Ubuntu Karmic … my first impressions

Today, I installed Karmic on my desktop/server at work (aka orange). It was running Debian Lenny, but with the purchase of 2 24″ monitors and my subsequent failure to quickly configure them properly, I decided to jump ship to Karmic (which I knew would work thanks to the Ubuntu LiveCD).

So, installation was pretty simple – there appeared to be a language bug in the partitioner – where the text was telling me something different to the UI, but that wasn’t a real problem, and it seemed a bit tricky selecting the right time zone – the installer was adament that I would be It took about 20 minutes to install, I think, and then it was a case of reinstalling the various services/things needed on there (apache, bind9, dhcpd, postfix, mdadm, cron jobs [poo, lost some in the move], ftpd, ssh)…

Annoyingly, dotdeb packages don’t seem to install due to dependency issues, and there’s no php5-apc package, and I’m currently stuck with php 5.2.10 (until I can find 5.2.11 packages for Ubuntu somewhere).

The monitors work perfectly – a simple GUI click was required to stop cloning and turn them into two joined together monitors.

Empathy, the new Instant Messaging client doesn’t support FacebookChat, so it’s been given the boot – and I’ve ‘reverted’ to using pidgin (which works perfectly once you upgrade to using the .deb from here).

At last, my desktop effects seem to be working – I’m using the radeon kernel module – which appears to be open source, so that’s good.


  • I’m a little miffed that I can’t do alt+shift+tab to cycle backwards through the window selector, but I’ll cope.
  • The ‘Windows’ key still does nothing (FFS – windows key + D to show desktop, or windows key + E to open nautilus…). Such simple usage of it would be a huge improvement from a usability point of view.
  • When I get new IM messages, the ‘notification bubble’ that appears seems to persist for too long, can’t be dismissed (although at least it doesn’t interfer with any windows you may have open already)
  • The mess ‘they’ have made with /etc/ldap/slap.d; I can’t figure out how I’m meant to be able to configure this, so I copied my old slapd.conf file into place and changed the /etc/default/slapd file
  • Have problems ssh’ing to some external servers, with useless messages like “Max number of auth attempts exceeded”. I’m assuming this is somehow related to ssh trying every possible ssh key in ~/.ssh (is this new behaviour?). Oddly one lenny server has no problem – another won’t let me in, unless I go via a third party and don’t do authentication agent forwarding (-a).
  • pulseaudio is spamming /var/log/syslog with messages like :

Nov 25 21:17:01 orange pulseaudio[15064]: main.c: Module load failed.

Nov 25 21:17:01 orange pulseaudio[15064]: main.c: Failed to initialize daemon.

Nov 25 21:17:01 orange pulseaudio[15062]: main.c: Daemon startup failed.

I’ll guess this is file ownership related, as I dropped my old passwd and group files over the top of the ‘new’ Ubuntu ones. So far, however I’ve not found which file is to blame… reinstalling the package might be an option.


  • Zero configuration of attached hardware (network card, graphics card etc)
  • Monitors just work 🙂
  • Almost the config files from the previous install (Lenny) can be dropped in and work
  • Still debian like, so I know what to do
  • Finally ‘service $foo start|stop|etc’ is available
  • Pretty quick booting; I think.
  • Like the new login screen, and default backgrounds
  • UbuntuOne – had a quick meddle with this, better Nautilus integration could be achieved, but it’s not bad and seems easy to use. Not sure what I’ll use it for however….

So.. that was 2-3 hours of my morning wasted. Now I’m obviously so much more productive with massive(?) monitors…. and funky desktop effects.


  1. What would you like the “Windows” to do? Go to System>Preferences>Keyboard>Keyboard Layout>AltWin Key. There you will find several options for mapping other key functions to that key.

  2. I’m not sure about this, but alt+shift+tab setting can probably be found in “Preferences” => “Keyboards”, you could set Ctrl+Alt+Backspace there for killig X , other keyboard short cuts can be assigned also.

    I strongly recommed a gnome mouse gesture utilty called easystroke, you can combine your scripts, commands, keyboard shortcuts with your defined mouse gestures, it really makes Gnome desktop & window managment super easy and efficent. Further, you can also use easystroke to trigger some compiz effects.

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