Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Natty is natty

In my previous post I mentioned that Natty is now working with Wubi (on the current daily-live image), and also that the new Unity desktop is now working on my old Dell with an ATI X1300 Radeon (whereas with 10.10 netbook edition and early Natty Alphas, Unity did not work at all).

Since then I've reinstalled a number of times and I'm coming to like Natty and Unity. It feels - well - "natty". Not that that's a word I'd use frequently and I consider it only marginally better than the upcoming Oneiric Ocelot (that must be some good weed over at Canonical).

The only Wubi issues I've found are a couple of boot problems with the latest version of Grub. The first was fixed very quickly, and the second only seems to affect my installs when they're not on the main Windows partition. I've worked around this by manually booting and then editing grub.cfg by hand.  I believe that it's basically the same grub rebooting issue from 10.04 and upgrades to 10.10, but this time there is no workaround - other than changing the  00_header script in /etc/grub.d/ but hopefully this will be resolved before release.

The more people that test and report bugs, the better. So if you decide to try Natty on Wubi, please report any bugs you find in launchpad.net and make it better for newcomers to Ubuntu.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wubi finally working in Natty Narwhal

I've just tested the latest Wubi.exe available here. It took a while to download the latest daily-live Desktop CD image (in the end I did that myself from here). But after that installing Wubi was painless. Apart from a benign grub2 message, the Ubiquity installer was impressive - looking ready for release - and seemed faster than prior releases, as did booting up for the first time.

Surprisingly Unity even worked on my computer - I'm not totally sold on it and there were some rendering issues, but at least now I have the opportunity to review it, instead of staring at a blank screen.

So - in summary - the installation of Wubi Natty Narwhal worked flawlessly. As always, alpha testing has risks, so take necessary precautions.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wubi pulled from Natty Alpha3

For those hoping to test Natty Narwhal 11.04 using Wubi, it will not be fixed in time for Alpha3 (the bug report is available here). The new target for a fix is Beta1.

If you read my previous posts, you will know that you could install Alpha1 with Wubi (with some workarounds), but with Alpha2 a new ubiquity bug prevented this from working. I haven't tested this lately, so I don't know whether ubiquity has been fixed. But it's safe to assume that the only option now for Wubi Natty testing is to install Maverick 10.10 and then upgrade.

It shouldn't really be a surprise. Wubi is intended for the newcomer to Ubuntu so having a working Wubi option early in development is not a top priority. Although I am puzzled what the major difficulty is. Also, the fact that there are so many major changes to grub and ubiquity between Maverick and Natty should be sobering for those that like to upgrade to each new release (these don't seem to be very stable products). When you also factor in the major changes to the front-end (Unity) and it seems to me that the Ubuntu developers are being stretched pretty thin. At the same time there've been some pretty major bugs in Lucid that have gone unpatched for over a year.

Wubi itself is due for an upgrade. With a 2007 version of grub4dos that hangs up on ext4 partitions, and some pretty bad usability bugs (e.g. the python code that chokes on multimedia card readers) and confusing (meaningless) error messages... someone needs to step up.