Grazer Linuxtage 2013

Posted on Tue 23 April 2013 in random notes

Let me make it perfectly clear that the following is entirely my own opinion and by no way an objective view of the event as a whole.

It wasn’t all that great.

  • Due to forgetting my notebook's power adapter I missed the keynote.
  • I used the time I had scheduled for two interesting lectures in order to help Manfred with his entry-level workshop. Even though I had not planned to do so this year.

It was pretty frustrating. I hadn’t prepared anything since I spontaneously decided to help out. *sigh*

The session was full of fail.

The dreaded 'Canonical Partner' repository

The virtual machine with Ubuntu had the same problem that we already had a year (or was it two years?) ago: The live CD has the Canonical Partner repository disabled. Since one of the tasks the participants ought to solve was installing Skype this caused a problem. Did I say one? I meant some. What solutions for installing Skype could be observed?

  • The preferred solution would've been to fire up Software Center, type 'skype' into the search box, hit ENTER, find the result and hit the 'Install' button. Turns out, it wasn't as easy. As in the previous years, the 'Partner' repository was disabled, and the data for the Software Center was absent, too. Even manually enabling the repo didn't help and neither did the fact that the VMs were painfully slow.

  • Another solution was to download the correct file from the official Skype homepage. Unfortunately that made the assumption that the participants had to know which file was the correct one for their architecture. Given that I arrived late and wasn't part of the prep team for the workshop neither did I. But even after that problem was resolved the Software Center refused to install the 'multiarch' file provided by the website.

openSUSE troubles

Now, another take was to use the VM running openSUSE. If only that had worked. The virtual hard disk created for the VM was of insufficient storage capacity. One could not perform an update of the package index and therefor installation of Wine wasn't possible. Too bad that was one of the required tasks for the workshop. Since the other one was installing Skype and the instructions on their community wiki weren't as helpful for new users as one would wish for the other task was hard as well.
Oh yeah, also being able to refresh the package cache would've been helpful when installing the Skype dependencies by hand. I know I'm right in my comfort zone when using Ubuntu but with the PPAs they make keeping one's software up to date pretty easy if you're not keen on waiting for their biyearly releases.
Similarly the VMs froze for about 70% of the participants when trying to install Skype, forcing us to either reset them and have the users repeat their work or suggest using a different distribution.

Fedora to the rescue?

I have no idea, honestly. There wasn't enough time to try and help all the participants with the trouble we already had as well as giving Fedora a shot.

Conclusion

I'm a little sad that everything turned out so chaotic and almost everyone of the users had trouble somewhere. I'd also suggest Canonical shipping with the Partner repo enabled, but they probably enabled that when installing with the switch for proprietary software enabled.