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Things that used to work in Ubuntu Intrepid but broke in Karmic

After a clean install of Ubuntu Karmic on my plain vanilla Dell Vostro 1400 laptop, I found that (as usual) a lot of stuff that used to work fine in Jaunty has broken in Karmic:

  1. My Broadcom wireless card is completely unrecognized. Hardy was polite enough to recognize it but let me know that there were no drivers. Intrepid recognized it and automatically installed the right drivers. So did Jaunty. Karmic, however, just plain old doesn’t see it. Not even in lspci.
  2. Resume from Hibernate hard crashes about half the time.
  3. The Firefox spell check dictionary defaults to en_AU instead of en_US. This is great if you live in Australia, but I happen to be from California.
  4. The famous IPv6 issues. DNS lookups take forever unless I specify a DNS server to use. With all of my traveling, the last thing I want to be doing is setting the DNS server for every single new wireless connection I encounter.
  5. I use a script to turn off my laptop’s screen when I want to save power (say if I’m playing music for a group at a hostel). I’ve mapped a short but handy script that uses xset to turn the screen off. It used to work like a dream in previous versions of Ubuntu. Now the screen turns off, but turns back on after a few seconds.
  6. My Intel GM965 (heinously borked in Jaunty, see this lovely section in the Jaunty release notes) now works at least, but with horrible slowness. Key presses and mouse clicks register slowly, there’s tearing when scrolling in any application, and things are generally dog slow. And I’m not the only one with this problem.

Come on, Canonical. How do you expect to be taken seriously when the OS you release next to Windows 7 has so many shamefully amateur problems? I can guarantee you that Windows 7 can at least resume from fucking hibernate and perform a fucking DNS request.

The thing that really pisses me off is that for a lot of these issues, we won’t be seeing a fix for another 6 months. That’s the pain of the fast release cycle: no time to do QA, so beta-quality software gets shipped. But no time to fix the problems, because to make the next release by the deadline, they have to start work yesterday.

Year of the Linux desktop? I’m not holding my breath.


  1. Alex Cabal

    That’s probably the best way I’ve heard Linux described: solving a jigsaw puzzle that you didn’t ask for. I feel like that very often when using Ubuntu. But will things ever get better if they’re struggling with compatibility for 3 year old laptops when there’s brand new hardware coming out every day?

  2. Stephen

    I was almost out of time before, but now I’m done. I tried a few more things but couldn’t get wireless to work. To add to the debacle, network manager, I discovered, was wiping the resolv.conf file every time I switched to wired. That meant I had to continually re-add nameserver entries to resolv.conf to get Internet connectivity! I think it’s a little too polite to call that a bug (and I believe it has been reported as one).

    The old adage, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” doesn’t seem to apply at Canonical, and with each new release you hold your breath wondering what got through unscathed and what is now going to ruin your day. They ought to hire someone other than Mickey Mouse to do the testing for them. That resolv.conf mess is just ridiculous.

    Fortunately, it’s not critical for me at the moment to have wireless on my Dell. A couple of years back when I was more enthusiastic, I’d probably have spent another day on it regardless, but I’ve learned to quit and be more productive on other things.

  3. Marie

    Jaunty works great for me, but Karmic was a disaster (screen resolution issues and false disk notification errors among other things!)…so back to Jaunty. From now on, I’m only sticking with the LTS versions…they tend to work better all around….will hold on to Jaunty until Lynx LTS.

  4. Bruce

    Yes, life is too short to waste on this crap. I’ve been trying for hours to get wireless to work on my Dell Inspiron with Karmic. It becomes a mission–you want to beat it. But then you ask yourself, Is this why I have a computer, to solve jigsaw puzzles I didn’t ask for? In contrast, I have an old iBook G4 that picks up wireless perfectly every time.

    In the end it comes down to what time you can afford to troubleshoot. I’m almost all out.

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