April 28th, 2008
Well I updated my AMD64 machine to Ubuntu Hardy Heron on the weekend. Unfortunately, three things immediately broke: the Wacom tablet, the Nvidia graphic driver and the RT61-based wireless card. Not the glitzy update I was imagining. I can imagine a newbie being left completely bamboozled by these occurences.
The Nvidia driver problem was easily fixed. It turns out that the older kernel was still being used and that this must have been incompatible with the updated drivers. There was probably a message about whether to update the grub config or preserve the old one – not sure what happened there – I must have ignored it so it was probably my fault. Fixing up grub and purging old kernels did the trick. I am using the binary “nvidia” drivers and “nvidia-glx-new” with a GeForce FX 5700-based card.
It appears that the driver for my wireless card, “rt61pci”, is causing occasional kernel panics, that seem to occur when the backups run (this machine runs our local backups). Back in Gutsy I was experiencing network slow-downs and drop-outs, and so I was hoping Hardy would fix that. Instead it was worse. After reading similar complaints on launchpad, I installed linux-backports-modules-hardy and was able to run the backups – so far there have been no kernel panics.
The Wacom tablet problem I am yet to solve. I haven’t had much time to look into it as the machine I’ve updated is not a critical one. There was no mention of Wacom during the upgrade process. I have wacom-tools installed and the tablet was attached during the upgrade.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that the new VNC-based remote desktop tool, vinagre, doesn’t seem to support panning (following the mouse motion) when remoting to a larger screen, so I have to revert back to the old remoting tools that were in Gutsy.
Normally, an Ubuntu upgrade is a joyous experience, with perhaps a few tweaks to fix broken audio settings. This time not so much. I’m not sure why some are saying this is the Ubuntu release that will lead to the mythical “year of the Linux desktop” as it doesn’t seem to improve that much from Gutsy. I still think of Gutsy was the release that got the ball rolling.