Six Annoyances in Hardy Heron Ubuntu

(I’m going to publish this in rough draft format. I want to get the post live while lots of Ubuntu developers are thinking about Intrepid Ibex.)

I’m a huge fan of Ubuntu Linux. I’ve used many flavors of Linux over the years, and Ubuntu is my favorite by far. So it pains me to write this. For my needs, Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) is worse than 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). I cannot recommend Hardy Heron at this time, and would instead recommend installing 7.10 for the time being. I sincerely hope that Ubuntu/Canonical developers do more work on the “fit and finish” of Intrepid Ibex, because that has always been a strong point in Ubuntu’s favor.

By the way, I’m not alone in my opinion about Hardy Heron. At SuperHappyDevHouse this past weekend I talked with a fellow techie who had Hardy running on his laptop. He agreed that Hardy has had more issues than Gutsy. And this in-depth post by another Ubuntu fan reaches the same conclusion:

The most important question is — do I recommend Ubuntu 8.04? If I were to answer simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’ the answer would be negative. If you need a good system, that ‘just works’, wait a few months before installing Hardy Heron, until it becomes really stable, as the LTS staple suggests.

Even when someone posts a positive review, you see commenters show up with quite a bit of complaints.

What are the issues?

I’ll try to pick out a few examples. Here’s a small one. I like to use the microGUI theme in metacity. Normally I would click System->Preferences->Appearance and select the Theme tab. Then I could drag the microGUI theme from this web page and drop it directly onto the Theme tab. Dragging and dropping themes was a wonderful little trick, but it didn’t work for me in Hardy Heron. Instead, a small dialog box appears and then disappears so quickly that I can’t even see if it has text on it. Update, 11/22/2008: This works in Intrepid Ibex now.

Here’s a big problem. In Ubuntu 7.10, it was trivially easy to share folders via Samba (SMB) or NFS. You clicked on System->Administration->Shared Folders and followed simple directions there to configure a shared folder. In Ubuntu 8.04, this menu option is gone. According to pages on the web, you may have to drop into a command-line, run “sudo apt-get install nautilus-share” to install a new package “nautilus-share” which has replaced the old shares-admin program, and then reboot or logout/login. Read this bug where people describe how awful this is, including a very user with the handle Thomas Boutell. Yes, it’s probably that Thomas Boutell, and if Boutell says that something is suboptimal, Ubuntu developers should listen. Right now the GUI throws out a cryptic error when what the user actually needs to do is reboot their machine or log out and back in. Here’s what another commenter says:

I can confirm this to be a problem. There is no way to create a share out of the box with the release of 8.04 hardy. This WAS working wonderfully in Gutsy 7.10. There was a folder sharing GUI on the admin menu under system tools, this seems to have been removed from Hardy 8.04.

I happen to agree with the expectations of the [original poster] Thomas Boutell, this should just work out of the box or there should be a readily obvious way to get folder/file sharing working again like it was in Gutsy. Why on earth was a completely functional feature of 7.10 removed from Hardy ?????

[and then the same user later]

This is just plain too much of a hassle: no one should have to go thru this just to share some files on his computer. Help me use linux, not hassle me when I try to use it.

In a related bug about having to reboot or log out and log in again after installing Samba, another user says:

It can be correct for linux security system. But how I can explain to the user, that he should restart his computer for share a folder?! Former windows users will laugh over me.

It sounds like nautilus-share doesn’t let you set your workgroup name either. So I guess you have to edit the smb.conf config file by hand to change your computer’s workgroup? That led one user to remark:

I guess I’m just getting over this phenomenon I’ve started to see in Ubuntu devs and Gnome devs in particular, of just whistling past the graveyard of usability and treating the users like ants at the picnic. The windows shares are BROKEN by any reasonable user’s standards, and a frank acknowledgment of the problem would go a long way.

Update, 11/22/2008: A workaround is to press alt-F2, then enter “shares-admin” and click “General Properties”, click “Unlock” and enter your password and click “Authenticate”, then change the Workgroup name there. You might need to share a folder first (to install Samba), then reboot, then do this change, then reboot again. I ended up editing smb.conf manually to set the workgroup and add whatever sharing I wanted to do.

To me, this feels like a series of choices by the Ubuntu team which may have been locally optimal (“this package has security issues or isn’t maintained — let’s turn it off”) but the net effect of these decisions adds up to a big black eye for Ubuntu. And again, I say this as an Ubuntu fan who wants Ubuntu to succeed. Maybe there wasn’t enough time to shake out bugs in the latest incarnation of GNOME. Maybe it will take a while to find the right pulse rate of software releases. If there’s a plan by Ubuntu/Canonical developers to improve this situation, I encourage them to talk about the future plan in the comments.

That issue encapsulates the sort of thing I’m seeing with Hardy, but let’s talk about a couple more sharing issues I ran into. The problem above was letting other computers connect to Hardy, but what about Hardy connecting to other computers’ shared drives? It used to be that if you click Places->Connect to Server and selected a Windows share, you saw a “Browse Network” button. Now that button is gone for me. I guess you need to know the exact name of the Samba or Windows share that you want to connect to? If so, that’s pretty annoying. It’s also inconsistent, because when I tried to add a printer on a remote machine, I could browse the network from the printer dialog box.

Update, 11/22/2008: In Intrepid Ibex, you can click Places->Network to browse the local network.

I want to talk about one more really annoying problem I ran into. In Gutsy I used “Connect to Server” to create a folder that was connected via ssh to my webhost. If I took a screenshot I could drop the file into that folder and it would magically be copied into a specific deep directory at my webhost. The feature worked perfectly — even better than WinSCP running on a Windows computer.

Now things seem horribly broken. One user asks about it here and includes an image. Evidently a decision was made to switch from something called “gnome-vfs” to something called “gvfs.” I like swapping out old code for new code as much as the next guy, but as a user, this switch is a code phrase for “the stuff that used to work perfectly is now nonfunctional.”

It also looks like someone in GNOME may have decided to change the default location of mounted volumes from $HOME to /, which makes me want to find and punch that person. Or offer them $100 to fix it back to sane behavior.

