For the past several days I’ve been getting ready to do a clean install of a KDE-based Linux distro on my system, partly to get rid of all the GNOME cruft left behind from my first few years as an Ubuntu Linux user and partly to see how KDE works on a clean system. Based on comments left on an earlier post I decided that rather than installing Kubuntu I’d go with Linux Mint (which is based on Ubuntu itself), especially now that Mint 9 is now available with KDE. Unfortunately that wasn’t nearly as easy as I hoped it would be.
The first problem raised its head when Mint released the KDE version as a LiveDVD and not a LiveCD. Burning a CD is easy for me since I have some rewritable CD’s I can use to burn ISO disk images to but it looked like we had used up all of our spindle of DVD -R blanks. Just before I was able to go pick up a new spindle of blank DVD’s we discovered that we still have some blanks left over so I snagged the ISO of Linux Mint 9 KDE and fired up K3B. So far so good. That is until K3B reported that my DVD-R burner didn’t like the blank media I’d put in the drive.
The hell??? I know I can burn DVD-R’s in the drive because I’ve burned both data DVD’s and DVD movies in the drive without problems in the past. In the last year I’d burned several data DVD’s-R as part of a massive backup so it shouldn’t be a problem now. I got the ISO moved to another computer on the local ‘net (running Windows XP) and burned the Mint DVD. I checked out the LiveDVD and liked what I saw so I started the install process, only to have it fail while running the manual partition editor to let Mint know where everything is and which partitions to format. After doing some checking it looked like I may have burned a bad disk and after some checking I grabbed the ISO all over again, confirmed that there were no problems in the ISO file with an MD5SUM check and tried to burn the disk again. K3B complained about the blank media again so I reinstalled Brasero, the GNOME burning app I’d used in the past with no problems, only to have it tell me my burner didn’t like the media. I ended up going back to the Windows box and burned a new Mint 9 KDE LiveDVD at the slowest speed possible. I managed to get far enough through the install setup to confirm that everything was ready to rock, although I did end up deleting my old
/opt partitions since I was getting crashes when I tried to set up the installer to format those partitions. I had my important data from those folders backed up and was going to format them anyway so I thought once I got to the last setup screen I’d be able to install Mint 9 KDE.
Nope. I got an error message saying something didn’t want to work properly, and now I’m kicking myself for not at least grabbing the digital camera and grabbing a screenshot so I can try to use it to find out why Mint didn’t want to install. The big problem at that point is that having deleted so many files to try to get Mint installed I wasn’t about to see if I even had a usable computer. I had specifically started the install process just after lunch to give me enough time to get Mint installed and tweaked before I had to power down my computer and head down to Jamaica Plain for the night, and it was now getting quite late in the day and I had a big paperweight under my desk.
Luckily I had gotten my Kubuntu LiveCD from Canonical late last week so I put the disk in my drive and installed it. I was specifically trying not to installing Kubuntu because I’d heard Mint was KDE done right and wanted to get the full benefit of the extra attention the Mint devs put into the release. They had gone so far as to hold off on releasing Mint 9 KDE until things were fixed and they could release a disk that was as ready to use as it could be, something the Ubuntu devs have shown an unwillingness to do in recent releases. (Not to slam the Ubuntu devs, but I’ve seen important fixes come out within a month of the official release the last couple of cycles because they evidently didn’t want to let the release date slip.)
Needless to say I have a lot of software to install and a veritable ton of tweaks to apply before I’m ready to share any screenshots, and I have non-computer tasks to do in the next few days, but I do plan on writing a post with screenshots of my brand new KDE system. I will say that I ended up having to install some additional GNOME files beyond what Brasero needed since Geany, my favorite text editor, requires them. I also installed Synaptic because I find it’s much easier to use for installing packages, especially recommended packages for an app I already have. I’ll have to look at other package management apps for KDE but neither KPackageKit nor the Ubuntu Software Center (which doesn’t seem to ship with Kubuntu) give me the level of detail I’ve become accustomed to using with Synaptic.