Category: Software

Upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10

Yesterday I upgraded four systems from ubuntu 9.04 to ubuntu 9.10. These are my thoughts on the new release.

2009-11-03: Upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10

We have four laptops in the house so I run squid on my internal server to cache the packages we pull from the server. All the machines use the Australian dpkg server by default but the upgrade process refused to work. It complained about authentication problems.

So I changed to the main server for the two laptops which had that problem and the upgrade progressed cleanly, but slowly. It took about two hours to upgrade both machines. I had previously downloaded the alternate and desktop ISOs by bittorrent so I built a USB install disk for the eeepc and reinstalled it from scratch.

I have a few problems:

  1. The notification system is now very annoying to have around. There doesn't seem to be any way to close the notifications. They hang around for a long time. When I move my mouse cursor to a notification it hides itself then it comes back when the cursor moves away. It acts like it is playing games.
  2. The notification system has a configuration dialogue which claims to be able to reposition the notifications. This repositioning feature doesn't work. The notifications are positioned some distance below the top right side of the screen. I would prefer them to be immediately below the panel, which I keep at the top of my screen.
  3. On the eeepc I get a notification telling me my battery is broken. This happens on every restart. I didn't get this message on 9.04
  4. On the HP NX6120 the prism driver for the Netgear WG511 wifi PCMCIA card is broken. I have had to go back to the NDIS driver which I haven't needed on ubuntu for at least three years. Incidently I had to install the gnome NDIS tool from a package. Previously it was distributed with ubuntu.
  5. Also on the NX6120 the notification area icons for Liferea and Claws Mail now have solid backgrounds which contrast with the transparent background of the gnome panel. In 9.04 they had transparent backgrounds.
  6. The gnome Preferences menu is becoming cluttered again. It has obscure menu items such as Sun Java6 policy tool. I don't see what my wife is going to use that for on her laptop.

In summary this release is a step back to a time when linux was expected to lack polish. Maybe Canonical are working towards a new LTS release, in which case 9.10 can be considered a Beta. This release may be worth skipping.

2009-11-07: Gnome lockups

Gnome has locked up twice since the upgrade. In the first case I was selecting text in an aterm window. I was unable to give focus to a different window though I could bring up a shutdown dialog by pressing control+alt+del.

On the second occasion I had just plugged in my sons ipod touch to charge it. The ipod is mounted and opens a nautilus window. I don't know if mounting the ipod caused the problem.

2009-11-18: Window layering problems

The metacity window manager has problems too. I had nedit and aterm both open in the same workspace. The nedit window was in front of aterm. Clicking on the title bar of the aterm window would not bring it to the front. I have since closed and reopened nedit. It now behaves correctly.

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