Full Circle Podcast Episode 41, Trusted To Fail!!

Full Circle Podcast Episode 41, Trusted To Fail!!


Full Circle Podcast Episode 41, Trusted To Fail!!

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Welcome to our new format show, there are several changes from the previous format, the most important being we are now recording together at the Blackpool Makerspace in the office.  This Episode we Test Ubuntu 14.04, Review of Official Ubuntu Server Book.


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Show Notes

02:08 | WELCOME and INTRO:

Welcome to our new studio recording format. Here are a couple of pictures from the recording:

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02:35 | Since Last Time

  • Tony – Starting to get used to his new life of leisure by getting very busy doing lots of stuff.  He attended a local computer auction and bought a couple of Lenovo X200s laptops and have been playing with these.  Also He’s been getting frustrated with LMDE, as he said on the last show he’s been having issues with audio in LMDE.  He’s now found out that it gobbles up HDD space, only installed this system about 3 months back on a 160Gig HDD which should give loads of space for applications and updates but he has started to get the low disc space warning. Even having transferred all the data he can off the drive to other storage and given the remaining space taken up in the home folder is only around 7Gb The OS has swallowed up nearly 130 Gb of space. In the end he had to reinstall Mint 16 to regain a workable system.
  • Les – Has spent a lot of time in recent months working with a class of young hackers from Mere Side Primary School in Blackpool. They designed, built and tested an emergency beacon power by Raspberry Pi and PiGlow from Pimoroni. They entered a competition from PA Consulting to find the best use of technology for the environment. It was our first time in the competition, and they came second in our group, a great result for the children. He have also been working with the Department for Work Pensions, hosting a hackday using robotics and the Raspberry Pi using Pibrella from Pimoroni which is an awesome piece of kit for £10.
  • Olly – Well it’s been a roller coaster couple of months for him, he left his old job as some of you who follow him on social media may have seen he has set up a business with a very good friend of his to provide a complete IT, Data & Telephony support service to startup and medium sized businesses including a package they’ve dubbed “Business In A Box”.  The good news for this podcast is they have made a commitment to run their business and deliver their services utilising Free and Open Source Software wherever possible, so lots more reviews of software and hints and tips will be shared on the show as they set things up and get settled in, so far they’ve setup a VPS running the company website, mail server, file server utilising NFS, LDAP and Samba (their Admin Assistant/Bookkeeper uses Windows so they needed to share files with her).  Shortly they’ll be setting up a PBX using Asterisk so they can have a business number they can stay connected to anywhere.  This is going to be quite a challenge for business partner Matt as he comes from a Microsoft and Proprietary Unix background and uses a lot of Apple products for personal stuff, including an Iphone and a MacBook Pro. So far he seems to be taking to it well, using the Motorola Moto G as a defacto business handset (we know it’s technically not FOSS software!!) he’s quite impressed with the quality of the phone for the money and how much android has come on since he last saw it, which would be around 1.4.  they have also procured Lenovo ThinkPad X240s and installed Linux Mint with Cinnamon Desktop Environment on them which Matt likes, he has also been experimenting with installing Ubuntu Server edition on a few bits of old redundant hardware as we will more than likely be using it for a standard VPS build, more about that later.

10:47 | NEWS

  • Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr was released on the 17th April 2014, its the first long-term support release with support for the new “arm64” architecture for 64-bit ARM systems, as well as the “ppc64el” architecture for little-endian 64-bit POWER systems. This release also includes several subtle but welcome improvements to Unity, AppArmor, and a host of other great software. http://fridge.ubuntu.com/2014/04/17/ubuntu-14-04-trusty-tahr-released/
  • Ubuntu One the file sync storage and multimedia distribution services  has been axed by Canonical, the service will cease to sync from  the 1st June 2014 and your data will remain available for download until the 31st July 2014 after which date your data will be deleted as the servers will be closed down.  Music purchasing has now ceased.  Now might be a good time to take advantage of the SpiderOak promotional code in the latest edition of the magazine. http://blog.canonical.com/2014/04/02/shutting-down-ubuntu-one-file-services/
  • Linux Foundation to run as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). The Linux Foundation has joined up with edX to release its ‘Introduction to Linux Course’ free to the community you can find more information here.  http://aq.be/7a124e
  • Google has now done a u-turn on it’s controversial Google+ integration after upsetting the Youtube Community earlier this year, forcing it’s users to activate a G+ account so that they could comment on videos and respond to comments on their own videos.  Is this the beginning of the end for Google’s Social Networking service which has attracted a fair amount of criticism and controversy over it’s 3 year life.  http://www.zdnet.com/google-plus-is-turning-negative-but-dont-bet-on-it-going-away-7000028831/
  • New from the Pi foundation – on 7th April they released information about the new Pi compute module, this is basically the Pi chips on a board the size of a laptop SODIMM that can be plugged into a board with input and output ports provided by the foundation or that can be designed independently. the link to the blog is:  http://goo.gl/9Q0hCN

