If wasn’t for the online documentation and forums, I would not have complete my installation/configuration as successfully as I did. As a token of appreciation, I am sharing some pointers and notes on my experience. Hope this will be helpful to you too.
Over the weekend, I did a fresh install of Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) Server on AMD64. Why server? I thought that I wanted to take advantage of the “support for hardware facilities that speed up the use of virtual machines“. So I inserted the CD and started the installation. The installation was fairly smooth and fast. I had to spend a bit of time to get used to the new disk partitioning menu interface and re-partition a few times before I get the software RAID configuration I liked. The installer offered the option for the user to select if she/he wants to install LAMP and other server components, which is what was expected out of a server edition of the OS.
What I didn’t realize was that folks at Ubuntu.org was really serious about building a server distribution that only installs what it needs to run as a server, which was the right thing to do. When I rebooted my machine to load the OS, I only saw a text console, no desktop environment was installed. So, I said to my self, “Great, now I’ll have to install that myself!?” This was actually no big deal for me because I am comfortable enough to do that manually with the help from other online HOWTO documentations. This actually reminded me of days when I was installing Gentoo from source. That was a long but rewarding process. I figured out what package I needed or wanted from various guides (for example, this one) and build a list of packages to tell the package management system (
apt-get for Ubuntu) to batch install them while I take a break doing something else.
Configure the system after installed the packages became a bit more challenging. For example, GNOME Display Manager (GDM) would complain that Human theme not found. So, I tweaked
/etc/X11/xorg.conf to load another theme that I installed already. Next, X would not load because Nvidia driver installation binary added references to font files that didn’t exist and attempted to load a tablet input device driver (
wacom). I commented out these references and that did the trick for me.
The next challenge I had was trying to enable Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) to load in GNOME. The first HOWTO didn’t work for me. Fortunately, the second HOWTO got SCIM to load correctly. I also was able to configure 32-bit Flash Player 9 with 64-bit Firefox/Mozilla. I wished the same library wrapping technique would work for Java plug-in. I even tried to run 32-bit Mozilla. Before I get to try the 32-bit plugin, Firefox complained that it can’t find 32-bit SCIM. Until the JVM team/Java community create a 64-bit version of the plug-in, I guess am out of luck and will have to do run 32-bit Mozilla in a VM image to work around the issue. Even VMWare Server 1.02 can’t install without issues. Fortunately, this HOWTO save me for the day.
All-in-all I am happy with my setup for now. Drivers works beautifully. I wish the missing 64-bit software support (Flash Plug-in, Java Plug-in, etc.) and WMA codec support would be less painful or unfriendly on AMD64. If I had known better, I would install the desktop edition rather than server edition for my use. It should be much easier to install sever kernel or VM optimized kernel than setup a desktop environment. I’ve learned my lesson. 😉