Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Everybody posts about applications to install after upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. That's interesting, and some applications in those posts are quite useful. But those are just lists of applications like any other "Top 10 Ubuntu applications" list.

I'm not saying they are not interesting, I'll even post some links to such posts from other blogs (look at the bottom of the post) I really liked, but to get there, you must firstly fix everything that's not working for you, tweak some things and so on.

1. You basically can't do anything without an Internet connection. While it might work right out of the box for some, I always had trouble making it work after an upgrade to the latest Ubuntu version. That's mainly because the Network Manager is very buggy. To get the Internet connection working (either if you have a static or dynamic IP (DHCP)), see this post: How To Manually Set Up Your Wired Internet Connection in K / Ubuntu without Network-Manager

2. While tweaking, Ubuntu might freeze. Hitting the reset button it's not the best way to get it up and running again. The Ctrl + Alt + Backspace behavior has been changed and it no longer restarts the X-server. To fix this for Ubuntu Karmic Koala, go to System -> Preferences -> Keyboard settings, then to the Layouts tab and under Keyboard settings, click the "Key sequence to kill the X server" option to expand it, then check "Control + Alt + Backspace" to set it.

3. If you installed (not upgraded) Ubuntu Karmic Koala, there should be lots of updates available. The Update Manager behavior has been changed ever since Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope:

Ubuntu 9.04 introduces a change to the handling of package updates, launching update-manager directly instead of displaying a notification icon in the GNOME panel. Users will still be notified of security updates on a daily basis, but for updates that are not security-related, users will only be prompted once a week.

To fix the Update Manager behavior, open a terminal and paste this:
gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch false

4. The log-in sound in Ubuntu in general is quite disturbing and it doesn't turn off, even if you disable sounds. But you can disable it using the following command:
sudo -u gdm gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/sound/event_sounds --type bool false

5. Gnome 2.28 comes with no icons in menus and buttons, so this is also the case for Karmic Koala. To enable these icons, run the following two commands in a terminal:
gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/buttons_have_icons --type bool true
gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons --type bool true

Then go to System -> Preferences -> Appearance and under the Interface tab, check the "Show icons in menus" box.

6. If you need to tweak some settings regarding you graphics card / display, you will notice that xorg.conf does not exist anymore. Also, saving the changes made through Nvidia Settings fails to create an xorg.conf file / modify it. To fix this, open Nvidia Settings, then delete xorg.conf if you already created it. Then click "Save to xorg.conf" and manually enter the path to /etc/X11/xorg.conf - this will create a new xorg.conf file and Nvidia Settings will be able to save any changes you make.

7. If you are experiencing a popping sound (like me) every once in a while and have and Intel sound card, then this might fix it. Press Alt + F2 and paste this:
gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf 

And comment (add a "#" in front of it) the last line called "options snd-hda-intel power_save=10". Basically, this is how the line should look after editing it:
#options snd-hda-intel power_save=10

8. If you use Firefox (3.5), you will most probably be experiencing some really bad scrolling issues. At least, that's the case for me. First of all, you should try Swiftfox which is an optimized Firefox build. If that doesn't fix it (it didn't for me), try Firefox 3.6 (currently beta). The scrolling works perfect and it's much faster. To install Firefox 3.6 beta in Ubuntu Karmic Koala:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox-3.6

Don't worry, all your extensions will still work with Firefox 3.6, here's what to do: Open Firefox and type about:config in the address bar. Then click the button promising to be careful. Right-click anywhere on the screen, choose: New -> Bolean and name this bolean:

Press OK. Then set it to false and press OK again. Now right-click again anywhere choose New -> Boolean and make the name of this one:

and set the value of that one to false.

9. This isn't something annoying for most people (or crucial for that matter): Make the Super Key bring down the applications menu. The Super Key behavior was changed in Ubuntu Karmic Koala and now it must be used in combination with another key. This is not bad, but for people how got used to using the Super Key to bring down the Applications menu, it can be quite annoying. To change it, there is only one way of doing it. Open a terminal and paste this:
gconftool-2 --set /apps/metacity/global_keybindings/panel_main_menu --type string "Super_L"

More info about this.


10. In Ubuntu Karmic Koala, the notify-osd notifications allow a lot of space for the volume control/brightness semi-notifications; this is rather jarring when the volume/brightness isn't being adjusted, unlike in Jaunty where application notifications default to above the volume/brightness. Basically, if a notification other than the volume control/brightness is being displayed, it won't show up in the top right corner of the screen, but a lot lower, which for some might look like a bug and / or out of place. To fix it, download the .deb packages for notify-osd from this PPA (or add the PPA). Direct download:

notify-osd_0.9.24-0ubuntu2~gilir1_i386.deb – 32 bit
notify-osd_0.9.24-0ubuntu2~gilir1_amd64.deb – 64 bit

Thanks to Ryan (via mahboy) for this tip.

11. Fix Mouse Clicks Not Working in Flash and Ubuntu - because this contains multiple solutions and the post is huge, you'll have to head over to that post to see the fixes.

This post isn't finished and the fixes aren't something big. But little things like this make a huge difference for some Ubuntu enthusiasts like me (or us). I'm still discovering Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala and will update this post with some other fixes. Unfortunately, I cannot post how to fix the sound, WiFi and such, because most of those issues are specific to each computer hardware. But the Ubuntu Forums users will most likely provide fixes for these issues.

Like I told you in the beginning of the post, here are my favourite lists of things to do after installing Ubuntu Karmic Koala (from other blogs):