25:28 | LINUX LABS – Ubuntu 14.04 Testing

  • This experiment was a test of installation and usability of Ubuntu 14.04 on 3 different hardware specifications.
  • First was the minimum requirements, an “emachine” Intel Celeron 700Mhz with 768Mb RAM.
  • The Second was the preferred specification for running Unity Desktop a Compaq Intel Pentium 4 1.6Ghz with 768Mhz RAM
  • The Third was a reasonably modern specification of a Lenovo ThinkPad X220 with a 1.8Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor with 2Gb RAM
  • We used the Ubuntu 14.04 32Bit DVD ROM install media.
  • After an hour of waiting for the installation to complete on the emachine PC we declared it lost as the installer had made no discernible progress what so ever.  We then downloaded the Lubuntu 14.04 32Bit installation media and tried again with that.
  • The Lubuntu installation also failed, which is meant to be a lightweight distro!!
  • The Compaq managed to install 14.04 but that was about as good as it got, it took 10 minutes to boot to the Login prompt, another 5 minutes to get the desktop and Unity dash to load.  It ran pretty sluggishly from then on.
  • The only real success was the Lenovo, which installed in around 20 minutes and ran pretty smoothly.

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  • We didn’t get time to test the usability of the OS due to the time spent installing the various flavours of Ubuntu

39:01 | REVIEW – Official Ubuntu Server Book Third Edition by Kyle Rankin & Benjamin Mako Hill

  • This book is recommended as a no experience required introduction to the most common Linux/Ubuntu Server technologies. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Official-Ubuntu-Server-Book-Edition/dp/0133017532
  • The first part of the book takes you through the history of GNU/Linux and the history of Ubuntu and Canonical includes some of the structure a organisational decisions in the Introduction, 26 pages of it!! this seems a little superfluous as I don’t think anyone who’ll pick this book up will be unfamiliar with Ubuntu/Canonical or will read this section as they are looking for a technical guide to administering Ubuntu Server.
  • The next few chapter take you through the installation process, disk partitioning explaining the different types of partition and disk system formats and why you choose one over the other, also a brief guide to the file structure of the Linux operating system.
  • Then look at various server roles which you will select for your server, these are preconfigured profiles for packages and software to be installed so that a server can perform a particular role, such as mail server, web server, DNS and so on.
  • The book then moves onto installing specific software to undertake a specific server task such as email and web server walking you through installing Postfix, Dovecot and Apache.  The book does discuss some of the options available to you during installation and configuration but it does guide you towards the a standard setup that you would expect for most situations.
  • In summary if you are relatively new to Linux servers and want a first timers approach where you can get up and running fairly quickly with things like running a webserver then this a great book for you, well explained with a very straight forward approach.  But I would add a word of caution here, more complicated operations such as running a mail server I would move on to something more detailed after reading this book such O’Reilly’s Postfix & Dovecot books as you do need quite and in-depth knowledge of the subject.

46:18 | EVENTS

  • Manchester Girl Geeks Bracamp 2014 – They’ve done it again, this years it’s bigger at better, now being held at Manchester Metropolitan University in the Geoffrey Manton Building http://mggbarcamp14.eventbrite.co.uk http://manchester.girlgeekdinners.com/
  • Coder Dojo – Blackpool – We’ve talked about Coder Dojos before on the show, now hosts Olly and Les have got involved with a new local one in Blackpool.  For those who missed our discussion previously, Coder Dojos are free monthly workshops where children can learn all about coding and computing via carefully curated lessons. The main site is http://coderdojo.com/ and Blackpool’s site is at http://blackpoolcoderdojo.org.uk/

52:10 | FEEDBACK


Full Circle Magazine #85 is out now.

