Have you upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10?

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If your someone who doesn’t always use Windows then chances are your a Linux user too. Linux with it’s many distrubutions and open source lovelyness has recently seen the popular distribution Ubuntu hit the 9.10 mark with it’s latest release called Karmic Koala! I’ve only been using Ubuntu since 9.04 and only for a few months but Im finding it really fun and a great alternative to Windows, especically when Windows is in one of those ‘doze’ moods and decides to do everything but the command you give it. Here’s my upgrade experience and my overall opinion on the new release

What new in Ubuntu 9.10

Glad you asked, here’s a short overview of the main new features in 9.10 Karmic Koala:

  • Ubuntu Software Center (Replaces Add/Remove)
  • Empathy (Replaces Pidgin as the main IM client)
  • New Linux kernel 2.6.31
  • Ubuntu 9.10 automatically installs under ext4 file system (ext2 and ext3 are still avaliable to choose however)
  • GRUB 2 Boot loader

Full change log can be found here

Upgrade Or Clean Install?

I actually did both so hopefully I can give a valid reason for both. First off my upgrade experience.

Upgrading from 9.04 to 9.10

For me the upgrade went without any hitches what so ever. I opened update manager and upgraded from there which went with no problems, I can’t help keep thinking though that I was extremely luckily however, as I forgot to disable my nVidia graphics card driver before the upgrade. Your probably thinking they only say that to cover there arses, but if you scan around the Ubuntu forums you’ll find a lot of people reporting problems with blinking screens or even unusable Ubuntu installations after the upgrade due to not disabling there third party drivers. So a tip if you are planning to upgrade, disable your third party drivers before the upgrade! Other than that lucky escape my upgrade went OK and I didn’t have to change anything.

Clean install

I encountered a few problems by doing a clean install. Fixes for these problems will be at the end of the clean install section as a lot of people have been asking similar questions on the Ubuntu Forums.

Because the 9.10 release mainly focuses on the boot, grub and general stability of Ubuntu I thought a clean install would be a better option to take advantage of the many new features in Ubuntu, the new GRUB loader as one reason. That may of been the case but it certainly wasn’t the quick and easy option. Like the upgrade the clean install installation process went fine but once I had booted into Ubuntu a few problems started to appear. The first problem I noticed was the internet. It was at a very slow crawl speed. Not to brag but I have 10 MB broadband and therefore the internet speed I was getting in Ubuntu was frankly pathetic. When I was visiting sites like Google it was taking at least 5 seconds to resolve the host name before loading anything, this suggested it was something to do with the DNS. I was on wireless connection (as you are with laptops) so I got my spare ethernet cable out to see if a direct connection was any better but it wasn’t. Second problem I had was when I shutdown Ubuntu through the GUI (i.e. the graphical interface) my laptop would hang after going through it’s halt sequence. It would essentially be mindless zombie machine, the hard drive had powered off as I could hear it turn off but the fan would be still going while the screen was completly off. To make sure it wasn’t just a really long shut down I decided to leave my laptop in it’s state for about 20 minutes but it was still hanging there after leaving it which was the point when I had to physically hold down the power button to get it to turn off. Finally I noticed that when I tried to install certain packages through terminal, often the connection would timeout and not be able to resolve the address to get the packages, at first I thought this was bad luck and that the servers that were hosting the packages were done, but I queried one of the package lists on another computer and found that it was not the case. This was more related to my first problem which I mentioned earlier.

Problem 1 & 3: Fixing slow internet in Ubuntu

If you know a bit about protocols then your probably aware of the ipv6 protocol the next generation of the IP protocol. This little protocol seems to cause havoc with many Ubuntu installations and is commonly the reason to why all of a sudden your internet speed drops to something like 100 kb per second and if you like be and can average 1.1 MB per second you notice the change pretty quickly. Anyway here’s a fix that helped me:

Open a Mozilla firefox browser window and type this in the address bar:

about:config

A warning will most likely come up saying that you are about to modify advanced settings. After chuckling at the “Here be dragons” (Well I did) click the ‘I’ll be careful, I promise!’ button to view mozillas preferences. In the filter bar put:

network.dns.disableIPv6

You will want to disable the IPv6 DNS so set the value to true.

