Well, it’s time to update the Linux. The latest update is Hardy Heron.

Computer people like cute names, and each Linux/ubuntu update has an animal name to identify it. Hardy Heron, gutsy Gibbon, etc.

The last time  I updated my Ubuntu operating sytem, I downloaded a torrent file of the iso (in English, I downloaded a new disc using a torrent downloader, which is slow, but will continue the download if you turn off or a storm causes your connection to die. The “iso” file is essentially a digital image that you can burn to your disc without having to mess around). It downloaded an ISO file, which I mounted on a new disc. (there are a few Ubuntu programs that do this, but I use one called K3B . Once in awhile it eats/destroys discs but it’s easy enough for even a grandmom to use).

Before you reload an operating system, you back up everything just in case it gets eaten/destroyed.

So when I installed Gutsy Gibbon, I backed up my computer, place in the disc, and voila, it partitioned and  reinstalled the entire operating system for me.

This has some advantages: by doing that, a lot of unneeded files were erased, and the installation even let me keep my older downloads on a separate part of the disc, and it did the partitioning for me during the installation.

Presumably if you want to try it with Hardy Heron, the latest upgrade of Linux, you can go HERE and find downloads and torrent downloads. I use Azureus when I download torrents on Ubuntu, but there are other files.

And since it’s sometime easier to do torrent downloads on the desktop office computers rather than my laptop, I downloaded on the office desktop computers using Windows and Bittorrent.

But this time, I decided to try the ordinary download box.

In Linux, up pops an icon saying: You have updates, do you want to see if you want to download them? And when I clicked it, on top of the box was an offer to download the latest system, hardy heron.

Well, I live in the country, and every storm messes up our line, (and monsoon season started early this year, so we have storms every afternoon).

It took me three days to finally manage to do it, but once it was downloaded, it just installed itself as slick as a whistle. It said something about some of the non ubuntu files might need update, but I ignored this.

But the Firefox was a new update…and wouldn’t connect with my Delicious bookmarks or my “down it all”…so you go to “tools” at the top, pull down “add ons” and look for “get more extensions”. The down it all was a beta, and I had to search but it loaded fine.

But then I went to play music. Usually, for some reason, when you hit your mp3 file, it is played by Totem movie player. But movieplayer popped up a box saying: “there is no plug in to play this”.

Well, okay. Let’s try Amarok. This is a nice player that will scan your files so you can play them too…but that also came up with a box saying “Amarok cannot play mp3 files” and the box had a smaller box inside saying “install mp3 support”. Push that box, and nothing happens, except that Amarok disappears into a tiny toolbar icon.

Luckily, I have another player, Banshee, and that plays mp3’s. I use it to download my podcasts, but not to play music because I haven’t figured out how to erase old files that I had removed. So I’m using Banshee.

Now, there are all sorts of plug in and codecs that usually make these things work.

First step is a nice program called Automatrix, that will download them for you after warning you that they might be illegal in your country. Alas, that doesn’t work with hardy heron.

Then I did a bunch of stuff recommended in the forums, under “synaptic package manager” (go to system, sign in and  sign in) and that didn’t work.

I also went to Software Sources, also under System, then administrator. I checked for everything to be downloaded.

Finally, I went to Medibuntu. The Ubuntu forum has a bunch of thing to add.

Scroll down, and it has boxes of download for hardy heron. You open a terminal

(go to Applications, a window pops up, then go to  accessories, then find “terminal”. You then copy the “sudo” stuff one at a time into that window, and it downloads.)

But it didn’t download them all, even when I did the packages separately. The w64codecs aren’t updated, and only work for feisty and gutsy. (i.e. earlier versions of Ubuntu).

Today I also got some “you have downloads” that included a lot of updates for the packages for Amarok etc.that I was having problems with…that didn’t work either.

Sigh.

So anyway, gxine still opens my dvd’s and vcd’s fine. Totem movie player and Amarok will play my ogg files and my mp4 podcasts.(note: music files come in various form, including ogg and wav. Who knows why. But on the internet, there are  all sorts of mp3 podcasts, for free. This includes lectures on anything under the sun, and also some muscicians have free mp3 downaloads. MP4 are used for IPODs. But usually podcasts are in mp3 files.)

K3B will still burn Iso discs, and back up my information on cd and dvd’s, and this includes making mp3 cd’s to play in my dvd player attached to the TV or my Sony Walkman.

But I can’t just listen to music while surfing the web.

When I moved to the Philippines, I ripped my CD collection into mp3 cd’s. Usually I download them into my hard drive, then I can chose which to put into my mp3 player using file system, so no problem. Amarok was easy to make a list and listen, but I haven’t figured out how to do it on Banshee…sigh.

As for internet radio, tell you the truth, I haven’t tried it yet: not enough bandwidth.

In summary, Hardy Heron has lots of kinks that probably will be fixed in the near future. For geeks, it’s probably worth it. There are new programs available that I haven’t even started to explore.

But if I had to do it over again, I’d stick with Gusty Gibbon, the earlier version of Ubuntu, which worked fine.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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