Twice as many bits


We received new desktops at work: 64-bit Core 2 systems with gobs of RAM. Enthused, I downloaded and installed the 64-bit version of Ubuntu Edgy Eft. Overall, I’m pleased with Edgy: upstart seems a modest improvement, Firefox 2 is a decent upgrade, Tomboy is a handy little utility, and I enjoy the new car smell!

I was perhaps a bit premature in jumping into the 64-bit version, though, as some things don’t work. It’s a minor annoyance that the Adobe Flash plugin for Mozilla Firefox doesn’t work on 64-bit systems. I haven’t tried the Adobe Acrobat Reader yet, though I’ve read reports about it being incompatible. Most frustrating to me, however, is the fact that the Java plugin for Mozilla Firefox doesn’t work, either. The HP Procurve switches we use at work use Java applets for the web-based configuration. And our network-connnected KVM switch also uses Java. So Java is rather more important than it might otherwise be.

The documented solutions (here and here) currently recommend installing the 32-bit version of Firefox alongside the 64-bit version, and installing the plugins as usual for the 32-bit version. This is far from ideal, if you ask me.

I tried to follow the instructions, but had only limited success. Java worked once, and then fouled up on subsequent executions of the applets. Since both instances of Firefox use the same profile directory (~/.mozilla), the 64-bit version would try to execute the 32-bit plugin and foul up. Frustrated, I downloaded the VMware Player and browser appliance, installed the necessary plugins into that version of Firefox, and called it a day.

The superior solution is, of course, for me to learn the command-line controls for our ethernet switches, which is fine for them but fails completely to deal with the KVM switch. Another workaround is to remote desktop to a machine with a working Java installation, but that just makes me feel quesy: rdesktop to a machine to connect to our KVM to connect to a machine … ugh!

On a positive, though completely unrelated note, I was delighted to find Google Maps for the Palm Treo!

Update: Raritan, our KVM manufacturer, provides a stand-alone Java .jar file that connects to their KVM switches! So I can use that to access our KVM and control all our servers. Hooray!

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