Ubuntu lenses — search applications bug?

9 02 2012

Today I noticed that searching application with Ubuntu lenses didn’t work. I typed application names but nothing appeared. Googling. I found this thread on Ubuntu forums. I didn’t go into details but the solution to this issue is to remove the following directory
~/.cache/software-center and re-login.

This only confirms my opinion that Unity is an immature piece of software and really needs more testing.

Concerning my last post (buying mp3 files from Amazon) — I tried also www.amazon.pl. It redirected me to www.amazon.co.uk. I already have an account there so I tried buying the same mp3 from there. No success. The same reason. I can’t buy it from Poland.





Removing indicator-appmenu package from Unity

5 01 2012

In Ubuntu with Unity just type:

sudo apt-get remove indicator-appmenu

logout and log in again. Your life will become… normal 🙂





Unity

27 09 2011

I didn’t post about Ubuntu for a long time. Today I decided to break the silence. I’ll explain later what made me do that.

The reason why I didn’t say a word about Ubuntu is Unity. This new default interface in Ubuntu brought many controversies to the distro’s community. My first impression was: “Ok, we’ve got something new. It looks odd by we need to move forward. Win95 looked strange in 1995 but it change our way of interacting with machines”. I gave it a chance despite of the fact that most of blog entries were somewhere between “I don’t like Unity” and “I hate it”. I used Unity since it was set the default UI in Ubuntu. I wanted to post about Unity once I have a deep enough insight in this UI.

Yesterday after a subsequent “minor annoyance” in Unity I switched to Gnome. And guess what? Suddenly I felt… just better. But to be honest here are my remarks on Unity.

The good
Lenses! I like it very much and I already miss it after switching to Gnome. It’s really a very useful feature.

The bad
Slow! Unity is just much slower than Gnome. And to be honest — I realized that speed is the most important reason why I use Linux on daily basis. But with Unity I felt like I stepped one step back.

Hiding a window top panel. I find this feature really frustrating. For example — when I have two windows in Gnome side by side I can directly select an option in the second window’s menu when the first window has focus. With Unity it require one click more. It’s especially annoying when you want to close a window. First you need to pass focus to it and then close it. I just can’t stand it. What’s even worse — this feature is buggy. E.g. WINE windows incorrectly receive mouse position when the window is maximized. It’s a nail in the coffin.

Limited configuration of sidebar. I like the sidebar it’s functional and… pretty 😉 But I missed some configuration options. E.g. how to change some icons positions? For example, I want partitions to be higher.

The ugly
Bugs! Bugs! And more bugs! They are not “critical” but highly annoying. Just to give some examples of bugs that happened to me:

  • invisible window — covers some part of the screen and prevents clicking anything under it. Nice, huh?
  • hanging — Unity just hangs from time to time.
  • exploding theme — not every time but quite often any theme, be it Ambiance or Radiance or any other, explodes and switches to a gray default theme. Icons, top panel and UI other element becomes “default” but windows keep their Ambiance decoration.
  • disappearing icons in sidebar — as I said I like the sidebar but sometime some icons disappear. E.g. “applications” and “places” (or whatever it’s called — I don’t remember).

That was enough for me. I switched back to Gnome and I’m happy. I wish all the best to Unity. I hope some issues will be solved in the incoming release. But in Unity 11.04? — No, thanks.





Ubuntu 10.10

26 10 2010

The latest Ubuntu was released on 10.10.2010 at 10:10. The numbers look magical but is the latest release really so extraordinary? I doubt. Someone may say that I’m going to grumble again against Ubuntu. But I’m not. I simply didn’t switch to the latest release so I can’t say anything about it which goes beyond information from release notes. And this is the first time since, I guess, 2005 when I left a release behind.

Why?
The one reason is that I have to do some stuff using Windows and therefore I use Ubuntu less often these days. The second reason comes from a simple fact that my current Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is stable and causes no problem now. But the ultimate reason is that this release brought literally no new feature that I could be possibly interested in. Let’s take a closer look at the release notes.