Once you have done that close Mozilla Firefox and then reopen a browser a window. Your internet should be fast again! This also solved my problems with connection time outs and slow connections to servers when attempting to download packages through terminal which was my third problem.

Problem 2: Fixing the hanging shut downs.

Strangely enough the shut down issue only occurred when I shut down Ubuntu using the GUI. When using this command in terminal however the system shut down with no problems:

sudo shutdown -h now

Anyway to finally get my laptop to completly shut down itself. I had to edit my half script and add a certain line, follow these steps to edit your half script.

Open up a terminal window and type the following command:

sudo gedit /etc/init.d/halt

The editor will bring up your computers halt (Shutdown) script. If your not sure what it looks like, it should be like this:

#! /bin/sh
### BEGIN INIT INFO
# Provides: halt
# Required-Start:
# Required-Stop:
# Default-Start:
# Default-Stop: 0
# Short-Description: Execute the halt command.
# Description:
### END INIT INFO

NETDOWN=yes

PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin
[ -f /etc/default/halt ] && . /etc/default/halt

. /lib/lsb/init-functions

do_stop () {
if [ "$INIT_HALT" = "" ]
then
case "$HALT" in
[Pp]*)
INIT_HALT=POWEROFF
;;
[Hh]*)
INIT_HALT=HALT
;;
*)
INIT_HALT=POWEROFF
;;
esac
fi

# See if we need to cut the power.
if [ "$INIT_HALT" = "POWEROFF" ] && [ -x /etc/init.d/ups-monitor ]
then
/etc/init.d/ups-monitor poweroff
fi

# Don't shut down drives if we're using RAID.
hddown="-h"
if grep -qs '^md.*active' /proc/mdstat
then
hddown=""
fi

# If INIT_HALT=HALT don't poweroff.
poweroff="-p"
if [ "$INIT_HALT" = "HALT" ]
then
poweroff=""
fi

# Make it possible to not shut down network interfaces,
# needed to use wake-on-lan
netdown="-i"
if [ "$NETDOWN" = "no" ]; then
netdown=""
fi

log_action_msg "Will now halt"
halt -d -f $netdown $poweroff $hddown
}

case "$1" in
start)
# No-op
;;
restart|reload|force-reload)
echo "Error: argument '$1' not supported" >&2
exit 3
;;
stop)
do_stop
;;
*)
echo "Usage: $0 start|stop" >&2
exit 3
;;
esac

:

You will need to add this line:

rmmod snd-hda-intel

Above the NETDOWN line so your halt script should be:

#! /bin/sh
### BEGIN INIT INFO
# Provides: halt
# Required-Start:
# Required-Stop:
# Default-Start:
# Default-Stop: 0
# Short-Description: Execute the halt command.
# Description:
### END INIT INFO

rmmod snd-hda-intel
NETDOWN=yes

PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin
[ -f /etc/default/halt ] && . /etc/default/halt

. /lib/lsb/init-functions

do_stop () {
if [ "$INIT_HALT" = "" ]
then
case "$HALT" in
[Pp]*)
INIT_HALT=POWEROFF
;;
[Hh]*)
INIT_HALT=HALT
;;
*)
INIT_HALT=POWEROFF
;;
esac
fi

# See if we need to cut the power.
if [ "$INIT_HALT" = "POWEROFF" ] && [ -x /etc/init.d/ups-monitor ]
then
/etc/init.d/ups-monitor poweroff
fi

# Don't shut down drives if we're using RAID.
hddown="-h"
if grep -qs '^md.*active' /proc/mdstat
then
hddown=""
fi

# If INIT_HALT=HALT don't poweroff.
poweroff="-p"
if [ "$INIT_HALT" = "HALT" ]
then
poweroff=""
fi

# Make it possible to not shut down network interfaces,
# needed to use wake-on-lan
netdown="-i"
if [ "$NETDOWN" = "no" ]; then
netdown=""
fi

log_action_msg "Will now halt"
halt -d -f $netdown $poweroff $hddown
}

case "$1" in
start)
# No-op
;;
restart|reload|force-reload)
echo "Error: argument '$1' not supported" >&2
exit 3
;;
stop)
do_stop
;;
*)
echo "Usage: $0 start|stop" >&2
exit 3
;;
esac

:

After making that change save the file and reboot your machine. Then proceed to shutting down Ubnutu. It now should work and fully power down without any human intervention.

