Superfluous Matter
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Normally reinstalling an Operating System is a rather painful and disruptive experience, however Linux, and specifically Ubuntu can be much happier then some of the alternatives.

On the advice of a friend I decided to attempt to setup XGL/Compiz on my Ubuntu installation to get all the fancy special effects that are possible when your desktop is composited by your video card. Unfortunately this stuff is still a bit new and so it has some bugs. In particular, the installation script I chose was very buggy and although the XGL/Compiz stuff did eventually work, it normally crashed and died after about 5 minutes. Also, even when it was not enabled, my system had become unreliable at best. I later found out that the installer script I used had been deemed "not ready for use" by the creator about a day after I tried it. Oh well.

So anyway, was busted beyond all recognition and I didn't want to muck about trying to rollback to the official version. That meant a complete reinstall. Fortunately, my home directory and all my files are on another partition, thus my data was safe. However, I would still have to reinstall all the software I had installed already, which was a fair amount. I was able to export a list of currently installed packages from Synaptic, but I didn't have any hopes for being able to actually use it.

So I formatted my OS partition and reinstalled Ubuntu Dapper Drake. After getting the security updates, switching to a newer kernel and setting up the nVidia drivers, I opened the packages list with Synaptic. It worked perfectly and all of my old packages were downloaded and installed. Less than 2 hours after starting and with almost no effort on my part my system is back up and running exactly the way it was earlier this evening. Now that is amazing.

In other news I am finding that Real Time isn't as cool as it was and is now just a lot of work. Oh well, just 4 more weeks.

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