Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bugs In Ubuntu 10.04

Now that Ubuntu 10.04 ("Lucid Lynx") has been released, I can spend some time talking about my experience testing it.

I was really hoping that 10.04, being a LTS (Long Term Support) release, would have focused on supreme reliability and stability.  A sort of "9.10 without the bugs."  Unfortunately this was not the case.  10.04 introduces a host of new features and technologies, some of which are still rather "green."

In the comments to follow, I was to vent some of my frustrations over the quality of the 10.04 release.  I don't want to disparage the work of the people in the Ubuntu community nor the staff at Canonical.  I'm sure they worked very hard getting this version out.  Many of the problems are rooted in the upstream projects from which Ubuntu is derived.

A Pet Peeve

If you go to the bug tracking site for Ubuntu, the first thing you see is a long list of open "Critical" bugs.  Looking at the list you notice that some of these bugs are very old.  Discounting the symbolic bug number 1, the "We don't have as much market share as Microsoft" bug, you see that some of these open, critical bugs are years old.

Now, I used to administer a bug database (albeit a much smaller one than the one at Ubuntu), and to my eye this just looks terrible.  It leaves a bad impression.  If the bug is really "Critical," then it should get addressed either by marking it no longer relevant due to its age, or it should get fixed.

Overt Cosmetic Problems

While a lot of attention was given to the look of Ubuntu 10.04, serious cosmetic problems appear on many machines.  Neither of my test systems could take full advantage of the visual "improvements" during boot up.  There are a lot of distracting flashes and, on my laptop, it displays the image you see at the top of this post.

Not very impressive.

O.K. so maybe I have weird hardware of something, but how do you explain this:  click on the help icon on the top panel and wait for Ubuntu Help Center to come up.  Select "Advanced Topics" from the topics list then "Terminal Commands References [sic]" and look at the result:


Connectivity Issues

I'm sure that the folks at Canonical are very interested in corporate adoption of their product.  This means, of course that it has got to play well with Windows file shares.  Unfortunately, here too, 10.04 falls down.  Throughout the beta test phase there were numerous problems with gvfs and gnome-keyring.  As it stands now, many of these of these problems have been worked out, but as of today, you still cannot mount a password protected Windows share if you store the password.  It seems to work at first, but if you reboot your machine and try it again you get something like this:

X Problems Galore

While I  encountered some important problems with my desktop test system, they were nothing compared to the problems I have with my laptop.

A few words about my laptop.  Yeah it's old.  It's an IBM ThinkPad T41 circa 2004.  I bought it from EmperorLinux pre-installed with Fedora Core 1.  Since then, I have run numerous Linux distributions on it without problems.  In fact, the T41 was a favorite of Linux users since it ran Linux so easily.  This is, until 10.04.

Various things will just crash the X server, such as using the NoScript Firefox extension, or the remote desktop viewer.  Suspend and resume don't work (the display never comes back).  You can work around these problems if you add the kernel parameter nomodeset to grub, but then all of your videos in totem look like this:

Not exactly what I had in mind.
A Release Too Far?

I am still looking forward to upgrading to 10.04.  I'm hopeful that, in time, the issues I have with 10.04 will be addressed.  But what about in the meantime, with thousands of possibly new users trying out the live CD only to find issues like the ones I found?  That's not good.

Admittedly, I got spoiled by 8.04.  It has served me very well for the last two years.  It got me through the production of my book without crashing once and frankly I'm willing to wait a few seconds more for my system to boot and willing to give up a lot of CPU-sucking, memory-hogging eye candy to have a system that stays up and can do the basic things right.

Further Reading
[UPDATE] I'm not the only one with concerns about 10.04:


  1. I wonder why they default the gnome-terminal to only 8 colors, which is a downgrade from what used to be 256 colors.

  2. agreed! i have not used ubuntu as my main system since 8.04 also. that was the last release that all of my hardware worked perfectly. since then it's been a downhill slide, each new release breaks something new. thanks for the write up.

