Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Fixing Ubuntu 11.04 Partial Upgrade

I use Ubuntu at work and at home and normally the upgrade process is very smooth.
However, the upgrade from 10.10 to 11.04 has been a pain to say the least.
In fact I'm still grappling with it. (Haven't even started it at work yet.)

So I thought I'd share some tips to in case they might help anyone else.

Use Synaptic
First thing, I tried was to use synaptic to run the updates (not upgrade) as this normally handles errors better. This went ok.

Run the Upgrade
I clicked the button, and all went very nicely actually. Well, nice up until I rebooted. When Unity started, I had an error message saying something about needing hardware I didn't have. So I can't load Unity.

Even worse, when I load Gnome instead it's very wonky. It loads my previous background but also does some random switching to the new default background. If I click on empty desktop areas I can drag a selection that overlays new desktop over the old. This flips in and out when I click any desktop chrome. Pretty much unusable.

Fix 1: Unity 2D
First thing I found was post about the default Unity being the 3D version. I think that is 3D as in needing a proper graphics card for 3D effects. Not a pair of 3D glasses. There's a different package called unity-2d for the non Open GL version. this works much better.

Fix 2: Disable OpenGL in Compiz
That doesn't help working in Gnome. So I installed the CompizConfig editor package, compizconfig-settings-manager, and switched off the OpenGL setting. Yay! Gnome almost working normally. Gnome-Do goes a bit wonky.

Fix 3: use Gnome Classic (No Effects)
Not really a fix. But just using the no effects option from the login screen menu, has fixed a lot of the problems below. It's pain though as a lot of effects were working before the upgrade. But I think this version of Ubuntu require a higher version of OpenGL libraries. Bummer! Still looking into this though.

Fix 4: Reinstall All Packages
If things are really screwed up there's always the option to reinstall and reconfigure all packages (Not reinstall the system, just packages).
You can do this with the command:
$ sudo apt-get install -f
$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh -a

Problems Still To Fix

  • Gnome-Do rendering problem

  • Can't Connect To Wireless Printer
  • Alt-Tab Window Switching Doesn't Work (works in no effect mode)
    Apparently this requires OpenGL now!!!
  • Regular crashing of Compiz Window Decoration (OK in no effects mode)
  • Lots of errors messages in syslog (seem sto have stopped, either from no effects mode or an update)
    [drm:intel_prepare_page_flip] *ERROR* Prepared flip multiple times
    last message repeated 1105 times
So far lots of things pointing to OpenGL problems.
Try this:
/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p
OpenGL vendor string:   Tungsten Graphics, Inc
OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI Intel(R) 865G GEM 20100330 DEVELOPMENT x86/MMX/SSE2
OpenGL version string:  1.3 Mesa 7.10.2

Not software rendered:    yes
Not blacklisted:          yes
GLX fbconfig:             yes
GLX texture from pixmap:  yes
GL npot or rect textures: yes
GL vertex program:        yes
GL fragment program:      no
GL vertex buffer object:  yes
GL framebuffer object:    yes
GL version is 1.4+:       no

Unity supported:          no

Looks like new Gnome/Unity require OpenGL 1.4 and my hardware doesn't support it.
UPDATE: This looks interesting
Unfortunately just ends with an upgrade coming soon.
Looking into this further.

UPDATE: At the moment most things are running ok after switching to non-OpenGL version of things. With a few irritating issues, like having to always sign in to the password manager twice.
But I'm wondering now if this is to do with having switched from LTS upgrades to normal?
If I had installed a normal release in the first place maybe I wouldn't be having partial upgrade troubles.
Let me know if you are having this problem and have also switched from lts to normal.

UPDATE (29/09/2011): So I've finally bitten the bullet and upgraded my work PC and it seems to have worked ok. So far. Well I'm not sure Unity is working, it looked a little slow and strange. But Gnome (Ubuntu Classic) seems to be working as normal. Yay! here's a summary of what I did.
When presented with the partial upgrade notice, I click cancel. Then I run the updates. It will then run as many of these as it can. After this I hit cancel on the partial upgrade notice again. Then Hit the upgrade button and followed the directions. VoilĂ !