Running Dapper

I took the plunge over the weekend, and live-upgraded the new ‘Dapper Drake’ Ubuntu release — ouch. Here’s the two key lessons I learned:

  • Don’t run “grub-install” in a misremembered attempt to update the current GRUB boot menu ‘menu.lst’ file with the new kernel; sadly, this will quietly remove important details from your old menu.lst, such as “initrd” lines, rendering those kernels unbootable. Moral: ensure brain is in gear before meddling with MBRs!

  • If you’re a Kubuntu user, watch out. Ensure you run apt-get install ubuntu-base ubuntu-desktop — bringing the entirety of GNOME up to date — as well as apt-get install kubuntu-desktop after the upgrade; it appears that some part of a new hotplugging subsystem is not included as a dependency of kubuntu-desktop. Failure to do this results in an inability to use USB/hotpluggable devices, including internal devices like the Synaptics touchpad. No pointer devices (mice or touchpads) means no X server at boot, which is always a little annoying.

Some day I’ll just do things the right way, and do a fresh-from-CD install instead. Ah well. The good stuff: the new kernel, or possibly Xorg, is proving to be a lot speedier — window updates are noticeably smoother; and the new Ubuntu GNOME theme is similarly tasty.

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  1. Posted June 7, 2006 at 15:53 | Permalink

    Ubuntu is great and Dapper Drake makes it even better!

    I upgraded to Dapper and was pleasantly surprised to find that my system is much more responsive than with Breezy. Firefox seems especially snappier. I really like the new GNOME deskbar applet too.

  2. Posted June 7, 2006 at 16:08 | Permalink

    Deskbar looks cool! I’d missed that.

    Sadly, though, it seems to be incompatible with KDE’s kwin window manager; I can’t focus on the text entry field. wierd.

  3. Posted June 7, 2006 at 16:34 | Permalink

    Yeah, Deskbar is a GNOME thing so that’s not too surprising. You might try GNOME – I used to use KDE and hated GNOME, but GNOME has come a long ways and I like it much better now. If you stay with KDE, perhaps there is something in KDE that is analogous to GNOME’s Deskbar?

    What I really, really, really want is Quicksilver for Linux!

  4. Posted June 7, 2006 at 16:54 | Permalink

    re GNOME and KDE — I actually use both. However, you can only use one window manager, and right now kwin wins (since it allows multiple keybindings for actions, which is very useful since I have two keyboards with different “spare” keys — one for desktop, one for laptop use).

    I hear Quicksilver is great. surprising that nobody in linuxland has yet recreated it…

  5. Danny
    Posted June 7, 2006 at 18:13 | Permalink

    I held my breath and did apt-get dist-upgrade; I always find it a small miracle when that works, but it did, even with the extra stuff I’d dropped on top of the standard install. Freakiest thing: I made my own mdns package, but because the versioning was consistent with Ubuntu’s new built-in zeroconf stuff, it automatically upgraded my hand-installed software! Yay ubuntu people.

  6. Posted June 7, 2006 at 18:27 | Permalink

    ‘it automatically upgraded my hand-installed software’ — yikes!

  7. Posted June 8, 2006 at 09:21 | Permalink

    I did a speedy install of 5.10 two weekends ago not realising Dapper was imminent. It did a smooth upgrade. The install was for a dual boot corporate laptop (dell latitude D610) so that I wasn’t forced to use the limited locked down windows software whilst travelling.

    Nearly everything worked smoothly except for wireless which was a nighmare. I never got the built-in one working and managed to beat a Belkin USB adapter into submission using ndiswrapper. Far too bloody complicated!

    The only other problem is that the microphone on the laptop does not work in Dapper making Skype kinda useless. Its a bit surprising that they have problems with mainstream hardware like this.

    Having said that, my one week trip was a joy using it, particularly the 4 hours of wireless browsing in Heathrow!

  8. Posted June 8, 2006 at 10:33 | Permalink

    Conor —

    the Skype thing is especially disappointing; I’ve been keeping an eye on it for a while. basically the developers of Skype have abandoned linux support for some reason. No sign just yet of any improvement in that situation…

  9. Posted June 10, 2006 at 03:39 | Permalink

    Er Justin, I’m on dapper, with kubuntu, running just fine with a synaptics touchpad, 2.6.15 kernel etc.

    Do note – hotplug’s totally deprecated as of newer 2.6.x kernels, udev does all the job that hotplug used to do – but you probably want to move any firmware you use to /lib/firmware/ instead of the old /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/

    X comes up just fine for me – make sure you dont replace your hotplug with the murasaki package .. just remove hotplug and udev will work just fine for you, bring up the X server on boot and all.

  10. Posted June 20, 2006 at 18:41 | Permalink

    Suresh — this laptop is a hacked-together bag of leftover debs, since it started life running Libranet’s Debian-derived distro a few years ago. It’s entirely possible some package from those days is still loitering around, confusing Dapper’s default choices ;)

  11. Tomas IV.
    Posted July 3, 2006 at 21:54 | Permalink

    There is a solution for the Skype microphone problem:

    1. Install Skype 1.3 beta (see Do NOT run it during working on next point.

    2. Go to your sound channel settings (i.e. right-click the reproductor icon in the Gnome interface and select “Open volume settings”) and make sure that both Microphone AND Capture channels are selected as recording devices. And yes, I also had Capture off in Breezy with Skype 1.2, but now it is needed to have it on or the microphone will not work. It is probably good idea also to enable the capture “output” which in fact enables automatic volume level control of the microphone.

    3. Run Skype

    Another possibly affecting factor is that I have installed the oss-alsa package as result of my previous attempts to get skype to work (I do not know if it matters or not). This way it works for me, I hope it will for you also…