Ubuntu Linux @ CSAIL.

CSAIL Debian is the only fully supported version of Linux at CSAIL, unfortunately it is designed for systems that do not leave the CSAIL network.

For laptops the best solution is Ubuntu (current LTS release 12.04), it has a faster release cycle than Debian which is helpful for manufacturers that are constantly changing their system configuration. We can't offer full support for Ubuntu but since it is fairly similar to Debian, most things work without too much effort.

  • We tested Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on a new Lenovo T400 laptop and it installed without any driver issues.
  • The instructions for OpenAFS on Ubuntu worked as written. They can be found @: OpenAFS for Ubuntu
  • The instructions for Printing on non Debian linux work as written. They can be found @: Printing for Non Debian Linux
  • The instructions for Installing Kerberos For Linux can be found @: Kerberos for Non Debian Linux
  • Matlab 2010a was test installed on the ubuntu installation and had no issues. Non CSAIL-Debian matlab version can be found @: Matlab Software page
  • Instructions for installing Matlab on non CSAIL-Debian will be forth coming.
  • Please feel free to add any tips or suggestions for Ubuntu use.

A word on Ubuntu versions

Ubuntu releases are of two types. Long-term-support releases, or LTS releases are supported (by the Ubuntu developers, not by CSAIL or TIG!) for three years on desktops and five years on servers, and have LTS after their release number. Non-LTS releases are generally supported on desktops and servers alike for about 18 months.

“Support” in this context means that important fixes such as security upgrades are available from the Ubuntu repositories. (The distinction between support on the server and support on the desktop in the LTS releases is essentially a distinction in what packages continue to be maintained; a package like apache2 or mysql-server in an LTS release would receive security updates for five years, as would core components of the OS like the kernel and the shell.)

So, if you choose an LTS release, you can go longer between release upgrades. (It's fairly easy to upgrade across Ubuntu versions these days, though, especially from one LTS release to the next.)

Ubuntu version numbers are named after the last two digits of the year and the two-digit month number of the release, so the most recent version of Ubuntu as I type this, 12.04 LTS, was released in April 2012. (And the LTS suffix tells you it will be supported until early 2015 on desktops and laptops.) They also have an internal codename consisting of an adjective and an animal; the codename for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is Precise Pangolin. That's often shortened, so if you see somebody refer to an Ubuntu version as “Precise”, they mean Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Wikipedia has a list of Ubuntu releases.

-- JaySekora - 22 May 2012
Topic revision: 22 May 2012, JaySekora

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