Tag Archives: ubuntu

The Canonical online music store

Looks like there’s a proposal for Ubuntu to get its very own online music store, in time for Lucid next year. It would be tied directly into the desktop with applications like Banshee and Rhythmbox providing a web front-end for users to purchase music.

That’s quite an interesting suggestion and I wonder if it will come off. No doubt the store will be closed source and proprietary, as we’ve come to expect from Canonical.

Still, if they offer Music in lossless formats, I’d buy them. I have never bought any music online because it’s all lossy MP3, which I detest. For me, CDs remain the best way to get high-quality music on my PC. That would definitely change if I could buy FLAC albums somewhere..

Karmic upgrade, broken sound. Workaround.

Upgrading to Karmic on a Dell Optiplex 755 desktop resulted in broken sound.

It’s a very basic and extremely common card:
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 02)

GNOME has no sound, but opening up the mixer shows the device (analogue stereo output) and indeed when I play a sound I can see it come up on the “applications” section of the mixer.

The problem is that not only does no sound come out, but any application (from Totem to aplay) which tries to play audio hangs.

In Jaunty the sound preferences utility was much more powerful. You could choose between Pulseaudio, Alsa, ESD and OSS for various types of sound, everything was much more configurable. Now in Karmic, that’s replaced entirely and no longer possible – it appears to be Pulseaudio or nothing.

So, the “fix” is to purge pulseaudio and utils, leaving only Alsa. Reboot and magically sound works, but we’re not out of the woods yet!

Problem now is that we have no mixer under GNOME because unlike in Jaunty, it can only talk to Pulseaudio. Starting up the mixer from the command line shows it “waiting for server.” Not only that, but Totem still can’t play sound, presumably because it too is waiting for Pulseaudio.

So, what to do next? Install VLC.

This isn’t even a fix, in fact it’s hardly a decent workaround, but it is sufficient for now. How the average user is supposed to deal with this is beyond me. It’s a pity there is no longer the ability to switch between sound servers..

Update: Looks like this has been an unresolved problem for the last three months.

Two simple suggestions to improve Ubuntu

Everyone seems to know that you don’t upgrade Ubuntu straight away but rather wait one month so that major bugs can be fixed. If that’s acceptable, then my first simple suggestion is for the update manager to not prompt the user to upgrade until the stable release has been out for a month (or whatever time frame works. It could even be dynamically flagged when ready).

The problem as I see it, is that the average user gets notified and upgrades straight away. Problems occur and they’re stuck. Ubuntu (and Linux in general) looks bad.

Simply delaying this a month or two means they are blissfully unaware of the newer version until all the major issues are resolved. When they do upgrade, they should have a much more trouble-free experience. Advanced users can upgrade straight away, discover problems and get them fixed.

Secondly, it seems to me that many of the problems faced with a new version of Ubuntu are due to the fact that it’s a time based release. Come hell or high water, it’s released in that scheduled month. The problem with this is that there’s no room to slip the release, especially when it’s due date is already at the end of the month.

So my other suggestion is simply to schedule the release for the 1st day of the month. If all is well, release it. If there are major bugs that need fixing, then you’ve got 4 weeks to slip the release and still make that month. It won’t solve issues with a fresh install, but many bugs seem to come from upgrading an older version.

Perhaps these two simple suggestions will help overcome some issues users face when upgrading, and will help to make Ubuntu more trouble free and therefore better quality.


Ubuntu does it again..

So I’ve foolishly upgraded a machine at work to Karmic and after a reboot, networking was completely broken.

Awesome. Why does Ubuntu break every time you upgrade? It gives “Linux” a bad name.

Looks like it’s a problem with the dhcpcd script. When running dhcpcd eth0, it errors saying that eth0 does not exist, when indeed it does.
Calling dhcpcd-bin eth0 works correctly.

Removing dhcpcd with –purge and re-installing it fixed the problem.


Just have a look at the release notes for some impressive 40+ bugs. File corruption on large files (over 512MB! Woh!), Hibernation broken, Jockey awesomeness, broken RAID, X server crash with Wacom table, blah, blah, blah. Then there’s all the others which surface when every poor sod running Jaunty tries an upgrade..

Ubuntu, where stable != stable.


Dell release Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition on Mini 10v

Dell looks to be moving more and more towards Linux for their products with the release of a developer version of Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition.

Naturally it’s not the final release, things like Bluetooth don’t work, but Dell is hoping the community will pick it up and help to improve the system.

You can purchase the machine with this special developer release from the Dell website, or download the image yourself from the Dell Moblin wiki page.

Dell 10″ netbook with Linux (in Australia!)

Only just noticed that Dell is selling the Latitude 2100 10″ netbook with Ubuntu 9.04 in Australia. None of the Mini series appear to come with the option of Linux, even though my friendly Dell representative told me that they do.

The Linux option is $60 cheaper than Windows XP, however it does not have the option of a built in camera. They both have the option of a touch screen, but the Linux model does not let you change the bezel, which means the configuration is broken. Perhaps this can be resolved on the phone, but the web interface presents a rather limited number of options. That’s disappointing.

Still, if you like Dell and are after an atom based netbook which comes pre-installed with Linux, perhaps the 2100 is for you.

More jackalope than jaunty

We have some IBM x3650 servers at work with Adaptec 8k ServeRAID controller cards and SAS drives.

For the life of me I can’t get Jaunty to boot on the machines. It installs just fine, but the initial reboot fails to find the root device and drops me to an “ash” shell which doesn’t ever actually appear. The keyboard also doesn’t work.

It doesn’t matter what RAID array I have, whether I’m using LVM or a standard partitioning scheme with an msdos partition table.. it just doesn’t work.

I’ve added aacraid and several other modules to the initramfs, still no joy.

Add the fact that the machine takes 10 minutes to boot each time I want to test a small change and it’s one super frustrating situation.

Oh, and 8.04 LTS works just fine.

One bug which appears to be a grub issue that I don’t have, which hasn’t been touched since April. There’s another about being unable to find the root device that also hasn’t received any love.

If anyone has some suggestions (install Debian?), let me know. The reason I’m using Ubuntu is because we have a local mirror and Jaunty because it’s a virtual machine and KVM is the way I want to go.

Update: Ahh, problem resolved and it was my fault. See comments..