I’ve probably put you off the clean install method, but really everyone’s computers different so you very well may not have any of the problems I mentioned.

Is it worth upgrading?

If your on 9.04 and happy with your 9.04 installation then you might want to hold off upgrading for a bit. You may benefit from reading the known issues list. I dare say I jumped the gun a bit and upgraded because it’s the latest release, which really you shouldn’t do, but I did and paid the price, but if your using Ubuntu in a dual boot configuration and class it as a alternative to Windows then I can’t see why you shouldn’t upgrade. You’ll find that alot of the naggy type bugs such as the broken hibernate and suspend functions are now fixed and laptops especially can wake up must faster from being suspended or being in hibernation. The new ubuntu software centre is also quite a good new feature. I say new but it simply replaces the add/remove programs present in 9.04 and below, but it’s more user friendly and easier to use. Really though it’s up to you, if the change log tempts you then why not go for it, take the plunge into Ubuntu 9.10!

Remember though, you CAN NOT downgrade any upgrade installation. The only way to essentially downgrade is by formatting and installing a older release. So if you take the plunge do it with caution and always ALWAYS back up any data.

Share This:

  • Abraham

    This is my first install of a Linux OS – I really like it, cool interface . Now I just have to learn how to use the terminal/applications.

  • Antoine

    Hi James and thank you for you’re article.

    I have the same problem, after installing Ubuntu 9.10 (clean install) my laptop won’t shutdown in a clean way.

    I use your tweak and it did work better but still don’t shutdown (black screen, fan turning forever).

    How did you determine it was the snd-hda-intel driver that was not exiting cleanly ?

    Thank you in advance,

    Best regards,

    Antoine

  • It was determined by someone on Ubuntu Forums. I had created a thread there and turns out a lot of people have had shut down problems, you can visit this link:

    Ubuntu Forums post

    To see the discussion about it

  • Peter Aerts

    This solution doesn’t work. And neither do the other solutions i found in supportgroups.
    Been using Ubuntu with no problems since Hardy. But Karmic is an absolute trainwreck with many many bugs.

    • What solution are you refering to Peter?

  • DG

    Same shutdown problem..I’ve tried the solution you and many other suggest but doesn’t work!!

  • b0r15

    Yeah, the shutdown issue sux. I have tried a patch and many fixes to no avail . One thing to note, if you hit control-alt-delete when it hangs Ubuntu should reboot then you can shutdown before you login to Ubuntu or Windows on boot up(sux to wait through a whole reboot, but better then crashing your system).

    Pretty sure the shutdown issue is a grub issue not an Ubuntu issue

  • colin walker

    Thank you for solving my firefox connection problem after upgrading to 9.10

    The ipv6 was the problem. I searched the internet for hours before finding your simple explanation.

  • Pingback: Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala in Eee PC 1101HA | Neo22s()

  • Hey James! Its been a while!

    I didn’t know you used Ubuntu. I love it. I personally didn’t run into any issues, but this last release did seem sort of a disaster as far as stability. I think they usually try to cram too much in the release before an LTS.

    Good luck, and keep up the blog! Its pretty good.

  • Hey, already been reading your blog page for a long period. I manage a related blog site but I always keep receiving tons of spam remarks, how can you maintain your blog page so clean?

  • The information you shared in the post is very informative for me. I am glad I visited here and come to know about it. I have gathered a huge knowledge being here.

  • The information you shared in the post is very informative for me. I am glad I visited here and come to know about it. I have gathered a huge knowledge being here.