Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ubuntu & NComputing working together

I know it has been a while since I wrote about getting Ubuntu working, but I have been busy! Anyway, I was able to revisit trying to get it up and running today and as is often the case, it was 1 step forward, 2 steps back.
After doing some online research (and sending a message to tech support), I found out that the latest Ubuntu version which NComputing supports is 8.04 LTS (Long Term Support). As of this writing, the newest version of the software is 10.04 (which just came out in April). I don't know why the NComputing software has not been upgraded to work with the latest software but since Ubuntu is on a 6 month update cycle I can only assume that they are working on a newer version. I also have to say with great candor that I do not know enough about the different versions to have any idea what the differences are between the newest version and the older 8.04. So, I guess we will overwrite version 9.1 and downgrade to 8.04!
The first thing I had to do was download this version. I did this from the machine that had Ubuntu version 9.10 on it (since I was going to have to downgrade anyway). Version 8.04 does fit on a CD disk (it is 700MB in size) so installing it on the computer was very simple. All I had to do was download the file, right click on it and burn it to CD (one of the options by default in Ubuntu 9.10). Once the CD was created I rebooted the machine. On reboot it read from the disk and prompted me with 7 questions (all of which I chose the defaults) and began to install (essentially the same installer that 9.10 had). The installation itself took literally 10-15 minutes. After the install is complete you must reboot the computer. You will have to log in with the username and password that you create during the install.
After the reboot and log in it was time to download the NComputing file (again). You can get that file here. I downloaded the file on to the desktop and double clicked the file. WARNING - YOU MUST HAVE AN ACTIVE INTERNET ACCOUNT FOR THE REST OF THE STEPS HERE. The first time I tried to install the file I received an error message telling me that it couldn't open a file and the install box was grayed out. I then plugged in the Internet cable (which I had removed to plug in another machine) and tried the file again. This time it worked just fine and I was able to install. So I guess it looks for an active connection before the install occurs. After I found this little tidbit of information out the rest of the install was simple. Double click the install package button and hit the Next button when prompted (it will happen several times). (The download link above also has a link to a .pdf file that gives specific directions on how to install the program if you need more help.) Once you have installed the package you will get a message that the installation is complete. Close the install window and reboot the computer. From my experience you must reboot before you try to do anything with the NComputing boxes.
Once the machine comes back up you need to log in to the host machine. As the computer was loading, I was getting something on the virtual machines; but just a screen that said the x350 card has been initialized. Nothing else. Now, I don't know if this has anything to do with my getting things to work, but when I went to the upgrade, I was met with a window telling me that the list I had was old and I needed to download a new list. I clicked the OK box and a new list of files was downloaded. That was all that I did. I want to be clear, I didn't install any updates or any other machine file, just the list of files available (as a matter of fact the directions from NComputing are very clear about NOT downloading updates to the OS). After this list update I rebooted the computer and I was able to see the same initialized screen on the virtual machines. But then, I got a new message that the station had been unlocked and low and behold, the screen came up with a login prompt! I don't know if the two steps were related or if there was something special about the 2nd reboot, I just know that it worked for me! At this point you need to follow the directions to register the card with the company and go from them. I haven't had any problems booting up the computer or the virtual boxes with about a half dozen boot-ups since it was working. I will continue to post updates as we use the equipment.

No comments: