Ubuntu “Gutsy Gibbon” Install Report

Posted by Scott on Nov 1st, 2007

So I have upgraded all of my systems (work desktop, home desktop, and laptop) to the latest Ubuntu release, “Gutsy Gibbon.” I’m disappointed to say that as far as my experience goes, this release gave me a number of hardware issues and introduced regression problems. Here’s a summary of what I encountered and fixes or workarounds I had to use:

Work Desktop:

Dual-monitor mode and many ATI video cards don’t get along. My work desktop ha[s|d] an ATI x300SE PCI Express video card in it. It was working perfectly well with Ubuntu Feisty in dual-monitor mode. Unfortunately, my configuration would not work with Gutsy using either the open source radeon X.org driver or the fglrx ATI proprietary driver. Ubuntu Forums had numerous posts of people encountering the same problem, and I tried several fixes. Eventually I had to give up out of obligation to my employer – it was costing them more to pay me to fiddle with my X configuration settings than to buy me a cheap NVIDIA video card. So that’s exactly what I did – expense an NVIDIA 8500GS card, which worked fine.

Sound card issues. Something is really wrong with my sound card. I can play audio through it just fine, but the audio is completely lacking low frequencies. I haven’t spent much time investigating this yet, but I know it wasn’t happening with Feisty.

Home Desktop:

Sound card issues. I use an external SB Live! USB sound card in my home system, and I have the motherboard’s on-board sound card disabled in the BIOS. It was working just fine in Feisty. Upon booting Gutsy the first time, I had no sound at all. I was able to almost fix this by going into System->Preferences->Sound and manually selecting “USB Audio” as my preferred sound device. However, this only fixed sound in gstreamer-based applications, such as Totem, Rhythmbox, and Exaile. Other apps, like mplayer and the Flash Firefox plugin, still did not play any sounds. The solution was found in this Ubuntu Forums thread.

But we’re not done yet! There is another widely-experienced bug with the volume control applet and some sound cards which causes changing the volume to “pretend” to mute the mixer device, which results in the on-screen volume display widget to show the current volume as zero, rather than it’s current level.


I have a Dell Latitude D620, which worked extremely well with Feisty. Happily, it has no issues with X.org or sound, but it does crash frequently when I put it to sleep. Another maddening regression bug, and I need to use suspend very regularly.

I’m seriously considering downgrading my laptop to Ubuntu Feisty again. The remaining issues I will learn to deal with until fixes are released. But for now I share this news as a warning to some (particularly those with ATI video cards and dual-monitor setups) and possibly as some useful information on fixes/workarounds to others.

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