Soma's Blog

May 5, 2011

Problems with Kubuntu 11.04 (and some fixes)

Filed under: Linux,Ubuntu — somanov @ 23:36

Kubuntu 11.04 has been out for a few days now and I could not resist the urge to give it a try on my Dell Latitude E6400. I have been a dedicated  Kubuntu user for many years and -with the exception of certain low points- I think the user experience has always been pretty solid. The newest release however has been somewhat ..complicated.. I ran into a few obstacles and would like to share:

Installation

I decided to install the 64bit Version of Kubuntu 11.04.  After booting into live mode and  playing around for a while I was ready to install. Alas, the installer bugged out every time I tried to run it. Turns out the installer is currently unable to install from  live mode. I had to reboot and choose the “Install now” option during boot.

Firefox + Flash

Having finally managed to install the system I went on to install some essential programs that are for some reason still missing from the default install (is there anyone out there who honestly prefers Rekonq to Firefox/Chrome ? ). Anyway Kubuntu luckily provides a foolproof installer for Firefox and the Adobe Flash Plugin (flashplugin-nonfree) can easily be installed from the package manager. Unfortunately the Flash version in the Ubuntu repo is currently a mess. Some video sites (like youtube) work fine, while others (like the Nostalgia Critic for example) are inexplicably broken. The videos flicker and stutter and are a pain to watch.  The only fix I found was to install a different version of Flash. Check out the instructions here which can easily be summarized as:  To fix Flash for Firefox 4.0.1 (64bit) do

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sevenmachines/flash
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install flashplugin64-installer

Crashes when resizing windows
Turns out installing the proprietary nvidia driver (nvidia-current) is currently a bad idea. The driver has a serious bug which causes the whole desktop to freeze / crash whenever a Konsole window is resized (in my particular case making the window smaller worked fine but making it larger predictably caused the whole computer to freeze). There is already a launchpad bugreport with a lengthy number of comments. Until this gets sorted out here are a few workarounds:

  • Use the noveau driver. The driver comes preinstalled and using it  is actually the default behavior. It works fine unless you regularly switch between 1-monitor and 2-monitor setups. In which case nvidia-settings is probably your best friend and you will want to use the nvidia driver.
  • Uninstall nvidia-current and use nvidia-173 instead. This seems to work but it comes with some slowdowns.
  • Turn off all Desktop Effects. Yes it takes away a lot of the pretty eye-candy.. but it also provides a simple, stable and fast solution for the problem.. at least until the issue with the nvidia driver gets sorted out.

Power Button – Freeze

Pressing the power button currently causes my laptop to freeze for about 20 seconds. Afterwards things start working again, but nothing else happens. Curiously, if I press the button again it suddenly works as expected and Kubuntu shows the logout menu. Again there is already a bugreport and this will hopefully be sorted out soon.

All bad?

All in all it took me quite some time to get a stable and usable version of Kubuntu 11.04. However now that everything is up and running I am pretty happy with the result. KDE4 has come a long way. There have been many big and small improvements over the last releases. Dolphin feels snappier than ever, the problems that have plagued the network manager in the past  have disappeared and I am actually starting to like Amarok again.  Yes there are still some bugs to squash and it currently takes some effort to get your install stable and usable. But these birthing pains are totally worth it. If you have not yet tried the newest version of Kubuntu. Go check it out now!

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9 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the link to my blog. =)

    Comment by Daniel Jonsson — May 6, 2011 @ 08:07 | Reply

  2. Pleasure. And thanks for the flash fix! The flickering was driving me crazy 🙂

    Comment by somanov — May 6, 2011 @ 08:11 | Reply

  3. Haven’t seen the desktop crash yet on 11.04 using nvidia current, not sure what that is.
    If you doing any gaming (I am) I would not recommend installing noveau or older stable nvidia drivers, nvidia-current is significantly faster than both. If I start seeing a crash I may have to just “don’t do that” as they say on Hee-Haw.

    Comment by metalninjadragon — May 22, 2011 @ 19:07 | Reply

  4. THANK YOU so much. i spent like two hours trying to figure out my flash.

    Comment by mark — June 1, 2011 @ 03:12 | Reply

  5. Thanks for this article. I had a problem with flash and for some reason going through normal instillation didn’t work (though I only spent a little time with it).
    Thanks again

    Comment by NetSlider — June 1, 2011 @ 06:37 | Reply

  6. [Anyway Kubuntu luckily provides a foolproof installer for Firefox and the Adobe Flash Plugin (flashplugin-nonfree) can easily be installed from the package manager.]
    Please tell me where is this package manager is? i m new to linux kubuntu, am unable to install firefox and flash. please help me out.
    Imran.
    myimran@yahoo.com

    Comment by Imran — June 19, 2011 @ 10:38 | Reply

    • Sure. The Package manager in Kubuntu is called “kpackagekit” . You can easily find it in the “Start Menu” (the K button in the bottom left corner of the screen) , or you can start it from the konsole by typing “kpackagekit”.

      As an alternative (and probably even easier) you could use apt-get, which is a commandline tool. Just open a konsole window and type
      “sudo apt-get install firefox flashplugin-nonfree” (without the quotes) then enter your password.

      cheers 🙂

      Comment by somanov — June 19, 2011 @ 15:21 | Reply

      • you can also install muon, it’s kde native and it works pretty well (its interface is similar to synaptic)

        Comment by epiktsu — July 3, 2011 @ 03:32

  7. hey thanks so much , I was searching to install flash player so much and this helped me a lot, any of you guys who didn’t find this working should do this ::
    1. type number 1
    2. type number 2
    3. type sudo apt-get install and press tab and then write the required flash
    player installer name

    Comment by Anup Deuja — December 26, 2011 @ 01:44 | Reply


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