An Almost Smooth Upgrade to Ubuntu Linux 11.04

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Right, we all heard it! Ubuntu 11.04 is out, with the new Unity bundled. I was excited to hear the news and I rushed to run the upgrade on my PC at work, which luckily has an Nvidia graphics card. I can’t believe the upgrade took so long (around two hours) but in the end, seems like it was worthed.

Welcome to Unity, thought I.. Yeah, it was nice and shiny, smooth and all y’know, looked like Mac OS. I got tired of it after a few hours of usage, but promised myself I would ride it for a couple of weeks before switching back to the good old interface.

Together with a bunch of other software upgrades, came Firefox 4 and for some reason became the default browser without ever asking me! Yeah, nice.. but okay, where’s my Chromium? And Chromium keeps asking me whether to make it my default web browser every time I launch it, although I said “Yes” like a bizillion times.. Oh well, nothing’s perfect in the open source world ;) But wait, there’s more! I loved the upgrade I did at the office so much that I decided to carry it out on my home PC as well, so I did! Unfortunately, I did.

I got an ATI Radeon graphics card, which worked very well in versions 10.04 and 10.10, had all the desktop effects and 3d stuff, everything was working like a charm! So after my upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 I got the blank screen a couple of times, and the whole interface was lagging so bad, that I had to turn off all desktop effects including Unity, and actually switch back to the old desktop interface, although that didn’t help much either.

Anyhow, the usual bundle is still working: PHP, MySQL, Python, Django, Apache and Nginx and all the relevant. I’m thinking to upgrade my Ubuntu Server to the latest, but I guess I can wait ;)

So the bottom line here is — there’s always going to be new stuff and we’ll just have to adapt to it, this applies to Unity and the fact that we’re used to seeing our launched applications in a “taskbar” at the bottom of the screen. And don’t upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 just yet, if you’ve got an ATI card, unless you find somebody who successfully did ;) Cheers!

Update: If you’re running Unity on a different theme than the default, it looks and feels aweful, the window control buttons at the top left are awkward, so if you’re experiencing this go to Appearance and change your theme to Ambiance (I guess).

About the author

Konstantin Kovshenin

WordPress Core Contributor, ex-Automattician, public speaker and consultant, enjoying life in Moscow. I blog about tech, WordPress and DevOps.