Lubuntu Update Manager Won’t Install Updates – Doesn’t Ask For Password

My Lubuntu is annoying me. Again. When I login to Lubuntu over remote desktop from my laptop, I often find Update Manager popping up to tell me there are updates, so being the security-conscious person I am I click on “Install Updates” – at which point the system thinks about doing something but then decides to do nothing at all instead.  The Update Manager window stays open and there is no error message but it’s clear nothing is happening.

Screenshot of Update Manager at login showing updates to be installed
Lubuntu 12.04 Update Manager

What should happen is it should ask for my Admin password to install the updates but it won’t.  It seems there is a similar known issue with “muon” (the update manager) in Ubuntu 11.10, but I’m on 12.04 and this was supposedly resolved.  Also the other reports seem to refer to error messages which I’m not getting.

A mystery for now but I’ve posted a query on Ubuntu Forums to see if I can get any help there.

Why is Windows being such a dick?

I recently bought a netbook on eBay that had come with Windows 7 starter but the owner had wiped this and replaced it with Linux.  I needed a new netbook and figured the fact this one came without Windows would keep the price down.  I was right and I purchased a netbook for £68, now all I had to do was get a copy of Windows 7 to install using the product-key which was still stuck underneath.

In the mean time I installed the new Ubuntu 11.04 and set up a number of partitions to get it ready. I set up a /boot partition of about 500MB (for Grub etc.?), a / partition for Ubuntu and a /home partition for my documents.  I also set up a “Win” partition to leave a space for Windows and a final NTFS partition to use for documents etc. when I was booted into Windows or to share across to Linux.  Linux seemed to be working fine and I got on the internet etc.  It was all very smooth, much more so than when I installed Ubuntu 9.10 or whatever it was back in the day.

I got hold of a copy of Windows and began trying to install it from SD card.  When it came to selecting a partition for Windows to live on, I picked my 40GB Win partition but Windows started throwing a strop and told me something it seems to have told a few others before me:

Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition. See the Setup log files for more information.

Not impressed, I booted into Linux and tried to set a boot flag on this partition.  That took it off my original boot partition though, as a hard drive can only have one boot partition.

In the end I gave up and wiped all the partitions using the Windows installer.  I then created a 40GB partition for Windows, which proceeded to also create a 100MB “system” partition at the start of the drive.  I’m wondering if I’d left my room for Windows at the start of the drive in the first place if maybe I would have avoided this, but as it is – I now have to install Ubuntu all over again.  Fail!!  Thanks Micro$oft!

Skype Installation Shows Ubuntu Not Ready for Masses

The horrifically footery and niggly process I’ve just gone through to install Skype is sad proof that Ubuntu, and Linux, is still not ready for prime time. The fact you have to get a bit hacky to get a product as mainstream as Skype working is a sad indictment of the state of the OS.

Step 1: Add the Ubuntu Partner Repository following the instructions from Ubuntu’s wiki.

As my installation was Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) upgraded from 9.10 (Karmic Koala) I had to edit the repository information and change the distribution from ‘karmic’ to ‘lucid’ as for some reason this had not been automatically updated as part of the upgrade.

After doing this, and reloading the package information, the Synaptic Package Manager still didn’t find Skype when I searched, so I had to follow

Step 2: Revert to the terminal and enter

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install skype

This was a command I’d picked up from Googling previously and finding this guide.  I figured it was worth a shot.  This seemed to work, gave me a lot of information and asked me if I wanted to continue. I did.

The terminal did a lot of stuff in the background as I’ve been typing this, eventually telling me:

Setting up skype ( ...
Processing triggers for libc-bin ...
ldconfig deferred processing now taking place

and returning me to the command prompt. Umm… ok? Still not sure this had worked I started looking for Skype and guessed (correctly) that it would be under Internet (I’m using Ubuntu Netbook Edition).  I opened it, accepted the Licence Agreement and signed in. Very slowly.

A good 2-3 minutes later I’m signed in.  Unfortunately, I only use Skype for talking to my girlfriend who’s currently studying in Malaysia and as it is currently 5:40 am there, she’s not online for me to test it out properly on a call.  However I don’t need to do that to ask this question:

How many ordinary users are going to go through all that just to install Skype, and how many will give up and go back to Windows?

No Sound After Upgrading Asus EeePC to Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

Right, at the weekend I upgraded my Asus Eee PC (1008HA for those of you interested) to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS – Lucid Lynx from the previous version, 9.10.  Everything seemed fine (I think).

Update: The problem described in this post has subsequently been investigated and solved.

On Monday or Tuesday night I then upgraded the BIOS to see if it would fix the fact that the wireless was shite when I was using Ubuntu.  (Incidentially either the BIOS or OS upgrade seems to have fixed the probelms I had connecting to one specific router)

I didn’t notice a problem at the time because I’m dual booting Windows XP and was using that, but when I booted into Ubuntu again on Thursday night, the audio didn’t seem to be working.  I quickly discovered that the sound did indeed work at the login screen, but once I logged in there was nothing (including no welcome sound).  The audio/volume functions on the Fn keys also now do nothing (though brightness ones still work!)

I think the sound was fine following the Ubuntu upgrade, but I’m not sure, so I think the BIOS upgrade has ballsed it up.  Which is a pain.  It looks like I’ll have to try reverting the BIOS and/or Ubuntu to a previous version.  Watch this space…

Ubuntu Boot Error: “differences between boot sector and its backup”

I have my Acer Aspire laptop dual booting Ubuntu Linux with Windows XP but, despite being sympathetic to Linux and interested in learning more about it, I don’t use Ubuntu very often.  One major reason for this was the amount of time it takes to boot up.  Over time I noticed an error message and looking at it began to suspect that this error was partially responsible for the long load times.

There are differences between boot sector and its backup
… [sequences of numbers]…
Not automatically fixing this

According to this forum thread, it seems like this error may have been let loose when I changed the grub configuration to make the OS names a bit more user-friendly and have the system stop booting into Ubuntu by default (the girlfriend isn’t converted yet and even I preferred Windows for regular use). This seems to affect the MBR, which doesn’t overwrite the backup and therefore causes the above problem.

SimonU at UbuntuForums had the same problem on his Ubuntu laptop and posted a solution which I decided to borrow.

sudo cp /etc/init.d/ /etc/init.d/
sudo rm /etc/init.d/

I had already hit the button to restart my PC when I thought to myself “I really should have looked at what it was doing  and made sure it was doing it to the right hard drive for my system” and started worrying that I may have just made my machine unbootable. Luckily all was ok and my laptop now boots into Ubuntu in a fraction of the time it had taken before. If I could only figure out how to stop Ubuntu overheating the laptop so much and causing the fan to run at full pelt, I’d maybe use it on a regular basis.

If that doesn’t work for you another thread talks about skipping the file system check (fsck) on FAT32 drives as an alternative solution.