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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ubuntu Jaunty Alpha

Wow. Really, wow. I upgraded to Jaunty (Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha) over the weekend on my work computer. It wasn't flawless, and I wouldn't recommend anyone else do it yet since it's far from a trivial process, but I'm very impressed with the results. The computer is more responsive, several bugs that were annoying me have disappeared, and the monitor just looks nice.

But, since I had problems, I figured I should leave a trail for those who are following in my footsteps.

I had problems installing the nvidia drivers. My old xorg.conf failed miserably on the new configuration, and no end of tweaking seemed to fix it. In the end, I settled for using the standby:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

You'll note that without using -phigh, the command no longer works. Either way, this fixed several issues (multiple instances of X trying to start, bad configurations, inability to install new nvidia drivers, etc), and left me with a much cleaner xorg.conf file.

Once the new xorg.conf file was installed, I was able to install the new nvidia drivers, which had to be done manually (drop to terminal by pressing "ctl-alt-F1", stop the current gdm with the command "sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop", and then running the nvidia binary with "sudo sh". Substitute your appropriate version/file name as necessary.)

You'll have to enable the nvidia driver as well, which can be done with the command:
sudo nvidia-xconfig

From that point on, I had to manually add back a couple of things:

To the end of the file, I put the following, to re-enable the control-alt-backspace combination, which is, for no discernable reason, removed from Jaunty.
Section "ServerFlags"
Option "DontZap" "false"

At one point, I also tried adding dontzap from the repositories, which didn't help, but may have been necessary for that code to work:
 sudo apt-get install dontzap

To the Screen section, I had to add back
    Option  "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "true"

in order to use compiz again, which seems to require this flag.

To get my monitor showing the right resolution, I also had to edit the "Modes" line in the Screen section:
Modes      "1920x1200" "1600x1200" "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

as my monitor's native resolution (1920x1200) wasn't included in the list. Putting it to the front makes it the default mode.

Compiz itself required several libraries which weren't installed:
sudo apt-get install compiz compiz-core compiz-fusion-plugins-extra
compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-gnome compiz-plugins compiz-wrapper
compizconfig-backend-gconf compizconfig-settings-manager libcompizconfig0

Some of which were present, others weren't, so I asked it to reinstall the whole stack.

Java, for some reason, became really slow - probably because it changed the default away from Sun's version 1.6 to something else. That should be switched back with:
sudo update-alternatives --config java

Firefox was upgraded at one point, to version 3.0.7, which seems not to be backwards compatible. (it was no longer able to go back a page, or remember previous pages or bookmarks.) Blowing away the ~/.mozilla/firefox directory fixed it, but lost all my bookmarks and settings. I also had to remove the lock files, but if you're blowing away the firefox directory, that will be included as part of it.

I'm leaving out several other steps I did that shouldn't be necessary for anyone else: the computer hung midway through the install, and had to be recovered at the command line, several repositories were tested out, as well as multiple rounds of update/upgrade/autoremove from the command line were also used, and a bit of tweaking of other features.

I would also give a couple of points to people who are considering doing this upgrade: backup everything you value. config settings, xorg files, your compiz settings, etc. Several config files were reset back to default or had to be blown away to get things working again, and, although minor, took some time to recover.

Was all that worth the 6 hours of tweaking? So far, I think so!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jaunty is currently at Alpha 6. Beta version is due out end of March.

March 17, 2009 4:30:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See for details ^_^

March 17, 2009 4:31:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Anthony Fejes said...

Thanks - You're absolutely right. I'm not sure why I messed that up here.

That's the best thing about the internet, if you make a mistake anywhere, someone will find you and let you know. (=

March 17, 2009 8:53:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Anthony. This did the trick for me. I was in despair as the new drivers were not getting added to the repository.

I still have to do compile drivers everytime a kernel update is applied but I can live with it. Desktop looks much prettier with proprietary drivers applied.

April 2, 2009 4:18:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Randall said...

Good post. Did you know there's an Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo? We have a lot of people who can help with issues like this and more. Sign up and come to a meeting!

August 16, 2009 2:56:00 PM PDT  

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