Ubuntu Software Center

Added “Featured” and “What’s new” sections, history of installs and removals (sounds promising) and Fluendo DVD player for purchase. Commercial software is something that I really want to see more in the Linux world but for now it’s rather a curiosity[1]. History of installs might be useful but not a necessary feature.

Ubuntu font

Wow. The Ubuntu brand grows. But, frankly, who will update his/her release up to the latest version because of a new font?

Installer

I had no problem with the installer. But if it’s better, ok – let it be.

Ubuntu Desktop Edition

New GNOME — does it have any important changes to me? I don’t know but I suppose nothing “visible”.

New Evolution — I don’t use it.

Shotwell has replaced F-Spot — I use neither of them.

Updated Gwibber — what the hell is that? I don’t use it.

Upgraded sound menu — would I notice a difference?

Updated Ubuntu One integration — good but again, would I notice any difference?

And that’s all for changes that might be interesting for me. Might be, but are not. I’ll stay with 10.4 but it doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in changes in Ubuntu. Quite the contrary! I will, indeed, carefully observe the way the distribution goes.

[1] — I called a commercial piece of software in Linux a curiosity because it’s the first time I see it in a software manager such as Ubuntu Software Center.





Could not open location – Ubuntu bookmarks

15 05 2010

I don’t use places bookmarks in Ubuntu very often but I do sometimes. Recently I noticed, that those bookmarks that pointed to an FTP location did not start. I was given such a message:

Could not open location - screenshot

Reason

I did some research and found out that the file pointed by the bookmark really wasn’t there.
piotr@lenovo:/usr/lib/firefox$ ls -al
total 84
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 2010-04-30 22:28 .
drwxr-xr-x 254 root root 73728 2010-05-15 15:42 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2010-05-04 00:37 plugins

and that was probably because of “new” version of Firefox (3.5+).
piotr@lenovo:/usr/lib$ ls -d firefox*
firefox firefox-3.6.3 firefox-addons
piotr@lenovo:/usr/lib$

In a quest for the solution

I tried typical things people probably do in such situations. I reinstalled firefox; I changed the default Web browser in System -> Preferences -> Preferred Applications. Nothing helped.

Solved!

Finally I found the solution and because it was not easy to find with google I decided to put it here.

First I needed to run gconf-editor (ALT+F2 and type “gconf-editor” without quotes). Then I found a key:
/desktop/gnome/url-handlers/ftp/command
gconf-editor screenshot

I changed the “command” key’s value to:
/usr/bin/firefox "%s"
(TIP: use “which firefox” to find the location of application’s binary file). It worked. But I changed it again to:
/usr/bin/nautilus "%s"
and now I’ve got the default behavior for FTP bookmarks.

Hope it helps.





Lucid Lynx is here

15 05 2010

The latest Ubuntu release 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) became available this April. I couldn’t refrain from installing it as soon as I’ve got it burnt on my CD. After couple of days I decided to share my experience.

Installation

First change I’ve noticed is the possibility to choose whether to run a liveCD version or start an installation. In previous versions, as far as I remember, Ubuntu used to boot the liveCD first. Than user could start installation process with a shortcut on the desktop.

Installation process itself looks very similar comparing to the previous release. All colors and outfit in general looks differently though. Again it took about 10 minutes to find all partitions on my disk (see Krotchety Koala) but I was already aware of it and I waited with patience.

After a reboot the system booted with no errors. Luckily.

“Start fast with Ubuntu”. Really?

Just after the installation it used to take about 6:30 minutes to boot from pressing the ON button to the login screen. I don’t have to admit it was far too much — especially that this Ubuntu release had been promoted as being faster than ever.

