Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope - Updates


Updated: May 16, 2009

This article is dedicated to updates, changes and highlights introduced in Ubuntu 9.04 in the official release, compared to the Beta testing version. For the complete review, you are welcome to read the original article. Most of the findings still fully apply. Furthermore, this section also covers additional topics requested by the users. The article is dynamic and will be periodically updated.

Teaser

Issues seen in Beta

Main topics of concern raised in my original article are listed below, in no particular order. The list is entirely subjective and limited to the subset of checks I performed. Some of the issues are more serious, others are completely trivial. See further below for Updates, news & new tips.

No Wireless drivers for T61 laptop (done):

Update, September 2009: I have discovered a terribly weird bug with my T61 laptop hardware, which causes intermittent loss of Wireless connectivity in very special occasions, like Linux live CD, but not when docked or installed. Anyhow, I have since solved the problem. The root cause was entirely unrelated to any Linux distro tested.

You can read more on this in my Wireless saga article.

Issue solved.

I could not use the Wireless network on my T61 laptop. Most Linux distributions had or have a problem with the particular device on this machine. No change so far.

Missing hardware drivers (done):

Update, September 2009: There will be no proprietary drivers for my ancient ATI card, it seems. However, the restricted drivers for more modern hardware have since been added to the repositories. Therefore this issue is solved.

You can disregard text below until next section heading ...

When I tested the Beta version, there were no graphic drivers available for either the ATI card on T42 or Nvidia card on T61 in the official Ubuntu repositories.

As of May 16, (proprietary) hardware drivers are still unavailable for my oldish ATI card in T42 from the Ubuntu repositories. If you cannot wait for the official release, you can manually install the drivers from the vendors' site or, better yet, use Envy (see below).

No drivers

Missing Compiz Settings Manager (done):

Another thing that stood out graphics wise is that the Compiz was unavailable, as well as its Settings Manager. This is no longer an issue, as the official repositories now offer the needed packages. So we can mark this one as solved.

Compiz

Installation problem with Nautilus respawning (done):

This is a pure Beta-only bug. It has been resolved even before the official release, so this issue can be marked as solved. The official live CD desktop boots fine, without any problems:

Live desktop

Totem fails finding suitable plugin for MP3 files (done):

This is a minor issue, because the gstreamer codecs can still be installed using the Add/Remove Applications utility. You may want to refer to the original article and this tutorial for more details on the subject.

The official release solves the problem:

Plugins update

Google Earth libcrypto error (done):

The current version of Google Earth used to ship with a "bad" version of a certain library it requires to work. The workaround for this issue was to rename the libcrypto module located in the Google Earth installation path directory and create a symbolic link to the libcrypto module used by the system. This is no longer necessary! The latest version of Google Earth solves the problem:

Google Earth

Updates, news & new tips

Following numerous from my readers, I have decided to expand this article beyond the immediate follows up on bugs and fixes between the Beta and the official releases. Many of you have asked for more information on boot performance, additional repositories and proprietary software and graphics card compatibility. Well, to answer some of your requests:

Improved boot times:

You may want to read about significantly improved boot times in Jaunty compare to its predecessor. You can read about it in an aptly named article:

Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope slices boot times in half!

Boot time

Additional software repositories:

By default, Ubuntu ships only with free, non-proprietary software. This means that you will have to take a few extra steps to obtain third-party closed source programs. While you can go about the Internet manually downloading software from vendors' sites, there's an easier approach:

Medibuntu repository

Medibuntu is a repository of packages that cannot be shipped with Ubuntu for legal reasons. These packages include stuff like DVD codecs, Acrobat Reader, Skype, and other software. Enabling the Medibuntu repository will grant you access to third-party software, including updates, which makes the use of this software source a highly useful alternative to manual installs.

Sources

For example, after you enable Medibuntu, you can install Skype using apt-get:

Medibuntu

Use Envy to install graphics card drivers:

I have mentioned Envy on several occasions. Envy is a powerful, robust application for Debian-based distributions specifically used to manage the installations of graphics card drivers.

If you do not know how to manually install the drivers using software downloaded directly from vendors' sites (Nvidia, ATI) or do not wish to use the drivers maintained in the Ubuntu repositories, then you will definitely want to use Envy to do all the hard job for you.

Envy will automatically detect you graphics card, remove any previous installations and leftovers, automatically download the required packages, including solving dependencies, install the driver, and configure the desktop (X server) for you.

Envy comes in two flavors: Envy and EnvyNG. EnvyNG is only compatible with Ubuntu from version 8.04 and higher, however it offers a much better integration. Furthermore, the legacy version of Envy requires that you remove the graphics card driver installed with it before upgrading to the new version of your distribution. This is not necessary with EnvyNG.

Envy logo

Furthermore, Envy can be run from the command line or using GUI. The software is included in the Ubuntu repository, therefore installing it is a very simple matter. To get EnvyNG with GUI, simply run sudo apt-get install envyng-qt. And then you simply run and use it:

Envy working

For more details about the usage modes, you may want to read the official Q&A.

Manually add latest graphics drivers repositories:

Another method of obtaining the drivers is by manually adding graphics-related updates repository to your software sources. To this end, you will have to include the PPA sources to your list.

While these packages are not officially supported by Ubuntu, there should be no problems. However, it is entirely up to you to make the right call in the tradeoff between functionality and stability. If you do not prefer to wait for an official release and make do with generic drivers in the meanwhile, the you may want to consider this method for obtaining the graphics drivers. I'd like to thank Arup for pointing this one out!

Conclusion

As you can see, all of the problems I've encountered have been solved. The official Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope is a sturdy, well done distro, with lots of great things.

If there are still some issues left, Medibuntu and Envy seem like excellent options for working around them. Lastly, I'd like to thank you for your feedback. Stay tuned for future updates if and when they happen.

Cheers.

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