Ubuntu 12.10 on RAID with Gnome 3 flavour

Till yesterday it was about two years of my (not so) happy Kubuntuing. It was enough.

Kubuntu is the Ubuntu with the KDE desktop environment and I’ve used that combo for years (last two years as Kubuntu). However it started to irritate me. My whole system was slow (dead slow), sometimes buggy (crash reports! ough.. I don’t like them) and finally it refused to properly work with my dual monitor setup. It’s hard to say why. Whether it’s Ubuntu, KDE or my hardware fail or just PEBKAC :D Doesn’t matter now because I decided to move to Ubuntu 12.10 with Gnome 3.


Oh, that wasn’t easy, so here’s what I did. I hope you’ll find my notes useful.

1. Installation package

First thing was to go to http://ubuntu.com and download installation images. It proved to be problematic because there is no alternate installer any more – Canonical (company behind Ubuntu) has decided to only provide live cd’s. Ok but… Hey! It was never possible to configure RAID with live cd! Some googling had shown me that I was right – it’s still not possible. So I downloaded:

  • Ubuntu 12.10 Desktop to see if it really doesn’t work with RAID
  • Ubuntu 12.10 Net Install (mini), that uses console installer
  • Ubuntu 12.04 Alternate Installer, this one should definitely work with RAID, then I can upgrade to 12.10
  • Ubuntu 12.10 Server, in case of a failure of all images from the above I can install Desktop on the server base, right?

I don’t even want to talk about my problems with finding 4 cd/dvd :)


My laptop has two hard drives so I use them in a RAID. If you’re interested in this kind of setup just see this guide – sorry it’s in Polish, but has a lot of screenshots or read this guide in english.


Here I must say that it’s a sad truth but still truth – it’s not possible to install Ubuntu 12.10 on RAID device. 12.10′s live installer doesn’t make it possible to properly configure RAID drives. So I was forced to try something different and after 12.10 net installer hanged for two times I went with 12.04 alternate installer. This one did his work with RAID and I finally booted my Ubuntu 12.04 desktop.

3. Upgrade to 12.10

After I was on 12.04 I first had to enable distribution upgrades for all, not LTS only (long term support) editions in Software Sources of Update Manager. Then Update Manager reported that “there is an update available” to 12.10 and I was allowed to proceed. You can see here a detailed upgrade instructions.

4. Welcome 12.10

After upgrading to 12.10 and installing some must have packages like mc, vim, build-essentials etc. I followed this fantastic guide to replace Unity with Gnome 3.


It worked and a cool Gnome 3 desktop (I admit that I hate their default “graphics card failure” wallpaper) appeared in front of my eyes (the picture above is from Gnome 3 page). After booting into a Gnome 3 session I went to gnome extensions web page and installed some of them like: dock, remove accessibility, pomodoro timer, etc.

However one more problem appeared…

5. Language

I use Polish language in my system so I’ve installed all required language related packages. Sadly that was not enough to be able to enter alt+letter combinations to have letters like: ąłóśćż etc. Thanks to Tomasz Ślązak I’ve found a solution to enable polish letters on my keboard. In short you have to:

  1. Start System Settings > Keyboard.
  2. Click Layout Settings link.
  3. Check if you’ve a Polish (or other) layout selected.
  4. Click Options
  5. Find element: Key to choose 3rd level and select  Right Alt.

Thats all.

6. Success

So after a day and a night I finally have my Ubuntu 12.10 Gnome 3 RAID edition up and running. I hope that I won’t ecounter any dual-monitor quirks.

Last thing – why Gnome3? It’s minimalistic, fast and I find it tasty. I didn’t have such a pleasure with KDE or Unity :D

10. February 2013 by restless_being
Categories: operating system | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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