All Change. Mandriva 2008 to Ubuntu 8.04

As I noted in a previous post I was recently the victim of a Random Kernel Upgrade Hell (RKUH). Maybe I should trademark that acronym, although its not particularly prounounceable like SNAFU, or PEBCAK. Anyway … the fact was that I was spending several hours trying to fix various problems with wifi drivers, VMware server, truecrypt and the sound in Skype, when it suddenly occured to me that a re-install was probably quicker. The double edged sword of Linux: quick to reinstall, but then again why should you need to do it so often? Well I guess in my case I push the OS pretty hard with some esoteric applications, but even so …

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More Power

We’re getting into summer in the Philippines, and I was just worrying how hot my Thinkpad R51e was running. Its 32 degrees in the room, and my CPU is running at a consistent 73 degrees, according to

cat /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/THM0/temperature

which seems a bit unhealthy. My motherboard fried itself twice last year, and I figure that might have had something to do with it.

Anyway, I started casting around for things to reduce the power consumption, and found this powertop utility, apparently developed by Intel. ( You can download it and install it from the site, but I just did a quick

sudo apt-get install powertop

and that seemed to work pretty well. When you run it (with sudo powertop), it reports all the things that are keeping your CPU awake and suggests a few things you can do to consume less power. Even better it will make these changes for you, if you press the appropriate letter on the keyboard.

Big Switch 7: Shake your Booty

OK, in the last post, I had moved my partitions around substantially, so we were obviously in for a few problems booting. To recap, the new layout looks like this:

  • /dev/hda1 – 20Gb – Linux main system (moved and enlarged)
  • /dev/hda2 – 100Mb – /boot partition (moved)
  • /dev/hda4 – 1 Gb – swap partition (moved)
  • /dev/hda3 – Extended partition containing
    • /dev/hda5 – 17 Gb Data partition (enlarged)
    • /dev/hda6 – 17Gb /home partition (newly created to house all the VMs)

The first problem was getting the thing to boot up. The MBR was still on the boot sector of the drive, but it was telling the computer to boot from the wrong sector. I pulled out the Mint / Ubuntu install CD and booted from that.

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Big Switch 6: Virtually there.

OK a quick recap from my last post, where I realised that then next step was going to take some explaining … A week or so went by without incident and it was time to consider the final stage: moving Windows to a virtual machine and getting rid of the old Windows partition. Here are the main stages.

  1. Make a windows install CD from the install files on the windows partition (Thinkpads don’t have an install CD, they use an Install partition)
  2. Install vmware on Ubuntu and make a Windows Virtual Machine.
  3. Delete the old Windows and IBM Install partitions
  4. Re-arrange the remaining partitions to suit the new arrangement.

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