4 May 2011
Ubuntu 11.04 is one of the most expected releases this year. Yes, there were lots of pre-release discussions, reviews, controversy and so on. Finally, it was released.
As you may know, my laptop is quadro-boot. One of the systems I had there was Ubuntu 10.10, which was upgraded from 10.04.
Of course, such an event like Ubuntu 11.04 release could not be bypassed by me. This time I decided to go through fresh install route and replace my Ubuntu 10.10 with Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity desktop. Before going for final installation, I ran it in Live mode from Live USB. First impression was positive, so decision was made to go on.
I must admit that Live mode of Ubuntu 11.04 was less problematic than installed mode.
First problems were noticed during the installation phase.
I could not manually enter names for mount points for partitions on my HDD. You can only select them from the list of pre-defined options. Yes, it is OK if you only have 2 systems: Windows and Ubuntu on your HDD. You can assign /windows as mounting point for your windows partition. What if you have more, like me? I wanted to create /kubuntu and /debian for respective partitions, and failed. Yes, this issue is easily resolvable by editing fstab file on post-installation phase. But this function worked differently in Ubuntu 10.04 installation program. Why was it changed?
Another issue was only noticed by me when installation was over and I was asked to reboot. Ubuntu 11.04 automatically installed GRUB2 without asking my wish! I am more or less sure that I did not see such question or option during the installation. That is arbitrariness! The reason for my disappointment is that I have GRUB2 configured for my purposes in my Kubuntu installation. I had to run sudo grub-install from Kubuntu to solve this issue.
Unfortunately, driver for my Broadcom 4311 WiFi card did not work after installation. That was a surprise because I allowed closed-source software use during the installation (of course, only those bits which are delivered in iso image). And it worked "out of the box" in Ubuntu 10.10. All the experiments with deactivating/reactivating of driver via "Additional drivers" part of configuration panel were useless.
I was in despair! It was a fight which I expected, and I thought the easy win here. But why had Ubuntu (almost) beaten me? The answer was in dmesg and log viewer. Driver was activated and... blacklisted! Why????? I felt myself very baffled at that point.
Of course, solution was found: Ubuntu is famous for its support base. To make my card working I had to connect laptop to LAN cable and follow steps described in Ubuntu Forums post. WiFi card was on and working as expected. I write this blog post from Ubuntu 11.04.
Next step is to connect my network drive share. Samba not included into Ubuntu 11.04 package. I had to install it from Software Manager. But even with Samba installed, I could not mount my network drive. Neither mount command nor fstab worked. I got error message "CIFS VFS: cifs_mount failed w/return code = -22". This error message means that username is not specified. But I always have "-o guest,nolinux" as part of my mount command. This issue was solved by installing smbfs package from Ubuntu Software Centre. As usual, solution was found in the Ubuntu's giant support team - Internet. This issue was discussed and resolved before.
Once external network drive is connected, I could try to play the music which I keep there. Unfortunately, it was not immediately possible. MP3 codec was not installed, even though it was requested during installation. Probably because they are to be downloaded? Not sure... Anyway, I did some downloading of codecs and then added my favourite player VLC. Now I can listen to music.
Another usual step which I do is to add Russian keyboard layout to my system. I had no issues in this area, as I have already tried it in Live mode.
My favourite browser, as you may already know, is Google Chrome. It is not directly availably from Ubuntu Software Manager (Chromium is there instead). I had to download .deb installer from Google's page. Installation itself was cared of by Ubuntu Software Manager. Unexpectedly is hanged up when installing Google Chrome from .deb file. Most interesting is that installation itself was OK. Google Chrome (v.11) works without any issues.
I use QutIM as my favourite internet messenger. It is one of the few to support Mail.ru Agent "out of the box". Unfortunately QutIM does not work properly in Ubuntu 11.04. For whatever reason, it does not place an icon to the menu bar, like Skype does. I found forum messages about this, but they are not resolved yet.
Do you think that I listed all the issues I had with Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity desktop? The very last was waiting for me during shutdown. Basically, the issue is that Ubuntu 11.04 does not shutdown or reboots itself properly. It hangs. Looks like this bug is already reported, but not resolved.
It would be unfair to note only bad things which noticed in Ubuntu 11.04? There are some positive things too.
Ubuntu 11.04 comes with much newer version of Linux kernel, compared to latest available for (K)Ubuntu 10.10: 2.6.38-8 and 2.6.35-29 correspondingly.
Then, Ubuntu 11.04 boots much faster than Ubuntu 10.10. It takes only ~43 seconds to take me from GRUB2 screen to fully functional system with WiFi enabled. Big improvement from ~65 seconds for Ubuntu 10.10! Of course, the result is fixed in Racecourse Scoreboard!
My general feelings about Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity desktop now are very inconsistent. Yes, Unity has its benefits like additional screen real estate and speed. But then it makes system to stumble out of the blue. And it is also less customizable compared to GNOME (v.2) or KDE.
Anyway, I will keep Ubuntu 11.04 installed on my laptop. Maybe I'll get used to it some time.
Do you want to try Ubuntu 11.04 yourself, but cannot download image and burn it to CD yourself? You can check the page Buy Linux CDs and make an order there.
List of top-rated applications to be installed in Ubuntu 11.04: http://www.ubuntuvibes.com/2011/04/17-top-rated-applications-in-ubuntu.html
How to remove chat and mail icons from system tray in Ubuntu 11.04: http://shortrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/04/ubuntu-1104-natty-narwhal-how-to-remove.html
DarkDuck is a person with whole life spent in IT area. It does not mean only Linux, but also SAP systems. Learn more about him here.
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Posted by DarkDuck (m) at 08:45