Running migration tool directly

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2007-05-07 Print this article Print

on Windows"> We think that Ubuntus migration tool would be more useful if it were separable from the installation routine, and if we could run it directly on Windows machines. Whats more, it might be worthwhile for the Ubuntu team to investigate whether it could co-opt Microsofts own settings migration tool to ferry user data onto new Ubuntu installations.

Ubuntu 7.04 is available for desktops and servers in x86, x86-64 and PowerPC versions. Ubuntus server variant is also available for Sun Microsystems UltraSPARC architecture. eWEEK Labs tested the x86-64 version of Ubuntu 7.04 on an Althon 64 workstation, and tested the x86 version on a Lenovo ThinkPad T41 and in a couple of VMs.
We loaded up a VM with the previous Ubuntu release, version 6.10, and were impressed by the way that Ubuntus built-in update manager notified us that a new version was available for upgrade. After a few clicks and about an hour of waiting for packages to download and install, we were up and running on Feisty.
Our tests with the x86-64 version of Ubuntu went smoothly for the most part, but wed like to see Ubuntu offer a 32-bit version of Firefox in its software repositories. Key plug-ins for the Web, such as Abobes Flash player, are available only in 32-bit form, so users of 64-bit Ubuntu must turn to a matching version of the browser. We found instructions on Ubuntus helpful user forums for installing 32-bit Firefox, but this shouldve been an option out of the box. As we mentioned above, Feisty comes preinstalled with a spruced-up NetworkManager, which satisfies the "network-roaming" goal that the project had designated as "essential" at the release blueprint hosted at The Ubuntu team set out three other essential goals, none of which made it into the 7.04 release. For two of those goals, the team had hoped to enable hardware acceleration by default in all graphics cards that supported it, and also enable by default snazzy composite desktop features where possible. The fact that accelerated graphics occasionally rely on proprietary hardware drivers and sometimes wont work at all forced the team to push back these goals to a later release. As with NetworkManager in previous Ubuntu releases, these eye candy options remain optional, which is fine by us. Another much more important but equally deferred goal in Feisty is the so-called "bulletproof X" proposal, the need for which became clear after an Ubuntu driver update miscue last year that rendered some users graphical interfaces unusable, and which required some command-line twiddling to repair. The idea behind bulletproof X is that in such a case, Ubuntu would step down to a failsafe graphics mode from which a user could visit the projects Web site and follow instructions to fix the issue. We were happy to find that Ubuntu now offers up a graphical interface for configuring the distributions Xorg 7.2 X server—every popular distribution ships with such a tool, and weve long lamented the absence of one in Ubuntu. Ubuntus display settings auto-detection generally works well, but without a graphical configuration tool, making changes to supported resolutions or setting up multimonitor configurations has required config file editing. The new tool, called displayconfig-gtk, is only a few months old at this point, and is not installed by default, but the tool worked well for us in tests. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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