Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope

My experiences with upgrading Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) to Ubuntu 9.04.

This time I decided to not wait for four months before updating to the new Ubuntu version. Especially since colleagues reported to work successfully with this new version. I’ve worked with this setup for a week or two now and everything seems to work. Here’s what I encountered:


I expected to run into problems with Python since the Ubuntu packages for e.g. Python imaging and XML (which I need for my day-to-day work) aren’t available for version 2.4 anymore. While Maurits van Rees and Sam Stainsby chose to work with virtualenv, I installed the required packages globally.

Setuptools and PIL were relatively easy to install. Just a matter of downloading and running “/usr/bin/python2.4 setup.py install” (IIRC, to be honest I didn’t document this.) However, the libxml2 python bindings proved to be a bit harder. I needed the following steps to get it up and running (thanks to Hedley Roos and Izak Burger):

  • Download version 2.6.32 since that is the version of the Ubuntu limxml2 package.
  • Unpack the tarball, run “./configure” and “make
  • Go to the Python directory and execute:
    $ CFLAGS=-I/usr/include/libxml2 /usr/bin/python2.4 setup.py build
    $ sudo CFLAGS=-I/usr/include/libxml2 /usr/bin/python2.4 setup.py install

Loud beep on shutdown

The new version of Ubuntu also brought a loud surprise: every time I powered down my laptop a beep was audible. Since it seemed to bypass the sound driver (muting the sound didn’t help) I could not even turn it down. Changing the Gnome settings as recommended did not work; my Dell Precision M65 kept on making the noise.

Luckily the solution provided on another thread did work. I added the following line to /etc/modpobe.d/blacklist.conf:

blacklist pcspkr

And I enjoy the silence once again. As an additional benefit: no more lound beeps if I make mistakes (e.g. trying to scroll pas the end of my Tomboy note, try to use backspace at the beginning of a line in XChat, et cetera). So in a way I’m grateful of the loud beeps at shutdown: I wasn’t annoyed enough by the other beeps to silence them but I’m glad I got rid of them. And so do the people in my environment. :)

Apple keyboard

At Zest we use the thin (wired) Apple keyboards. They look slick and work quite well. The problem I had with them (besides that we’ve got the Dutch keyboard layout, which has the tilde placed near the “z” instead of where if should be: next to the “1” key) is that the function keys didn’t work. That is: I had to push the “fn” key. Otherwise pressing F12 turned up the volume instead of bringing up Firebug.

On Intrepid I solved this already by having a file called /etc/modprobe.d/applekeyboard with the following contents:

options hid pb_fnmode=2

Apparently this didn’t work anymore. Brian K. White on the other hand presented a solution that worked for me.

I’ve now got /etc/modprobe.d/hid_apple.conf with this line:

options hid_apple fnmode=2

After updating initramfs (“update-initramfs -k `uname -r` -u”) and rebooting the machine, the function keys worked the way I like them. (While writing this blog entry and checking my sources, I see that this information is now also available on the AppleKeyboard page in the Ubuntu Community Documentation.)