Rocky Road to Ubuntu Artful Aardvark 17.10 Desktop

17.10 was officially released on Thursday, October 19th and the servers were apparently under load because it took over two hours to download the 1.3 GB iso.

I had a lot of difficulty installing it on two different computers as it would fail on grub install to /dev/dm-0.  If I was trying LVM which is my preferred disk partitioning, the installer would not let me go any further in completing the installation and I would have to reboot.  I then tried a standard 'Erase disk and Install Ubuntu', the installer would fail with the same /dev/dm-0 error but I could try to have it install someplace else but the okay button would fail but the option to continue without installing the boot loader would work so I was able to finish the installation, sans the bootload/grub system.

To fix this I would boot the live DVD and fix it from the desktop using the process at http://howtoubuntu.org/how-to-repair-restore-reinstall-grub-2-with-a-ubuntu-live-cd or install the boot-repair utility from the PPA (ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair) and use the boot-repair utility. (https://launchpad.net/~yannubuntu/+archive/ubuntu/boot-repair.)

Note:  I tried the Ubuntu-MATE 17.10 iso and it failed in the same way where I had to intall the grub boot loader post installation.

Another issue is the mounting the installation DVD post installation so that you can install packages.  What I found is that the DVD had to be mounted on /cdrom in order to install additional software.  On my system, it was a easy as 'mount /dev/sr0 /cdrom'.  Substitute sr0 for your DVD location.

By default, 17.10 using the Wayland display system which has its on set of problem because even some GNome applications such as Synaptic are not direclty Wayland compatible.  And for all I could do, I could not get my first install of 17.10 to play commercial DVD Movies; Had installed VLC, Movies, and Gxine, none would work.  VLC wouldn't even start, Movies was missing a DVD resource it couldn't find, and Gxine would start with a "blank" error screen.

Networking can be problematic if you do anything "special".  Under the covers it using a YAML based netplan architecture (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Netplan) but still uses NetworkManager as the default but NetworkManager is not fully implemented at this release and there a "local-link route" in the routing table that doesn't exist.

I mentioned earlier that a standard install only creates a single root / partition, no swap partition as such.  What it does do is create a "swapfile" in the root / partition and uses that as swap.  A LVM install will create a real swap partition during the installation.

What I finally did which works quite well was to install 17.04 using LVM partitioning on the computer, did the 'apt update && apt dist-upgrade' to make sure it was current, and then ran sudo update-manger which prompted me to upgrade to 17.10 which ran succesfully so now I have the best of all worlds, including the old Unity desktop on 17.10 as one of my session choices and VLC now plays my commercial DVD movies. http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/10/upgrade-to-ubuntu-17-10.

The process to get VLC turned out to be straight forward:  Install ubuntu-restriced-extras, then VLC, followed by apt install libdvd-pkg and finally dpkg-reconfigure libdvd-pkg.

I also tried doing a KVM Virtual Machine install which seemed to go okay but then it would hang on I find it hard to believe that Ubuntu release 17.10 with this installer bug present in both the Ubuntu Distribution and Ubuntu-MATE as tested and I tried on installing on two different computers with the same result.  I also tried doing a KVM Virtual Machine install which seemed to go okay but then it would hang on boot. 

I find it hard to believe that Ubuntu release 17.10 with this installer bug present in both the Ubuntu Distribution and Ubuntu-MATE as tested and I tried on installing on two different computers with the same result.  I also tried doing a KVM Virtual Machine install which seemed to go okay but then it would hang on booting, locked up, would have force power off, no joy there either.  I understand that someone was able to install it in VirtualBox and have it work.  My experience was not the same, I got the same result when installing 17.10 desktop to Virtualbox, fails on installing grub to /dev/dm-0 and no other choices work; have to force down and remove the installation.  This is a major problem if you can't install Ubuntu 17.10 on your system as a clean install.  This "bug" is documented at least in two places on the Ubuntu Launch pad: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/1724417 and this report was just moved to "confirmed" status with a high priority but unassigned for resolution.  Also https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub-installer/+bug/1722594.

Concerning VirtualBox on 17.10, I noticed that the version of Virtualbox available with 17.10 is 5.1.3, current version is 5.2 from Oracle.  The extension pack for 5.1.3 PUEL is available on the Oracle website and does install properly.