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Creative Commons Music Tracks

Opening: ‘Achilles’ by Kevin Macleod

Main Theme: ‘Revolve’ by His Boy Elroy

Catch Up to News: ‘Dance Zone’ by Unknown

News to Linux Labs: On the Run 1 By Unknown

Linux Labs to Review and Review to Feedback: Iron Man By SoundJay

Censor at: 39m 47s: Train Honk Horn Clear by Mike Koenig

Censor at: 59m, 43s: Dog Barking Sound Effect by Jace



  1. As a follow up, and to be fair to Ubuntu, the mid rainge PC Olly had 14.04 on probably did not have the grphics power needed to run the Unity DTE according to the Ubuntu official spec requirements. But I only realised this after recording the show. Still does not explain why Lubuntu would not run on the other PC as this more than met the stated hardware requirements.

  2. Hello guys, Charles from Linux Labs (absent this month) here. After hearing about your troubles getting Ubuntu 14.04 installed on machines I decided to grab a machine off our recycling shelf and install Ubuntu 14.04.

    The machine specs were as follows:
    Celeron 2GHz CPU
    1GB DDR400 (2 x 512MB DDR400) running at 266MHz because of the motherboard
    40GB Western Digital PATA Hard Drive
    Onboard 1/8MB video set to 8MB

    The important difference between your builds and mine is that I used the Alternate Download link on the Ubuntu web site to download the Network Installer (which will fit on a CD, so you could have left the CD drive in the 700MHz computer).

    When I booted the network installer I chose to use the text installer. Using the text installer means a much faster initial install, but of course we’re left with a console login at the end of the install. When the install finished I chose to install XFCE (sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop). LXDE is lighter weight, but I personally find XFCE a bit more feature rich. If I was installing on a 700MHz machine I’d probably use something like Blackbox/Openbox/WindowMaker or maybe Enlightenment 17.

    The Xubuntu-desktop package installs a lot of other software, more than 1000 packages in fact. It took about another 40 minutes (around 20 minutes for the initial text-install) to install (about 7 to download everything and the rest to unpack and set-up).

    Now the results: XFCE worked. I opened a terminal, Nautilus file manager and Firefox. The system was reasonably usable considering the age. One problem I ran into was that after I typed in a URL and hit enter the URL changed to unreadable black text. If I selected the URL I could see the text typed in. I’m pretty sure the problem is due to the 8MB onboard video. Sadly the motherboard is an older micro-ATX in a small-form factor case with only a PCI slot. I would need a half-height PCI video card to potentially fix the problem. In my experience it’s better to have at least a 64MB AGP video card. Even with a better video card some models of small form factor computers just don’t seem to do video well (Compaq EVOs for example).

    I didn’t install LibreOffice, but if I was building it “for real” I probably would have. Youtube played (I installed xubuntu-restricted-extras), but did the stutter step (it was really choppy). Again the onboard video is the likely culprit.

    Realistically, as a refurbisher who refurbishes Linux computers for a living this wouldn’t even meet our current minimum specification (Pentium 4 @2.6GHz+ with a minimum of 1GB of RAM and 80GB+ Hard Drive). As you mentioned even dual core systems are showing their age a bit, but a Core 2 Duo @ 3GHz is pretty much the top end for us (we work mostly with donations from the general public). We use Xubuntu on our machines, but we’re still using 12.04 since it’s still supported for another year. We’ll move to 14.04 probably in another month or so. As with any OS we usually give the OS at least a month to work out bugs found after release.

    Awesome that you put the bench time into the install. Realistically on older hardware a network install is the way to go. It’s a pain and requires some experience knowing what to install, but if you’re working with older hardware it’s the most efficient (time saving) way to go.


    It took about another 40 minutes to install XFCE.

    • Hi Charles

      I’ve had the same problem with low end graphics and the URL address bar being blacked out. For low spec machines I’ve moved to Watt OS they have versions with Mate, LXDE and Open Box as the desktop. Mate needing the most resources and OB the least. I’ve had the LXDE release running on an old laptop with 512mb Ram albeit with a decent 2Gig CPU

      It seems to be graphics that is the killer with any modern OS these days and given that so much of what most people do with a PC is graphics heavy (even just surfing the web) this is going to consign so much more older kit to the breakers yard, sad but a fact of life I suppose.

  3. Hi there, Tony and Charles.

    I’ve been having the same problems with elderly computers, specifically those with integrated low-range graphics chips. I have also been the Lubuntu road, but it was not quite satisfactory for most users, who seem to want visual polish, even on old machines. XFCE-based distributions have been my best compromise so far, both Xubuntu and Linux Mint XFCE version.

    Keep up the good work,

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