  3. For over 3 years I have read reviews after a new release and comments like the two above. Same old same old. Fortunately, I never read the opinions before I began using Ubuntu, because frankly it would of been a complete turn off for me, not only for Ubuntu but for all the other distros as well. Linux users have just as much responsibility as linux distro makers. Linux OS's are still a work in progress. For, eg The Software Centre you mentioned is not in its final iteration yet, that is a no-brainer, you should know that.

  4. Why did you not test the beta versions and release candidate before writing a review on the final version?

    The way you waited till the final release was out only shows that you are looking for fame and glory.

  5. I guess somebody doesn't read very closely. I started my testing with Alpha 3 and continued through both betas and the RC. The problems that I wrote about were all bugs that I either reported weeks ago or I provided support for. All of these bugs failed to be resolved before the final release deadline of April 29.

  6. In my case, Jaunty 9,04 was by far the best, and I always found the X.04 better than X.10, but maybe those were LTS, thus supposed to be more stable.

    With Katatonic Koala I learnt my lesson: wait some time before upgrading (or don't upgrade at all in that case...)

  7. I agree with Anonymous from 4.49 PM : X.04 releases of Ubuntu have always been better than X.10 releases, and this has been the case since I use Ubuntu, i.e. from Hoary. (5.04)

    The most problematic releases I had were Breezy, Gutsy and Edgy. On Karmic I had some boot problems, fixed in the lynx...

  8. > Anonymous said...
    > Why did you not test the beta versions and release candidate before
    > writing a review on the final version?

    In my wet dreams Linux is something anyone can use without being involved in mailing lists, hardware specs and other geekery.

    Since my very first Linux desktop dated back 1998 (Slackware, installed from floppy disk) I've always had to account 5/10 days for every system upgrade. We are in 2010 and Linux is still a great option for the ones who can dig inside the OS.

    That's why I have switched to Apple. The time saved to test beta versions and pull weird things out of new releases is worth more than a couple of overpriced Macs.

  9. Another bug I noticed on my netbook, in both 10.04 Desktop Edition and UNE, was that I would get told "your battery is dead/old and has a 35.9% charge", something I haven't seen in 9.10 (which i downgraded too). I hope they fix that one soon, as I'm not the only one that noticed it, otherwise I'm staying with 9.10 until 10.10

  10. Same here. Intrepid fixed more than it broke, and Jaunty was good.

    Klunky Koala introduced the pre-alpha quality Grub-2. It can't find any DOS partitions, won't boot Hacintosh partitions properly (while chainloading works), will unhelpfully add everything from removable media to the hard drive boot menu, and is otherwise broken.

    All reported. Nothing fixed.

    Network manager is my pet peeve. It just doesn't work. I walk across the street to a different AP it knows about (completely disconnected from my main one) and it will sit there for hours and not notice. They refuse to put a refresh button nor will they fix it so they won't need one.

    All reported - years ago - nothing fixed.

    I do hope they fixed bluetooth finally, but they didn't even want to accept my fix.

    Mark Shuttleworth is turning into Steve Jobs, and Launchpad the iTunes App Store. He noted Ubuntu is not a democracy but I can vote with my feet.

    But my main gripe is with notify-osd which I call the annoytification. On my netbook main screen it often doesn't go invisible, is huge and intrusive, and I can't change the position, size, color (it isn't themed), or duration it is up, it doesn't have controls (like the original - new mail - open first unread type things), nor can I dismiss it. When I attach my 1920x1080 HD screen, my dark theme makes the teeny tiny box to the very far right nearly invisible. So it is bothersome on both. THIS WAS KARMIC.

    All reported, nothing fixed.

    With Luciferic Lynx, I've moved to Xubuntu (and already have a blacklist of stuff I need to clean up after the "upgrade" shoves the things back down my throat). I've just downloaded the 5 Debian DVD images and plan to try that.
    I'm also trying Kubuntu, but I want something simple and fast and that works, and KDE works well but has a lot of eye-candy. But none of the Shuttleworthless UI changes.

