I don’t think I’ll be a Linux convert anytime soon.

I just lost an entry I was working on due to Firefox locking up so badly that I had to completely power off the laptop to get things back to normal. The reason it locked up? I accidentally managed to press CTRL-S and brought up the “Save Page As” file requester and when I clicked the Cancel button to dismiss that window it opted to totally fuck the OS instead of just closing back up and going away like it would on any other reasonable OS. That’s just dumb. There’s no excuse for that. Canceling a file requester should never totally lock up your system.

Whatever mojo it takes to run Linux in a stable fashion is apparently beyond my reach. I’ve managed to get things to a point where I only have to worry about applications quitting for no apparent reason as opposed to the whole system crashing for no apparent reason and I’ve been able to live with that fairly well, but when the system locks up because I canceled a file requester… I dunno. That just seems like asking a bit much.

I’ve been working on a project here at work converting the Internet kiosks we have set up for the folks out on the floor from Windows to Ubuntu. Recently someone pointed out that there’s some profiles for Kubuntu that would do most of the work for me so I downloaded the latest version (8.10) and installed it on the test machine I’ve been using. It installed fine, but when you login it never makes it through the whole login process without locking up completely. It starts showing the little icons starting with the hard drive and then as it’s fading the others in it just stops. If I install the previous version (8.04) it seems to let me login just fine. Does that make any sense to anyone? I’d expect that sort of problem if we were going from version 8 to version 9 or version 10, but we went up by .6 of a version number. That’d be like if you were running Windows XP and then installed Service Pack 2 and your system no longer let you login. Actually it’d be like you wiped the hard drive and installed Windows XP with Service Pack 2 already in it and it refused to let you login cause I did a clean install of 8.10 of Kubuntu. Hell, it seems like you’re rolling the dice just letting the system updater run.

And a lot of this is just my frustration venting at the moment. I don’t have a choice here at work. I’m going to have to work with this OS like it or not so I’ll sit down and pour through the dozens of log files in /var/logs and see if I can figure out which one might tell me what the fuck is going on and try to learn something, but I’m really starting to hate Linux. Or at least Ubuntu. Stupid shit happens that doesn’t make any damned sense on stuff that should be rock solid and trying to find out what’s going on and why is exceedingly difficult. It shouldn’t be that way. This is supposed to be the better OS.

12 thoughts on “I don’t think I’ll be a Linux convert anytime soon.

  1. Les,
    Sorry to hear about your ongoing issues with Ubuntu.

    Going from 8.04 to 8.10 in Ubuntu is somewhat like going to 8 to 9 in other versioning systems.  The 8 just stands for the last part of the year the version was released in (2008) and the 4 and 10 are just the month (April and October). The version numbers don’t imply any degree of change between version #‘s, just the length of time between releases.

    8.04 is an LTS release, meaning that they’ll be supporting it (ie. providing security patches, etc) for 3 years, as opposed to non LTS versions which only get support for a year and a half (I think).  So… my personal unrequested advice would be that unless you have a need or desire to be on the cutting edge (and all that that comes with), stay with 8.04 for a while.  8.10 JUST got released, so it’s going to be a bit buggy, just like 8.04 was six months ago.

  2. Hey, Les,

    On a barely/somehwat associated topic…everytime I come into this ‘post comments’ section of this site I get a “runtime error-do you wish to debug?” window. I have to hit the ‘no’ button 15-25 times before it passes me completely to this point.

    It happens occasionally that the ‘do you wish to debug’ window appears, but no other places do I have to press the ‘no’ button more than once.

    Is there something simple I am missing?

    This is the second computer I have used to access your site-using XP and IE.

    Oh and so as not to be a complete topic jumper..my local library uses Ubuntu exclusively and from what I hear they have relatively few problems with it.

  3. Les,

    Are you using the same computer each time to test Ubuntu or have you tried multiple computers?  You might have a bad piece of hardware somewhere in the thing that is causing all your problems.

    I’ve run several versions of Ubuntu and used it exclusively for long periods of time with little or no problems unless I start testing alpha/beta versions of software.  And for me it just gets more and more stable as time goes on.  I’ve had a few random lockups or crashes, but this is something that happens on Windows and Mac OS X as well.

    Another thing to consider is what software you are using.  Are you using just the standard Ubuntu software or are you using 3rd party software or extensions?  It might be that something else is causing all this trouble.

  4. Jon, I’m always up for advice. Solicited or otherwise. I wouldn’t know how much of an idiot I am if I didn’t have people telling me. wink

    James, not sure what’s going on there. Can you tell me which version of IE you’re using? I mostly use Firefox myself, but I keep a copy of Chrome, Safari, and IE 7 installed for testing purposes and all of them render the site just fine. I haven’t checked it with IE 5.5 or 6 recently though.

    Joey, I’ve got two different Thinkpad laptops at work both staged with 8.04 of Ubuntu. The one that I only touch occasionally is solid as a rock, the other one that I do most of my work on is flaky. We’ve tried swapping out what few components you can on a laptop (e.g. RAM, HD) to no avail. It’s a standard Ubuntu install with the only additions being 1) using EnvyNG to install the ATI graphics drivers (which is how I stopped the random system crashes) and 2) Flash for use with Firefox. Other than that the only installs have been the upgraded packages as the alert pops up.

  5. Les, I am using v 7.0.5730.13

    The whole of the error notice is

    “A runtime error has occurred.
    do you wish to debug?”
        Line: 1
        Error: Expected ‘;’

  6. Not that I know diddly squat about it, but perhaps Joey is right, and you have a hardware problem.  The only time I’ve ever had any problem with a Mac system is once about two years ago: my G4 crashed, and wouldn’t restart.  Eventually I had to wipe the disc, and it turned out that a sector was bad: probably from dust in the workshop.  Since then, no problems.

  7. James, I’ll check into it. There’s only a couple of minor scripts on the page, but it looks like one of them is choking your browser.

  8. For Firefox lockups I would say Flash is the culprit. It took me awhile to figure out which Flash to use with Ubuntu to get Firefox to stop crashing. I think what I finally did was not install flash after a clean re-install of Ubuntu. Open Firefox and go to Adobe.com, or a website that uses flash (a YouTube video should work too). Firefox will recognize it needs Flash and a wizard pops up. Click through and restart. I know I did a bunch of tinkering and can’t exactly remember, but I was able to fix the crashing.

    For login issue try…

    System->Preferences->Appearance->Visual Effects and set it to None.

    Sounds like this is the issue

    From link above try:


    sudo apt-get remove compiz compiz-core

    It appears there is some issue that is currently ongoing between Xorg, Compiz, and old Intel drivers.

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