How to update ONLY installed apps in Linux?

When I used Ubuntu recently via VirtualBox an Ubuntu update would keep making the system larger. Finally an update would fail since the VM image size would be exceeded. Attempts to prune temp folders did not help or where excruciatingly geeky.

I noticed that the update would be installing things I never used or thought were part of Ubuntu. I don’t use it much, so have not not delved into the intricacies, i.e., end user. So, my question, is Update really an update?

In Cygwin, for example, when you do an update, you can pick a view, New, Updates, etc. I did not find this capability in the GUI update app. It must be there, it’s supposed to be so much better than Windoze. 🙂

I searched the web for an answer, btw. Look, end-users don’t want to do apt-get and other geek fantasmisms, besides, a lot of the pages I found confuse update of apps with update of the system.

When time allows will give more info as to what I used and some of the things that were being updated.

GUI piping instead of screen shots

Currently I have to share info via capturing screen shots of various tools. An example of where this is required is in Eclipse’s Java developers environment.

The Eclipse IDE via the various added plugins and features captures a lot of metadata about a project and its various assets. For example, in the outline view you can see various listings with applied filters. Now try to share that in an email or document. You have to take a snap shot of the screen. This is not a very practical example, it’s just to show the issue. This issue comes in various other plugins like Team providers. Note, I’m not singling out Eclipse on this; all tools and applications have this problem.

While screenshots can convey the original purpose of sharing a particular view of data, they are very difficult to reuse in diverse ways. For example, we may want to sort or filter a listing of data. Or we we may want to reuse that data with external reporting or metric applications. With a GUI screen shot this is not possible.

Graphical tools should allow piping of information. As in Unix piping, a tool should allow re purposing of its generated data. This is not just a developers geeky need; many times error pop ups and other types of displays do not allow the end user to copy the actual ASCII textual information.

There are many ways of doing this. At root, the two options are textual piping, as used in *nix systems, and object piping, as used in PowerShell.

The ideal solution would allow a drag&drop functionality. This is already used in many apps via OS or application level support. For example, right click on the browser and you can copy stuff. Yet, even in the browser scenario, the data result is not semantic (based on the information context), it’s just text or via the contextual menu a set of standard objects.

One possibility is that a drag&drop sets up a pipe line and a standard markup of the data is transferred.


Guest Additions info incorrect in VirtualBox?

When I go to the menu Machine > Session Information, the runtime tab says my Guest Additions is 4.0.4_OSEr70112. Shouldn’t that be 4.0.8_711778, since that is what I loaded?

Took a bit of effort but I got with my Windows 7 64bit host the VB 4.0.8 update to work with Ubuntu 11.04 w Unity.

When I go to the menu Machine > Session Information, the runtime tab says my Guest Additions is 4.0.4_OSEr70112. Shouldn’t that be 4.0.8_711778, since that is what I loaded?

Here is the info using the VBoxManage CLI:

C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox>VBoxManage.exe guestproperty enumerate "Ubuntu" | grep -i GuestAdd
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Version, value: 4.0.4_OSE, timestamp: 1306626029078892600, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Revision, value: 70112, timestamp: 1306626029079392600, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Vbgl/Video/SavedMode, value: 1920x1105x32, timestamp: 1306626031970259700, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/HostVerLastChecked, value: 4.0.8, timestamp: 1306626070499652300, flags:

Hmm, this does show 4.0.8 for one property. Maybe I’m missing some step?

Issues with upgrade?
What were my issues with the upgrade? Ubuntu VM would not complete the boot up. First it was the freeze at checking battery state, then after getting by that, it was the freeze at installing new binary file formats.

I tried some of the suggestions found on the web. The final one I tried is listed below. But, even that didn’t work. Yet after a few reboots of the vm and setting the 3D mode for graphics it finally rebooted fully.

Some links I used to solve issues
Natty Narwhal and Virtual Box

Host: Windows 7 Professional 64bit.
Guest: Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”, Unity desktop.
PC: AMD quad with 8GB ram.
Brain: Belonging to carbon-based life form, Earth, Homo sapiens sapiens.

Upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 works in VirtualBox 4.0.6

The upgrade was pretty smooth. And, VirtualBox does allow 3D graphic support, so Unity can be used as the UI.

The upgrade to Natty Narwhal was pretty smooth. At first it failed cause my 8GB virtual drive did not have enough free space for the upgrade process. So I ran the Computer Janitor (I think that was the app) to make room. One day I’ll have to figure out how to increase my vm disk size (the snapshots, I read, make this complex).

After that it was pretty quick though at some points it prompted with some Linux geeky questions I had no way of answering, like “do you want to keep the cosmic figenbouton driver file?”. Yea, I said to keep everything. Finally restarted and then it said the Unity Desktop interface could not be used, I needed 3D. So, I shut Ubuntu down and in VirtualBox enabled the 3D options for the Ubuntu VM. Restarted and 3D worked. Hmmm, never did before, and I always had the same graphics card.

Unity looks good. I don’t see the revolution in it yet. The task bar is on the side, the “Start” button is on top, etc. The Launcher is ok. I could not find the Admin apps. It should have at least migrated the former menus into a legacy category. And the default transparency is too transparent.

But, it does rise to the Windows 7 level of usability (I don’t know about the Apple world, I’m not rich). Microsoft needs to innovate more. Stop copying and come up with something. Ubuntu is looking sweet.

Right now I’m listening to a Triple Concerto by Bach that is on my Windows 7 hard drive. It is playing in Ubuntu via the automatic shared drive that VirtualBox now allows. Chrome, FireFox, and Solitare is running in Ubuntu. A bunch of stuff in Windows 7. Pretty cool.

