back to article Ubuntu 8.10 - All Hail new Network Manager

Canonical, the developers behind Ubuntu Linux have release Intrepid Ibex, the successor to last spring's Hardy Heron release. Ibex isn't a long-term support release - which might put off some large organizations - but for Ubuntu desktop fans, version 8.10 makes a worthwhile upgrade. If you made the leap to Ubuntu 8.10 when it …


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  1. Reuben Thomas
    Thumb Down

    Shame it doesn't work very well

    The upgrade is all very well, only the new network manager is basically undocumented, and crashes precisely every second invocation for me, which means I can't use it; the new kernel won't suspend and resume on my laptop; and the new configurationless has some serious problems, not least of which that the keyboard and mouse configuration preference applets no longer work (again, at least for me) so that I can't set the keyboard auto-repeat rates or mouse acceleration, without first restoring my configuration file, and adding a magic "please don't autoconfigure" commmand.

    So in sum, I had to reinstall the Hardy kernel, I can't use the new network manager, and I can't use without configuration, which adds up to oh well, at least I get fixes to lots of bugs that I filed over the last six months.

    I had already been recommending non-technical users I know to stick with Hardy, as it works well, and is sufficiently up-to-date for most general use purposes. This only makes me wonder if I should have taken my own advice.

  2. Jamin W. Collins
    Thumb Down

    Strong release?

    If you think it's a strong update you haven't seen the bug reports due to regressions.

    Each of these are problems that were introduced by the 8.10 release.

  3. Dominic Kua

    losing Xorg.conf?

    That'll be like losing an old friend :(

    What happens when you muck about with the graphics drivers and the gui won't load? Do you have to go to an auto-configured xorg?

    Oh I'm so confused, the new things look good, but losing xorg.conf? I don't know if I should upgrade...

    Oh wait I'll just try it on a live CD, problem solved :p

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No /etc/X11/xorg.conf? Really?

    I'm puzzled. When I upgraded to 8.10(beta) I had all sorts of hassles with my X11 conf. I had to shift my old one out the way and redo it in small steps before I had a working system (mostly because the X11 driver that used to be called "i810" is now called "intel").

    My new xorg.conf is a lot shorter (due to the automatic device detection), but it's still there, it's still functional, and I can still tweak...

  5. Léon

    Package upgrade

    Hm, i don't know if gimp will be a more useful upgrade than openoffice. I'm going to 'convert' my wife's laptop from winxp to linux and one thing she'll want to do is open docx files. She won't know the difference between the old and new version of the gimp and probably won't miss the improvements.

  6. Timo

    Practice Safe X

    With the last version of Ubuntu I fought for hours to get it to give me video in something other than 800x600@60Hz on an older machine. Somehow there was another software conflict that kept the "autofind the right video config" from actually saving the updated file - so it would keep wiping itself out. Strangely enough that other distros came up out of the box and worked.

    I came from the old days of loading X and then hand-configuring a config file to get any sort of picture at all. The whole time that I was struggling I kept feeling that it would have been easier AND faster to do it the old way.

    Ubuntu is promising. But like everything else making some things easier may make it harder to do other things.

  7. Phil the Geek

    Network Manager - hmmmm....

    Network Manager had some issues which took some shine off Hardy, for example it was prone to forgetting WPA passwords, forcing you to re-enter the password each time - a major annoyance, it drove my girlfriend back to Windows as default on her dual boot laptop. I don't know if they've fixed that in 8.10.

    Ubuntu 8.10 definitely hasn't fixed the problem with automatic login - if you enable it, NM asks for the default keyring password at every boot, which sort of defeats the object of automatic logon...

    That said, I still love Ubuntu!

  8. Shakje

    I'll be grabbing this when I get back home tonight for a play around...

    however, I do wonder if there will be the same voracity of comments angry and shouting about how it looks like OS X (which as mentioned has been stated to be the goal of the UI), as you saw with Windows 7.

  9. Gareth
    Thumb Up

    No tears over death of xorg.conf here

    Several years ago I swore off desktop UNIX until I would no longer have to edit xorg.conf by hand. Looks like it's finally time to give it another try... wonder if Xwindows still feels like early 90s shareware?

  10. J


    Gotta try it. Thank Linux for Live CDs! :-)

    I kinda like the "dark theme", at least from that picture. Have to try it in regular use to see how it goes.

    Now, as mentioned before byothers, no xorg.conf there? Life won't be as easy in those moments when X won't start because you changed something, and knew exactly where to go using the CLI to change xorg.conf to go to a different resolution and/or color depth that was safe to load the GUI. I wonder why they removed it, must have had a reason. Because it's not like it makes life harder for the users who have no clue about CLI -- they won't see xorg.conf anyway. And it will make life harder for the more advanced folks, who CAN use the config files.

