Fixing Ubuntu 8.10

I suppose you could say I’m a long time Debian/Ubuntu Linux user, but the recent upgrade to 8.10 completely messed up my desktop machine.

  • Sound was broken in Flash. That’s happened before and doing an aptitude install flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound fixed that, but from time to time sound would break and I’d have to killall -9 pulseaudio;pulseaudio -D to get it working again.
  • My shiny new Xbox360 controller refused to work correctly in Ubuntu 8.10. Despite assurances on various Ubuntu sites that a fully updated system should now work, it didn’t. Moving the analogue stick moved the mouse pointer.
  • Editing a spreadsheet in Open Office proved impossible as whatever key or action I last took would repeat if I used the cursor keys. Hit “a” and “a” would appear in every cell when the cursor was moved. I used the mouse and TAB a lot while working on my last VAT return.
  • I wrote a DVD+RW just fine on Monday, but 3 days later when I tried to erase it, Gnomebaker complained it didn’t have permission to access /dev/sr0 (I think). I tried to mount another CD and Ubuntu complained it couldn’t read ISO9660 CDs.

I tried recreating my user account in case that helped. It didn’t. The only way to fix my broken Ubuntu 8.10 was to reinstall from scratch. After backing everything up onto one of my external drives the install couldn’t have been easier.

So, now? Any problems? ‘Fraid so.

  • I had to install flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound to get sound working in Firefox and Flash. Yay, Youtube is sounding sweet again! No lockups yet.
  • My joypad still didn’t work, despite the fact I had upgraded everything. Thankfully this bug report came to the rescue. If your Xbox360 controller refuses to work in Ubuntu, try this:

    $ xinput list
    See which device number the Xbox controller has…
    $ xinput set-int-prop THATDEVICENUMBER ‘Device Enabled’ 32 0

    I’ll probably have to add that to the Gnome Session so it’s permanent.

  • works fine thankfully. That was a showstopper bug. I even considered using Mac OS X for a moment.

Backuppc is reinstalled and configured. It now has nice RRD graphs! I’m also blown away by the folder sharing in Nautilus. This might have been available in 8.04 but I never noticed. Sharing folders via SMB has never been so easy!

I haven’t reinstalled everything I need yet, but I’m happy that my desktop is working again.

17 thoughts on “Fixing Ubuntu 8.10

  1. Bah. My joypad is broken again and I didn’t do anything. Running the second xinput command results in an error saying, “Invalid format 0”. Grrr.
    Vice, the C64 emulator is complaining about sound fragment problems with ALSA, changing to ESD seems to have fixed that but as the joypad doesn’t work …

    1. Just a quick note, since this page turns up as one of the first hits in Google, the way to fix the “Sound Fragmentation” problem in VICE is to set the sample rate to 48000Hz.


  2. I’ve had nothing but nightmares since upgrading 8.04 to 8.10.

    I had no sound at all. Then it would work and then just stop again, I could not get the machine to reboot without having to pull the power out of it! It just went into an eldless loop of the ubuntu splash screen and wouldn’t work properly. Every now and then parts of the screen would get blocky in appearence and I would have to scroll the page or switch to another desktop and back to get it to redraw.

    It’s an absolute disaster and no updates so far have managed to fix all the problems I had. As I was dual booting with XP I’ve had to go back to using it instead. At least until I can bring myself to install 8.04 again.

  3. That’s odd, I’ve been having the exact opposite experience to everyone else. I found 8.04 totally buggy and they seemed to have broken some things they had working fine before. I’ve found 8.10 to be a huge improvement.

    I’ve been so impressed with it that I’ve wiped Windows off my brand new laptop and I’m just running Xubuntu now and everything has been working great. I’m sure I’ve just jinxed myself by saying that and something is going to go horribly wrong now.

  4. Donn – very odd! Have you tried a joypad in 8.10? I may try rebooting later to see if it works again after the xinput lines above. Seems that getting the Xbox 360 controller working 8.04 is problematic too so I’ve put off reinstalling anything for the moment. 🙁

  5. I’ve never tried using any joypad with ubuntu. Do you use it for games or just for generally navigating around the place? I’m planning to use XBMC for a media centre on one of my Xubuntu boxes and will be looking into remote options for that soon.

  6. OK, I figured out that running the xinput commands as root works. Didn’t say that anywhere. Xbox 360 controller now working in Ubuntu 8.10!

  7. Like Donn, everything went so smoothly with 8.10, I deleted Vista. However I’ve had a lot of problems installing it on a friend’s machine, which has AMD and NVidia graphics, if that’s a clue.
    My only problem on my own machine (Intel and Intel graphics) is that I’ve discovered that Real Audio doesn’t play sound anymore. I occasionaly dip in to RTE Live, and I’m sure it worked when I upgraded to 8.10, but it doesn’t now.

  8. Tnx man,

    $ xinput list
    See which device number the Xbox controller has…
    $ xinput set-int-prop THATDEVICENUMBER ‘Device Enabled’ 32 0

    it work for my paralell dance dance pad!!!! not only for xbox controller 😀 😀
    now i can play stepmania with my feets again.

    sorry about my english….

    greetings from Chile.

  9. But what about Vice? The C64 emulator doesn’t work right even with 48khz! Seriously, it just sputters sound fragments like mentioned above. Sound is totally broken with Vice in this Ubuntu version. Does anyone have further advice?

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