Switching from Debian to Ubuntu; Dependencies To Build GIMP (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Fri, 29 Jul 2005

Switching from Debian to Ubuntu; Dependencies To Build GIMP

I've switched my desktop machine from straight Debian (unstable, or "sid") to Ubuntu "Hoary Hedgehog". Sid was just getting too unstable for me (I'd been spoiled because it really has been pretty stable, except for printing problems, for the past few years). Freetype now has rendering problems, so any fixed width terminal font is nearly unreadable and many PDFs aren't readable at all. There are issues related to the switch to gcc 4. But the last straw was when printing to my Epson C86 stopped working.

(I try to make a point of mentioning bug numbers when I whine about open source issues. The freetype problem with terminal fonts was already reported as bug 315150, and I opened bug 319068 on the pdf issue though I suspect it's part of the same problem. The gcc4 issues are well known and are just transitional issues. I didn't bother reporting the printer regression; after over a year of having similar bugs for my old printer ignored, finally giving up and buying a new printer specifically so that I could continue to run Debian, it's hard to have much confidence that reporting printing bugs is worthwhile.)

The switchover to Ubuntu was surprisingly painless. The install went fairly smoothly, and in half a day I was up and running with my environment (currently fvwm) customized the way I wanted it. The only problems I've had with hoary are poor rendering of fixed-width fonts (not as poor as sid with the freetype bug, but a lot worse than debian used to be) and inability to play mp3 (I suspect I'll hit problems with other formats such as wmv as well, but I haven't tried yet). The font problem is quite annoying and no change I make to /etc/fonts/local.conf seems to make any difference. The mp3 problem probably requires downloading and hand-installing something -- I hear rumours that there's nothing apt-gettable which will make non-free formats work, though that seems odd for a distro aimed at desktop users.

Update 7/31: Turns out there are hoary packages for mp3 handling after all. Search for "mad" rather than "mp3", e.g. xmms-mad adds mp3 support to xmms.

But first I had to set up a development environment. Ubuntu's install is very minimal, since it uses only a single CD. It doesn't even install gcc by default. So I enabled all the ubuntu sources (restricted, universe, multiverse) and I've been gradually adding packages to get back everything I had on sid.

GIMP (2.3, from CVS) seemed like a good build test. Assembling the dependencies was straightforward but time consuming. Since people new to building GIMP are often confused about what they'll need, I kept track of the additional packages I needed, and posted the full list on my GIMP building page.

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[ 11:24 Jul 29, 2005    More gimp | permalink to this entry ]