    Anyway, the author made me curious there: why the hell is GIMP 2.6 a more important update? I was waiting for the info but it never came! What's special about it compared to the 2.4.6 I have right now? (it will change very quickly though, hehe)

  11. Colin

    Wireless and Network Manager

    @Phil the Geek

    It's to do with the fact if you don't login and use the auto login option then your password is not entered to unlock your keychain. A work around is to have a blank keychain - although this is not secure and not recommended.

    I wish this would be resolved as right now this is an area where Windows still beats Ubuntu - ease of use with regards to wireless configuration. The new network manager is an improvement but there's a good bit more development and refining needed.

  12. Marc McAllister


    I have a VM of 8.10 running for a few days, just checked and there IS an xorg.conf :/

  13. Conor Turton
    Thumb Down

    And the biggest showstopper they "omitted"

    The article completely fails to mention that you'll have all hell on trying to browse Windows network shares in Nautilus and basically if you don't know the IP/Machine name AND share name, you're stuffed.

  14. Jon Cutting

    The choice is yours..

    There is no xorg.conf by default, but if you want one, you can have one. I use one to enable various touchpad tweaks - although one of the developers reckons these will be available in a GUI by 9.04.

  15. Efros
    Thumb Up


    Installed the full OS today on two separate machines. One with no CDROM drive, via a USB flash drive, both installs were very painless, all hardware seems to be working well and no crashes as yet. One is a dual core Intel and the other is a dual core AMD, both have the AMD64 version installed from a USB flash with the alternate AMD64 iso on it.

    Overall the impression is good, Nvidia driver problems I encountered all the way through the Beta stage now seem to have gone and the graphics drivers install faultlessly.

  16. BatCat

    Puppy Linux... small, fast and fully featured, give it a try.

    I used to be a Ubuntu fanboi, but the mainstream Linux distributions are getting just as bloated, resource hungry and inefficient as Windows.

  17. Stephen Bungay
    Paris Hilton

    Automatic Log in and encryption....

    Ummm. autologin should not even be something that is available as a feature, it's kind of like leaving the keys in door to your home along with a note to tell them how to disable the alarm. What Golgafrincham thought this was a good idea?

    Gareth: You're confusing the X server with the desktop environment. X is just the underlying layer, it's the windows managers that make it all nice and pretty.

  18. Martin Lee


    Why shouldn't my mum have autologin?

    There's nothing important on her laptop, and if she wants to leave it open to the world to use it's not an issue.

    I'm not too fussed about them using her wifi either.

  19. Francis Fish

    Gimp? Upgrade? Who cares?

    I've never been able to do anything useful with it.

    Simple stuff, create a text button - how??

    It's no surprise that the one app people want to see ported is Paint .Net - it just works and you don't need to have studied how graphics are created at degree level, you just start using it.

    Never got anything out of gimp, apart from one time I wanted to resize some jpegs.

    Never been able to create anything from scratch using it. Maybe I lack patience. Or maybe I'm part of the vast majority of people who look at the incomprehensible blizzard of levels and other tech-speak and dual boot back to windows.

  20. mrmond

    all well & good

    The new network manager is all well and good as long as it works.

    Like most things linux related, it either works out the box or you have a hell of job getting it to.

    My wireless didn't work at all in fiesty, wasn't too hard to set up in gutsy and worked out the box in hardy.

    Unfortunately thats on my desktop machine and on my new laptop it won't work at all, either with the supplied 'supported' driver fro realtek rtl8187B in the new kernel.

    These chipsets have different hardware id numbers and mine happens to be 8198 instead of 8197 so it won't work. Hundreds of users (just look at the support forums) are having the same problem.

    Won't even work with the ndiswrapper & windows drivers.

    I guess I'll just have to wait for updates or the next version, like I did with gutsy resolving the problem on my desktop from fiesty.

    On the plus side ati radeon graphics using fglrx detected and installed immediately after install,so all the whizzy effects work.

  21. Colin Wilson

    @ Conor / windows networking

    I found no issues on mine - it JWAIS (TM) (just worked as it should) - if anything, it was less painful that networking from another windows box !

    Per the other comments though, yes, the default keyring message is a minor pain, and I too cannot get it to suspend (yet) on my Toshiba A60 laptop.

    The wireless adaptor I use was not enabled by default, and I started trying to use ndiswrapper as i'd had to in Hardy, but without joy - I then noticed a hardware scan option which found the card, fetched the driver, and enabled it for me (I was on a wired connection at the time)

    The lack of xorg.conf isn't wonderful - but i'd like to see some common screen modes being offered if it doesn't detect something higher than 800*600 by default.

