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Taking Saucy Salamander for a spin

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Ubuntu

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On Thursday 17 October last week the latest release of Ubuntu 13.10- christened Saucy Salamander was released. The distribution- especially this current release- has been rocked by several controversies and has since dropped to number 3 on distrowatch. It however remains a veritable force to reckon with in the Linuxsphere where it has spawned a host of derivative distros such as the number one ranked Linux Mint. Countless blogs have been written on how to install it. I am here to offer some local tweaks to those guides.

What’s new.

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I spent the entire weekend discovering Saucy and I can tell you right now if you are using the last release (13.04) or even 12.04, Saucy is not going to blow your mind with any new radical features this release is about fine tuning and fixing problems inherited from previous versions. Notable new features include Smart Scopes (these refine searches made in Dash), a new kernel ( which means more drivers for your devices) and better privacy settings. Something else noteworthy with this release was that it included Ubuntu Touch an OS especially tailored for smartphones and Tablets. However this is still in its infancy so your Chinese imitation Android tablet is not supported yet.

Downloading and installing.

Internet can be expensive and a pain here so if you or a friend has fast internet you should try downloading the latest up to date daily version here instead of downloading the release version from ubuntu.com. For other flavours of Ubuntu the daily builds can be accessed by visiting the Ubuntu image server here and navigating to the folder of your favourite flavour.

  • You can create a bootable installation USB disk by downloading the Universal USB installer here. Note this will only work in Windows in Linux you can use Unetbootin.

  • Ubuntu has become renowned for being easy to install and this version is no different. If you have any problems please visit the Ubuntu wiki here.

  • Unfortunately it looks like the local download server is not yet updated but you can gain significant speeds by downloading from a South African mirror however. I would recommend UCT’s servers which can be found here. You can also use the address http://zw.releases.ubuntu.com/. South African mirrors can also be used in your repository to install new software and to keep your system up to date.

Installing apt-fast.

Internet can be quite slow in Zim and people often use download accelerators. apt-fast is like a download accelerator for apt-get and it supports most of the command line arguments that apt-get uses. You can learn how to install apt-fast here.

Things to do after.

It’s 2013 yet you still have to install codecs and extra software if you are to do anything useful with your new installation of Ubuntu. You will need to install software like VLC, Chrome( there are slight differences between Chrome and Chromium and what you need is Chrome which can be downloaded here.) Ubuntu Restricted Extras etc. Please read this comprehensive guide on what to do after installing Ubuntu. Also if you really hate Ubuntu that much and Love Mint or its Cinamon desktop you can install Cinamon using this guide here.

NB

  • Ever since after 13.04 ( Ringtail) it is no longer possible to use the alternative disk to do offline upgrades which is really sad for those without a fast internet to do an online upgrade. So if you are affected you might have to do a clean installation. In future you might want to put the Operating system on its own partition so as not to lose your data during installations.

  • Downloads mentioned in this article can be quite large so if you are on a metered connection you might need to keep an eye on your data usage. It might be wise to do the upgrades/downloads during off peak periods. So you can either pull an all nighter or use an automated script.

If you have any other useful tips and tricks please feel free to share them in the comments section.


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13 thoughts on “Taking Saucy Salamander for a spin

      1. btw, these new general releases have had their support times cut down from 2 years to 9 months.. so not sure where these ubuntu guys are going with all this…

        1. its because they dont want to have to support as many active versions at once – it allows them to focus better and keeps people updating – chances are most users update within 3 months of a new release anyway so it makes no real difference

          i suspect they might want to move to a rolling release in future for non LTS versions and leave LTS where the requirements for consistency and reliability outweigh the need for new bleeding edge features constantly

          1. i guess so. perhaps they should rather focus on LTS’s in that case as those usually are based on the latest Debian stable at the time..and compared with debian, ubuntu is much more user orientated. the general releases really just force people to upgrade more than they need to

  1. btw the zw.releases.ubuntu.com and zw.archive.ubuntu.com mirrors are actually SA based at this time

    all users who select zim as there country will be offered this mirror by default rather than the current local .org.zw mirror so you would have to manually use the .org.zw by editing your settings during or after install/upgrade

    i note that the org.zw mirror is completely offline right now (connection refused) so not sure whats happening to it

    1. Yes thats true, you actually need to connect to the local repository manually..info on how to do that is here:

      http://www.ubuntu.org.zw/node/6

      we did try and apply to get our repository certified, however, they had standards that required huge amounts of bandwidth and huge amounts of hard disk space.. which were a problem for us to provide due to alot of it being sponsored (the ubuntu team doesnt run as a business and makes no money) so we couldnt afford the crazy amount of bandwidth that was needed to make the mirror official.

      is there anyway to contact you directly? i need your public IP address to check if it peers with ZINX, then i can allow the subnet on the firewall.

      1. office.somersettechsolutions.co.zw is the IP i tried from (Zol Fibre)

        I must be going through ZINX though to get there as this is my traceroute:

        traceroute to archive.ubuntu.org.zw (196.44.176.73), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
        1 firewall (192.168.31.254) 0.755 ms 0.552 ms 0.542 ms
        2 mercury.zol.co.zw (196.201.1.121) 24.190 ms 11.283 ms 12.602 ms
        3 venus.zol.co.zw (196.201.1.119) 12.063 ms 21.889 ms 35.352 ms
        4 41.190.36.121 (41.190.36.121) 27.619 ms 25.443 ms 23.238 ms
        5 196.44.176.73 (196.44.176.73) 21.939 ms !Z 6.286 ms !Z 7.555 ms !Z

  2. I am really happy with Ringtail (13.04)… Don’t see myself moving or upgrading for quite sometime. Personally, I find Ringtail much faster than previous versions and the support it has for my laptop is adequate for my business and social needs…

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