It’s really quite hard to find out exactly why this simple, useful ability (to create folders that were SSH-connected directly to a specific directory on a remote machine) became broken in Hardy. It appears to have something to do with “bookmarks,” but good luck finding out exactly what’s going on. By the way, if you upgraded from Gutsy to Hardy, all of your carefully-crafted existing shortcuts will break too. This gnome-vfs to gvfs issue is impacting regular Linux (including Fedora) users and causing them to complain. And why not? As one GNOME user states their case, “It should be possible for GNOME users to configure the default path of mounted volumes.”

Are there other annoyances?

As long as I’ve started a complaint thread, I’ll mention a few other things that are on my mind.

  • When I run the Update Manager and install updates, eventually I’m told that “Your system is up-to-date” — but sometimes it isn’t. If I click the “Check” button again, sometimes new updates are found to install. The net result is that I end up checking for updates multiple times, even after I’ve just been told that I’m up-to-date, because my system wasn’t really up-to-date. Please save users the time/effort of checking multiple times for updates and find a way to handle this transparently.
  • The “Hardy Heron” desktop background is sweet, but at 1920×1200 resolution it looks a little fuzzy, as if it had to be scaled up. I would recommend creating a very high-res desktop and then downscaling it so that it’s always sharp, even at the highest resolution.

Okay, that’s my complaints from playing with Hardy Heron for a couple days on my $200 Walmart PC, which I keep around as a guinea pig box for testing. I won’t be installing Hardy on my main Linux box. I might just keep running Gutsy until Intrepid Ibex comes out.

I’m giving my raw perspective as a user, and the upshot is that Hardy Heron feels like a step backwards on the things that matter to me. If I were a GNOME/Ubuntu/Canonical dev, my first reaction would be to leave a comment that says “Matt, you idiot! Don’t you know that XXXXXX is a simple solution for your problem? You didn’t even use the terminology right!” And I’m sure I’ve messed something up, like blaming Ubuntu for a problem that really belongs to GNOME or some other project. But the buck stops with Ubuntu and Canonical. If something in GNOME isn’t ready for prime-time, Ubuntu should hold off until it’s ready. Don’t replace shares-admin with nautilus-share until I can set a workgroup from a GUI. Don’t replace gnome-vfs with gvfs until I can make a drag-and-drop remote folder on my desktop. Don’t replace a sound system until the new sound system is well supported. It’s always a judgment call — I think moving to Firefox 3 was brilliant and acts as a good forcing function to move the community forward. But don’t go with so many new systems that the user experience suffers and Ubuntu takes a goodwill hit.

I love Ubuntu. I want Ubuntu to do well. I want to believe that Ubuntu can romp against the competition. But Hardy Heron feels like a misstep for some users, including me. Please work on fit and finish to get Ubuntu back to the robust, polished distribution that made me fall in love with it in the first place.

70 Responses to Six Annoyances in Hardy Heron Ubuntu (Leave a comment)

  1. Yes, that update manager problem gets to me too. Check check check!

  2. nautilus-share is depended on by ubuntu-desktop – do you have that installed? (You absolutely should do, otherwise upgrades can miss out important packages, but I thought update-manager would take care of that when you upgraded (don’t use apt-get for inter-version upgrades, it’s not clever enough to do them)).
    I can’t say if it works well or not though, I use SSH for my inter-machine file transfers since I am not usually on the same network as them.
    (and yes, it is annoying to lose all your saved server connections on upgrade, apparently GNOME people rushed gvfs in before it was ready and we had little choice but to use it, and don’t have spare resources to write migration tools in the 6 months available).

  3. I meant to mention in my previous comment – a lot of the changes this time around are dictated by upstreams, Ubuntu is not doing a huge amount of development, we focus on integration and distribution, which does mean that sometimes we get things like gvfs foisted upon us without having the resources to maintain a fork of the previous technology.
    Even if we did do that, the upstreams would whine even more about us.

  4. Bugger, I was planing to burn a copy for a colleague at work. As a Debian user I see Ubuntu as the non fuss Debian desktop and easier to support from my own experiences.

    It will be interesting to see if the above desktop issues can be resolved with updates. Your suggested changes are functional though, typically security and bugs are rectified in updates.

  5. Damn, I just moved from XP to Ubuntu 8!
    After testing the 7, It was obvious for me that 8 would be better !
    Thanks Matt

  6. Quite a few of these things are gvfs related. You have to remember that gnome is primarily developed by gnome and a lot of the benefits and complaints people (not you – I know) credit Ubuntu/Canonical with are actually upstream changes.

    gvfs is a major improvement on paper. It is a major overhaul to the whole way gnome deals with filesystems and because it’s such a major part of how people work, of course it’s going to take time before all the implementation-kinks are worked out.

    Should Hardy have chosen the latest Gnome over something more stable? I think so. I reckon the improvements it does bring far outweigh the annoyances. Perhaps I have that view because I saw how bad things were when Hardy (and the Gnome release) was at Alpha stage.

    But I think having some bleeding edge is a good idea, most of the time. Yes things break and yes, some things don’t work as expected all the time, but software needs large-scale testing and feedback to really improve, and not including the latest gnome or pulseaudio would have been detrimental to those projects.

    And Ubuntu needs these added features and improvements too. If they left everything at rock-solid stability all the time, I don’t think we’d see the improvements we need coming through at an acceptable rate.

    One thing is for sure: gnome devs need a kick up the arse at times. I love gnome and GTK. The way they look, the way they work; but sometimes gnome’s unwritten mantra that too much config will kill kittens is obscure to the point of brain-explosion. There are just so many parts of gnome that could benefit so much from just a tiny big more configurability, or making the configuration more logical.

    Hopefully logic will prevail.

  7. I’m using SuSE. The 10.3 version was a little buggy in the beginning but it’s fine now. The only problem that I still have is the video card driver for my ATI 9600 that stopped working since 10.3 and Ive had to install the old one but it’s not like it was in 10.2 and I don’t want to go back to 10.2. I think I’ll have to upgrade my video 😉

  8. Yep, that was me. Imagine my surprise as I waded into your piece, thinking “oh look, we have some of the same Ubuntu issues.” And sure enough there I am.

