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Ubuntu - Long Term Support - How long is it really?


Ubuntu - LTS

Ubuntu GNU/Linux Long Term Support which are the Ubuntu GNU/Linux versions that are supported for three years for desktop versions and five years for server versions.

The first LTS Ubuntu version that was issued was Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Dapper Drake, which was released in June 2006.  The second was Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Heron, which was released in April 2004 (per the numbering scheme -- first digit being the issuance year and second being the month number.)  The next scheduled LTS Ubuntu version is Ubuntu 10.04 (which is currently tentatively scheduled.)

As may be already evident, there is no true way to get the full three years (much less five) of support (which is actually just operating system and software security and stability updates -- basically bug fixes.)  You see if these versions are supported for three years but are issued every two years, how is it possible to get continuously three full years or supported use without the need to do a full reinstall or upgrade of your operating system.

You see, unlike most Ubuntu users (most of which are power/geeks users of which I somewhat regard myself), I do not get my "kicks" from reinstalling my operating system and/or performing a version upgrade every six to eighteen months.  (On a somewhat unrelated note, I am rarely impressed by Linux distro version reviews through a "virtual machine" as it seems to me that the only way one can get a true indication of an operating system's performance is by performing a true hard drive install and putting this new install through approximate real world use for a few days -- with the exception of distros which are never really intended to be installed on a hard drive such as Puppy Linux.)  So, I do appreciate the LTS Long Term Support Ubuntu GNU/Linux versions which, at least, minimize my need to perform a major OS upgrade and/or reinstall.

In this regard, I believe I am most like the truly "average" user who want his/her PC to "just work" and does not want to be hassled by operating system upgrades / reinstalls.  I recently read an interesting statistic that approximately 77% of Ubuntu users are currently already using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope (it is May 28, 2009, as I write this.)  This tells me that 77% of Ubuntu users are truly geek power GNU/Linux users and are not the "average" user Ubuntu is now targeting, for, like me, the "average" user clearly does not want to be bothered with an operating sysem upgrade / reinstall every six months.  (As a side note, I applaud Dell for sticking with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS for their pre-install Ubuntu GNU/Linux sales.)

I do not believe in performing an operating system upgrade / reinstall unless the new version presents a "compelling" reason to upgrade.  As such, I am still running Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS on our home PCs.  Clearly Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex did NOT present a "compelling" reason to upgrade.  Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jacklope did approach the compelling threshold, but I am still holding out for the next LTS release (frankly, probably the point 2 release in July 2010 for bug fixes.)  (In the interest of full disclosure, I did install 9.04 on my folks PC, but they needed a new hard drive installed anyway so it made sense to install it -- since a reinstall was required anyway.) 

Based upon my peripheral observations, it seems that with Ubuntu's cut throat six month release schedule, new features are introduced in each new release that are far from perfected until at least the next subsequent release.  In support of the preceding statement, consider pulse-audio, ext4, (without an actual file.)

I would much prefer that Ubuntu change to a one-year release cycle for routine releases and three years for LTS releases (not every two years for three year supported LTS releases as it is now so one could actually get a full three years support.)  With a one-year release cycle, ample time would be afforded so new features could actually work properly and bugs could actually be fixed and more and more would "just work" as it should.

Just my two cents for now.  Thanks for reading.

Mark, did you get this?  (Shuttleworth)




NEWB's adventure's in Linux From Scratch

hello again,

 I've taken some time tonight to reflect on where I've been over the past 3 weeks.

   I sparked interest in myself on trying Linux and soon realized that the "GUI" alone would not suffice. I poked around a bit, started to ask questions. Installed Ubuntu on a dual cpu Amd box. It ran fine , was stable and it wasn't Windows. Except  for that hideous brown default desktop all worked fine untill that computer's power supply died.

          I started looking into other distro's and ran into the LFS liveCD.. I booted fast and loaded entirely onto my ram, all the programs were snappy. Something I wasn't used to on an old Pentium4 machine with 256 mg of ram. I soon remedied the ram problem as I was ordering a new power supply for the Amd machine I got 2 512mg stick for this Dell 4550. That is the max this machine takes.   

