ramblings from the hive mind

Feeling Karmic?

16 November 2009 | View comments
Damien Austin-Walker

I have been running Ubuntu Karmic Koala for over a week now and I have mixed feelings.

On my Lenono x61 Laptop I performed the upgrade from Jaunty. While on my Dell Precision 670 Desktop I did a clean install of the 64bit version (it was previously running Jaunty 64bit).

The reason I did a clean install on the desktop was because I have run out of disk space and it needed a clean up anyway, also something had gone a bit wrong with the graphics and gnome-panel had become intermitantly unresponsive. I suspected the Jaunty problems had come about due to some proposed updates I installed so thought it wise to move to Karmic without any risk of the previous Jaunty install causing further issues.

My verdict

Desktop 64bit

I absolutely love it. It is by far the best version yet. They have made some changes to X, the display is clean, bright, sharp and incredibly snappy and responsive. I had to do some minor tweaking and fixing to get it all working properly but nothing too taxing for me. I’ll run though all the tweaks and fixes below.

Laptop x61

An absolute nightmare. I have had the kind of issues you used to hear people complaining about Linux way back. HAL is being depreciated and is being slowly replaced with device kit and udev. This is alledgedly meant to provide improved power management amongst other things. However running on my x61 gnome-power-manager is completely borked. It can barely hold 15 mins of power now and what charge and time it reports are all over the place. I read somewhere that the Network Manager nm-applet had power management switched off due to some other bug and thought this may be connected, so I tried to fix by compiling a patched version of the latest wireless-compact driver following this comment on the ubuntu forum but it didn’t work and removal of the driver hosed the OS leaving me with a grub prompt only. This is seems was meant to be as I have now done a fresh install (also taking the opportunity to move to the 64bit version) and power management appears to be working fine now. Just in time as after a week of problems I was seriously considering going back to Jaunty.

My summary

Definitely install Karmic on a desktop, I’d advise a fresh install which also means you will get the new ext4 file system. If you are thinking of putting it on a laptop I would put do a little more research on your particular hardware first and again would highly recommend a clean install.

I think due to some quite fundamental changes under the hood a clean install is definitely the way to go with Karmic.

My Perfect Karmic Koala 64Bit Tweaks and fixes

xorg/nvidia issues

Xorg.conf is no longer used by default. My machine uses the nvidia driver and requires a few little workarounds to get this working properly and create a usable xorg.conf file.

Air / Tweetdeck

Follow this guide on the Adobe website

Ctrl + Alt + Backspace

The Ctrl + Alt + Backspace behavior has been changed and it no longer restarts the X-server. To fix this for Ubuntu Karmic Koala, go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard (preferences), then to the Layouts tab and click Layout Options and click the “Key sequence to kill the X server” option to expand it, then check “Control + Alt + Backspace” to set it.

Notifications appearing too far down from top right of screen

The notify-osd notification pop up appears a lot lower than the top right corner of the screen where you would expect. To fix it, you need some .deb packages for notify-osd fromJulien Lavergne’s update PPA

To add the PPA just add ppa:gilir/updates to System > Administration > Software Sources (click Other Software tab and then ‘+ Add…’)

or you can grab the .deb direct:-

notify-osd_0.9.24-0ubuntu2~gilir1_i386.deb – 32 bit

notify-osd_0.9.24-0ubuntu2~gilir1_amd64.deb – 64 bit

Make the Super Key work

The super or windows key can be activated to open Applications menu

for the left one:-

gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/panel_main_menu --type string "Super_L"

Not being able to paste if you close the source first

Fix the issue with not being able to paste if you close the source it was copied from before pasting

sudo apt-get install parcellite

Totem and VLC won’t play video files after auto adding codecs

You need to remove the packages that were installed by the metapackage “ubuntu-restricted-extras” using the following command

sudo apt-get remove --purge ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3 gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly liba52-0.7.4 libavcodec52 libavformat52 libavutil49 libdvdnav4 libdvdread4 libgsm1 libid3tag0 libmad0 libmpeg2-4 libpostproc51 libschroedinger-1.0-0 libsidplay1 libswscale0 libtwolame0 ubuntu-restricted-extras libavcodec52 libavformat52 libswscale0 libvlc2 libvlccore2 vlc vlc-data vlc-nox vlc-plugin-pulse

This will remove any codecs installed and any programs that use the codecs. You will need to reinstall them afterwards.

sudo apt-get clean

Now restart PC and install ubuntu-restricted-extras

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

You will also need to re-install VLC if you want to use that as well/intead of Totem

Install sshfs for mounting remote filesystems

I do this using mount -t cifs on the windows network at work to use the shared network drives, and also via an SSH tunnel for remote access.

sudo apt-get install sshfs

Gnome Do

Everyone needs a bit of eye candy and I just love Gnome Do in ‘Docky’ mode. You can even squint your eyes and pretend you are on a Mac if that floats your boat ;)

sudo apt-get install gnome-do

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