adventures in life, music & technology

Quantal Upgrades Mostly Painless. Mostly.

Ubuntu 12.10, codenamed Quantal Quetzal, was released October 18th. I upgraded my netbook over the internet and my wife’s netbook via a bootable USB flash drive made with Ubuntu’s Startup Disk Creator. Both methods were relatively painless and required the expected post upgrade maintenance of re-enabling third party software repositories.

There were of course some minor and major annoyances as well.

My shutdown menu icon went missing and was replaced by a tiny square with the international ‘No’ symbol. I started searching the internet for solutions, and realized that I might just try changing my desktop theme before spending a lot of time hunting for answers online. Selecting another theme and reverting to the previous selection restored the missing power button icon to the menu. It was a slightly different graphic than the prior image. The new button is stylized with a cog, but as a fan of EBM and industrial music, I can appreciate that aesthetic.

Gwibber and Empathy, which I had previously uninstalled because I prefer different programs for instant messaging and twitter, wound up getting reinstalled by the upgrade.  My preferred applications are choqok and Pidgin. Pidgin had messaging menu integration on Ubuntu 12.04, Precise Pangolin, but that currently seems to have vanished. Removing Gwibber and Empathy left messaging menu AWOL until the first run of Xchat. Skype apparently lost its messaging menu integration as well. Skype-wrapper fixed it after launching Skype and logging out and back in again. I was traipsing around in the dconf-editor and found an entry for items to display on the messaging menu. (It’s undercom.canonical.indicator.messages if you go looking for it.) I replaced 'empathy.desktop' with 'pidgin.desktop' and Pidgin was available in the messaging menu on the next login. It does not have status integration like it did in Ubuntu 12.04, but at least I can launch it easily without having to lock it to the launcher.

The annoying Compiz Fading Windows plugin was re-enabled on both netbooks, so I disabled it again. The grub bootloader on my wife’s netbook started showing a menu instead of a splash screen. The line GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0 had been changed to #GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0 in /etc/default/grub making it into a comment instead of a configuration option. Removing the # and running $ sudo update-grub fixed it.

My wife’s netbook also lost the ability to play Amazon Prime instant video. A visit to the Adobe Flash test page indicated that her Flash plugin was working. Thankfully Adobe has a good page covering problems playing protected content in Linux. The following commands and a reload of Firefox got it working again.

$ sudo apt-get install hal
$ cd ~/.adobe/Flash_Player
$ rm -rf NativeCache AssetCache APSPrivateData2

So far my largest annoyance is that the toggle shade window by double-clicking the titlebar setting that I had configured is broken. I have been using the shade window feature since discovering it years ago, probably on one of the lesser known window managers on a BSD system, and when I double-click the titlebar I expect the window to roll up out of my way, not maximize. It turns out that GnomeTweakTool has a setting that restored this for me on my netbook which is running Unity. I haven’t tried it on my LXDE system yet.

Finally I leave you with an observation rather than an annoyance. One of the new additions to Ubuntu, webapps, seems pointless and redundant, although I have it installed for now. The package description promises extra functionality, but so far they have delivered nothing that a browser bookmark didn’t already provide besides adding an extra icon to my launcher when I visit a web site that has a webapp installed.

I did one more upgrade to Quantal on an older laptop which had enough errata to merit its own post. I will link to it from here once it is documented.