   Well, curiousity got the best of me and I went and started reading on the LFS site and saw that there were only 3 books needed as prerequisites ???????????? I can do this , I thought to myself. That started my journey. After reading about 1/3 of the  first book and blasting thru the software building book. I tried unsuccessfully  to build LFS. I went into the IRC channel and after 7 pathetic attempts  to build . I realised that I needed more knowledge 

    I went back and started being specific, getting a couple   of notepads to keep notes.  And have I kept  notes !!!  I even made a laminated overlay for Vim  for my keyboard shortcuts and bash. I've used Google alot,  sometimes it helps sometimes not.I've used IRC.... Pastebin has become my friend, I've adapted the  approach that I can write down what I've done first before I go into IRC and document all that I've read and what I've done step by step instead of trying to explain it to someone , and half way into it they interrupt you and assume the wrong thing.

    I as a newb am sure that I speak for all newb's in saying everything is not in the blankety,blank , blank, blank, manual.  Each situation is different, many times even the most experienced guys are not going to have the answers In IRC.   I realize this. That's why it's so important that I exhaust every possible avenue before I go to IRC.  At the same time, It's important to note that many new users like myself are not acedemics, we are blue collar regular guys,we understand regular words, not scientific words. Many of the top notch people in Linux and free software as a whole have a computer science  background , with formal training where they have the interaction with their teacher to reinforce what they've learned. When us blue collar guys learn from a book, we don't know what works until we get some experience under our belts to know  ... build confidence. With experience we will gain confidence in ourselves, but when things go wrong, with no interaction it's easy to lose prospective.

    Case in point, my pata cable incident , the night before I started installing I stayed up and read an online Grub "tutorial" the whole book, drive mapping and all, dealing with windows etc. I get up in the morning (note the drive in question just had windows on it and had no problems). I get the idea that I'm going to put another linux on my second drive, when I try  to reboot it doesn't work. I'm like , I just read that book, I couldn't have made a mistake??? I nuked it off and redid the whole thing.. about 10pm that next night I'm ready to reboot again this time the computer hangs????? oh crap how do I deal with this? I power off and now it won't boot, I thing I've messed up the drive powering off. So, I use fsck. and no errors.  Anyway I'm taking note of specific errors and I get a live cd and boot in and copy mtab, fstab, and grub conf and pastebin the whole thing. While I'm in the room waiting for someone to help I'm talking about the options in grub and here we go again , I'm being accused of not following the install guide and not reading the manual, I'm beginning to think that , it's the easy way of saying I'll talk to you but I'm not willing to invest the time to fix it, or I don't have the answer so, I'll just say you're not following the manual,  In the end it wasn't my lack of knowledge, it was a hardware problem. 

     Oh, and what the heck is this deal where fdisk list hda and when you boot the kernel says sda??, and even grub is getting into the act and wants sda or sdxx whatever and some versions I see used the uuid even? , I've got the system up and running and I'm not quite right yet as there are answers I need but , at this point in time, I'm looking for a local users' group to join as I can do without the accusations. I've worked very hard to learn what I've learned in the short amount of time I've been at it. I'm not going away anytime soon.

    I'm going to say one last thing on this subject and that is a very big Thank You to "Cosmo" on the LFS-support channel for being a great guy and straight forward person. Thanks again for all your help.


Linux gaining mainstream support to reach critical mass.

Guys, surely most of you know and realize Linux is a great OS. The problem is no one uses it and no commercial apps work with it. (generalizing here sure a few things work)

What can we do to help Linux reach higher levels?

My proposals are

1. Focus on polish and ease of use.

a. to install an app there should be a universal way. Users dont care about how they want it done. When a user clicks on install they want an install to happen.

b. More commercial apps. Focus on games. Surely there is a sharp group out there that could get with some of these companies to work to help port some apps to Linux. In this economy people want cheaper products and Microsoft isnt cheap. With more linux netbooks and phones etc coming out it is gaining some recognition. If you could show a business how they could make money with Linux apps I think they would be more apt to accept it than ever before.

c. come up with a unified linux. I know I know this is a sin but come on guys, surely we could have a standard vendors or customers could choose that defaulted to a certain look and functionality. Most people dont need 10000 apps or 12 apps that do the same thing. And besides you could setup this standard to only apply if selected?

 d. Be heard. We need more communication on the benefits of linux. Hands on demos at the stores, blogs, some type of marketing from the big Linux companies, etc.

e. better hardware support. This has come a long ways. I still here "its Company XYZ's drivers that suck", well that may be, but surely something can be done about this.


