I still love Ubuntu, but it’s hard to find much to enthuse about in the latest release, 9.04 also known as Jaunty Jackalope. As this post observes, most of the changes are under the hood, so users will not notice much difference from the previous release, Intrepid Ibex or 8.10. Well, there’s faster start-up, and Open Office 3.0 – but then again, I installed Open Office 3.0 as soon as Intrepid came out, so this is not really exciting.
My own upgrade went better than the last one, but I’ve still had problems. Specifically:
- I had to edit Grub’s menu.lst manually after the upgrade. I always have to do this, since it detects the hard drive configuration incorrectly.
- My Adobe AIR installation was broken and had to be re-installed
- I’ve lost hardware graphics acceleration and desktop effects. This is a laptop with embedded Intel graphics; apparently this is a common problem and Intel graphics support in Jaunty is work in progress. See here for more details an experimental suggested fix, which is not for the faint-hearted.
There are other updates, of course, and I was glad to see Mono 2.0.1 and MonoDevelop 2.0 available in the repository, for .NET development on Linux. If Jaunty is the same as before, but faster and more stable, that is no bad thing, though the shaky Intel graphics support undermines that argument.
My question: why is Canonical persevering with its policy of supposedly major releases every six months? This looks to me like a minor update; would it not be better presented as updates to 8.10, and focusing efforts on 9.10 in October? Six-monthly releases must be a heavy burden for the team.
I don’t mean to put you off Ubuntu. It is well worth trying either as a companion or alternative to Windows and Mac.
I have fixed my desktop effects. How? First, a little more about the problem. DRI (Direct Rendering Infrastructure) was not enabled. My graphics card (from lspci –nn | grep VGA) is:
Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:27a2] (rev 03)
The problem I had before was reported in Xorg.0.log as:
Xorg.0.log:(EE) intel(0): [dri] DRIScreenInit failed. Disabling DRI.
I also noticed that /dev/dri/card0 did not exist on my system.
Well, I tried the technique described here. That is, I booted into an older version of the kernel; the oldest available on my system being 18.104.22.168. DRI magically started working. Then I rebooted into the latest version of the kernel, 22.214.171.124. DRI still works. So I am sorted. I’d be interested to know why this works.