    When I report Ubuntu bugs I try to take a normal user’s point of view. Sure, I can reconfigure Samba with duct tape and configuration files. Heck, I cowrote a book about it (Windows and Linux Integration). But I don’t wanna mess with that stuff all day. That’s why I installed Ubuntu on my personal laptop.

    I’ve had tremendous problems with audio input under Ubuntu on this laptop. It has never really worked. And with an external USB audio device entirely dedicated to input, I *still* can’t record and play at the same time (essential for multitracking). Sure enough, comments strongly suggest this kind of thing worked better in Gutsy Gibbon.

    I’ve had some problems with Firefox 3, which I’ve reported. but Firefox 2 is also available without too much hair-pulling, so I’ll give Ubuntu a pass on that one – I do tend to agree it’s a good idea to push it out there.

    One thing I don’t blame on Ubuntu is the awful mess you get into when you try to create widely deployable video with Linux. That’s due to legal issues, so there’s not a lot the Ubuntu folks can do about it.

    The ubuntu tag in my own blog might be of interest:

    -Tom Boutell

  9. I agree. I so wanted to use Ubuntu as recording station for my wife’s podcasting. I could not get the machine to run with 7.1 (probably video driver problems). 8 (Hardy Heron) ran fine, but I could never get the microphone input to work twice. Hardy Heron (and Linux in general) turns out to be mess when it comes to sound drivers. (mainly sound in drivers). I also know that every time I bring this up, I am given a new set of command line entries that will probably work – but that is not the way modern desktop system should work.

    I love my Linux (Debian) servers, and the command line is fine there. But a desktop has to be simple – even for complicated things like sound. So I give in and install XP to record. (can’t go to Vista because MS screwed up the drivers there too.)

  10. Thank you – I was just about to upgrade my laptop from 7.10 to 8.4 – I think I’ll wait now. (Also just about to install 8.4 on another machine for my parents – I’ll go with 7.10)

    the main thing that annoyed me was the new scheduling that shipped in the default kernel – any root process automatically took priority over any non-root process, no matter how nice it was – which had been shown to cause serious issues with graphics and networking. The server kernel shipped with a better setting, but the desktop version didn’t make it (despite everyone on launchpad apart from the developer in question calling for the release to be delayed until this change was committed)

    – I just wish they had pushed back the release and fixed the bugs, but it seems they were too obsessed with making the launch date they thought they could push the bug fixes through after – but then the community is less interested in trying to fix it after it’s launched – so it takes months!

  11. Hi Matt,
    Sorry, but I disagree with you on Firefox 3.
    On my Hardy Heron system Firefox 3 runs really slowly and none of the 5 or 6 plugins that I use are supported yet. I could manage without the plugins but on my system the slow response time was un-bearable.
    I reverted back to FF 2.

    I totally agree with you on your point that it should “just work”.
    The piece that summed it up for me was Eric Raymond’s article on CUPS from a couple of years ago –
    Things have moved on a bit since then but not much IMHO. Paul

  12. There are further issues with Hardy. As it is supposed to be an LTS release, I installed it on a server. Works fine, but: try getting Xen to work. After all the posts I read, patches have already been available for some time, but are not being delivered yet.

    If you upgrade a system from Gutsy to Hardy, you might find your box not booting any more due to some issue with update-initramfs.

    On the other hand, I had installed Kubuntu 8.04 on the cheapest computer I could get at the local store (some AMD X2 4200+ machine) and it works perfectly well out of the box.

  13. More of a “me, too” post … lots of little things are broken and it’s very frustrating that they upgraded Firefox to 3.0b5 (and haven’t yet upgraded to RC1), so my lil’ idyllic Firefox setup is broken, with most extensions not yet supporting Firefox 3.

    My compiz is also kind of off. Sometimes the window decoration breaks or the title bar gets all … whacky. Like color dithering or something. If I refresh the window, it comes back. So it’s not show-stopper, but it’s polish that isn’t there.

  14. That’s interesting, Matt, because my latest post over on SEO Scoop on the 13th is all about me moving from Windows to Ubuntu/Kubuntu, and I mention that you are partly the reason I made the move. And, I’m happy to report that I’m 99.9% totally happy with the move. Kind of like penguins with happy feet, kind of happy. 🙂 I do, however, have the one nagging problem with my microphone not working, but so far, I’ve been assuming it’s my fault for not understanding all the complicated input/output gizmos in the mixer. Maybe it’s not my fault after all.

    Still, I’m tickled pink to have my system rocking with Kubuntu. (Yes, I finally decided I liked it best of the Ubuntu flavors). I’m glad I didn’t read this post before jumping in the waters, because I might have stalled jumping in, just like I’ve stalled for years now. 8.04 might have problems that 7.10 didn’t have, I don’t know, but I still absolutely love 8.04. Woot!

  15. For me a bigger problem is so many issues in Gutsy and earlier releases are still around in Hardy.

    Copy some text in openoffice writer, close the app, then paste in another app, the copied text is gone.
    That bug hasn’t been fixed for years.

    There are a lot of old glitches still in Nautilus. Drag a url from Firefox to a folder in order to create a shortcut. If you happened to drop on top of another shortcut, it will give an error. Even normal dropping of urls takes a long time before the shortcut is created.

    Another one is double-click on a folder to go to it, but the title of the window stays the same. Hit the back button, and you go 2 folders back instead of one.

    Some new issues I’ve seen in Nautilus include – drag and drop a file over to another folder, and it gives an error when it used to not do so. I have to grab the file, wait a few seconds, and then try to drop it over in another folder and then it is more likely to work.

    The password remember function doesn’t seem to work when connecting to a server in nautilus. It asks do you want to immediately forget the password, remember throughout this session, or always remember. It never remembers.

    One thing that has been fixed in Nautilus since Gutsy though is that now if you have a file in a folder with a long name and view the folder as a list, it won’t extend the name column all the way past the right border like it used to.

    I’m fine with bugs and glitches, every OS has plenty of them, but you expect the file browser to work. In my opinion both Nautilus and the Mac OS X finder have too many problems. Windows XP/Vista explorer is bearable, and the old Mac OS System 7 finder was perfect (except how the whole system grinded to a halt whenever you selected something from the menu).