I know this probably isnt 100% the way to do it and I will probably be flamed but I really would like to see Linux have its day.


Already receiveing phishing SPAM

I received this in my inbox today:

 "Hello, My name is juliet, i got you from, and i want to have a good relationship with you, please i need your cooperation, am yours juliet. this is my email, ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )"

 Yesterday I got something very similar from "mary."  She wanted to start a relationship with me too.  It seems like there are many lonely women out there after me.  I suppose this could be true, but it is more likely an attempt to pull some swindle or other.  


I wish I had paid attention in Accounting class.

ERP Platforms I have tested:

  1. OpenBravo
  2. OpenTaps

Platform: Ubuntu Server 7.10, Tomcat5.5

Both installed easily enough, but the Accountants were gun shy.  Somewhere along the line they had had a difficult experience with ERP in general, but now OpenSource ERP in particular.  I found myself wishing that I had paid more attention to accounting.  As it was I had a very hard time just staying awake.  Maybe there is a good book out there that explains the principles, and focuses on the financial modeling required to get an ERP off of the ground.  Some day I would really like to get a good pilot of one of these off of the ground.


Fox in SOX

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has got to be a low point in our countries regulation history.  This miserable piece of legislation costs anyone who has to comply with it millions of dollars and provides nothing in return.  IT departments get hammered with insane requirements, and moronic auditors that eat up hours like it's cotton candy. " Screen shot this, prove that", and one ridiculous question after another until you want to stick a shank into all of them.  If your organization can avoid this hell, then it is worth it to do so.  How?  Stay private.  The instant you go can join me and the auditors in our little version of purgatory.  Rant finished.

 Linux related question: 

How to prove that password policies are enforced on Linux systems?  

I have used ticketing systems to documentation steps, and severely limited access to my Linux systems in order to comply with this requirement, but auditors always want more.   They want an automated foolproof system that enforces policy and will take nobody's word for it.  I am looking into how to enforce such policies on my linux boxes now.  I have some reading to do and will publish my findings.


NEWB's adventure's in Linux From Scratch

Back from the brink,

  If you've read many of my blog's , you know that I'm one to read whatever I can get my hands on.  I was having issues with grub and went into a chatroom to get some help and got smacked around pretty good yesterday because I was asking alot of basic questions that were in the book. So, if you're pretty good with linux and just read my blog to get a newb point of view then take notice.  When you I the "Newb " read something to learn, I'm not in a classroom, don't have a teacher to ask if I have questions so I have to assume that I've got it right. With that in mind we plod ahead to installing grub on a machine to see if I can get it to work on my machine... well ... of course it didn't or I wouldn't be blathering about my chatroom experience.:)

  Grub complained and wouldn't boot, so I set to work using the freshly acquired knowledge gain from reading the entire grub tutorial and rebooted  this time using "esc" to get to the menu and "c" to get to the commanline and entered "root ( " and then tab to get tab completion and guess what? the second drive is not even on the menu???. Ok , I do "root (hd1)" and enter get another prompt and do "kernel /boot/kernel-x.x.xx.whatever root=/dev/hdb1 <pointing to the kernel> no device found? then I do " map (hd1) (hd0) map (hd0) (hd1) enter  , then redo the root and kernel lines and boot.... cannot mount device...... :((  I go to a chat room for help and get chastised for not reading the manual because I'm asking about root and drives and checking everything. I figure I've done something wrong??? somewhere. Well I assure them that I've been taught well by the books I've read about online etiquette  and wouldn't take their time if I'd not read the manual and they apologized to me.

   After a good nights sleep and leaving the "beast" till morning , I found that I kept having disk errors , I just had windows on this hard drive with no problems???? well , I couldn't figure out tune2fs so I went and got my system rescue cd and booted it and ran "testdisk" and found two partitions unrecoverable on it???... So, I grabbed another drive and set it up and again I was ( after a few hours of trying) disk errors???

    Something's fishy here I thought to myself, ( not those exact words:))  so I went into my shop and grabbed another pata cable and GUESS WHAT!!!  no more problems!!!! Darn cable.:)) Whew.... If at first you don't succeed , try try again.



