Upgrading to Ubuntu Gutsy

I got round to upgrading my desktop system to Gutsy today. I’d upgraded my laptop the previous week, so was not expecting much in the way of problems.

I’d done the original install on my desktop back in the Warty days, and the root partition was a bit too small to perform the upgrade. As there was a fair bit of accumulated crud, I decided to do a clean install. Things mostly worked, but there were a few problems, which I detail below:

Dual Head Configuration

With previous releases, I was using the Radeon driver’s MergedFB mode, as it gives a better user experience than the traditional Xinerama code (3D acceleration on both heads, better performance, etc). After moving adding the MergedFB options to xorg.conf, I was just getting the same image cloned on both displays.

Looking at the X server log file, there was a message saying that MergedFB support had been removed in favour of RandR 1.2 support. And it was possible to get dual head working with the xrandr command line tool:

xrandr --output VGA-0 --right-of DVI-0

It was good to know that dual-head still worked, but I didn’t want to reconfigure this every time I restarted the machine. I didn’t find much information on how to configure the initial RandR configuration on the X.org website, but did find a useful guide on the Intel Linux Graphics website. While the guide was aimed at the Intel driver, it had enough information to get things configured for the Radeon driver. The main difference was in the naming of the outputs. Below is a an excerpt of my configuration file that configures things the way I had them previously:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200 SE]"
        Driver          "ati"
        BusID           "PCI:1:0:0"
        Option          "monitor-DVI-0" "Sony SDM-S74 [1]"
        Option          "monitor-VGA-0" "Sony SDM-S74 [2]"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Sony SDM-S74 [1]"
        Option          "DPMS"
        HorizSync       30-65
        VertRefresh     50-75
        Option          "LeftOf"        "Sony SDM-S74 [2]"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Sony SDM-S74 [2]"
        Option          "DPMS"
        HorizSync       30-65
        VertRefresh     50-75
EndSection

Section "Screen"
        Identifier      "Default Screen"
        Device          "ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200 SE]"
        Monitor         "Sony SDM-S74 [1]"
        DefaultDepth    16
        SubSection "Display"
                Modes           "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
                Virtual         2560 1024
        EndSubSection
EndSection

I had originally tried setting the VGA monitor to be “RightOf” the monitor connected to the DVI, but that left me with the desktop in clone mode. The main difference I’ve noticed with this configuration compared to my previous one is that the GDM login prompt displays on the right hand head (VGA) rather than the left hand head (DVI).

Window Shadows Don’t Render

Desktop Effects were enabled by default after the install (and on the live CD). While some effects seemed to work, the shadows on the panel and drop down menus were rendered as opaque grey boxes around the windows. I ended up just disabling the effects to clear up the problem.

This bug had already been reported as bug 141304 (which may be the same as bug 116808).

Firefox Crashes on Startup

When I tried to start firefox, it would momentarily display a window and then crash. This appears to be bug 133124, and seems to only occur on AMD64 systems. The problem appears to be in the ubuntulooks theme engine, and switching to a different control theme makes the problem go away, but hopefully it’ll get fixed for the final release.

Problems Rendering Ligatures in Firefox

The problems rendering ligatures in firefox seem to be back again. This problem was never really fixed, but was worked around by removing the ligature table entries from the DejaVu fonts. With the ligature table entries back, the symptoms have returned. This is bug 37828.

Manic Times

When I got back from Florida, I found a copy of the Manic Times in the mail. It seems that I received the copy because I used to be subscribed to The Chaser back when it was a newspaper. The newspaper is being edited by Charles Firth, who was the US correspondent in the last series of The Chaser’s War on Everything.

The content is fairly different to what was published in The Chaser, in that they are nominally true. That said, they are written from a non-mainstream point of view. The issue I received seemed to focus on the recent APEC conference and related security measures (which appear to have been fairly poor).

I haven’t yet decided whether to subscribe, but the online subscription form thoughtfully includes “Governor-General”, “Deputy Vice-President”, “The Right Hon”, “Queen” and “Archbishop” in the dropdown list of titles to pick from – something that most likely inconveniences people on other web sites.

In Florida

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This week I am in Florida for a Launchpad sprint. I was meant to arrive on Sunday night, but I fell asleep in the boarding lounge and missed the San Francisco → Orlando flight (the flight out of Perth was an early morning one, and I didn’t get enough sleep on the plane). The earliest alternative fligh was the same time the next day, so I ended up ariving on Monday night.

I can’t say I was impressed with United’s customer service though. I was directed to the customer service centre in the airport and queued up behind about 10 other people. After a short while, the one staff member at the desk announced that her shift was over and that her replacements would not be arriving for another hour. It seems like really bad management to leave the desk unattended for an hour, particularly when they knew that there were people waiting.

They had a bunch of check-in computers which were supposed to let you change your flight details, so I gave one of these a try.  Unfortunately, the computers directed me to pick up the phone to talk to a representative, and the representative ended up directing me to talk to someone at the customer service centre.  After waiting for the next shift, things got sorted out okay though, which was good.

This was also my first experience with SSSS screening.  In fact I got to experience it twice: once when checking in for the flight I missed, and again for the later flight.  On my way back to Australia, I’ll have two more flights leaving from US airports so it’ll be interesting to see what happens then.

Canonical Shop Open

The new Canonical Shop was opened recently which allows you to buy anything from Ubuntu tshirts and DVDs up to a 24/7 support contract for your server.

One thing to note is that this is the first site using our new Launchpad single sign-on infrastructure. We will be rolling this out to other sites in time, which should give a better user experience to the existing shared authentication system currently in place for the wikis.

Bazaar bundles as part of a review process

In my previous article, I outlined Bazaar‘s bundle feature. This article describes how the Bazaar developers use bundles as part of their development and code review process.

Proposed changes to Bazaar are generally posted as patches or bundles to the development mailing list. Each change is discussed on the mailing list (often going through a number of iterations), and ultimately approved or rejected by the core developers. To aide in managing these patches Aaron Bentley (one of the developers wrote a tool called Bundle Buggy.

Bundle Buggy watches messages sent to the mailing list, checking for messages containing patches or bundles. It then creates an entry on the web site displaying the patch, and lets developers add comments (which get forwarded to the mailing list).

Now while Bundle Buggy can track plain patches, a number of its time saving features only work for bundles:

  1. Automatic rejection of superseded patches: when working on a feature, it is common to go through a number of iterations. When going through the list of pending changes, the developers don’t want to see all the old versions. Since a bundle describes a Bazaar branch, and it is trivial to check if one branch is an extension of another though, Bundle Buggy can tell which bundles are obsolete and remove them from the list.
  2. Automatically mark merged bundles as such: the canonical way to know that a patch has been accepted is for it to be merged to mainline. Each Bazaar revision has a globally unique identifier, so we can easily check to see if the head revision of the bundle is in the ancestry of mainline. When this happens, Bundle Buggy automatically marks them as merged.

Using these techniques the list of pending bundles is kept under control.

Further Possibilities

Of course, these aren’t the only things that can be done to save time in the review process. Another useful idea is to automatically try and merge pending bundles or branches to see if they can still be merged without conflicts. This can be used as a way to put the ball back in the contributors court, obligating them to fix the problem before the branch can be reviewed.

This sort of automation is not only limited to projects using a mailing list for code review. The same techniques could be applied to a robot that scanned bug reports in the bug tracker (e.g. Bugzilla) for bundles, and updated their status accordingly.