I will always Depend on you..

I started to notice that several of the Linux programs that I installed using the Software Centre were bombing out with messages about broken Dependencies, so let’s see if I can clean things up a little behind the scenes. Ubuntu is a DEB (Debian) based system, so the tool to use – it seems – is APT. A linux program is a collection of libraries referred to by a central executable, and these libraries (or dependencies) can be missing. These collections are called packages.

Opening a Terminal, the first thing I did was:

sudo apt-get update

to refresh the packages. After entering the password, a long list of sources scrolls by and told me the reading was done at the end. Awesome.

The version of apt-get I need to check dependencies is:

sudo apt-get check

Again, this seems to be alright. Hmm.. so does this mean my machine is clean? We’ll see….

Finding those little Orphans

Referring to an earlier post, I installed the Synaptics Package Manager from the Software Centre. Following its instructions, I installed localepurge and then deborphan. With localepurge, I could not select ‘en_UK’ as the system’s locale but I did find ‘en_GB’, so I chose that instead. I didn’t change anything else and the program was installed. Right, now onto deborphan. I searched for deborphan and found it along with gtkorphan, which is a GUI front-end to deborphan, so I marked both for installation (Right-click, select Mark) and then clicked on the Apply button. ‘Yes’ to all questions, waited, and then… I couldn’t find gtkorphan in the Applications Menu! Rats!

Going to System>Application Finder and then typing in gtkorphan, did bring it up though, so I clicked it and then the Launch button. It started and immediately show that I did indeed have a broken package associated with a broken Proprietry Driver! Yay!

So, I selected this and clicked OK, and got an error message about the dpkg database still being locked. Hmm… this is probably because Synaptic is still open. Now, I could close it and try again, but I thought I would go back to the original post that worked, so I closed all package programs and went back to the terminal.

sudo apt-get autoclean

and voilà! – a package gets deleted. Hang on though, it isn’t the one I expected. Nevermind, I’ll carry on with deborphan and use:

sudo deborphan | xargs sudo apt-get -y remove -purge

That should do it – a damn good purge! Rats again – this didn’t work, the -purge parameter has changed. So, by reading the error message it seems I should be using:

sudo apt-get -y autoremove

to remove about 20 packages it detected. Oh, and it did remove the driver package anyway so it’s not all a total loss.



Decision time – which Distro?

Which Distro should I use?

Gnoppix is still downloading, the coffee is getting cold and I am still puzzling over the next steps with Laptop 1.

I like the GNOME Desktop, it seems to be cleaner than the KDE one although I have no doubt that either could be configured to be exactly what I would like to see, so that is one stage further forward. I want something with GNOME.

I also like the Software Update feature and I don’t know how many modern distros include this feature in one form or another. I notice that Ubuntu uses .deb packages and derives from the Debian distro, so maybe I should find out more about Debian.

Another thought. Possibly the best choice would be the most popular Linux distribution because that would have the most choice of applications for it, possibly the best support and be well established and less picky as Ubuntu. So, start surfing and do some market research.

It seems that there is not one single answer to this question. Different sites have different opinions as to the relative market leaders. However, there does seem to be some agreement on the top runners. Ubuntu (d’oh!), Debian, Suse and Red Hat.


A brief look at their website is quite encouraging. Their system is free, unlike SUSE and Red Hat. It also is going to use the .deb installation system that I’ve had a bit of practice with in Ubuntu. Having a look at the download pages, it comes on 21 CDs (yikes!) or 3 DVDs. Time to add downloads to the queue again then – ho-hum.

Red Hat

Red Hat uses the .rpm package manager system and so, I would hope that some sort of automatic install will be available for updates and downloaded packages. You have to buy a subscription in order to download it though. It is hard to figure out without spending some serious time on their site but the price seems to range from between $199 to $2,499! The free version seems to be Fedora – maybe that would be worth a try?

SUSE Linux

Again, it is very hard to find a price for the SUSE system and/or Novell’s services. Some time ago though, I did buy a SUSE Linux box set from a Computer Bookshop so installing that becomes a possibility. The latest version is only 1 DVD to download as well. It looks like it’s only $50 though, so that’s not too bad and it does include Support. Again, SUSE uses the .rpm package manager system. OK, I have just found the 10.2 installation on Amazon for £3.49! As I also have an earlier Suse manual with the version I bought before, that makes Suse the initial choice.

Decision Made

OK, we start with Suse.  Just got to wait for it now…..