Ubuntu Karmic workarounds

Thursday, November 5. 2009

Ubuntu Karmic workarounds

Ubuntu 9.10 Koala Karmic is released and I immediately installed it. May be this was too early because it has lots of issues. So I'm going to collect some workarounds here which were necessary on my notebook to get Karmic running smoothly.

  • New ugly GDM - I don't know what's up with these guys who think that white blocks on black backgrounds are beautiful. In my opinion this is ugly, plain ugly. I think KDE 4 started with this black/white theme and it looks like Gnome is going the same wrong way (Even the gnome shell preview in Karmic is white on black). Don't get me wrong, I like black, but not if it has these drastic contrasts with white edit boxes and selection bars. So back to GDM. The problem is, this GDM is a completely new version and there are no preferences (except switching auto-login on and off). But I managed to switch it to a human-like theme by accident: When you are at the login screen click the accessibility icon, enable high contrast colors and disable it again. Now you have a blue human-like theme. Now restart GDM and suddenly it has a brown human-like theme which is acceptable for now. I hope there will be configurable theme support soon.
  • Gajim crashes - Every time a new Jabber message comes in, Gajim crashes with the message AttributeError: 'module' object has no attribute 'IndicatorMessage'. To fix this edit the file /usr/share/gajim/src/notify.py and edit line 355 so it looks like this: indicator = indicate.Indicator(). Bug #433495.
  • Anti-aliasing mismatch in Firefox, Thunderbird and VLC - I can't remember having this issue with the previous Ubuntu version but it is possible that I fixed it there by accident. I always switch the Gnome font preferences to use full hinting. But some applications ignore the Gnome settings so the fonts there are rendered differently. I don't like that. The solution is configuring full hinting in /etc/fonts manually. There you can see a conf.avail directory containing all the available configurations and a conf.d directory containing the enabled configurations (Just symlinks into the conf.avail directory). I have deleted the 10-hinting-slight.conf there and created a link to 10-hinting-full.conf instead and the font problem vanished.
  • Midnight commander no longer displays content of ZIP and JAR files - Solution is editing /usr/share/mc/extfs/uzip and changing the variable $op_has_zipinfo to 1. Bug #397505.
  • Eclipse problems - I had multiple Eclipse problems so it gets it's own section here:
    • Some buttons are not working - That's a pretty strange problem. Some buttons in Eclipse can't be clicked with the mouse. They work when clicking them with the keyboard. Solution is setting the environment variable GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS to true before starting eclipse. Bug #460269.
    • Eclipse crashes - Using the latest Eclipse downloaded from Eclipse website often results in a segfault somewhere in libpango. Ubuntu blames the Eclipse team for this bug and suggests using the Eclipse package which is included in Karmic. Indeed this solved the problem. Bug #445009.
    • Subclipse hangs or crashes - Even when using the Eclipse version from Ubuntu I was not able to use Subclipse with the JavaHL backend. It hangs or crashes with an assert. Only solution I found so far is using the SVNKit backend instead.
    • No update sites - The Ubuntu-maintained Eclipse installed without any update sites. Therefor it is not possible to install any plugins because even third-party plugins may have dependencies to official Eclipse plugins which can not be downloaded without having the official update sites in it. This missing update URL is http://download.eclipse.org/releases/galileo/. Simply add this one manually to the update manager as you would do with any third-party update site. Bug #460944.
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