  16. The ability to link to a specific folder in a Samba share on your desktop was also dropped in 8.04.

  17. Agreed! As a huge Ubuntu fan I was rather sad when Hardy Heron was not what I expected, it ruined one computer in our house, well I say ruined but I meant it needed to be removed, I note that Hardy Heron comes with an “easier uninstaller / roll back” function. I must be getting fussy in my old age but I prefer 7.04 and 7.10 to 8.04, still I did give vista a whirl last week and it was enough to make me want to kiss Hardy Heron in his / her coffee beans.

  18. Wow, I really feel for you on this. Ubuntu has always been my answer for any of my friends who wanted to try Linux, but when someone as technically ept (“ept”, the opposite of “inept”) as you has complaints about usability issues, I’m going to have to pull back and maybe suggest SuSE.

    Me, I run Mac. It’s just as frustrating, but it’s pretty.

  19. I’m having also a lot of problems to run vmware. Sometimes the system freeze, others ctrl key make mozilla close, other I cant write in upper case.. I’ll downgrade my pc to Gutsy definitely

  20. I’m in exactly the same place and posted about it earlier in more detail. Been using Ubuntu for a few years now (came over from Debian for my desktop machine) but subsystems like X are just a pain in the neck to get up and running unless you’re running a simple, one-monitor machine. Which, granted, is a large segment of machines sold these days, but – if upgrading to a new version, an LTS version at that, is going to mangle my X setup to where I lose two days getting it working again – and at that, have to give up on using Ubuntu at all and go back to Kubuntu’s KDE3 version, well, I might as well be using Vista, mightn’t I?

    Which bugs me, because I find that working outside linux is somewhat like a low-grade toothache.

  21. I totally agree with this sentiment. My upgrade from Feisty to Gutsy went perfectly. I’ve had several issues with Hardy (including issues with Samba), but my favorite one is this little gem: “Xgl crash when pressing numeric keypad”:

    I’ve lost some unsaved work several times because of this horrible thing. I kinda regret upgrading.

  22. Tom Boutell, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for gd. My rule of thumb is that if you’re having a problem, a regular user is practically toast. But it’s good that you report things from a normal user’s perspective.

  23. I must say that on the whole I am much happier with Ubuntu 8.04 than with 7.10. I have it on a Thinkpad R61 and everything — including things that did not work with 7.10 — works better.

    Some caveats here:

    – I use Linux on everything, and, as such, I don’t use Samba shares anymore, but rather NFS. And those I stick in /etc/fstab, typically. Thus, I haven’t run into the SMB problems mentioned. (Maybe there is a better way to share folders than either NFS or SMB? Anyone?)

    – I tried installing 8.04 on a Toshiba laptop and it wouldn’t even boot, let alone install. But 7.10 on that Toshiba worked perfectly.

    (Actually, I upgraded it to 8.04 after installing 7.10 and the laptop would not boot with the 8.04 kernel. But I wanted all those new apps! (or at least new app versions (e.g. Gimp)) So I switched grub to default to the 7.10 kernel and, AFAICT, it boots and works just fine! So that’s my workaround if you are suffering from this bug: )

    I do get the overall sense of surprise and disappointment from the community that uses Ubuntu, though, at som of the pretty major gaffes in Hardy. Surprise that the problems are even there at all. They bumped Ubuntu 6.06 a couple of months — why not do the same to 8.04?

    In any case, I’m still in love with/going to marry Ubuntu someday. (Now what to tell the wife?)

  24. Frankly, there’s not much that bugs me in Hardy.

    But I really have problems with pulse audio. I have two screens and I often find myself browsing the web while watching a movie. Often, the audio from the movie player (totem or vlc) just stop working for no apparent reason, I feel like a Flash animation on a web page is locking the device because the audio from Firefox still works.. and sometimes it’s the other way around.

    I can understand the benefits to adopt pulse audio, even if for the moment there is virtually none for the end-user, but I think it was not ready for an LTS release.

    I don’t understand why they enable IPV6 by default neither. In both Gutsy and Hardy I had edit the sysctl.conf file manually because the network was slower than a 56k modem (

    One last thing that really pisses me off, and it’s painful to say for a Ubuntu lover like me.. There is a long lasting bug that makes my computer at work freeze randomly, quite often. I had this problem at work *and* at home with Gutsy and since I upgraded both to Hardy it only occur at work, less often.
    But it’s still *really* annoying since it really lock up the system.. to the point where there isn’t even logs about what happened (what makes me think it’s a kernel problem).

    There is a *lot* of AMD/Nvidia owner afflicted by this bug (51 PAGES in the forum !), I think it’s utterly unacceptable that this bug has not been addressed yet. Worst, its”importance is still marked as “undecided”.

    Nevertheless, I would still prefer to cut my left arm with a plastic spoon than go back to Windows.

  25. I tried switching to Ubuntu twice from my mac. I wanted to go all open source for web design and development. I did all the research and got the software and Ubuntu. After tearing my hair out twice in a row, I just decided to stick with my mac. I can still use the terminal for certain server commands and it’s a hell of a lot more stable.

    That software update thing drove me nuts too. Sometimes I’d run it just to have it install an older version of the software. Or to crap out when trying to install new software. It was just too frustrating and time consuming. I have to spend my time doing work unfortunately so I can’t waste it on what should be rudimentary like getting my system to update.

    I really wish they could get it right. What Ubuntu and other Linux distributions need to assume is that the end user knows nothing. Build in all the cool features for the advanced users but ultimately, if it can’t be used easily and completely through the GUI, it really stands no chance of getting people to try it out and adopting it. After going through it twice myself, I could never imagine recommending it to family members as an alternative to their macs or window$ machines. Oh well. I’m sure in time they will get better but as it stands, I’d still tell people to stick with a mac or some other more tested system.

  26. Matt
    Im so glad i read your post
    I was so excited to hear Ubuntu 8.04 was out, I was about to wipe my 2nd drive and install it..
    But now im going to wait for a few months as suggested. so sad, tired of XP.

  27. I was thinking same as Andrea that 8 would be better than 7.10. Glad to see this since I have not yet done an update. Been real happy with Gutsy and will keep it installed for now.

