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Ubuntu 8.04: Hardy Heron is Horrid Hardship

Problem

I'm upset.

Ubuntu 8.04 ("Hardy Heron") is broken. The video card doesn't work, sound doesn't work, software that used to work well got replaced by software that is broken. Stable software got replaced by beta software that isn't ready for show time yet. All in all, Ubuntu 8.04 should have been called Horrid Hardship.

Keywords

Ubuntu 8.04, Hardy Heron, nVidia, HDA Intel, xmms, audacious, firefox, horrid hardship.

Solution

The real solution is to hold off a few weeks on installing Ubuntu 8.04 until it's ready for general use.

If it's too late for that and you impatiently went ahead—like some other idiot, me—here are some problems you might run into.

nVidia video card doesn't work

sudo lspci -nn tells me that I have:
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: nVidia Corporation GeForce 8600 GTS [10de:0400] (rev a1)

It doesn't work in Ubuntu 8.04.

The machine boots, the screen goes blank three times, and X starts up with a 800x600 resolution. Changing the Driver to "nv" (rather than "nvidia") in /etc/X11/xorg.conf makes life a little better, but now TwinView doesn't work (I have two displays attached to my video card).

The only way to get this to work is to download a beta driver from the nvidia website. On April 23, 2008, that was version 173.08. Download the package, run it as root, but make sure you have the linux-headers package installed that corresponds to the kernel that you are running.

Why Ubuntu ships with a broken driver, I do not know.

sound doesn't work

I have an Intel HDA sound card. sudo lspci -nn tells me it's a
00:1b.0 Audio device [0403]: Intel Corporation 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller [8086:293e] (rev 02)

It doesn't work in Ubuntu 8.04.

After lots of false leads, it turned out to be simply a matter of:

sudo /etc/init.d/alsa-utils reset

...and people are still surprised about the Linux desktop not catching on.

xmms has been deprecated, but audacious doesn't work

Now that I can finally see something and hear something, it turns out that I can't stream music because xmms has been removed from Ubuntu 8.04 (here's why).

Unbelievable. I was too annoyed to read the whole reasoning behind it (if only because I can't deal when people don't know the difference between "it's" and "its"). Apparently one of the reasons to get rid of it is that it's ugly. I'm sure there are plenty of good reason to deprecate it, but, either way, I regret the fact that software I had been using without any problems for years is now gone.

Alright, fine, I'm told to use audacious; it's xmms' replacement, apparently. OK, I'll get with the program. But audacious doesn't work. If you install audacious-crossfade, audacious will exit with a segmentation fault. Apparently, Ubuntu ships with a segfaulting package.

Even after removing audacious-crossfade, however, audacious hangs with a "Buffer underrun, trying rebuffering" message when trying to stream music. This may or may not be a known issue. All this used to work in xmms. I'm disappointed that Ubuntu ships with a deeply broken player to replace a functional (albeit a bit clunky) one.

A possible solution here is to build xmms yourself from the Debian xmms source package; alternatively you can download and install the xmms package from an older version of Ubuntu or Debian. Same goes for xmms-crossfade.

Firefox 3 (beta) is the default browser, but it doesn't support plugins

Ubuntu 8.04 gives you Firefox 3 (beta) by default. The problem is that many plugins/add-ons don't work yet. You can't tell me to upgrade to a newer, supposedly better version of something and then expect me to accept a world in which I cannot do what I could do before.

I'm very excited about Firefox 3, I really am, but I'll wait until it's really done so I can use it without having to take a step back.

The solution is to remove the "firefox" package and install "firefox-2".

My machine gets hosed by something called trackerd

I noticed that my disk was seeking all the time; top pointed its finger at trackerd (which was also consuming about 20% CPU). I don't care how clever gnome thinks it is, the solution here is to aptitude purge tracker and its evil subsidiaries (tracker-utils, tracker-search-tool, and libdeskbar-tracker).

Conclusion

I suggest you wait a few weeks before upgrading to Ubuntu 8.04 until some of these issues have been ironed out.
URL: http://thomer.com/howtos/hardy_heron.html
Copyright © 1994-2011 by Thomer M. Gil
Updated: 2008/04/24