Deferred--fat-fingers strike again..

fat finger


Recently at work I have noticed an abundance of customers leaving comments with mistyped--"fat-fingered"--email addresses. We have all seen it "", "","". The problem with these lost souls, beside suffering from fat-fingeritis, is the are paying customers and deseve to be heard; "Forgive them for they know not what they do".   The web interface is not maintained by me and asking "those people" to add more logic to the front-end would take an act of congress. I do have control over the email gateways that send these ill fated emails out. After the magick of Google, I stumbled upon the Levenshtein distance theory.  According to wikipedia, "The Levenshtein distance between two strings is given by the minimum number of operations needed to transform one string into the other, where an operation is an insertion, deletion, or substitution of a single character". ;this might work.  I proceeded to look for some code examples and put this together.(I pieced together a couple of examples to suit my needs)


#include <stdlib.h>
#include <malloc.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <stdio.h>
int levenshtein_distance(char *s,char*t);
int minimum(int a,int b,int c);

int levenshtein_distance(char *s,char*t)

  //Step 1
  int k,i,j,n,m,cost,*d,distance;
    //Step 2    
    //Step 3 and 4    
        //Step 5
        //Step 6            
    return distance;
    return -1; //a negative return value means that one or both strings are empty.

int minimum(int a,int b,int c)
/*Gets the minimum of three values*/
  int min=a;
  return min;
int main (int argc, char *argv[]) {
    int result;

   //used just three top domains for testing
    char *domains[3] = {"", "", ""};
    int SIZE = 3;
    int x;
    if(argc != 2) {
      printf("Usage: [email address]\n");
    char *first, *second;
    second = argv[1];
    //add loop to go through array
    for(x=0; x < SIZE; x++) {
        result = levenshtein_distance(domains[x], second);
     //if the required steps to match is less than two--I feel confident we have it correct       if (result < 2 ) {
          printf("did you mean %s\n", domains[x]);
        } else {
          printf("could not find a match\n");
    return 0;


Obviously this is not a finished concept, but one can see how this would  be useful. One could use this  to give a list of "possibly-correctable" email addresses in a database table. Anyway found this interesting and wanted to share.

Take care.


antiX M8.2 Test 1 now available and looking GREAT!

Here with antiX M8.2 Test 1, running live. Let me tell you why I like antiX so much as a Live CD.

1. Loads, even to RAM, in under two minutes, faster than that to run straight from CD.

2. Recognizes, even on CD, just about any wireless network card you can throw at it.

3. Has a good selection of software, and given that you can run it live, from USB, or install it to disk from the CD, it is easy to install or just use as is (as I am doing right now.

4. It's fast, and I think it is a blend of being easy enough, yet fast enough. You can get smaller Live CDs, but they take more tinkering and they don't have as many good apps. You can get larger live CDs, but they don't boot or run as fast as antiX.

I consider this the #1 top Live CD overall and one of the best systems around. You can run it either as a stable system or you can also customize and build your own system from it. What other system can do all of these things well? Some can do certain tasks better, perhaps, but on the balance this is the best live CD you can get!

The appearance of this version is better than ever - the nicest boot splash screen I've seen yet, thanks to the great artists in the antiX community!


Spanish airline uses GNOME

So recently ive been jet setting around the world and have been lucky enough to sample various airline lounges. Airline lounges are the way to go people, there is nothing like free beer before teleporting yourself at 10,000m and 900 km/h+ to the other side of the world. My blissful amusement soared when I discovered while at Barcelona airport that the Spanair lounge had internet internals running some version of the GNOME desktop. Since this encounter ive also discovered that Spanair are using Red Hat Enterprise Linux for various operations optimization applications.

This makes total sense for an organisation that's operating in a market with such tight margins. Spanair IT, well done.


What you gonna do...?

What you gonna do...?

What you gonna do if when trying to ssh to machineB you were accidentally type no to the host key ? 

Dont panic. 

Do this:

vi ~/.ssh/known_hosts

remove the faulty line
you can even remove the whole file

the known_hosts file is on the server *from* which you try to ssh 

Then try to ssh machineB again. And don’t forget to click yes :P

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