    Now they promise to break the systray in a similar manner. They should really fix the stuff they break before they break more things.

  11. I do not follow...
    "Advanced Topics" from the topics list then "Terminal Commands References" displays a nice list of manual pages in Lucid Lynx, fresh install.

    Connectivity Issues? Accessing a password-secured windows share works well even after rebooting on my fresh install with default/automatically installed smb files

    I think you found the solution to your X-server problems: just set the nomodeset parameter. I do not see crashes on my five year old thinkpad whn using the metioned programs.

    Lucid works nice and stable here since Friday...
    Good luck

  12. Just updated and so far a day later things are working just fine, system feels more responsive too. This is a LTS release and many of these issues will be resolved soon, but if you are bleeding edge you should expect some problems. If you want to get passed most of the issues you should never install soon after release. Wait a few weeks.

    Some distros are not really meant for older hardware and ubuntu is not. I don't think ubuntu should try and support hardware that is 6+ years old. If it works it works.

  13. I guess I'm the odd man out here. This is release has been the most flawless and stable linux distros I've ever used. No bugs seen on any of the 10 machines I've installed on so far. It just works for me. FYI - so far I've done 10 installs (5 on ThinkPads, 3 Dell Studios , 2 Toshiba.)

  14. "passed" /= "past". You wonder why Losing Lunch doesn't work properly? Because no-one today can spell properly, or hold a single isolated concept in their attention for anything longer than two seconds - that's why. Shuttleworth was right about one thing: it's NOT a democracy; not at all. No - it's really much more an idiocracy, obviously.

  15. As tz said.. Network Manager's my main issue. AP's not updated at all and no refresh button. It seems to be more problematic once I configure it. It works the first time but then next time I am in range. I don't see it as an option. I have to delete it, reboot and recreate it again. Admittedly, I did not file a bug report assuming it was just part of the beta and would be fixed..I was wrong.

  16. I believe there was a similar problem during the Edgy Eft era, as far as incarnating a newer fresher looking OS. Perhaps this, too, will be stabilized in the near future, however, from HH to present day, I've only really liked HH, DD, FF, II, and JJ, and they were built primarily on a risk-gone-stable version - I think KK and LL are premature, frankly - they should expand their deadlines more so.

  17. Strange, I had no problems with Xorg. Movies are playing and all my Windows shares work, password protected or not.

    Cluttered bug tracking system isn't a nice thing to see, I aggree. However, a lot of bugs are actually upstream bugs, bugs that need to be fixed in Gnome, Firefox, ... And not by Ubuntu folks. Pushing those upstream bugs can sometimes be difficult even if you provide patch for the bug.

    I had several installs of Lucid Lynx now and I never had any serious problems with it.

    In general I agree, that at some point they need a feature-freeze on a larger scale and work on stability. The problem is that Ubuntu can then branch every single package included and maintain it. That is rather unacceptable. They could use older, more stable version of packages, but we don't need another Debian, right? :)

  18. Good review. It dovetails with other reviews I've read about Lucid plus some good new observations too. I'll keep my 8.04 too (as Mint 5R1) until the bugs in 10.04 are fixed.

  19. xorg issues, segfaults and some data corruptions. I had to come back to karmic, this lucid a no-no on different platforms. fail.

  20. also no fakeraid support for 10.04 yet. shame on u guys, fakeraids are quite common now.

  21. 10.04 is junk for me. I had to install grub1 manually because grub2 will not recognize a fakeraid. also, I had to rename my partitions in /dev/mapper/ during install because ubiquity and gpartd are not on the same page regarding fake raid either. and forget about trying compiz with more than one video card, which i WAS able to do with 8.04 - 9.04 These are all bugs that are VERY OLD, and that work on almost any version of WINDOWS, easily.

