Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 client installation

This refers to Ubuntu 9.10 rc1.

I installed 9.10rc1 on a HP510 (2GHz, 1GB, 1280x800 i945), HPnx8220 (2GHz, 1GB, 1650x1080 ati), HP 8510w (2,4GHz, 2GB, 1920x1200 nvidia).

Installation of the core system went fine. Compiz works on all machines, the Intel chipset being the easiest, NVidia requires proprietary drivers.

Switched from Thunderbird to Evolution.

I don't know why this program gets all the hype. Its buggy (and I mean, it is hardly usable). It's a pain to configure offline synchronization (you have to set this in the Edit -> Preferences -> Mail Account -> Edit -> Receiving Options -> Automatically synchronize remote mail locally and the manually right-click the folder -> Property -> Copy folder content locally for offline operation). It's a pain to configure spam protection (in the above mentioned Account Editor you have to set Check new messages for junk content). It does not read news, it is slow and auto filtering does not work all the time.

Why did I swap: Its default, it has Exchange connectivity (not that I need it) and it syncs my Palm pilot and hopefully my Andriod phone.

Network manager still does not work correctly.

Using a mobile broadband internet connection does not work with wireless access points in reach. If wireless is turned off, the connection works fine the first time, consecutive connections do not adjust the resolver settings.

Used a manual override to fix this.

Another issue is purely annoying: Setting the mobile connection to be available system wide will lock you out of editing the settings. One can delete the connection and set it up afresh. As soon as you set system wide availability, the game starts new. Sometimes I would not even get an error message, the network manager applet would simply terminate.

Canon FB363u still does not work.

It's a shame that this used to work in 6.06 but never after. Several attempts to issue bugs failed. Canonical does not react but still provides drivers for the scanner in it's repositories.

Power management?

In 9.04 the battery on my 8510w lasted nearly 4 hours (3.57). This was ok. I remeber having heard the fan twice.

With 9.10 the battery lasts 2h20mins. Worse, ever since the upgrade the fan spins permanently and really loudly. acpi -t tells me that some device has a temperature of over 75° C. It was never that hot before.

Sound issues.

I installed additional gstreamer libraries (bad and ugly). After that I installed VLC. This seemed to render sound output dead on all my machines. Reinstalling gstreamer bad and ugly libraries solved the problem (don't know why)

VMWare ... the usual ...

I didn't expect VMWare to work out of the box. And VMware did not disappoint me.

Cut a long story short, here is the fix. There is another hint out. I did not find the problems described about mouse grabing problems on any of my machines. As I like simple solutions I followed the one on the vmware community site. It works fine.


I used CUPSpdf a lot to print PDFs out any size. In 9.10 CUPSpdf offers adjustment of the paper size. To the application only A4 or Letter is available. I don't know what the use of bigger paper size is if one can't use it.

So where are the good news?

ext4 works fine. It's fast (boot time about 15 secs, used to be 47 secs with 9.04).
Grub2 is fine. It does what it should and stays out of your way.
firefox 3.5 is snappy.
avant window manager is a pretty add-on that makes my life pleasant and easy.

Pretty little if you ask me.

Worth your while?

If neither Windows nor Mac are an option, then the answer would be: yes.

However the pain and frustration (I still can't connect to my campus network via VPN) accumulates.

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