as of the date this was written
Now that I’ve had a day to work with Intrepid other than to figure out what some bugs are, I kind of like it. There are a few things I need to track down but on the whole it’s working pretty well, although truth be told I think they rolled out the Release Candidate a little early. Supposedly a Release Candidate is supposedly saying “We’ve taken care of all of the really big bugs and while there may be a few things that we may need to fix we’re confident that the program is ready to rock for users of all sill levels.” That is unless they want to take a page from Mozilla’s playbook and label some bugs as WONTFIX until after the new version is officially released.
I did promise you more info on a couple of things that I needed to fix, so let’s look at that those. The biggest, most glaring bug is the fact that they included X.Org 7.4, the newest stable version of the open source implementation of the X Window System. The only problem is that there’s a known issue in that the proprietary legacy video drivers from Nvidia are simply not compatible with X.Org 7.4. What this means in English is that you will lose your 3D acceleration as well as any eye candy that depends on it, like Compiz-Fusion. This isn’t a problem that users, or Ubuntu devs themselves, can fix. Nvidia has to write new drivers for it, and I’m assured that they know about the issue and are supposedly on the case. The problem really occurs for those using older video cards, and we’re at the unfortunate point where we may end up having to upgrade our video cards before too long. I just hope I can find a decent PCI video card since my old comp doesn’t support AGP or PCI-Express. And before anyone says I need a newer computer I’ll as you this Are you going to buy it for me? I’m disabled and a new computer isn’t anywhere near my budget, even with avoiding the Microsoft tax.
So we’re S.O.L.* for Desktop Effects or AWN if we need the Nvidia Legacy drivers?
Not entirely. While I can’t enable even Normal Desktop Effects I did find a way to run Avant Window Navigator (AWN) even without 3D acceleration. While I was doing some hunting yesterday I came across a program called xcompmgr that can handle the compositing that AWN requires even if your video drivers can’t handle 3D acceleration. It not only gives the compositing that AWN requires it also let me use my Google Gadgets Sidebar again without a box around my undocked WeatherBug Sidebar Gadget. The ArchLinux wiki has some nice info on it, and all you need to do is to simply install it with
sudo apt-get install xcompmgr
Then simply run it from your Terminal (or Alt-F2). You can even add it to your Startup Programs under System > Preferences > Sessions, although I recommend that rather just using xcompmgr to launch it you use
xcompmgr -c -C
which, according to the xcompmgr parameters, will avoid drawing shadows on dock/panel windows and put fuzzy shadows on everything else. There is gcompmgr, a GNOME GUI that lets you set the xcompmgr parameters without the command line. Unfortunately you won’t want to use the download from SourceForge since it’s an RPM file for Red Hat Linux rather than a DEB package or source code. Instead use the link in this post. That will give you a .tar.gz file that when extracted will give you a DEB that can be installed.
Why do I get a search window when I click on a folder on my Places menu?
This bugged the living hell out of me. It’s almost like Nautilus, the default file manager for GNOME wasn’t installed anymore, but it turns out the explanation is easy and the fix is pretty easy, too. It seems the issue is that something’s getting installed after Nautilus and is hijacking the file association. The first thing I saw was a case of F-spot getting launched when you tried to access a mounted partition via the Places menu. But the longer I looked the more relevant bugs I discovered. I ended up finding Bug #260492 – Opening a directory using an application change associations incorrectly. It has also been reported upstream so that the GNOME devs and it looks like they’ve fixed it so it may just have to make it’s way into Ubuntu. Until it does the issue is easily resolved by following jojo’s instructions:
Right click -> Open with -> custom command -> nautilus
repeat for all folders
now should open folders from Places in Nautilus
You shouldn’t have to repeat it for all folders, but I was able to launch mounted partitions and bookmarks from the Places menu and have it open in the right app after changing the Open With preference only once. You can also select File Browser from the list of applications in the top part of that window and it will open your folders, etc. in Nautilus. If you have the PCMan File Manager installed and want to use Nautilus do not select Open Folder. This will open your partition/bookmark in PCMan.
Dude, what happened to my PDA?
The other rather major glitch I discovered is that something happened to my ability to sync my PDA. It turns out that the current version of gnome-pilot is borked thanks to some changes in HAL (Launchpad bug – upstream bug). For now the workaround is to kill HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) with
sudo /etc/init.d/hal stop
and then restart the gpiloted daemon on the panel. Big thanks to froghopper for providing the diagnosis and workaround. Hopefully we’ll have this resolved before Intrepid is officially released in four days.
What else is new in Intrepid?
As I mentioned before, Nautilus now supports tabbed browsing like web browsers do. Ctrl-T opens a new tab, and you can drag files between tabs for copying and moving. Unfortunately there’s no option to always show the tab bar that I’m able to see, and if you have one window with tabs and one window without tabs it seems that closing the window without tabs will close a tab in the other window, but I haven’t taken the time to confirm this behavior.
An evolution in Evolution
In addition there are some pretty apparent changes in Evolution 2.24.1 (Novell’s Evolution page). The first is in the way the statusbar shows the progress as you check you various email accounts and RSS/ATOM subscriptions. It used to be that if you had a ton of RSS feeds (like I do) the statusbar would get filled with individual status notifications. Now they combine all of the RSS/ATOM statuses into a single notification.
That’s much easier to deal with! Unfortunately they also changed the dialog for marking messages read when you’re doing it on a folder with subfolders. It used to be just a button to mark just the current folder read and a button to mark the current folder and subfolders read. If you wanted to cancel the operation completely you just closed out the dialog completely. My one complaint about the new dialog is that I’m used to the current and subfolders button used to be on the right rather on the left and I have to learn to select the middle button. It’s a minor thing, but it’s still annoying to me. Plus it seems I may have to recreate my Search Folders because the folders I created for unread messages and messages to blog now show zarro messages even though there are in fact messages in each folder.
The Beeb in Totem
One of the things I saw in the Intrepid Intro that I looked forward to is the Totem BBC Plugin. To use it just fire up Totem, then go to Edit > Plugins and make sure it’s enabled. Then go to the Playlist dropdown and select BBC. What you’ll get once the playlist is downloaded and parsed is a rather Jabba-sized selection of media from the BBC that you can enjoy, broken down into eight groups. Unfortunately it doesn’t include some of the live streaming feeds that I can enjoy in the Radio Screenlet, but it could be a great way to enjoy some of your favorite Beeb programs like All Things Considered.
But wait, there’s more!
Ubuntu Intrepid also brings us the ability to start a Guest Session for those times when you need to let a bud borrow your comp to check their email without the hassle of having to create a new user (the new Guest Session doesn’t allow any changes or even saving files to the system), Dell’s DKMS that will automatically build new kernels allowing the devs to roll out new kernels even faster to fix kernel bugs, as well as updates to Sun’s Java OpenJDK, ClamAV, SpamAssasin and Apache’s Tomcat. You can check out all of the new goodies in Intrepid at the Introduction to Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex.
Just remember, until it’s officially released on Thursday what is available is a Release Candidate and is still a testing version. There are still some things to get fixed, and hopefully they’ll get fixed in the next 4 days. But other than the issues I mention at the top of this post I definitely recommend Intrepid, even though in all honesty it’s going to be more like the upgrade to Gutsy than the relatively painless upgrade to Hardy.
Woops! I forgot to include a screenie of my desktop after I tweaked things and got AWN working again.
*S.O.L. – “Sorry, Out of Luck”, or as my stepdad would put it “Shjt Out of Luck”