Operating System Installation Joy

OK, so it is done. A new operating system, much more up to date than the previous Gutsy installation, arrived on my hard drive. The system starts up really quickly, I’m impressed. KDE looks more modern than KDE 3, though I’m not that excited about its look and feel.

The very first thing I did was to enable the root account and to open a root shell. To install software, just type apt-get install packagename. So I did apt-get install gebabbel to install one of my very own applications. Plain fun :) .

Next step, one of the most important: Get the mail archive ported and mail up and running. So I start kmail. It provides an import wizard which offers to import previous mails from several MUAs, even kmail. I start it, choose to import data from kmail and want to select my existing archive, found in .kde3. Unfortunately, the folder requestor cannot display hidden folders. Grrr. So I create some symlink and start importing. I get immediately bombed with “cannot import blah” messages. Kmail is crashing, and the importer complains about broken DBUS communication. I kill both apps and try again. Same result. WTF?
OK, then the old style. Just copy over the mail archive folder, start KMail and pray that it can cope with the archive. Phew, it can. Good luck. Adding the accounts and getting new mails. Great. Back in business.

Next: Porting 39 mail filters. Lotsa typing and klicking? No, I’m clever. Copy over the filters from the previous config file to the new one. Did not work. I was not clever enough, it seems :) . OK, then clicking and typing. Not that difficult, as KMail allows to create a filter via the context menu of messages.

Next. No firefox is installed yet. apt-cache search firefox | grep 3 shows that 3.5 already is available. Cool. But why the heck does it require 165MB of disk space, including bonobo, gtk and esound stuff? Well.

OK, documents. They are still on the same partition, so I just want to copy them over to the new user folder. The first attempt fails, mentioning a file with some weirdly encoded umlaut files. What the heck?!? All files with german umlauts are messed! Hey, it’s still Linux, and it’s still an ext3 filesystem? Come on…
OK. I have a (rather huge) backup of the entire previous /home/ directory on an external USB harddrive available. I copy it to the local hard drive. This renders the complete system unusable for any other tasks. Selecting a mail will show its content after 10 or 20 seconds. That’s ridiculous. But well.

After that I unmount the USB drive and unpack the file. I refrain from doing anything else now :) . The file unpacks successfully, even the umlauts now arrive undamaged in my home directory. I start sorting the unpacked files. Deleting or moving some of them to trash is a pain. The machine almost quits responding to clicks. Reboot necessary. Errr…

Anyway, after sorting my data and installing some more applications I’m up and running. The whole process, from creating backups to finishing the task, took me about 8 hours. Not that bad. But still lasting too long. I’m glad I did it anyway.