check list of annoyances

Albert albert at
Wed Apr 5 02:24:44 UTC 2006

This mail is intended for k/ubuntu GNU/Linux developers.

I have been using kubuntu 5.4 and then 5.10 in a production environment since 
July 2005. Congratulations, the system holds very well compared to every 
other GNU/Linux distribution I've tried. Although most of what I'm listing 
below belongs to bug reports already, I would like to bag it all in a check 
list form in which, I hope, every element can be slashed in Dapper, if anyone 
has information on any of the issues listed.

System: PowerBook version 3.5, 1GHz processor, 512 MB SDRAM.
I have the system up to date with apt-get dist-upgrade.

1) - konqueror crashes when closing the last tab.

2) - konqueror erases my writing in the URL field when opening a new tab, so I 
end up with half-written URLs or a locate: that tries to find whatever was 
typed after the erasing. Very annoying. (bug #35495)

2) - Adept crashes when listing again, after finishing an apt-get install or 
an apt-get update. This behavior started after a kernel update.

3) - After locking the system with control+alt+l, I get 2 login windows: one 
disappears quickly and catches me at half typing the password, the other one 
that follows doesn't have any of the chars I typed in it. Very annoying. (Bug 

4) - One cannot run OpenGL applications over an ssh -X session, if the server 
machine is not a powerpc as well. This issue may have to do with Xorg itself. 
The issue is, to me, a serious limitation, because Blender renderings are 
computationally very expensive and are most conveniently done in a remote 
powerful headless machine. Also a point in favor of other distributions that 
use XFree such as yellowdoglinux which do not have this limitation. Happens 
on Dapper as well, at least in the flight-5 (bug #27459)

5) Xorg grows in memory usage (at least as reported in a top command), and so 
do many other KDE-related applications (gam_server, kded, kwin, kicker, ...), 
with the end result that one needs to reboot the machine once a week. I am 
used to never reboot my machine.

6) Some web pages in konqueror print an infinite number of pages when printing 
to a PDF file. One such pages was wikipedia's as of 2006-01-08 at 11:36 Los 
Angeles time. (bug #28218)

7) The updatedb runs without checking whether the laptop is on battery. 
Considering it consumes a good deal of the battery, updatedb should never run 
while on battery. (bug #28918)

8) Konserve crashes when the target backup directory is a USB pen accessed 
through the media protocol. Very bad news that a backup tool is not reliable. 
(bug #35252)

9) The screen resolutions listed in the System Settings are not in agreement 
with the ones listed in the xorg.conf, and when adjusted, the resolution 
cannot be setup to the proper one specified in the xorg.conf unless one 
manually erases proper configuration files in the ~/.kde/ folder. (bug 

10) There is no easy way to plug in an external monitor. I had to battle with 
xorg.conf to figure it out myself, with the help of the webpage . Still 
the system is less than ideal, since one has to have booted with the external 
monitor plugged in. Then the desktop does not resize back, unless one opens a 
new session. Logout/login doesn't work, because the session settings are 
somehow preserved in the login splash screen.

11) There is no clear, integrated way of visualizing videos. Some videos work 
with VLC, some with kaffeine, some with mplayer. It's a time consuming and 
annoying experience to figure out which application will not crash or hang 
with a given video.

12) The image preview in Konqueror, through gwenview, shows yellow-tinted 
images when zoomed out, and blue-tinted images when zoomed in. Very annoying 
and deterring for newcomers.

13) Firefox is at version 1.0.7, which barely holds together. I'd rather use 
konqueror, but Firefox has very interesting plugins (mostly for version 1.5) 
which I believe are of general interest to Ubuntu users.

Then my personal wishlist, in fact limitations that keep me binded, today, to 
non-free operating systems:

1) - GCC java (gcj) 4.0.2 and 4.1 don't run properly non-leading edge, 
AWT-targeted java applications such as the Image analysis program ImageJ, 
even after removing code related to the tools.jar and JPEG. The application 
seg faults at the simplest command.

2) - There is no graphics application that can use CMYK as easy and integrated 
as Adobe Photoshop does. Considering in developmental biology research every 
piece of data is an image that has to be printed in a journal, CMYK is a 
requirement. Good enough mac-on-linux works very well, and provides a 
temporary fix.

3) - There is no easy way to manage wireless connections. The System Settings 
don't do what one understands from the Network panel. Plus one can only 
access 'keymode open' networks, no WPA.

Finally, just a remark: Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux system, not a Linux system. What 
makes Ubuntu a fantastic operating system has way more to do with GNU than 
with Linux. Why this subtlety is important has been stated over and over by 
Richard Stallman from the FSF, and has to do with the long-term implications 
of the freedom and power the user has over the system.

I can only wish Dapper will address the highest possible number of the issues 
above. From here I would like to thank the developers, bug reporters, testers 
and the Ubuntu people in general for all the time they have dedicated to the 


Albert Cardona
Molecular Cell Developmental Biology
University of California Los Angeles
Tel +1 310 2067376
Web design:

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