  28. I just ran the update on my HTPC and it messed up my graphics driver! ? Not sure how it happened but as soon as the upgrade was done my login screen was super expanded… maybe 15 million pixels by 30 million! So, now I can’t see the login box. It’s a good thing I’ve used Ubuntu enough to have the login procedure memorized though… I just type in the login and password as if I could see them and it still works. Once it takes me into Ubuntu to the desktop everything is back to normal.

    Oh well, guess it’s better than the blue screen o’ death I used to endure!

  29. Am I the only one that Hardy Heron works perfectly for? I guess so.

  30. Interesting posts. Hardy is much better for me. The folder sharing thing caught me on systems upgraded from Gutsy, but not clean installs. Pulse Audio was also an issue for upgrades. BUT – once fixed folder sharing is now foolproof. Under Gutsy shared folders would often not appear without a logout, yet in Hardy they work straight away. Firefox 3 has solved some webpage problems I had in Firefox 2.

    Now I am over the teething issues I would never go back.

    Big Tip

    This is a good time for a clean install rather than an upgrade.

  31. I was actually annoyed that Firefox 3 was included as it was still in beta mode. For me, my most important tool on my computer is the browser, and I need to make sure that my browser is stable and supported. Firefox 2 should have been included by default which would have updated to version 3 as soon as it became available anyway. I couldn’t see any way to downgrade to version 2 either – there’s probably a way, but it’s not easy to find.

  32. Matt,

    Must agree with your commented on Hardy Heron. I upgraded a week ago to Hardy from Gutsy on my old DELL desktop and immediately lost all wireless networking. This coincided with moving house and my desktop is currently nowhere near a wired connection point and I’m now stuck without any networking capabilities. The wireless interface in Hardy is giving no helpful information, but reading around on the net it appears to be a driver issue with broadcom chipsets. Fixes for the issue do not appear to be a quick solution and require extensive ‘command line hell’ for the Linux amateur.

    Seems a shame as the Gutsy install had no problems and I was amazed when I first installed and everything worked network wise without any modification.

    If Canonical want the average user to switch to Linux then they need to address these issues. I’ll get it going at some point (time permitting) but I’m sure other users will abandon it and go back to windows when they come up against walls like this and the points you have raised.


  33. I don’t have any guinea pig box for testing. So, I’ve installed Hardy on my HP nx9010 laptop which I use everyday. Yes, there is lots of problems. One of the biggest problem is I cannot fully use the new kernel 2.6.24 on this laptop because it makes my wireless Broadcom BCM 4303 useless. I’ve tried many ways to solve the problem by using ndiswrapper, fwcutter, b43 and b43legacy. Sad to say, none of them works currently… b43legacy will make my laptop freeze on boot up.

    So far, I revert to kernel 2.6.22 where ndiswrapper works like charm and will wait until the problem resolved… if there is anybody who have suggestion on fixing my wireless on Hardy, I really appreciate it.

  34. On my dirty upgrade, my desktop bookmarks for folders and FTP locations were killed. The update scripts didn’t bother either to check for obsolete lines pointing to /dev/hd* in /etc/fstab. Keyboard layout was unproperly defaulted. The new sound mixer, that didn’t work, was used instead of the previous, working setting. FF3b5 crashes from time to time. And the window manager halts on shut down. Nothing dramatic compared with the Titanic, but yet quite unnecessary. It took me an afternoon to understand and fix the fixable things.

    Ok, it’s free software. For me, the ratio awesomeness:cost is still infinite. But now Ubuntu has some serious user base and I wonder if this particular approach of pushing for popularity takes that into account. When I come for a new set of tires, I don’t want to try square wheels, thanks.

  35. stuart, I haven’t had problems with Firefox 3, so that didn’t bother me.

    DazzlinDonna, if you’re having a good time and things work well for you, I’m glad. Some of these issues are not things that a first-time user is going to run into right away.

  36. Tim Wintle, yah, I’d wait just a bit longer. I understand the tension to release on a schedule. The decision on whether to delay or stay on schedule is a tough one. Maybe if GNOME wrapped up a little earlier in the process, that would give more time to smooth down any rough edges.

  37. Matthijs Groen

    I also find all sorts of obstacles in ubuntu 8.04 which I never had in 7.10. I’m going for a clean 7.10 install in a few days and wait for 8.10 to happen…

    thinks that worked great and suddenly was broken:
    – mouse position orientation in FF3. (switched back to 2, but why did they set a piece of beta software default in an LTS release??)
    – no graphic card drivers. I have an Nvidia 8800 GTS and in 7.10 worked great with compiz and all. Now I just can’t get it to work. tried restrictive drivers, tried envy, tried the drivers of the nvidia site. everytime at boot I get kicked into ‘low graphics mode’. I can use the machine, but can’t play any games anymore because I miss 3D acceleration
    – I had screen widgets that I just couldn’t stop. after delete or quit, after reboot they were back. had to remove the whole screenlet thing to get rid of ’em
    – quicktime trailers of don’t work anymore, installed all known players and plugins known to man, but they don’t have any effect.

    dunno if there more issues on my machine, but these are the ones I encountered so far…

    I’m using ubuntu since 7.04 and was really enthusiastic. Even removed windows when 7.10 came out. 8.04 is a real letdown for me. especially since this was a LTS release. I’ll stick to 7.10 till the ibex shows up.

  38. The main issue for me is the freezing problem. Out of the blue Hardy would freeze and I have to do a hard shut down by pressing the power button. This happens at least 3 times a day. I NEVER had a single freeze problem when using Gutsy. Someone really dropped the ball on this latest Ubuntu release.

  39. matt

    I think that firefox 3 in beta mode was a step backwards for useability and market appeal, even though it was a logical step for LTS support.

    Ubuntu is fantastic, thanks to the comunity that develops it. However, yiou are creating a beast with mass market appeal, and the non techy consumer, business user and non technician absolutely, completely, NEEDS stability.


  40. Man, after reading these comments, it doesn’t make my Vista install look so bad. I thought Ubuntu was the holy grail everyone has been waiting for? At least Vista “just works”

  41. Hi Matt, got here from ubuntuforums and this post stirred me to comment. I was an ubuntu fanatic (kubuntu, actually) and Hardy killed my inner child.

    The upgrade to Hardy broke my computer (a Dell D630) and caused a few days lost work, which led to an OS search that caused another week of lost work. My fault, but hey, if the upgrade didn’t shake my confidence so badly, it wouldn’t have been necessary!

