppa-purge which worked well for removing the beta NVidia driver and then the the stable proprietary NVidia drivers reinstalled themselves. During Darin's presentation, he showed several shortcuts including using ctl-alt-t for opening a terminal window, very useful if you can't get to a menu. Upgrading from previous versions was discussed. 11.10 is a supported direct live upgrade. 11.04 requires a step upgrade to 11.10 before upgrading 12.04. Clint mentioned that upgrading to 10.04 is not recommended at present but will be supported in the first point release in July (12.04.1). Darin also discussed using the alternate CD text installer for installing to an older laptop. Post Meeting note - Older hardware is really not supported as a PAE i686 enabled processor is required for installation, this has not been resolved, discussed during the beta release period and will exclude many older systems from running 12.04. It may still be resolved with a non-PAE i386 kernel at a future time. Performance may also be an concern on older hardware. Darin then showed us the new Gimp 2.8 which is not part of 12.04's desktop installation but available from a repository at ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp. Full instructions can be found at WebUpd8.Org Scroll about half way down the page for the instructions on how to install to Ubuntu 12.04 and 11.10. The wait for Gimp 2.8 has been long awaited, 3 and a half years, and is very impressive with its new single Window mode and editing capabilities including live text editing, grouping layers, and new features. GEGL operation is current not supported (enabled) but is included for future implementation. The link above also provides a short listing of many of the new features. Darin's approach to using a computer relies on using the keyboard for almost everything that many of us would use a mouse for and part of that approach requires configuring shortcut keys which are difficult to implement directly in Unity however Darin uses the CompizConfig Settings Manager to configure both the desktop appearance and shortcut keys that allows him to fly through operations and application windows on his laptop. Darin showed off several Ubuntu 12.04 Desktops besides the default Unity desktop. He started with one of his favorites Cairo-Dock 3.0 Desktop which has a lot of new effects and featuers but Darin cautioned that it is not for the faint of heart. One of things he showed us was how to use Compiz inside Cairo and other desktops with the terminal command "compiz --replace &". He went over the Cairo-Dock Desktop Configuration, backgrounds, notifier settings, clock size/settings. He suggested going to the Compiz website for the tutorials and emphasized that it does have a learning curve. Another handy shortcut for when your Linux desktop has become non-responsive. You can use alt key followed by the sysreq and then the k key, holding down the alt while sequentially pressing the other two keys will force a system restart. But an even better way is the alt sys reiusb key sequence which forces a gentle restart where programs are closed that might still be running in the background and there is even a Wikipage for linux alt sys reiusb. Darin then showed us the Gnome-shell 3.4 desktop and the Gnome extensions availabe at http://extensions.gnome.org/about. One of his favorites is the Gnome foot application menu extension got a windows like cascading menu. He also showed Gnome Classic no effects. Last up was a demo of the new Heads up display (HUD) in Unity 12.04. What HUD does is to allow you to find a program or application function such as bold, cut, edit within the application menu system without having to search for it manually. The Alt key initiates the HUD to find menu function entry. HUD requires that the application be "Global Menu" aware, meaning that its menu is found in the Unity bar across the top of thescreen. LibreOffice is not Global Menu aware but can be made compatible with HUD by instaling the lo-menubar package. We then went to the post presentation Q&A time where new member Tammy had a question on getting MySQL working. Clint assisted her in making sure MySQL was properly setup with the secure installation script and then showed her how to use the mysql client command line syntax. He recommended that she install phpMyAdmin for MySQL, a web based administration tool which she did install but wasn't linked in to the localhost webserver. Clint created a softlink for phpmyadmin so that it would start properly form the web browser and she was then able to login to it. While Clint was working with Tammy, Darin fielded some other questions and discussion. The meeting wrapped up about 8:30. Thanks Darin for leading the meeting in an excellent presentation on Ubuntu 12.04. Our next meeting will be on June 7th at the Boise Public Library!, details still to be determined. 05/06/2012 - Clint Note: I am not recommending that anyone upgrade to 12.04 at this time. I did take an opportunity to load it on my P4 laptop only to be greated with the same "internal errors" popping up on the screen we saw at the meeting and the resulting "dump" for sending to Ubuntu; those "internal errors" were not infrequent. Also, there are some reports of packages not installing properly including MySQL if you need to do a fresh install, you might go back to 11.10. There is a point release due out in July, 12.04.1 which will include the upgrade option for 10.04 and undoubtedly numberous fixes to current issues. If your current desktop works, then don't break it. Oh yes, on the Ubuntu listserver, I was greeted by no less than 80 messages this morning, all related to issues with 12.04.