Posted by: reformedmusings | October 15, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric upgrade thoughts

As I posted yesterday, I upgraded from Ubuntu 11.04 Natty to 11.10 Oneiric. The upgrade went very smoothly with only two glitches that I will discuss here. I eschewed the AWN setup to try Ubuntu’s updated Unity desktop.

After upgrading to Oneiric, only one application didn’t work that I’ve noticed so far – VMWare Workstation 7.1.4. More on that later. Oneiric picked up almost all my settings, including my Compiz Fusion desktop settings. After some minor customization, my desktop looked like this:

The only things running are Shutter for the screenshots, psensor to monitor my hardware, the weather indicator, and Radio Tray for my Internet radio stations.

The standard indicators have been updated. The System indicator provides a handy menu:

From there, one can add or delete startup applications with a simple dialog box:

Clicking on the time provides a calendar and upcoming events:

There is a battery icon on the panel that’s useless on a desktop machine. I can’t figure out how to get rid of it. It seems to be related to my UPS, but I don’t need it 99.99% of the time. Still working on that. If you have any ideas, please comment below. [NOTE: The icon is confirmed for the UPS.]

Since there aren’t any hardware monitor indicators of which I’m aware, I’m using psensor [UPDATE: Real panel hardware sensors found in this post.]:

It reads what lmsensor’s finds, but it doesn’t display any of them on the panel. However, one may set limits on the values and alarms to go off when the limits are reached. I set alarms on CPU0 and the GPU. I’d like to set alarms on the fans, but that option isn’t offered at this time.

The weather indicator provides temperature and sky conditions on the panel. Clicking on the indicator provides more detailed conditions:

Plus, there’s a link to the Forecast:

Not too bad. I miss the radar display in AWN’s indicator, but hopefully this one will catch up.

Radio Tray is very cool. It provides a very small application with quick access to Internet radio stations. I subscribe to SKY.FM Premium and have the Internet radio going most of the time I’m working in my home office.

Oneiric carries over the central Unity application menu system of which I’m not fond. For example, in Firefox below you can see the menu isn’t in Firefox itself but on the panel:

Firefox's menu on the panel

If you have multiple apps open on a workspace, then you have to be careful to drag the pointer around the windows whose menu you don’t want to use. Otherwise, the menu will appear for last program over which you drag the pointer. I really hate that, and the Unity crew has yet to resolve this flaw.

The System Settings window is pretty sparse:

KDE does a much better job, as did the old Gnome menu and AWN’s menu.

Upgrade issues:

I had only two issues upon upgrade of which I’m aware at this time. The most obvious was my inability to print to my primary laser printer, a Brother HL 5240. Although Oneiric recognized the printer, nothing would print. Any printing attempts resulted in a blank piece of paper being dragged through the machine.

As I explored the issue in Synaptic, I found some Brother printer drivers that hadn’t been installed. I show them after installation below:

Once I installed the three Brother packages listed in the screenshot, I changed the selected print driver from postscript to BR3-Script3. After that, everything printed fine. I found some Epson drivers for my SX7800 3-in-one, but they did not work although the gutenprint drivers work perfectly. Go figure. [UPDATE: Epson drivers fixed in this post.]

VMWare Workstation 7.1.4 needs to recompile its kernel modules after every kernel update. I expected that after the upgrade from Natty to Oneiric. However, the VMWare kernel modules failed to compile. Compilation failed on the very first module – the virtual machine monitor. I have to fix or workaround to that yet. Updating to VMWare Workstation 8 isn’t an option because that version’s installation destroys Ubuntu’s boot and shutdown ability. [UPDATE: VMWare Workstation 7.1.4 fixed in this post.]

One video glitch that doesn’t affect function but it a bit annoying involves Compiz Fusion. Whenever I switch workspaces using cube rotation with either the keyboard or trackball, the image of the previous workspace briefly flashes when the newly displayed workspace displays. It just doesn’t look professional. I tried adjusting some settings on my NVidia card, but that didn’t make any difference. Perhaps a coming update will fix that.


Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric has been perfectly stable so far, but I’m still trying to get used to Unity. If I get a chance this weekend, I’ll post on Unity itself. In the meantime, at least I still have my Compiz cube and it looks awesome:



  1. […] was a quick Google search. I lamented the lack of a sensor indicator for the Ubuntu Unity panel in this post. After finally entering the right search criteria i Google, I found Alex Murray’s excellent […]

  2. Interesting post I have yet to review Ubuntu 11.10 because I am not really running it. Well not much anyway. I have been running Kubuntu 11.10 since beta 2, and I really love it. I feel that I want to the Ubuntu experience back from time to time, but really I want to get away from it more than I really want it. I keep leaving. You might find my blog interesting. I was just moved to Blogger this weekend so please check it out and tell me what you think.

    Sincerely, Tobias Mann
    Freed Up Thoughts

    • Thanks for stopping by! I test Kubuntu periodically, but still cannot get into KDE 4. I may put it on one of my spare drives for more detailed testing.

      You have a nice blog layout. I didn’t know that Blogger would support those features. I’ll read more as time goes on.

  3. […] been trying to live with Unity now since upgrading to Ubuntu Oneiric. As I reported earlier, Unity has become more stable but remains minimally configurable. If that were the end of the […]

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