18 Oct 2011

Adventures in Ubuntu 11.10 Live

The newest release of Ubuntu Operating System, Ubuntu 11.10, was released 5 days ago.
Stir is settled down, and it is a time for me to try new flavour of African Humanity.
To be honest, ISO image of Ubuntu 11.10 existed on my hard drive since the day of release. I downloaded it from torrent. Strangely enough, torrent tracker became unresponsive after couple of days of seeding. By that time my seeding ratio was well over 2, so my conscience was clear when I stopped seeding.
Image size of Ubuntu 11.10 is about 700 Mb, which means it could be burnt to CD. So I did. But I did not spend much time in Live CD. Instead, I created Live USB using the Ubuntu built-in tool.
Why did not I create Live USB directly via Unetbootin or dd command? Because I have already tried both of these options when was trying Kubuntu 11.10, and neither of those worked due to the BIOS on my laptop (Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505).
So, Live USB was created. It is plugged into the port. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

Boot time of Ubuntu 11.10 was significant. It concerns both CD and USB versions actually. The worst thing here is that after selection between "Try" and "Install" system does not show any activities, except for blinking light on USB stick and sometimes hard drive indicator. (Oooops, what did it do with my HDD in Live run???) I would rather prefer some signs of activity. Even text lines on black screen are better because at least they show something's happening.
Anyway, finally I got to familiar desktop in purple colours. It is not "very" familiar, since Ubuntu 11.10 has Unity desktop by default. Unity was first introduced in previous release 11.04, and is familiar only for those who worked in 11.04 with Unity. Do you remember that there was an option to switch to GNOME2 in Ubuntu 11.04. How many of you did use this option?

Other than default purple wallpaper, Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot includes good selection of other wallpapers. All of them are pretty nice. My choice was for wallpapers with poppy flowers.
Ubuntu 11.10 includes 4 themes for window decoration, so you have something to choose from out of the box.
Of course, more wallpapers and themes can be added from Internet.

WiFi card of my laptop (Intel 3945ABG) was automatically recognised and configured by Ubuntu 11.10 operating system. My home wireless network was listed and it was easy to connect to the Internet.

Ubuntu 11.10 has default browser Firefox 7.0.1. You can find it either on the Dash, or as a Launcher item. It is much better that default Rekonq in Kubuntu 11.10. At least, Firefox is more stable. But still I prefer Chrome. That's why I decided to install it first of all.
And here I got first error. It said:
Dependency is not satisfiable: libnspr4-0d (>= 4.7.3-0ubuntu1~)
Quick search for the error in Google did not give me any positive result for Ubuntu 11.10. As a workaround, I tried to install Chromium from Ubuntu software centre (USC). Before getting into installation, USC asked me about activation of Universe repository. I had to agree, because you can't get much from Ubuntu without proper repositories. When activation and update was finished, I decided not to continue with Chromium. Instead, I tried Chrome installer again. And it worked! At least, I saw progress and success message. Unfortunately, nothing appeared in the Dash menu. I had to manually start Chrome from /opt/google/chrome. Finally I was able to start the browser this way. Long way to success, don't you think?

Coming back to Ubuntu Software Centre. It is really nice and comfortable tool now in Ubuntu 11.10. But what I would add here? Size of package, both downloadable and installed. This would be useful to understand how much you're going to download each time, and how much disk space will be used by new programs. These sizes are actually shown in apt-get command, so they are available for each package. This is not a new idea in Linux world.  Mageia (Mandriva) Control Centre shows these sizes, so there are examples of how it is done. Yes, I know that Mageia uses rpm, not deb, but this is not so important in this case.
I should repeat. Even without this feature, USC is very good tool to manage packages and applications.

Another step for me was navigation through the local drive partitions. Mounting of NTFS partition worked without any issue, and Russian file names were shown correctly.

Once I navigated to my local storage place, I tried to play MP3 files from there. Double-click on the file started default player in Ubuntu 11.10: Banshee. I can't say that I liked Banshee, because I still prefer simple players like Audacious or VLC, but it is easily replaceable part of the system.
Unfortunately, MP3 files did not play out of the box. Banshee recommended me to search for required plugins. When I tried this search before Unverse repository activation, it only gave me a name of missing plugin. It was much better after Universe activation. Installation started and was completed with success. Banshee was restarted - and I could listen to music!

Another part of my routine check is about keyboard layouts. I need them because I type in English and Russian both.
Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 has separate item in the System Settings panel for keyboard layouts. It is very nice, because you don't need to dig through the menu to Input Devices and then to keyboard layouts. Configuration of English (UK) and Russian layouts was completed quickly enough.
Default layout, by the way, is English (US), which is widely used internationally but not in the United Kingdom where I live.
Layout indicator automatically appeared on the top panel. Unfortunately, there was no option to show flag, only text indicator of layout is available. But it is still OK since colourful flags could break the monochrome harmony of the panel indicators.

During keyboard layout configuration I also activated combination Ctrl-Alt-Backspace which usually kills X server. After not-so-successful installation of Google Chrome, and remembering menu refresh after Kubuntu desktop restart, I decided to try this option (restart X server) in Ubuntu 11.10. It worked for me, but unfortunately not exactly the way I wanted.
Yes, X server was restarted. But I was kicked off to logon screen. I knew neither username nor password for it. Options to switch off or reboot on that screen did not give me any result. So, I was forced to power off with hardware button.