After doing some google research I found a very useful tool for linux. It’s called BootChart and can be easily downloaded and installed from Ubuntu’s repos.
sudo apt-get install bootchart
A chart generated with this tool helped me to locate the problem of slow booting. It was caused by fsck.vfat which meant that my Windows partition (FAT32) was scanned on each boot. Having struggled with partitions with the previous Ubuntu release I just did the same thing I had done before. I changed 1 to 0 in the last column of that partition’s entry in /etc/fstab which prevents the disk from being checked every time I boot the machine.

The next boot — and what a nice surprise. It took around 30 secs from power on to login screen. Good enough 🙂

Ubuntu One

Starting from Lucid Lynx the Ubuntu users have an on-line music store integrated directly in rhythmbox. First of all, I didn’t like that player but I decided to give it a chance. I imported my small collection of mp3s and played some of them. It simply worked. Than I browsed some music from Ubuntu One. At first glance I was impressed of the number of tracks available. I thought it would be just few songs and nothing interesting to me but I found something for me too. I decided to spend 0,99EUR for a song. I picked one up and went directly to checkout. I choose PayPal as a method of payment, because I have an PayPal account already. I went through checkout process — it’s nothing but a typical on-line store. I entered my PayPal credentials and got a screen where I could select a credit card and delivery address. I knew the latter is not necessary in that kind of transactions but I tried to change the address though. I gave up when the country selector stuck with Hungary and when I tried to change it to Poland it moved me back to the screen I mentioned above. Strange, I thought, and decided to continue without address change. I clicked continue and… I’ve got a blank screen with only a header above but no information whether the transaction succeeded or not! I looked for the track I had been about to buy but it where nowhere there. I re-run the process — picked up the same song, entered PayPal credentials, changed delivery address (this time with success!) and arrived to the same blank page.
Confused, with no song bought and uncertain about my PayPal account, I looked again at rhythmbox. Than I realized that my first good impression faded away and I don’t really its behavior. I like when a music player hides in the tray while minimized and when it pops up and hides when I click once on its icon in the tray. I closed the rhythmbox and run audacious which plays still my favorite on-line radio as I type now.

Conclusion

I like Ubuntu. I really do. I write such bitter words not to fright you away. I really think the Lucid Lynx release brings some new air to Ubuntu and that the projects move into the right direction. There is, however, still a lot of work to do but I hope it’s worth waiting. And by now I use and I will use Lucid Lynx… at least until Maverick Meerkat is out.





Karmic Koala

26 11 2009

In my previous post I was blaming Karmic Koala for being the most buggy Ubuntu since I remember (which means Hoary 5.04). After three weeks of using the newest stable Ubuntu Linux I feel much less irritated than I was just after the system installation. See what changed.

Solutions

In my previous post I wrote about problems with sound and booting. Both are now (more or less) solved.

First problem was occurring during the system boot. I found a workaround but it made booting last longer and required user’s (my) attention. I didn’t give up searching and I’ve finally bumped into another idea. I simply disabled fsck on my fat32 partition and miraculously Karmic started to boot like Jaunty with no “one or more mounts…” error.

The second issue was related to the sound system. One day I googled this thread on UbuntuForums.org. Other posts on other fora suggested purging PulseAudio. I read some more about PulseAudio and decided to give it a chance. I followed the steps described in the tutorial and sound, miraculously again, seemed to work correctly. At least openarena works fine. Great!

Conslusions

Ubuntu is said to be a Linux distribution for everyone. That means it should simple as possible. I don’t consider myself being a Linux guru – I’m a regular experienced user but I encountered problems which I couldn’t resolve just like that. People starting their adventure with Linux would never jump them over. It’s sad because I would really like to make Linux (most likely in form of Ubuntu) more popular. But what would I say to someone who sees Ubuntu – “the best distro for beginners” – causing irritation?

Appendix

To disable fsck on fat32 partition in Linux one should change the latest column (6th) in /etc/fstab from 1 to 0.

# /windows was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=3440-10F6 /windows vfat utf8,umask=007,gid=46 0 0