Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sun Java 6.0 update 7 resets alternatives

For some reason the recent updates for the sun-java6-* packages to v6-07-3 reset my Java alternatives to java-6-openjdk. Fixed with

sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-6-sun

Monday, July 21, 2008

SOLVED: Firefox 3 Sun Java Plug-In

Having recently switched from Firefox 2 to Firefox 3, I found that the Java Plug-In was no longer working. Looking at the list of browser plugins being used by Firefox 3 (enter "about:plugins" in the browser's navigation field) I discovered that the OpenJDK GCJ was being used rather than Sun's JRE v6.0 plugin (from the sun-java6-* packages).

It took some time to work out why this was the case - /usr/lib/firefox/plugins contained a symbolic link to /etc/alternatives/, which in turn was set to Sun's JRE v6.0 plug-in.

The only Java Plug-In alternative set to OpenJDK's was that of xulrunner-1.9. So, I changed it's setting to Sun's JRE v.6.0 of the plugin:

sudo update-alternatives --config

and upon restarting Firefox 3 it used Sun's Java Plug-In.

Very weird, and possibly related to this bug?

SOLVED: Firefox2 removal

After upgrading from Dapper Drake to Hardy Heron I decided to keep using Firefox 2 rather than Firefox 3, even though the latter had been installed - no problem.

However, a few annoying problems with Firefox 2 prompted me to make the switch. So, I ran

sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser

to set Firefox 3 to the default web-browser and uninstalled the firefox-2 package. However, clicking on the Firefox icons continued to run Firefox 2.

After digging around I realised that I still had a local copy of the Mozilla Firefox 2 build due to having used ubuntuzilla. To fix this I did the following:
  1. uninstalled the local copy of Firefox
  2. uninstalled ubuntuzilla
  3. reset System > Preferences > Preferred Applications > Web Browser to Firefox

Friday, July 18, 2008

SOLVED: vpnc and resolvconf

I've been using vpnc to connect to a Cisco 3000 VPN Concentrator. Since upgrading from Dapper Drake to Hardy Heron I noticed that after about 20 minutes domain name resolution would fail even though the VPN was still up.

It turned out that /etc/resolv.conf we being overwritten by the DHCP client when the DHCP lease expired (and needed renewal).

The solution was to install the resolvconf package, which manages /etc/resolv.conf.

Friday, June 06, 2008

SOLVED: Thunderbird Lightning extension upgrade

After recently upgrading from Dapper Drake to Hardy Heron I noticed that the Thunderbird Lightning calendar add-on wasn't working. I could see that it was installed but the calendar toolbar was not available.

The upgrade had installed Thunderbird and I had installed the latest available version of the extension (0.8) directly from Mozilla.

Ultimately, I discovered that several files (in $HOME/.mozilla-thunderbird) related to the Lightning extension were owned by root. The fix was simply change ownership to me.

cd $HOME/.mozilla-thunderbird/my_profile_dir
sudo chown -R my_user_id:my_group_id *

Friday, May 16, 2008

Compiz effects causing problems for Java Swing applications

As a Java developer I use IntelliJ's IDEA Java IDE, which is itself a Java Swing application. Unfortunately, after upgrading to Hardy Heron I noticed that some IDEA dialogs weren't being displayed as empty windows. This turns out to be a known bug with Java Swing and Compiz.

I tried two workarounds:
  1. Setting the environment variable AWT_TOOLKIT=MToolkit. This solved the problem with empty Swing dialog windows but introduced a new problem with windows losing keyboard focus.
  2. I also installed Sun's JDK6.0 update 10 beta (build24) and used this to run IntelliJ IDEA. Compiz now works correctly with IntelliJ IDEA.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rhythmbox segmentation faults

After recently upgrading from Dapper Drake to Hardy Heron I noticed that Rhythmbox was intermittently crashing (segmentation fault).

The problem appears to be a known bug.

Meanwhile there is a work-around which involves (re-)enabling the cover art plug-in. This worked for me.

Update 2008-06-06: unfortunately the problem persists. Let's hope the recent update (0.11.5) solves the problem.

Dapper Drake to Hardy Heron upgrade

I took the plunge and decided to upgrade from Dapper Drake to Hardy Heron. I was motivated by the fact that Hardy is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release and finding that fewer third-party software packages were being released in a format compatibly with Dapper.

I kicked off the upgrade with a simple:

sudo update-manager -d

and then clicking the "upgrade" button listed in the update manager. The upgrade notes suggest you can do this via gksu but I found I had to use sudo from a terminal command-line.

I ran the upgrade overnight so am not sure how long it actually took as there were user prompts waiting to be answered the next morning.

After upgrading I had only one major problem:
  • the Nvidia video driver wasn't working, which I fixed after a lot of hassle,
and a few minor problems:
  1. No sound from the Firefox Flash plugin if another audio application was running
  2. No NFS client
  3. Thunderbird Lightning extension not working (fix)
  4. Rhythmbox intermittently crashing (workaround)
  5. Java Swing applications, e.g. IntelliJ IDEA, now working with Compiz (workaround)
which were easily fixed.