Hello bleeding edge

Volume 9, Issue 19; 19 Feb 2006; last modified 08 Oct 2010

In a flight of fancy, or folly, I've switched to the Ubuntu “unstable” distribution, “Dapper”.

I've been running Ubuntu very happily for about five months now. I started with “Breezy” just before it became the stable release, I think, and I've been running it ever since without any problems. But recently, I've wanted more recent versions of a couple of things than appear in the stable distribution so, in a flight of fancy, or folly, I've switched to the Ubuntu “unstable” distribution, “Dapper”.

Just about everything changed, but at the same time, nothing really changed. Dapper feels a bit “snappier”, but I'm prepared to believe that's just my mind playing tricks on me. I've had a few small troubles:

  • Using my old X Windows configuration (from stable's X.Org 6.x), the 7.x version of X.Org wouldn't display on my external monitor. It looked like the sync wasn't quite right. Running X with the -configure option and then tinkering a bit seems to have fixed it.

  • Also related to X.Org, I don't think the Synaptics touchpad driver is available, but I can't stand touchpads (mine is disabled in the BIOS), so I don't care. The Wacom drivers also don't seem to be available, but I can live without the tablet for a while. In fact, I rarely use it.

  • The Thinkpad kernel module isn't available, and the version in the current thinkpad-source package doesn't compile with the 2.6.15 kernel installed by Dapper.

    I installed the linux-source-2.6.15 package, built it with the distributed kernel's configuration, grabbed the most recent Thinkpad module sources from Sourceforge, and built them. Problem solved.

  • The only problem that's really troubling me is related to MySQL. Under Dapper, the /var/run/mysqld directory is only readable by the mysql user and the root group. That means that applications run by ordinary users (like my DSPAM setup) can't read the mysql.sock file to access MySQL.

    I fix this by manually running chmod 775 /var/run/mysqld after rebooting. But if that's the right answer, I'd like to have it happen automatically (without resorting to my own hacks in /etc/init.d). And if it's not the right answer, I'd like to know what is the right answer.

But in general, “Dapper” seems to be running fine. I'm still thinking I'll replace the whole thing with OpenSolaris eventually.

(Perhaps I spoke too soon. My attempt to format this essay failed. After a little digging about, it appears that I can no longer initialize a Java VM with 512M of memory. But 384M works and is plenty. I wonder why 512M worked under stable but doesn't under Dapper?)


You shouldn't need to build the thinkpad kernel module, as the ibm-acpi module covers most of the functionality and rolls it into the generic ACPI stuff. Unless of course you are using some of the less-common functionality, but a stock Dapper has everything working out of the box for me (T40p and X22)

—Posted by Ross Burton on 20 Feb 2006 @ 03:06 UTC #

I'm reasonable sure that tpctl complained about the missing thinkpad module, but perhaps I don't need tpctl anymore either?

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 20 Feb 2006 @ 03:16 UTC #

Despite being named xfree86-driver-synaptics, this driver is both for xfree86 and xorg. See http://packages.ubuntu.com/dapper/x11/xfree86-driver-synaptics and http://web.telia.com/~u89404340/touchpad/


—Posted by Matej Cepl on 20 Feb 2006 @ 03:49 UTC #

Indeed, the thinkpad module appears to be unnecessary. As I said, tpctl needs it, but I don't actually use tpctl. The important functionality (tpb and suspend/resume) seem to work fine just fine with the stock ibm_acpi module. Cool.

There's still something funky going on with the ability to switch between the LCD and an external CRT, but running the console in 80x25 mode and restarting X seem to fix it. Still, I hope it gets better. I used to be able to start my laptop with no CRT connected, Ctrl+Alt+F1 to the console, plug in the CRT, Fn+F7 to toggle to the external CRT, and then Alt-F7 to get back to X and it all just worked. When I do that now, the external monitor doesn't seem to sync in X, or maybe X isn't driving it?

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 22 Feb 2006 @ 02:29 UTC #