    My problem is that I want to run 64bit OS because I have 64bit computer. Archlinux also suffered a mystery upgrade incompatibility. It was enough of a learning curve to get to that point that I moved on.

    Nothing I did could get a working kubuntu install. I ended up back with ubuntu… a fresh install of hardy ubuntu x86_64 alternate had a fully working gnome desktop. Thankfully, apt-get install kubuntu-desktop now has me back to where I was before the Hardy upgrade started it all! 😉 There is one improvement: now sound works! Sweet.

    Sadly, I cannot suggest ubuntu to newbies and have switched my recommendation to PCLinuxOS. I tried it on my Sony dualcore SZ220 and everything worked on the first run. AND the OS is well configured in the default KDE install.

    IMHO, KDE desktop is intuitive for windows users and will probably be what enables businesses to take the leap of faith and abandon windows. Your aforementioned samba issues would be a deal breaker. Again, imho, samba should be one of the most important packages, as integrating in a windows environment is going to be required for businesses (like mine) to switch.

    🙂 Chris

  42. ‘The “Hardy Heron” desktop background is sweet, but at 1920×1200 resolution it looks a little fuzzy, as if it had to be scaled up. I would recommend creating a very high-res desktop and then downscaling it so that it’s always sharp, even at the highest resolution.’

    Isn’t SVG the best solution here? I’m pretty sure the Kubuntu backgrounds are SVG.

  43. I only get some text that says BusyBox… when I try to boot Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop CD. Back to Win XP again!

  44. When I upgraded I lost all of my sound and can’t for the life of me figure out how to get it back. Plus, CUPS will no longer print here in the office. I’ve tried to reinstall everything I needed to print before, yet nothing works.

    So, my upgrade has so far cost me both sound and the ability to print. Sucks…

  45. Clearly neither Tom nor yourself has tried to install any fonts yet.

    * -5 points if you drop to any terminal window,

    * -20 points if you invoke any command not available from an Ubuntu GNOME menu, and

    * +30 points if you can do it *at all* without destroying your computer’s ability to display any fonts at all and needing to reinstall the OS from CD.

    * -10 points if you ordered the CD you need at this point and it turned up in the mail in the last 2 weeks. That CD was made from a corrupt image. You lose.

    This POS is basically Ubuntu Vista. I wonder if they’ll have the balls to admit the scale of the cockup and post fixes through update-manager, or pretend it’s not screwed and wait until the next version.

  46. Server connections being effectively deleted is bad. Other than that my sound also stopped working (I still haven’t figured out why) and I don’t have the nice new desktop wallpaper (on my home machine – my work machine got the new wall paper). The server thing though is a real pain – I hope that type of thing does not happen again with a future upgrade. Overall though Ubuntu is great.

  47. For me Hardy has been a big disapointment I have used Ubuntu since edgy eft and have enjoyed the new features of each new installment. Over this time my hardware has not changed, however with Hardy I experienced greyed out frozen windows a plenty and system lockups with processor frozen at 100%. I installed more than once and I have very standard hardware all 2-3 yrs old with nVidia card. Hardy for me was unusable. I have now moved to Debian 4 and will never look back.

  48. I got the same FREEZING problem and is REALLY ANNOYING. Think you have got ten windows open in work and the machine freezes, not even the mouse moves nor giving the chance to restart KDE or get a console login with Ctrl+Alt+F#.
    Please fix this as soon as possible.
    !!! (Three exclamation marks)

    May 21, 2008 @ 1:52 am

    The main issue for me is the freezing problem. Out of the blue Hardy would freeze and I have to do a hard shut down by pressing the power button. This happens at least 3 times a day. I NEVER had a single freeze problem when using Gutsy. Someone really dropped the ball on this latest Ubuntu release.

  49. As it was mentioned in the article, gvfs replaced genome-vfs. I upgraded from Gutsy to Hardy instead of fresh install. Right now, in process list I see both gnome-vfs and gvfs running. Do I need to uninstall gnome-vfs, is it unnecessary? OR, is it kept for a reason?

  50. I too agree that Hardy was a major blunder from every perspective. Some changes are great and I understand that progress is necessary, but forcibly upgrading a browser to a beta version without asking the user first is down right stupid. I have had no end of trouble using Firefox 3.0 with some sites not resizing boxes correctly because FF3 changed their box handling to be the same as IE7 now. It has taken me two weeks to fix the many plugin issues by deleting my plugin cache file, etc. I doubt FF2 will run again and now I find out that Citrix Presentation Manager doesn’t work in FF3 it just crashes with a too many redirects error. I’m sorry, but this is a step back not forward. Don’t even get me started on the random segfaults I receive running virtualbox or the fact that I can’t even get VMware Server to run at all. Not to mention random segfaults from DBUS with NO explanation in the logs, it happens randomly without warning and then NetworkManager doesn’t work, my battery management doesn’t work!!!! Then to top it all off if I press the calculator button kded crashes and every time I close openoffice it crashes. Finally, to top it all, my wife’s computer was upgraded and now openoffce calc just shuts down for no reason. She goes to type and bam! Dead. This isn’t just bad for the reputation of Ubuntu/Kubuntu it’s a major disaster. I had a friend ask me about the new Ubuntu and I had to tell them not to upgrade it is still beta in my opnion. That was a few weeks ago, now my perspective it that it isn’t even alpha quality yet.

  51. I also had issues with 8.04 and smb but I solved the issue by installing smb4k. Now I can map my drives with no issues.

    Evolution 2.22.2 is giving me a headache I have to restart it almost every hour because it looses it connection to my exchange server. Contacts is unusable. This needs to work flawlessly if you and XP converts.

    I can’t print to Sharp Network Copiers the add printer wizard works great but when it prints nothing shows up at the printer. It installed my usb connected hp1012 without even asking me so that works great.

    Another thing that has helped me is installing VirtualBox OSE and running a virtual session of XP using the generic version. It does not work with the latest kernel release so you have to use an older version.

  52. i hav switched to heron after xp……i liked it it is my first linux operating system….but the biggest problem i hav faced till now is that there is no sound!!

