03 May 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 -- 64bit!

A couple of posts now, I have talked about Ubuntu's latest release, 9.04 -- the Jaunty Jackalope.  As most of you know, I have installed this release when it was an Alpha and continued to update it after the actual release.  I was using this for a while, but I saw a post on the Ubuntu forums about the 64bit version (I had been using the 32bit version).  He stated that everything worked, apps, multimedia, etc.  Now, my laptop is a 64bit laptop (Intel Core 2 Duo) and I've tried 64bit Ubuntu in the past (I tried the 8.04 Long Term Support (LTS) release).  But, things just didn't work out.  There was always something that I had to mess with that didn't work well.  In fact, if memory serves, I had to mess with a lot of stuff just to get things to work (flash, java, etc.)  Even some of the apps I installed from Add/Remove... from the Applications menu gave me an error stating that it was supported on the 64bit version.  But that persons post got me wondering.  As I read through the whole thread, I was convinced to try it myself.  Heck, if it didn't work, I could always re-install the 32bit version.  It only takes about half an hour and I would be back in business.  (Another aspect of the 64bit OS is that it can use 4GB+ of RAM whereas the 32bit maxes out at 3GB.)

The first thing I did was make sure my necessary apps had 64bit versions.  I was mostly concerned with Dropbox.  Dropbox is an auto-syncing app that I have used for a while now.  It integrates with your OS so you can just drag files to a special Dropbox folder.  What I have done is use that for my Documents, Graphics, and Dowloads.  You get 2GB free storage (or you can purchase 50GB for about $100).  I have everything but my music there.  I can even access it from the Internet.  So, as you can imagine, that is an important app for me.  And, I wasn't disappointed.  Dropbox has a 64bit version for 9.04.

The only application that I had to tinker with was Amazon's MP3 Downloader app.  You need this app when downloading full albums from Amazon.  But, it only comes in a 32bit version.  And I haven't found anywhere that refers to a 64bit version.  However, the Ubuntu forums are extremely helpful.  I learned in the past that the 32bit version can be installed.

So, I made sure I had backups of my important data and downloaded the 64bit version of 9.04 then burned it to a CD.  Once that was done I proceeded as normal -- booted from the CD and chose 'Install' from the menu.  I did a complete install and formatted all of the partitions, thus destroying any data.  After about 20 minutes, I had a fresh install of the 64bit version of Ubuntu 9.04.  I checked for updates (not a lot), installed those, and changed my theme.  Next I downloaded and installed the 64bit version of Dropbox and synchronized my data.  I then installed Foxmarks to sync all of my bookmarks.  Next, I went and downloaded all of the GStreamer codecs from Applications > Add/Remove... (making note of the conflicts so I can install those through Synaptic) and the 64bit version of Flash from Adobe's website.  Finally, I downloaded and installed the necessary libraries for installing AmazonMP3 and got that working (only took a few minutes).

So, like the person on the forum, I have a fully functional 64bit version of Ubuntu 9.04.  It is extremely fast and everything works!  I know I've stated this in the past, but, if you don't have Ubuntu installed on your computer, what are you waiting for?  Go backup your data, download it, burn it to a disc, and install it!  You'll be glad you did.

In the Grace of the Three in One,