Saving a computer with Xfce

Regular readers will know of my contempt for Ubuntu Linux‘s standard “Unity” interface. Sadly I could find no simple way to transition to the Mint distro (which keeps Ubuntu’s simplicity but ditches the abomination that is Unity) and so thought I had no choice but to live with it.

But, bluntly, Unity was making the computer I am typing this on all but unusable – it was like a trip back 15 or more years in computing performance – thrashing, long delays, the whole “run Windows 3.1 on a 640KB box” experience. Unity had to go or the laptop (a vintage and a long way from the top of the range machine – but with 2GB RAM and two Athlon TK-57 processors not quite ready for the scrap yard) had to go.

In desperation this morning I installed Xfce (Xubuntu-desktop) – I wish I had done that years ago. The computer is usable again and I get to work with a clean and entirely functional desktop.

Another one bites the dust – but files on LVM are saved

Chucked another computer tonight. This one had been ill for about a year and stopped working about two months ago (the Raspberry Pi now does all that it used to do, except run a SCSI tape backup).

English: Linux Logical Volume Management (LVM)...
English: Linux Logical Volume Management (LVM) v1 Diagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I had to rescue an LVM set to get the files – so here’s how I did that:

Mounted the two disks (one was IDE, one SATA) in my IDE docking station –I am using this model and it works well.

At first all I could see was the /boot partition, so I plainly needed to do more:

sudo aptitude install lvm2 – get the LVM software.

sudo pvs – see what LVM groups I have.

I could see that Volume Group (VG) called Ubuntu (it will be whatever name you gave it when created – in my case about six and a half years ago).

lvdisplay /dev/Ubuntu – gives me details of the volumes inside the group – in my case just the one (ignoring swap), identified by LV Name root.

vgchange /dev/Ubuntu/root -a y – this makes the volume mountable (assuming it is marked as unavailable before then.)

mount /dev/Ubuntu/root /your/mount/point – from this point you should be able to access the files on the volume.

It’s Friday afternoon…

…and I could really do with an answer to this question I have posted over on “Superuser”:



I am seeking to back up an encrypted volume used by Virtual Box on one OS X machine to another using rsync (I will eventually stick this into cron).

This is the command line (I am sharing public keys so no password is required) – with some details obscured:

rsync –bwlimit=100 -av -e “scp -P [port numb] user@address:~/VirtualBox\ VMs/ubuntu1/*” ./ubuntu1/.

But it won’t copy anything, just repeatedly giving me this, ie no copying is done – despite the fact that ubuntu1.vdi date stamp and size have now changed:

building file list … done drwxr-xr-x 170 2012/10/04 19:06:15 . -rw——- 7265 2012/10/05 10:00:21 ubuntu1.vbox -rw——- 7265 2012/10/05 10:00:21 ubuntu1.vbox-prev -rw——- 7881625600 2012/10/05 10:53:23 ubuntu1.vdi

sent 132 bytes received 20 bytes 304.00 bytes/sec total size is 7881640130 speedup is 51852895.59

How do get this to work properly?

Odd looking Microsoft logo

Is it just me who thinks that Microsoft’s cloud computing logo reminds them of Ubuntu?

I cannot believe that Microsoft feel so threatened by Ubuntu and Canonical that they have done this deliberately, but it still seems like a very odd choice to me.

PS: Remind me never to use OS X to write blog posts – this is the second time I have tried it and every time I do, the text gets deleted. A bug somewhere.

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Death of a bridge

A 1990s network interface card supporting both...
Image via Wikipedia

It looks as though my wireless bridge, which relied on equipment more than a decade old – a Ricoh pci pcmcia bridge and a 801.11b DLink card – has died. The network interface won’t come up on booting the system and lspci just lists the device as an unrecognised non-VGA card (interestingly the BIOS still sees it as a network controller though).

So, I need to replace it. But with what? My understanding, last year at least, was that Linux bridging software won’t work with anything more modern (this card had an old Prism II chipset)

. Has that changed?

The more people use “Unity” the less they like it

UnityAdmittedly this is a “focus group of one” but returning home from some weeks away, the other half says “you know the way my computer works now?” Me: “oh, Unity?” Her: “Yes. Well, it’s ****. Can you get rid of it?” Me: “I thought you said you liked it?” Her: “That was before I had to do some work.”

But it seems Canonical still are not prepared to admit their mistake.

“bye bye ubuntu you suck now” – so how can I switch to Mint?

Linux Mint 10 Julia
Image by pexatar via Flickr

The first half of this blog’s title was a search string that took someone here. I tend to agree.

So is there a way to seamlessly switch to Mint? I don’t have a separate /home partition so the route that most people seem to recommend is blocked to me.

I think there used to be scripts but I cannot find any up to date ones, so can anyone help?