  53. Here’s where HH lost me: I had Gutsy installed and running perfectly mostly using fluxbox yet all my media was linked to XMMS – which they dropped (M$-style) in favor of it’s ‘daemonic’ incarnation, XMMS2 (which really upon closer inspection has absolutely NOTHING to do with the original at all and all the harping about how wonderful it is to have it’s “CLIENT/SERVER MODEL”[read – there are NO decent clients for this huge memory-hogging-P.O.S.]). Ah: and I start a playlist in an xmms2 client and click close? Keeps playing. Nice. Or I try to load a directory into the playlist of another client and it expects me to hand-load EACH AND EVERY FILE ONE AT A TIME? again: Nice.

    That’d be sarcasm, XMMS2 people.

    Reading the comments above, I see what a mega-mistake I made at trusting the dev team at Ubuntu (and Gnome – which frankly I dislike and should have expected all of this from) to keep things simple. Evidently, compatibility with the latest glossy, plastic iPlayer hardware is more important that keeping an otherwise EXCELLENT operating system coherent, usable, stable and most of all, FUN for it’s users.

  54. In my opinion 8.04 LTS (long term support) is a hoax. Once Bill Gates approved of Ubuntu I
    was wondering whether the downfall is close and it certainly seems to be. The network manager is full of bugs, in particular I played for a number of days trying to set up wireless on my IBM T30, after I installed ndiswrapper1.53 the network manager is frozen, it does not allow any more changes and in particular all connections are permanently set to off. The ethernet works by default even though it is checked as being off in the network manager box. What a disappointment, I am at the moment looking into other options, namely switching to another, more serious linux distribution. The “support” is weak and far from long-term. What I am allergic to is hypocrisy and ubuntu linux has unfortunately become a toy for the rich with brand new hardware produced by brand names. There is NO humanity for the people in the project anymore.

  55. I met some serious issues using gutsy. 1. can’t capture sound from mic, 2. can’t install latest vmware and use it with sound 3. can’t work with two or more apps using sound at the same time. 4. sometimes there is no sound at all 5. if you don’t do some googling and tweaking with use of terminal of course you’ll have to live with issues no. 3 and 4, for there is no update that automatically solve these problems 6. my monitor refresh rate isn’t recognize properly any more (flawlessly worked on gutsy) 7. the newest kernel update broke my gnome shutdown/logoff functionality – after the update exit acted like logoff. 8.even if you have latest kernel installed and running you still need the previous one to be present because of the lack of proper nvidia driver. 9. if I install my tv/fm tuner card (it uses cx8800 and cx88xx kernel modules) in hardy as oposed to gutsy, feisty and so on, I’ll get Line-in volume up and unmute both during the startup and the shutdown of the os. it sucks so much, and man this is annoying. no scipt doing amixer Line 0 or mute or anything like that at system shutdown work. I don’t think it’s because of the kernel modules, I think pulse audio is also responsible here. or maybe I’m wrong because… 10. scanning channels as usual using tvtime does give a result in which a half of the channels I could watch using gutsy are excluded – they aren’t even found by the scanner. but there’s more. 11. kdetv doesn’t recognize my tv tuner any more, though it did that but on gutsy and earlier version of ubuntu.
    12. till now you can’t install latest vmware in hardy. this is problem and fixing it with “you can install older version” isn’t the answer. the answer is: why the hell vmware server is present in hardy repos while there is no way to install it on hardy?
    13. finally, why the repo is called stable when there are quite maney packages that you can’t install because of the broken dependencies?
    sheesh, this may make you mad.
    well anyway, after I found that it is senseless to have skype, teamtalk or any other instant voice messaging software when you can’t simply capture anything using your mic and after the recovery of that the hardy doesn’t let you use tv/fm tuner hardware any more I didn’t have any option but to switch back to gutsy. now I’ll wait year or so, like I did when I was migrating from feisty to gutsy, until hardy will become __really__ finished and usable (at least when it comes to my expectations).

  56. I’m sory it should state “I met some serious issues using HARDY…” and NOT gutsy (gutsy work like a charm for me).

  57. gosh, and I double mentioned that vmware problem. sorry for that too, and if I’m not understood it’s not your fault, it’s my English skills.

  58. Hi Matt

    At SMX advanced you asked if I had a blog. I now have a blog, and I’ve started a guide to installing Ubuntu!! It’s extremely simple, which, I believe is the niche we discussed. Ubuntu is so inaccessible to the inexperienced / intermediate Windows user. I’m not all the way through the posts but they’re coming along. If you ever get the chance to; could I suggest a post? Ask the audience: “What guidance wuold an new-to-Ubuntu user need?” So far I’m up to installing Compiz. Virtualbox next!

    Best regards,

    Richard Baxter

  59. I’m very sad but after WEEKS of anger, disillusion, and fighting with software and configuration files, I’m almost giving up. This release is a complete failure, at least for me. So many things are broken, I don’t even know where to start. The worst part is maybe audio, it wasn’t “multitasking” so I had to turn off VLC in order to get Youtube to produce sound. I tried removing pulse, installing esound, removing it and reinstalling pulse, never succeeded. Now it’s actually worse: flash audio NEVER works period. What about video! I almost went mad trying to get XVideo working, I got it but it’s still flickering only when windowed (I use Compiz). With previous Ubuntu versions I could rotate the freaking cube and accelerated video was still playing on a cube face, in perspective, FLAWLESSLY. Dead fracking broken. Every single program seems to gray out if it’s working for more than 3 seconds, giving an impression of instability, like it’s crashed. Sometimes it’s not; unfortunately sometimes it IS – don’t know how many times I had to force exit the damn Firefox 3, even if no more beta!
    I was a HUGE Ubuntu fan, now I find myself hating it, screaming at it, going crazy everytime i need to do the simplest things. The last one: automatic Xorg update destroyed my screen, giving me a white unresponsive desktop. I had to reinstall the whole fglrx xorg thing. Screw this.
    I had planned to stay home tonight, I’m going out. At least Ubuntu Hardy will improve my social life.

  60. One more thing: this post should be renamed to something like “73 annoyances in hardy”, or even “an unbelievable shitload of SEVERE annoyances in hardy”. How about that.