  22. A very disappointing release. I have had nothing but problems, ranging from the fakeraid bug to wine not running to nvidia bugs to no sound/mic/webcam support. It just isnt stable. Anon above said it right shame on you guys for releasing something that obviously wasn't ready. Look at all those critical bugs. You want more of a user base but ur releases have been getting more and more unstable and unreliable. No noob linux person could get through this. Seems someone didn't learn from the fails of M$ Vista

  23. Well, having custom built hundreds of (windows) computers over the years while only completing my total switch to Ubuntu since a year ago, I can't help saying that I know literally over 50 people with computers personally, several linux users too, but none of them have equipment that's 6 or 7 years old. I mean c'mon now, in the world of computers that's completely jurassic. My mom has a 5 year old machine and her DSL is about 1/6 the speed of mine, simply because her network card has old and outdated firmware on it. I'm certain that part of your problems arose from your unbelievably old hardware and I also believe that the majority of people who use computers which are between 6 and 36 months old won't be experiencing half of those problems. Well, that's my take on that anyway. Peace.

  24. from having upgraded to ubuntu 10.0.4 i could see the improvement.,but it is far from polished first impressions are where a new user gets confidence that all is well with there newly installed ubuntu os.ubuntu to me seems like a work of art in the making.its not there yet but keeps getting better,windows 7 is not perfect either.I would recommend linux ubuntu to any one.and it will keep getting more me its still growing up as a linux os.

  25. Unusable! Refuses to let the owner change file permissions, and after you have fought to finally get a root GUI open, won't even let ROOT change the bloody things either! Smugly pretends to change them, then they just 'switch back' before your eyes! Also Fastdial for Firefox - won't allow the config to take - just blows the bookmarks away!

    Absolute Junk! Worst piece of SW I have EVER had to fight with since I started in the 1970s!

  26. I have had issues since upgrading to 10.04 as well; no sound at all and I have done a complete re-install for a 2nd time. Also, system will not shut down, just goes back to login screen. Tried to power off with ctrl+alt+del and the shut down and restart commands are both shadowed out. Only way to power off is by holding the power button down.

    Frustrating...going back to 9.04

  27. Sounds like you guys need better hardware. I'm running 10.04 on a P3 1GHz, 40 gig PATA HD with 512 megs of RAM and no problems. For a machine of this calibre, it is suprisingly quick. I also have the previous version on a P4 with hyperthreading and 3 gigs of RAM on a SATA HD and no problems there either. Both of those are Dells. Don't say the software is crappy if you are using crappy hardware.

  28. I have a one year old self-built desktop with nice hardware and have had issues with this release. I guess I'm going back to Jaunty... my fakeraid actually worked with that release. Karmic degraded my array after installation and Lucid won't even recognize it.

  29. I am willing to give more time for the bugs to be fix...

    But it is frustrating... Randomly logs off for no particular reason and take me back to the login screen closing all applications.. There's a bug for this but on 9.10... and I'm using 10.04.

    The other day, I was showing how great Ubuntu was to a friend... and it suddenly froze... how embarrassing...

    I think Canonicle did a great job with it's OS but I wish it was more stable... Maybe with time...

  30. Just built a new machine with the latest and greatest components and also have a 2 year old smell laptop and have some issues. Example is the file sharing. I have spent hours trying to get two Lucid machines to talk to each other. Each time I finally seem to have gotten it working, it's broken again next time I start the machines... The comments about noobs not making it I can completely agree with. I started delving into Ubuntu in 2006 and would have quit if I wasn't so stubborn because it seemed that every time I tried to do something that I could easily do in Windoze I had to spend hours troubleshooting and/or educating myself first. In any case, I have seen a lot of the problems mentioned by others to greater or lesser severity. On the whole I really like Ubuntu, but it is a very long way from being ready for the "masses."