  22. Crimson_Fox

    Automatic Login


    I generally agree that auto login is a security risk, however it does have its uses. One example is a a laptop configured with full drive encryption. Since the key is required to boot the system, and because laptops tend to have only one user, the OS login becomes redundant.

  23. Gareth Jones

    @Phil the Geek

    I too had the problem with forgotten WPA passwords, but since upgrading to 8.10beta the day before the official beta release it's gone away. Furthermore I don't have the issue you have with the default keyring password.

    It's a funny thing about Ubuntu that different hardware seems to have a significant impact on functionality at quite a high level.

    Just like you though I love it to bits. And as for suggestions of it's being buggy, I've had no problems and I've been running 8.10 since the beta release just over a month ago.

    To those of you bemoaning the lack of OOo 3.0 why can't you just download and install it?

  24. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    @Martin Lee

    The problem with letting the world use your laptop and wifi is that the kind of people who will are the kind of people you don't want the local plod to associate you with. Still, if you're happy to have your mum pump spam and child porn at her expense (or does she have free broadband? Do tell.) then don't let us stop you.

  25. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Mixed bunch

    The new Network Manager looks powereful, but it has to be one of the most unfriendly, obscure, bloody minded pieces of software ever inflicted on the public. I upgraded my wired desktop machine. No network. System -> Preferences ->Network. And what does it say under "Wired"? It says "if (updown) eth0 never".What the hell is that supposed to mean? What is the (greyed out) "never" about?

    Still,nothing loth, I have a go on the laptop. Again, no network, and the network manager item has gone from the panel. Put it back.Click on it. Offers wired only. Into System ->Preferences ->Network. That bloody if updown eth0 never again. Wireless tab. Nothing there. Roaming mode has, apparently, gone. Enter SSID etc by hand. Now network manager can see my network- but I have no idea if it will see any others unless I typed them in explicitly.

    Ubuntu seem to have a policy of crap releases in the autumn: 6.10, 7.10 and now 8.10 haveall been bedevilled by the inclusion of incomplete, buggy and undocumented software - like the new Network Manager. Let's just just hope they get it right in 9.04.As it stands it (NM) is utterly unusable by anyone without network experience, and since it's rather essential to most users, this is going to drive many people away from Ubuntu and Linux. The Live CD is rather less impressive when it doesn't set up networking ...

    Oh,and just to add to it... many people are having system hangs at logout due to a usplash problem and they have reintroduced a 6.10 bug, cleared by 8.04, which gives a few minutes pause at boot while setting up the HAL on many Thinkpads.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    OpenOffice3's easy to upgrade to have an Intrepid repo with OOo3 - add that, reload, bish-bash-bosh, sorted.

    I'm liking Intrepid so far - couple of days on a test machine, and main machine upgraded (painlessly) this afternoon.

  27. Doug Glass

    All I Want For Christmas ... for Ubuntu wireless to "just work".

  28. Paul
    Thumb Down


    For me, autologin is a must have. Why? Because I live in a house - MY house using MY computer for MY use only. I completely trust my wife and kids and have no security issues.

    I WANT to convert to Linux but every time I try it I get soo fed up with having to enter a password every time I want to make even the most minor change that I end up going back to XP muttering 'maybe the next release...'. Unfortunately the control freaks still rule the roost so XP stays yet again.

    Couldn't the install have a 'Are yo in a safe environment?' question which can turn off all that nonsense if you answer YES? As I understand it, W7 learnt from Vista that users are not happy and is doing away with that nonsense. Will Ububtu sort it out before W7? The race is on ;-)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The review Sux0rs

    >> "The new network manager rocks."

    I'm sorry, I can't take ANY reviewer seriously when they use phrases like that.

    How old are you FFS?

  30. tempemeaty

    3D or bust

    The computer world is moving 3D into everything these days so that nVidia 3D issue is a killer. This needs to be addressed in an update. Everything I do involves 3D at some point. I can't work without it. Unless something is done about it I have to avoid usage of this Ubuntu entirely.

  31. Bill Cumming

    Ubuntu did NOT drop older nvidia cards..

    Slight issue with the generally good article.

    Ubuntu8.10 did NOT drop support for the 96 & 71 drivers. Nvidia had not released binaries compatible with the new Xorg (Which has now been corrected) in time for the release.

    I'm currently using the 96.43.09-0ubuntu-1 drivers on my Laptop with Ubuntu 8.10 with NO issues.

    The default "nv" were used in place of the missing Nvidia drivers when it was released.

