Ubuntu 13.04 Upgrade

So, remember how I said I either upgrade my Linux installations as soon as they come out or I wait months? Well, this time around I’ve found a third path… I’ve just upgraded my laptop to 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) four days BEFORE it’s released.

To do this as an upgrade, you run one of the usual distribution upgrade commands at a command prompt but with a “-d” appended as a parameter. This means the upgrade check will check for development versions as well as fully-released versions.

Eg you can type “update-manager -d” and use the graphical upgrade dialogs. For the sake of variety this time around, I did it entirely in a command window by typing “sudo do-release-upgrade -d”

I forgot to time it but I think it took around 4 hours to upgrade my laptop with a download of around 900MB (remember that, the way Ubuntu upgrades work, that’s simultaneously upgraded my operating system and all of my installed applications).

Technical overview here and a guide to some of the new features here

I’ll update this post as I discover new things. So far I’ve found:

  • Brightness up/down hotkeys work on the Asus UX32VD – finally! Having said that, the hotkeys for volume and the keyboard backlight seem to have stopped working… I think I had these enabled using a kernel patch so maybe the upgrade has removed this. It may be that the brightness keys were fixed before and whatever patch was enabling the other hotkeys and isn’t running any more might have been blocking them. That’s just a guess for now though.
  • Synergy: I use synergy to allow me to control my laptop using the keyboard & mouse that are attached to my desktop computer (run the server on the machine with the keyboard/mouse, run the client on the machine you want to control). That way I get three screens to work across fairly seamlessly. However Ubuntu 13.04 has upgraded Synergy from version 1.3.something to 1.4.10 and these two versions can’t talk to each other. So I had to head over to the Synergy website and download the appropriate new version for my desktop (still running Ubuntu 12.10) so that they could communicate. All seems to be fine now.
  • New icons. Seems every new release brings a re-thinking with some of the icons. I’m not particularly bothered… but they do look nice.
  • Amazon etc & online searches: looks like your privacy settings get overwritten so that things you search for in the dash get sent sent up into the internet again and you get offered things to purchase from Amazon. Unless you actually want this, be sure to hit System Settings -> Privacy and turn this off again
  • Multiple workspaces are turned OFF by default. If you like having different workspaces to keep your tasks and windows separated then you can turn them back on with a checkbox in System Settings -> Appearance -> Behaviour
  • If you need to change your mouse/touchpad settings, there’s a rather beautiful Easter Egg of sorts in the ‘Test Your Settings’ panel. Reminds me a little of Glitch’s Summers Day *sigh*
  • Also in the touchpad settings, there’s a strangely-named option called “content sticks to your fingers”. Hard to resist trying it out with a name like that. If you don’t mind me spoiling the surprise for you: it inverts the direction of two-fingered scrolling so that an upward movement makes the page scroll down. This is the way that touch devices work and I believe OSX made the switch to doing this by default a version of two ago. Me, I think I’ll stick to the original way… but then I’m that guy who always has “invert X axis” on when he plays first person shooters.
  • The System Monitor app has lost the rather-useful “system” tab that used to list the release information and hardware specifications.



2 comments to Ubuntu 13.04 Upgrade

  • Steve

    Hey, I’ve been inverting the y axis since the early 90’s, and I think you want to give this “inverted”
    behavior on the trackpad and mousewheel a good trial run. I’ve been using it on OSX for a while, and now moved to it on Linux as well. It’s like something in my mind went, *click*, I’m pushing this thing on the screen around, and now the old way feels nuts. Inverting y axis is the same way, I’m “pushing” the viewpoint forward to look down.

    • Jon Jennings

      Thanks for the comment Steve.

      I’m usually the guy who just goes along with changes (eg Unity, top-left window controls etc) because I know I’m going to be fighting them forever otherwise.

      The thing with games for me personally started from hundreds of hours playing flight sims before the first person shooter genre even existed. I push the stick away from me (“up” in mouse/touchpad terminology, “down” in yoke terminology) and the screen moves to show me what was previously off the bottom… the pixels move up the screen. Hey – I suddenly understand what you mean: “invert y axis” in games gives THE SAME direction as “content sticks to fingers”.

      I’m going to give it another go, just for you :-), but definitely feels weird when my fingers aren’t actually on the screen touching the content that they’re scrolling.

      It also makes the touchpad scroll the content in the opposite direction to the way the mouse wheel scrolls it. But maybe that’s Ubuntu’s fault – if they’re changing the touchpad direction then maybe they should have changed the mouse scroll wheel at the same time?