Unbreaking Unbootable Ubuntu

I run Ubuntu Hirsute - the development release which will become 21.04 - on a bunch of systems. It’s a trade-off though, getting the latest crack each and every day. Being at the bleeding edge of new packages landing means I can experience brand new shiny bugs on my systems. Bugs like 1915579 which rendered my system unbootable. Nobody wants to see this on boot: I had updated yesterday and clearly something went wrong. [Read More]
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You Don't Need To Ask

Ubuntu - the Linux distribution - has been around for 17 years. Over that time many projects and initiatives have been started, some successful, others less so. Not everything we try can work out, but as a group, we should feel empowered to try. The Ubuntu community isn’t quite the same as it was back in 2004-2010, and nobody I know argues that it is. People who were keen and active contributors may have had circumstantial changes which meant they moved on. [Read More]

A Tale of Two Updates

Helping your users stay up to date on their workstation is something I believe OS vendors should endeavour to do, to the best of their ability. Some users aren’t able to find time to install updates, or are irritated by update dialogs. Others are skeptical of their contents, some even block updates completely. No OS vendor wants to be “That Guy” featuring in the news as millions of their customers are found to be vulnerable on their watch. [Read More]

Season Fourteen

Nearly thirteen years ago, on 11th March 2008, a few members of the Ubuntu UK Local Community Team released S01E01 of the Ubuntu UK Podcast. Ciemon Dunville, Dave Walker, Tony Whitmore and I had recorded it on the previous Saturday in my cramped, messy home office. In the following seven years we recorded 187 episodes as “Ubuntu UK Podcast” - affectionately known as “uupc”. A re-brand in season eight to just “Ubuntu Podcast” led to another six years comprising another 251 episodes. [Read More]

All Ahead Stop

Well, things have escalated in Ubuntu-land since the posts I made on Monday and Tuesday! The Ubuntu archive for Hirsute (the in-development version which will become 21.04) has been temporarily frozen. It seems there’s a rather knarly bug in the tools used to build packages, which is causing them to be “mis-built” - i.e. broken. I (and others) noticed this over the weekend, via a breakage in snapd - the daemon which mediates the installation and running of snaps. [Read More]

Going Backwards

Yesterday I wrote about how I made a mistake by updating my primary Ubuntu computer to include the proposed pocket. I shouldn’t have done this. So today I quickly hacked together a script to take any packages which came from proposed and “downgrade” them back to the release pocket. It’s not pretty, but it worked, for me. #!/bin/bash TMPDIR=$(mktemp -d) PACKAGES=$TMPDIR/packages DOWNGRADE=$TMPDIR/downgrade # Get list of all installed packages dpkg -l | grep ^ii | awk -F ' ' '{ print $2}' > $PACKAGES # Start the downgrade script echo "sudo apt install \\" > $DOWNGRADE # For each package in the list of installed packages while read p; do # Get the summary of where the package came from apt-cache policy $p > $TMPDIR/$p # Get the line after (grep -A 1 and tail -n 1) the highlighted one with 3 stars SOURCE=$(grep -A 1 "^\ *\*\*" $TMPDIR/$p | tail -n 1 | awk -F ' ' '{ print $3}' ) # If that line suggests we got the package from proposed, add it to the script if [[ "$SOURCE" == *"hirsute-proposed"* ]]; then echo "$p/hirsute \\" >> $DOWNGRADE fi done <$PACKAGES # Tell the user what to run to actually do the downgrade echo "Run sh $DOWNGRADE" Don’t use this. [Read More]

Don't Use Proposed

This is a short and sweet post to remind future me (and anyone else reading) not to use the “proposed” pocket of the Ubuntu Archive, if you want a bug-free and safe experience. For those not “in the know”, each Ubuntu release has a bunch of pockets. If you’ve ever fiddled with your sources.list you may have seen the names updates, backports, security and proposed. These are usually prefixed with the codename of the release, such as hirsute-updates and hirsute-proposed for the current in-development version of Ubuntu, to become the interim release 21. [Read More]

Command-Line only Laptop

Today, I’m following along from an earlier article “The Allure of The Terminal” where I talked about how I love the terminal aesthetic. How much, well, one of my computers is a command-line only install. I thought I’d talk a bit about that setup. Firstly, it’s not command-line only because it can’t run a graphical environment, although it isn’t a super modern system. It is certainly capable of running Ubuntu MATE, for example, I just choose not to. [Read More]

Reboot Aversion

I am not a fan of rebooting my computers. As you can see: alan@robot:~$ for host in $(cat computers.txt); do ssh "$host" "uptime"; done 20:24:53 up 117 days, 5:06, 10 users, load average: 5.85, 6.07, 5.48 20:24:55 up 113 days, 4:56, 7 users, load average: 0.95, 0.68, 0.72 20:24:56 up 66 days, 9:05, 5 users, load average: 1.06, 0.58, 0.51 20:24:57 up 2 min, 1 user, load average: 0.60, 1.09, 0. [Read More]

Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

I’ve mentioned before that I ‘suffer’ from xkcd 386. I’m trying to improve, and maybe writing this post will help me. If it helps you, that’s awesome too. Let’s work on this together. 🤝 There’s a strong prevalence among some in the Linux community for people correcting others. Specifically correcting pronunciation. I have been guilty of this in the past, but I’m trying to be the change I want to be. [Read More]