Ubuntu "Dapper Drake" (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Sat, 04 Feb 2006

Ubuntu "Dapper Drake"

I've been meaning to upgrade my desktop machine from Ubuntu's "Hoary Hedgehog" release for some time -- most notably so that I can get the various packages needed to run GTK 2.8, which is now required to build the most current GIMP.

Although I'm having good success with "Breezy Badger", the stable Ubuntu successor to "Hoary", on my laptop, Breezy is already borderline as far as GIMP requirements, and that can only get worse. Since I do more development on the desktop, I figured it was worth trying one of the pre-released versions of Ubuntu's next release, "Dapper Drake".

Wins over hoary and breezy: it handles my multiple flash card reader automatically (on hoary and breezy I had to hack the udev configuration file to make it work).

I've had a few glitches, starting with the first auto-update wanting to install a bunch of packages that didn't actually exist on the server. This persisted for about a week, during which I got a list of 404s and "packages held back" warnings every time I updated or installed anything. It didn't seem to hurt anything -- just a minor irritant -- and it did eventually get fixed. That's life with an unstable distribution.

Dapper has the same problem that hoary and breezy have with hald polling the hard disk every few seconds (bug 27323). In addition, hald seems to spawn a rather large number of hald-addon-storage processes (probably to handle the built-in multi flash card reader). (Uncommenting the storage.automount_enabled_hint in /etc/hal/fdi/policy/preferences.fdi didn't help.) Killing hald (and nuking /usr/sbin/hald so it won't restart) solves both these problems, but it also stops hotplugged USB devices from working: apparently Dapper has switched to using hal instead of hotplug for USB. Ouch! In any case, hald came back on a dist-upgrade so it looks like I'll have to find a more creative solution.

The printing packages have problems. I tried to add my printer via the CUPS web interface, but apparently it didn't install any printer drivers by default, and it's not at all obvious where to get them. The drivers are there, in /usr/share/cups/model/gutenprint/5.0/en, but dapper's cups apparently isn't looking there. I eventually got around the problem by uncompressing the ppd file and pointing CUPS directly at /usr/share/cups/model/gutenprint/5.0/en/stp-escp2-c86.5.0.ppd. (Filed bug 30178.)

Dapper's ImageMagick has a bug in the composite command: basically, you can't combine two images at all. So I have to generate web page thumbnails on another machine until that's fixed.

gdm refuses to set up my user for auto-login, and I hit an interesting localization issue involving GIMP (I'll report on those issues separately).

Most other things work pretty well. Dapper has a decent set of multimedia apps and codecs, and its kernel and udev setup seem to work fine (it can't suspend my desktop machine, but neither can any other distro, and I don't really need that anyway). Except for the hald problem, Dapper looks like a very usable system.

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[ 18:27 Feb 04, 2006    More linux | permalink to this entry ]