I recommend Ubuntu 11.04 and the Unity interface.

Have been using it today. Unity Desktop has some warts. Once I was moving the mouse into a window so I can drag its right edge and make it wider. The little thumby scroll widget kept cropping up. Ugh! Little things like that. Not much, but they add up. No right mouse button click for properties and other things? Weird. Maybe its an option setting.


How to test Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity in VirtualBox 4.0
Ubuntu (operating system)
The latest Ubuntu Unity: Good or bad?
Eclipse on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty)


– Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.0.6 r71344
– HP P6230Y
– AMD Phenom II X4 810/2.6 Ghz
– Windows 7 Professional 64bit
– HIS HD 5670 IceQ 1GB (128bit) GDDR5 PCIe Display Port (DirectX 11/ Eyefinity)
– Samsung SyncMaster P2350
– Acer P241w

Ubuntu on Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop?

Can Ubuntu be installed on an old Dell Inspiron 11 laptop?

I was once successful installing Ubuntu on this very old laptop. Since then the hard drive was wiped. Maybe I can install Linux again?

Nope! The latest Ubuntu 10.10 would not. But I think that was a CD media errors since I was getting: SQUASHFS error: Unable to read page, block [letters/digits], size [letters/digits] And, this page says so.

I had an Ubuntu 10.04 LTS CD available so I tried that. Installed fine. However, after I login, the screen gui is blank. I remember this issue and their is a fix or if I have time try to burn another Ubuntu 10.10 CD. Unfortunately the laptop cannot boot off of thumb drive.

Further Info

An update to Open Solaris 11 Express in VirtualBox failed.

An attempted update to the new Open Solaris 11 Express in VirtualBox failed

I attempted to update open Solaris running in VirtualBox VM to the new Open Solaris 11 Express.

Failed. On the VM screen I get a blinking command shell with a whole bunch of undefined symbols and missing modules for example:
opensolaris genunix: /kernel/drv/amd64/oss_sadasupport: undefined symbol

opensolaris genunix: unable to resolve dependency, module ‘misc/amsrc2’ not found

I followed the instructions at:

Well, don’t have time to muck with it. The great thing about virtual machines is that you can just delete them. So, I did. Will stick with Ubuntu.

Ubuntu 10.10 update in VirtualBox, no gui.

Solution for no-gui in Ubuntu 10.10 running in VirtualBox on Win7 host.

I’ve been running Ubuntu Linux 10.03 on a VirtualBox VM with the Windows 7 host PC. Works fine. Updated to Ubuntu 10.10 – the Maverick Meekat, restarted the system, and now it comes up in console mode and asks for a user/pass. I give it what I have, and it doesn’t accept it. Hosed. Gee ain’t Linux grand.

Hmmm. Let me try again. Ah, it accepted another username/password, which is not the one in my Keepass database, now that needs maintenance.


But, now how do I get the Ubuntu gui back. Tried to reinstall the Guest Additions. Nope, even though I do the Devices->Install Guest Additions, I don’t see the CD in /media/cdrom folder.

At the end of this blog post the author has:

The Unixmen’s site has a workaround to the X Window issue. Run the following commands:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose-guest-x11

I was prompted whether or not I wanted to keep my current configuration file or replace it, I chose to keep it.

Once the last command finishes reboot the virtual machine. The display can then be resized.

It works! Ubuntu is back to normal.

Incidentally, I also had to remove etckeeper. Its been giving some trouble for a while now.

11Oct10: Oracle just released VirtualBox 3.2.10, that probably fixes this issue.

Rhythmbox on Ubuntu 10.04 won't play mp3 on NAS

Rythmbox on Ubuntu in Virtualbox can play local mp3 but not those on a NAS.

Ah the complexity of computing, no wonder most people only just play games on FaceBook.

Below I describe a problem playing MP3s on a network resource.  I don’t have a solution yet.  And have not at this time (4/24/2010) investigated further.

I installed Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx in VirtualBox 3.2.2 hosted on Windows 7 Professional 64bit. Rythmbox (the default music software) ver 0.12.8 will play mp3 on the VM’s local file system. However, it won’t play mp3s that are stored on my Networked Attached Storage (NAS), an ancient ReadyNAS (now NetGear) X6 model.

Some observations:

  • If I copy an mp3 from the NAS to the file system, it plays.
  • I can play the same mp3 on the NAS using the Totem Movie Player 2.30.2.

What it could be?

  • Not an access control, since the movie player can play them.
  • Rythmbox has the correct plug-ins, since it can play mp3.
  • It is buggy or some subtle configuration is incorrect when accessing mp3 via network?

Some links
Re: Ubuntu 10.04 – Rhythmbox not working:

What should run in Linux? Members Choice Award list

Users who choose Linux as their OS (not the ‘invisible’ embedded Linux based devices)  must be a savvy group.  Lets face it, setting up Linux and maintaining it requires more brain power or good search ability to solve its occasional nastiness.    Just yesterday while updating Ubuntu on someones laptop it died and said I had to run some arcane shell command, which proceeded to install what seemed like petabytes of stuff, but still later the update app still wanted to update yet more.   Jeepers!

Anyway, site had a poll and came up with an excellent list of stuff you can run to create your dream workstation.  It beats searching forums and parsing endless quibbles about which widget is better then another.

At Jeremy’s blog there is a summary list:  2009 Members Choice Award Winners « Jeremy’s Blog.

It’s good to see that I already used some of the items on the list.