Many, many serious problems with Ubuntu

Simos Xenitellis simos.lists at
Thu Jul 25 10:42:32 UTC 2013

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 6:20 AM, Dale Amon <amon at> wrote:

> I have held back from putting in this report for a very long time
> as my experience reading this list has led me to believe that no
> one will much care because Granny Would Never Do That and she
> certainly Would Never Know How to Do That.
> I have a Thinkpad W520. I have identical second screens, Acer's, at
> home and at work. The laptop moves back and forth with me and thus
> makes the transition back and forth twice a day. I use Mate for my
> work space. I can't stand Unity. Matter of taste and habits. I made
> my choice and it was to stay with what for me worked far better.
When I read comments that Unity is not nice, or in your case, "you cannot
stand Unity",
then I feel something is fundamentally wrong.
I feel that you have been influenced by the anti-Ubuntu/anti-Unity crowd,
and due to this, even if simple tasks somehow fail, you are not versatile
enough to adapt and change something.
I have been using computers for quite some time, and I tried a few
graphical environments.
It is doable to switch from one environment to another, as the basic
requirement is just to start applications.
A dislike for Unity is evidence for deeper issues.

> In order to use the VGA connector, I have the BIOS set to the Discrete
> Graphics Mode.

So you have a laptop with two graphics cards?
If one card is an NVidia, then you need bumblebee,
And you may need a recent version in case older versions have some bug.

> When I boot, one of three things happens:
>         * A blue screen of death before even the grub screen appears
>         * A large blinking cursor at the top left of a black screen
>           just after the grub screen selection is made.
>         * A successful boot where the large blinking cursor turns into
>           a small blinking cursor after some interval and then
>           it goes to the encryption password screen and the boot
>           suceeeds from there.
> In neither of the fault cases does the system print any state info
> or give me any diagnostics whatever. All of these problems existed with
> Oneiric and still existing with Raring.
> That is just one set of problems I include so that one might understand
> the further miseries.

Depending on which two graphics cards you have,
you need a recent X.Org so that both cards are supported.

> The second issue is that sometimes, on a whim, the screen manager will
> get confused. One of these cases happens if I connect the VGA connector
> to the closed laptop and fail to open the lid fast enough. In that case
> it decides the Acer is screen one and it makes it the primary screen.
> Opening the laptop at that point does nothing and the situation
> deteriorates
> from there. If you log out and back in again the screen manager misassigns
> things; it will not reset the sizes of either screen and attempts to do
> so result in a patchwork quilt on the laptop screen. The Acer screen
> remains
> dark. You cannot get out. A logout hangs even if you can manage it. If you
> try F2 to get to VT2, it hangs. Total hang, mouse cursor frozen. You have
> no choice but to kill the power.

Here you should mention whether you use the closed-source driver for the
discrete graphics card.
Ideally, a recent X.Org (and xrandr) should be OK.

> Once in this mode you have to find exactly the right sequence of
> spells to get it to do things right again. Often this means doing a total
> power down, including pulling the battery and shorting out the input pins
> to make sure no state is retained.
> The even worse case is the one that catches me out on a regular basis. I
> spend nearly as much time in a root virtual terminal as I do in a GUI.
> This has been my usual modus operandi for more years than most of you have
> been alive. Ain't gonna change and I nearly always forget that doing so
> arms a serious time bomb. If, as this evening, I walk of to the kitchen,
> get a cookie and something to drink, read an article in a magazine...
> when I come back the machine will have gone into a sleep state. If I
> were in the GUI, the sleep state would just mean I was in a screen saver.
> But if you are in the command line... it is death. You cannot get
> control back. The only choice is: kill the power.

"Root virtual terminal" is what we call the 'emergency console'
(Ctrl+Alt+F1)? When X.Org is not running?
This should not get stuck unless something goes really wrong on your
specific hardware.

> And that triggers a very bad situation. When you come back up and log
> in the GUI is screwed up royally. It has lost the second screen; it
> is confused about the resolution of either screen, any attempt to fix
> it causes a lock up... and to add insult to injury, it often has scrambled
> all the icons on your desktop, thinking it somehow knows better than you
> as to where you wanted them. It does not ask. It does not let yet say
> no. It just gives you the big one up the wazoo and says "See what I've
> done? Ha Ha!"
> Sometimes I can fix this through multiple cycles of total power down;
> sometimes I have been able to fix it by logggin in as root with Unity
> and using the terminal settings there to fix things ONE STEP AT A TIME.
> Turn off  "mirror" if it has set it; save the config. Then fix the
> resolution for the laptop screen. Save the config. Then set the resolution
> for the second screen and save it. Then log out as root, and if I am
> lucky, when I log back in as myself, my screens are correct. With my
> icons scrambled all over the frigging place, across the boundary
> between screens even, but at least I can work again.
> Total elapsed lost time to a typical incident? 1 to 2 hours to
> recover.
> I really am seriously annoyed and have been living with this since
> April 2012.
> This is not just one bug; I suspect there are quite a few getting
> tickled here and they are having a jolly good time at my expense.
> I now await the expected lecture, which I am not interested in, and
> perhaps, just perhaps, some kind soul who actually gives a damn about
> folk who have been using Linux for decades and expect certain things
> out of it.
What you are describing are issues specific with your hardware.
Here you need to provide detailed technical details, and the easiest way to
do so, is run

ubuntu-bug xorg

which will give you the opportunity to upload technical details to and assign a bug report number.
Then you can send the URL to the bug report here so that we can have a
These hardware issues are specific to the individual hardware that each one
of us have in their possession.
I have such a set up myself, but I do not get what you describe. Thus, your
hardware is different from mine (I also am running 13.10-development), and
that's most probably the culprit.

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