Sunday, 24 April 2011

Ubuntu Unity Fail on AMD Athlon

What Unity should look like...
So the saga continues. My countdown banner tells me we've less than six days to go to release and Ubuntu users around the globe are still having issues with this Unity thing.

Since this is supposed to be the next generation user interface and the Great White Hope of turning Ubuntu Linux into something attractive, stylish and functional, drawing the crowds away from Mac OS and Windows 7, there's a lot riding on this. Straight into a ditch...
So according to the previous post, we got Unity working in VirtualBox in its' full glory with no intervention.


Sadly on real hardware, the story is less than impressive. 11.04's device management and xorg set-up just can't hack it. Here's how it went on the elderly, but functioning AMD Athlon. Everything works fine with an Ubuntu 10.10 Live DVD and the Gnome 3 DVD.
  • The Beta-1 booted into 11.04 with Gnome desktop. No sign of unity. We've been here before.
  • Update Manager immediately broke. The 'held packages' messages didn't bode well.
  • I forced both apt-get update and upgrade.
  • On reboot, it hangs. No X session. Nothing
  • So, reboot into Recovery mode.
  • It won't boot.
    Won't boot into recovery mode?!?!
  • Power down and restart. I get a grub menu, I try all the options.
  • In short order, both mouse and keyboard drop out either before or at the GDM login screen. Something is going on with xorg and the graphical x-server.
  • I've got three keyboards and four mouses. I try them all. Nothing. Jack.
  • If you try the Recovery menu option, for Failsafe graphics, you get that little bit further to the Confirmation dialog. Same issue - no mouse or keyboard. You can't confirm to get any further.
  • Now I'm cycling around intermittent and inconsistent faults.
  • I pass through a bizarre set of invalid chipset found messages.
  • Sometimes it goes into tty1, lets you log in and try a startx command, then it crashes.
  • All in all, no X-11.
  • While I'm waiting for reboots, I'm scanning forums for solutions. I'm trying all the obvious ones and now I'm hacking xorg.conf files in the hope of getting something going. Nothing.
So I finish a fruitless evening with less working than when I started. Another Unity update has broken things worse than before and nothing works!

I bet Mark Shuttleworth doesn't have this trouble. This doesn't look good for mass up-take.  RC

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