  31. the crappy hardware angle is a straw dog. if 10.04 is noticably buggier than 9.x *ON THE SAME HARDWARE* then the problem is the software. I am experiencing the same problem as faceyman with 10.04. If it weren't for the fact that I KNOW this will be fixed soon, I would move back to ubuntu 9 right now. As it stands, stop muddying the discussion by talking about crappy hardware. Leave that kind of BS to the windows fanbois (yes there are actually windows fanbois). In the linux world we should accept any criticism and analyze it to find the solution. It is open source after all. No problem is beyond repair. Leave the deflection to the users who can't actually do anything about their os (ahem mac, winblows).

  32. I'm using Ubuntu 10.04LTS as of May this year and so far the only problem my PC has is the video regression, specifically Intel based chipsets. If I turn on visual effects Ubuntu will have a random freezing. What I did was remove Compiz, problem solved. The only small problem is I cannot have an eye candy to my desktop anymore. So in order to make my desktop look pretty I added screenlets and cairo dock bar...

  33. I tried 10.04 on both my desktop(new with all the bells and whistles) and my ancient old IBM T-42 (1.5G ram and 1.8GHz M4 Processor) and it did not work on either. Terrible resolution, wireless problems, video problems, sound problems, I'm tired and shutting down problems etc. etc. I find this very strange as 9.10 (and a whole pile of other ubuntu based distro's) installed and ran perfectly on both machines.

    I think that 10.04 should not have been released on the public as soon as it was. Canonical and the Afronaught should have bitten the bullet and waited until they had some of the basic bugs worked out. If they want to have the world even consider using their OS it needs to install and run as easily as W7 does without major user tweaking. I went back to 9.10, and won't try the new one until 10.10.

  34. My suggestion is to wait for Ubuntu 10.04.1 release maybe they'll solve bugs.

    I tried Mandriva 2010.1 still has Intel video regression problem.

  35. I completely agree with you about 10.04. After trying it out for over a month I put 8.04 back on my system (I'll probably upgrade to 9.04 soon though). Trying to get Samba file sharing to work was damn near impossible - what happened to right clicking on a folder and enable sharing? New iterations should make things easier, not more complicated and frustrating.

    Video issues rendered Pitivi and other video editors useless, and it couldn't even span and stretch my dual screen wallpapers across both my monitors. How lame is that?

    I'm glad I was introduced to Ubuntu with 8.04, because if I was introduced to Ubuntu with 10.04, I don't think I would be the avid Ubuntu supporter I am today.

    Ubuntu 8.04 = WIN
    Ubuntu 9.04 = WIN
    Ubuntu 10.04 = FAIL

  36. Per the Anonymous comment of August 12th, 2010 - right on! 10.04 is/was my intro to Ubuntu and it's not giving a good first impression.

    Still can't get file sharing with Windoze to work reliably. And with x64 and a multi-core CPU there's a significant bug (see the lists) that way slows the machine friends with Macs are blowing me away on perf and usability. Yes, they paid $1500 more than I did but their machines work.

    So I guess I'll install 9.04 but can't muster much enthusiasm...

  37. Well, I had a 10.04 install a few months ago and i revereted to XP, look at my log on ubuntu experience here,

    this log was not completed due to me getting sick of the USB modem thing and getting back to XP.

    my main issue was that it gave me almost a headache with my net connection, this was something that canonical should have looked into, after reading a lot of comments here am thinking of downloading 9.04 to go with.

    thank you for all the reviews and feedback. It's really frustrating when it takes hours to do stuff that was able do in seconds in a windows environment.

    IMO, ubuntu should put away the looks for a while and try to be bug-less and stable!

  38. linux Ubuntu 8.10, will not display the graphical interface, just a text based interface.?

  39. I think that is the problem with Ubuntu, they are mainly focuses on the 'NewFunkyNotTestedTechyThingy'.
    Personally I do not understand, if you have Debian why would you want Ubuntu? The unswer is:'NewFunkyNotTestedTechyThingy'.