After restart, I was pretty much surprised because both keyboard configuration and network were automatically picked up from previous time. Persistence worked in Ubuntu 11.10! But I was again presented with options to Try or to Install Ubuntu. And again, quite long time to load system.
Right after the second boot I had another nice surprise. Ubuntu 11.10's Dash showed Chrome logo on the place where Firefox was initially! That's because Chrome was made default browser when I ran it few minutes ago.
I should admit that Chrome for Ubuntu got better look than it was on Ubuntu 11.04. It now nicely follows the colour theme. Buttons to close/minimize/maximize the window are on the left, as usual for Ubuntu theme, but they are in Chrome style, which is slightly different from Ubuntu style. Actually same buttons are duplicated on the panel. It was also strange for me to see menus in Chrome, but they do exist on the panel. Of course, wrench menu is in its usual place too.

At this point of time I found an interesting, but not so nice, results in Dash search tool in Ubuntu 11.10. Search for "intern" returned Chrome and Empathy. Search on "brows" - Firefox and Image Viewer. I don't see any consistency here, and that is not good from usability point of view. Either Chrome is not a browser, or Firefox is not for Internet.

As another look at Dash, I found it much better in Ubuntu 11.10 than in Ubuntu 11.04. Navigation became more convenient with new Filtering service. These filtering buttons on the right resemble old good menu sections.

I tried to create Application Shortcut from Google Chrome and place it to Desktop of Ubuntu 11.10. This my adventure excited system to the point that all the coolers started working like mad. As a result of that I saw no shortcut, of course. Maybe, another restart could help, but I decided not to experiment this time.

Another nice surprise was that Flash movies (YouTube) worked straight away. I am not sure whether Flash was included "out of the box" in Ubuntu 11.10, or was installed together with MP3 plugins. But when I went to YouTube site, I could see videos without installation of any additional software.
Next step... Check of my external network drive. Package smbfs was installed - and mounting of external network drive went absolutely fine from command line. Same as it was in my Kubuntu 11.10 run. All the folders were shown with correct names, even those named in Russian. But most interesting question was: How would this external network mount affect shutdown process? Only Reboot could answer the question. So I did!

What was the result? Shutdown time was very quick. Apparently, Ubuntu did not have the issue with mounted network partition. It is very positive sign for me! It means I should be able to run Ubuntu again as installed system on my laptop.

Not so nice results came after reboot though... Live USB was broken. The message on the screen told me:
Operating system not found.
Same USB stick as I used just now? The reason for this failure is unknown, but evidently Ubuntu 11.10 Live broke itself!

This stopped my Live adventures in Ubuntu 11.10.

What's next? Probably installation of this new Operating System. Yes, let's try Ubuntu 11.10 in installed version!
This will be the next story...

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Just before I finish... Am I the only person who cannot start Terminal right from the File Manager location? I so used to this feature in KDE that found it very strange not to have this option in Unity. Or I am missing something?

If you want to try in Ubuntu 11.10 yourself, why not order it via Buy Linux CDs service?


  1. Can you tell me if there is any problem with the new version of Ubuntu 11.10 and is it good than the previous one...


  2. @linuxthebest: wait a little, I am preparing a post about installed Ubuntu 11.10

  3. Your lack of care with language makes the article a displeasure to read. Make an effort and learn a minimum of language first; only then try to express yourself, if you have anything to say at all.

  4. I enjoy your posts darkduck - I can understand you quite well and better than most of my fellow Americans, actually, lol. I also enjoy your enthusiasm for Linux... :) I have used 11.04 Natty from day one and liked Unity very much, but 11.10 Oneiric I detested Unity there were so many quirks. I tried Gnome Shell and WOW...!!! I love Gnome Shell...!!! Give it a try if you haven't there are great extensions for it and I think it will really take off now that Ubuntu makes it easy to install... :) With 11.10, I have issues with Plymouth boot themes - will work on shut down but not on boot up - I am still puzzling that out, but so far am liking 11.10 with Gnome Shell... :)

  5. @Anonymous:
    Bearing in mind that English is not my mother tongue, I bet that my English is still much better than your Russian.
    Even if I don't have 100% correct Oxbridge spelling and Grammar, I am still 100% sure that I can get my thoughts through words into brains of people who want to listen. Those who don't want, they will not listen to myself even if my English would be checked and approved by Her Majesty.
    Sincerely yours,

  6. @MAS Geeks ERP AZ:
    Thanks for compliments!
    Let me settle a little bit with Unity, then I might give GNOME 3 a go.
    Bear with me... I can't get everything done at the same time. 8-)

  7. The joy of Linux is on going, as well as being able to look forward to experimenting on a regular basis always new things to try... :) I enjoy experimenting with Linux, but not just for playing, I run my business with it - my only regret is the ERP system I consult for doesn't run on Linux... :( Such is life...

  8. Mate your English is definitely good enough to get your intent across, I tend to ignore weak anonymous people, they have no strength of character. Anyway I shied away from Ubuntu 11.n because I couldn't get on with the new layout, guess it is improving now, though Mint is a temptation.
    Keep posting, we'll keep reading

  9. @Kitbag:
    Thank for support! Much needed.
    Neither Unity nor Mont menu are 100% good for me. But if there's a choice between those 2, then Unity looks better for me.

  10. @DarkDuck I don't speak neither English nor Russian but thank for posting , I had similar issue, 11.10 usb live persistent (sandisk 4gb) worked fine for the first time, once rebooted ended broken, forgot to mention, I installed it using unebooting too. General error filesystem mounting , blah blah blah ... I'm Spanish speaking and don't even speak correct in my own language, thank God for freedom, thank God for diversity of language, born in Cuba, migrated to New York in 2006 :)

  11. @habanany:
    I did not use Unetbootin, but rather Ubuntu self-service tool. But result is the same as I see here. 8-)
    Viva Cubana!

  12. To be able to open terminal from Nautilus install nautilus-open-terminal package from repo and log in again.

  13. @Anonymous:
    Thanks for advice!