  61. Yes i am also facing problems in update Manager, every time it ask me to update the system and after updating the system the same question again …

    But ubuntu is great because its free OS.

  62. Here’s the latest: I’m unable to play DVDs. Windows 98 with VLC would be up and running in 10 seconds.

  63. Peter De Maeyer

    I couldn’t agree more: Hardy is worse than Gutsy, and even though I’ve been a huge fan of Linux, the fact that Hardy has rendered 2 out of 3 of my PCs useless is a shame. A list of issues:

    1. Dell Latitue D800 laptop rendered useless after recent update, any key stroke or mouse click takes ages to invoke any kind of reaction. I’m facing a huge challenge with the Gutsy live CD to try and get this one right.

    2. Floppy disk access doesn’t work on Hardy (it does on Gutsy). Sure, floppies are ancient history, but sometimes I need them as boot disk for firmware upgrades and BIOS updates and stuff.

    3. Wireless freezes the PC with blinking keyboard leds (to be honest: I don’t know if Gutsy would do any better).

    One thing that has actually improved in Hardy: mplayer. The package maintainers must have done something right to the compile flags (actually, I rather think they messed up in Gutsy). It used to play HD movies sluggish on Gutsy, outputting messages like “your system is too SLOW to play this” (on a Core 2 Duo no less, go figure), but now on Hardy they play smooth as hell.

    With 2 out of 3 systems down I’m so frustrated with Hardy right now…

    Looks like Ubuntu is over it’s peak going downhill from here…

  64. I to have had probs with Hardy:

    1. My external drive mounted once when asked to input my pw thru the policy manager – after that it no longer worked.

    2. After updates – the system would freeze on bootup- finally found out it was just freezing due to klogd as I stopped that and the bootup continued on.

    3. rc.local wouldn’t run my custom script at the right time.

    4. system monitor quit on me – well it would startup once on login – then it wouldn’t anymore, just a quick blink then once clicking it more than then 3 times or so it would try to startup but fade out with the process still running – logging out and back in just repeated the process, etc..


    The above issues made me go back to Gutsy 🙂 so far very few if any issues with Gutsy – non are major.. of course all the probs i had were in gnome – I went back to kubuntu 7.10 – i was going to try 7.10 gnome but I forgot I gave all the CDs away and didn’t want to download an iso, – dialup..

    Alas on other issues Ubuntu needs to think of dialup users like kubuntu – they don’t inlcude gnome-ppp by default :/ unlike kubuntu where they include kppp. 🙂

  65. Your readers may be interested in the comments about Hardy – as can be seen at Mark Shuttleworth’s post at:

    The post is named “Ubuntu’s role in bug management for the whole free software stack”. And lots of people are unhappy that this version is so poorly executed.

    Your readers may also want to learn some more about Ubuntu Linux by watching some sample Ubuntu Linux training videos at:

    You can have a look at the free Ubuntu Linux book blog and see an Ubuntu Linux book being developed – daily.

    And you can comment on this book and help develop its progress!

    Thanks for the post!

    Clyde Boom,
    The Easy Linux Training Guy 😉 – Easy, self-paced Linux training – in Plain English!

  66. Hardy locks up my computer all the time forcing me to do a hard reset. I have no such issues with Gutsy. I’ve found so many posts on the Internet from people having the exact same issue. How could they have let this go through? Why is it not fixed yet? I love Ubuntu and have been using it for years, but I am severely disappointed by this release. FF3 is buggy as hell as well.

  67. I am a Ubuntu desktop user and Ubuntu server admin, so I do love my Ubuntu, but I hate that setting up a multi-button mouse has to be as hard as it is. That and dual monitor support is somewhat lame. When the Ubuntu team finally fixes these issues, I will be a happy camper.

  68. hardcore_ubuntu_fan

    My annoyances:
    1. Internal mic doesn’t work
    2. Internal 56k modem doesn’t work
    3. Webcam doesn’t work(except in Skype)

  69. I am using Hardy Heron, Here is a list of things that don’t work…

    1. Sound can only be used one way (play/record) at a time. If you have 2 soundcards it isn’t as bad, but you can wipe away all dreams of using MMSSTV under Wine…

    2. And don’t get me started on Wine, I have about a 97 percent failure rate, click on a Wine program, and you’re dumped at the log in screen as often as a candle flame is hot. If I’m really lucky, it might work, but kiss anything related to the Windows Video Subsystem the he-double-tooth-picks goodbye (which means no Virtualdub 🙁

    3. I bought a cheapo LCD monitor from Wal*Mart, For a few months I was able to run it at its crisp 1400×1050 native resolution. Thing is, this monitor is a piece of slant-eye junk that underrates itself for a whopping resolution of 1280×768…yecch,,, So I have to use a backup CRT monitor to trick it into going into the proper mode. This is too much like DRM..

    And the standard age-old annoyances are never fixed: copy text, close app, lose what you typed…if even so much of a pixel of a file icon collides with the Network Servers thing in the sidebar, the whole system freezes for 20 seconds…a PSP that takes less than one fourth of a second to view files on Windows XP takes 7 whole seconds on Ubuntu (yes, I timed it, it sucks when you’re testing programs and have to keep mounting it to copy a newly compiled version over)…

    by the way, if you get an upgrade for GVFS,

    DON’T CLICK IT!!! I M E A N I T!!!

    Upgrading GVFS and gvfs-backends will BRICK, yes, B R I C K (that is, render permanently inoperable) your trashcan, forcing you to surf the internet to find out where the trash is so you can rm the files.

  70. I agree with the above. I too love Ubuntu. I went from experimenting with Breezy to running with Dapper. I had two networked machines sharing a dial-up internet connection working fine. Just a few problems with some video formats. I checked out Hardy, expecting it to be a smoothe and empowering move. I came unstuck. I couldn’t get the networking to run again, and a host of other annoying little bugs.

    I put Dapper back.

    Then came 8.04.1.
    I’ve just tried it again.

    It has got into a mode where the screen is bigger than the display. Bits of it come into view as the mouse reaches the end of the screen.

    I cannot find a way to change this behaviour.

    I gave up on Red Hat 6 years ago because of the lack of transparency in editing ‘xconf’ etc!
    I do not want to spend hours trying to figure that out again.

    I’m going back to Dapper again!