Updated home workstation to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

I updated my home workstation / server to Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’. It wasn’t the worst upgrade ever, but did take me several hours beyond what I had planned. I’m pleased with the end result, however. I never even bothered with Unity, though. Sticking with the Gnome 2 classic desktop.

The main problem I ran into was the X11 configuration for my two-monitor setup. It’s based on a GeForce 7600 GS card, configured with TwinView for a single 3840×1080 desktop. After the upgrade, the desktop was seriously hosed – I’m not sure I can even describe it. The left monitor was blank, the right monitor had the gnome-panel at the top but was completely unresponsive. I could move the mouse seemlessly across both screens, but it didn’t seem to register clicks, the apps that were running were nowhere to be seen. After multiple reboots, I finally figured out that if I moved the mouse to the left screen (which displayed nothing), it registered clicks on what was displaying on the right screen, offset by a half monitor width. Very strange, obviously unusable.

Not sure it was entirely related, but there was also some issues with the (new?) ‘nouveau‘ driver for my nvidia card, conflicting with the proprietary nvidia drivers I had previously installed. The x-server was running, but not correctly, so it was really not obvious what was going on. In the end, I had to uninstall all the drivers and start over from scratch with a fresh generic X11 config, and tune it up from there. I’m back to using the nvidia proprietary drivers, that seems to be working reliably so I’m not gonna mess with it.

A few other niggling problems: Pidgin randomly gets into a state where it takes 100% CPU until I kill it. TweetDeck couldn’t load my profile data until I removed some directory (didn’t bother to find out exactly what it was about): rm -rf ~/.appdata/Adobe/AIR/ELS.

On the whole it seems to be a bit snappier, but maybe that’s just because I didn’t have TweetDeck (total resource pig on Linux) running for a while. I’m tempted next time around (11.10?) to do a fresh install instead of an upgrade. Perhaps by then I’ll have some new hardware…