May 3rd LUG & Makerspace Meeting

So we had a bit of a discussion on the Mailing List following on from our debate on the way we should take the LUG/Makerspace forward, about what we should do at the May 3rd Meet at Ripon Road.  Since we had been talking about Ubuntu 14.04 LTS pretty much since it’s release, that Les came up with the idea of testing it on several different types/ages of hardware. Using the Recommended Minimum Specification as a starting point and then selecting various bits of hardware from Mike’s stores to trial. 

Olly, Les and Tony also decided to record an episode of the Full Circle Podcast which Blackpool LUG had assumed the stewardship of 2 years ago, in the Makerspace Office.  Those present for this rather busy meet were Mike (off course), his son Joe, Les, Tony and me (Olly).


So when we arrived at Ripon Road, Les was presented with an “emachines” Intel Celeron 700, a 10 base T NIC PCI Card, IDE DVD ROM, 512Mb RAM and a screw driver!! 😉 So he got to work installing the additional hardware needed to make the minimum spec as quoted by Canonical 



The sight that greeted Les


I got off some what lightly as the Intel Pentium 4 1.6 Ghz Compaq desktop PC which was former Blackpool Borough Council stock had already been installed with Ubuntu 14.04 by Mike earlier that week who had wanted to test if he could recycle this and other machines he’d received as a batch donation with 14.04 installed on them. So all I had to do was sit down boot up the machine and drink some coffee!! I had plenty of time to drink coffee, it took over ten minutes to get to the login prompt, another 5 before the dash appeared!! It didn’t end there either, typing in the search bar of the dash was so slow you could actually watch the characters appear in the input box one by one!! It took 2 minutes for Firefox to load and also another three and a half minutes for Software Centre to load.


Meanwhile after Les had performed the necessary hardware upgrade to the Celeron machine he then booted the DVD of 14.04 which Mike had burnt for him, to save time Les selected and OEM install from the boot options this gives a default configuration rather than walking through the installer. 20 minutes later and Les was still waiting for the installer to start!!

James then joined us and we had a discussion about Ruby, in which James recommended Programming Ruby 1.9 & 2.0 A Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide as great no experience required to get you into programming with Ruby. Les observed the similarities in syntax and variable with Python.

Meanwhile sometime later (nearly an hour infact) back at the Celeron Ubuntu installation, the installation had made no discernible progress what so ever so an executive decision was taken to kill the machine and have another go, this time using the more lightweight Lbuntu. Once again Les elected to undertake an OEM install he managed to get the installer to start and managed to get through to the “Tell Us Were You Are” screen before the installer stopped responding.


At this point we were running out of time and it has to be said patience to continue to mess about with the e-machine and called the experiment off. It would appear that certainly from our point of view, Canonical may wish to consider reviewing it’s minimum hardware requirements as it was obvious to us that the machine just wasn’t good enough to run 14.04.

For our third and final testbed Tony was using an ThinkPad X220 Intel Core 2 Duo with 4Gb RAM, it did the full install in around 20 minutes again utilising the Local Area Network to download packages over, however we do have one little gripe with the installation, despite checking the install updates and codecs options Ubuntu still failed to do this during installation, it still required updating post install and the restricted extras repositories adding to get the codecs ;-(. Other than that we had no further issues with the install, Ubuntu ran very well on this machines without any noticeable reduction in performance.

Les, Olly and Tony then went into the office to record another episode of the Full Circle Podcast which Blackpool LUG has been curating for over two years now. The boys had been suffering with problems trying to get various VOIP solutions working over the past couple of weeks and had decided to give it a go recording together in a fixed geographical location. The new setup worked well for them, recording in just over an hour which is quick for them. Alot of things were made much easier by being the same room together, such as queuing in and out the various presenters during the recording, adjusting the sound levels while recording. All of which makes the post editing experience much pleasanter than for previous shows, and hopefully less of a challenge. You can listen to the recording here

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