Xubuntu 17.10 (xfce): I installed this on 10/29/2017, same issues as with Ubuntu 17.10, including the install failure on /dev/dm-0.  The /dev/sr0 mount point needs to be /media/cdrom and you need to create the mount point as it does not exist.  My purpose in trying xfce was to see if I could get xRDP working from Windows and display my Linux desktop but so far I have not been able to get xRDP to work on any 17.10 version for accessing the Linux desktop.  Linux using Remmina works great including RDP to Windows 10 Desktop.  On the plus side, xfce is a "lightweight" desktop, works well, however it is not "newbie" friendly, a lot things have to be done at the command line.

Other notes:  I am experiencing system "hangs" were the system appears to lockup for an extended period of time; one time I just forced it off and restarted.  I am now careful what I run if running more than one application.  Also, 17.10 seems a lot slower on my laptop than the previous version; it takes a minute thirty seconds to get to the login screen and almost a full minute more to get to the desktop after logging in.  Applications are not robust to start.  In some ways 17.10 is "latest and greatest" and I suppose some problems are to be expected but the problems I have experience with 17.10 go way beyond the "expected."  This is not to say I am abandoning this 17.10 desktop laptop, it is a keeper, and I intend to learn from the experience.  Update: In preparing to do our meeting demo on desktop sharing, I am finding that Ubuntu 17.10 is very sluggish on performance, even opening the settings panel will take over a minute.  All this while runing on a laptop where I have installed previous versions of Ubuntu without any performance issues.

When setting up to do the demo at our November 21st meeting, it was discovered that plugging in the projection system to the vga port, the demo laptop running Ubuntu 17.10 would go to a black screen, making it unusable.  Did not see this coming!  Even trying to change the resolution on the laptop to 1280x1040 would result in a black screen, again unuseable.

I looked into this the next morning, and no amount of working with xrandr, arandr, or display settings would resolve the issue beyond forcing the resolution of the laptop to 1280X1040 but still plugging in an external monitor would result in a blackscreen.  This is all while using xorg  because many things don't work in wayland.

Moving to Wayland as the desktop display system, I did discover that the second display worked and could have been used but the demo would have failed because desktop screen sharing using vino is not only not supported but in the settings sharing options, the desktop sharing option is not even available.

Canonical/Ubuntu still has a lot of work to do before 17.10 is a viable operating system on either xorg or Wayland.

I still have a lot to learn about Ubuntu 17.10, definitely a work in progress.  I hope to be ready for 18.04 LTS when it comes out.

This Ubuntu Mate review just in http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/linuxandubuntu-review-of-ubuntu-mate-1710.  Claims better performance over Ubuntu 17.10 Desktop. But not so fast here.  Takes a full minute and 40 seconds to the login screen and then another minute and 35 seconds to a useable desktop for a total of 3 minutes 25 seconds.  On the positive side, VLC worked out of the box as did multiple displays, a step forward from Ubuntu 17.10 (saves about 20 seconds just in booting!).  It would be interesting to see what a SSD drive would do over the conventional SATA hard drive.  In any case, this computer has performed much faster running Ubuntu 16.04 which is still the "gold standard" in my opinion.  Ubuntu MATE does run the x11 desktop, not Wayland.  Desktop sharing can be enabled at the command line by first running vino-preferences, enabling desktop sharing and setting the password along with other options, then run /var/lib/vino/vino-server & (the & is to background the server process.  You can verify that vino-server is listening with netstat -ta |grep 5900 but there is no option in the desktop settings for Desktop Sharing.

Things to do after installing from the web: http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/15-things-to-do-after-installing-ubuntu-1710-artful-aardvark. And at OMG http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/10/things-to-do-after-installing-ubuntu-17-10.   You might also want to look at my list in the November meeting report at https://boiselug.org/node/293.

Last note here....  I think I am done with Ubuntu 17.10 as a usable desktop system.  I was working with KVM on Ubuntu Mate 17.10 and lost the "drop downs" for Applications | Places | System and to recover from that I had to reboot.  KVM Virtual Machines worked well/better as compared to the same machines configs on VirtualBox with 17.10.  As I wrote earlier in this blog posting, I am amazed that Canonical/Ubuntu released this version ... It is a resource hog and barely usable and definitely not for a computer that you are going to use on a regular basis.