    Mine is the Zulu speaking Penguin....

  32. chris


    Found network manager would not work at all with static (wired) ip configuration and its a known bug, how useless, had to do it the old fashioned way and there is no resolv.conf so had to make one too.

    Not a big issue if you have the time but for basic users (who admittedly wouldn't likely need static) it may be a pain.

  33. Richard Neill

    @Paul - Autologin

    Just to let you know, Auto-login has been available in both KDM and GDM for ages and ages. You just have to enable it. I agree, it's perfectly OK in certain situations.

    Also, you can remove most password prompts by setting up sudo correctly: add the following line to /etc/sudoers:


    where XXX is your userid.

    Obviously this is a bit insecure - but it's OK if you know what you are doing. (personally, I've always thought that system-wide stuff requiring root access is unimportant (on a single-user system), whereas the stuff in my home directory is what matters.

  34. Dave

    Already Seen the Features

    The Aspire One appears to have a Network Manager that does exactly what's described here, and has the nice little eject buttons on its file manager for removable media. So far they've both worked very well, so it is possible to have the features. Of course, I haven't yet had chance to try any 3G connections on it but it's handled wired and wireless OK.

  35. Neoc

    Does anybody know...

    ...if it's possible to run Network Manager 0.7 in 8.04? Or is it 8.10 only?

    I have ubuntu 8.04 (netbook remake) running on an eee 900 (NM 0.6) and one of the things that p*sses me off is the lack of 3G modem drivers; I need a Huawei E160 driver which is apparently available out-of-the-box in NM 0.7


  36. Anonymous Coward

    And the midis!?

    What about the midis!?

  37. Spoonguard
    Black Helicopters

    A dark theme is not dark...

    ...if it is mostly white! What is this bullshit

  38. Paul
    Thumb Up

    @Richard Neill


    Shame I just binned the disk I burnt but they don't take long to recreate.

    Is this it? Goodbye Microsoft? <dreams>

    Thanks for that.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    And I thought it was only me ...

    Ubuntu is generally great, unfortunately there seems to be a tendency to release too early. Historically early beta's got so bad I stopped even trying and resolved to only upgrade when new versions were actually released. To counter this, it seems beta's have now become releases!

    There's a lot of great new stuff in this release, however there are some pretty critical show-stoppers which make it a real PITA, if I could easily downgrade to Hardy I would.

    The wonderful Networkmanager doesn't seem to work for static addresses and can't cope with a customised resolv.conf in terms of search strings. (I have to edit resolv.conf on each reboot) Compiz makes the machine unstable if I enable anything worthwhile, Eclipse lasts 5-10 minutes before Java craps out, VMWare V1 no longer works, V2 is partially broken, and as for the 64 bit version, well ...

    I tried an upgrade (32-bit) followed by a clean 64-bit, followed by a clean 32-bit .. so I know it's not a faulty install. (that, and launchpad seems to indicate I'm not alone).

    Whatever happened to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!".

    It'd be really nice if the Upgrade Manager had an option to bar upgrades to critical sub-systems that haven't been tested much or that might break existing installations. (like X, NetworkManager, the Kernel etc ..)

    Here's the Xinerama bug reference for all those poor souls with a single screen who've inadvertently turned on Xinerama and are wondering what's hanging the desktop.

  40. V.Srikrishnan

    Eye candy crap..

    I manage about 25 comps. in a lab and installing and maintaining Ubuntu has been the biggest nightmare. I once installed Ubuntu on a laptop, and i watched the hard disk space during the 45 min. install. the install manager initially stuffed in 5.5-6.0 GB of s/w on the HDD. then it started removing packages till it got whittled down to some 1.2 GB. of course, most of the important ones like ssh, gcc, important libraries were missing.

    The ubuntu installed on a Xeon refuses to start NIS services on booting, has to be done manually, the person who uses the m/c insisted on the OS, else it would have become extinct long time back here.

    Eye candy and dumbing down the Linux by useless GUI is all fine but i find slackware and RHEL/CentOS best for the lab.

    just my opinion.....

  41. Anonymous Coward


    I am very sad about this release, never have i seen so many issues with ubuntu. The UI is buggy, the restricted drivers are a pain to get installed even though it should be as easy as a couple pushes of a button. Last but not least. the repos are buggy. I can't do a decent update on the system nor get other programs and drivers i need.

    One thing's for sure, I know they will fix it, they always do. sad thing is, by the time they do, they will be releasing 9.01

  42. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Down

    Too Early

    Yes, this one was released too early. I'd say I'm of 'moderate' technical ability, and I had Hardy Heron working more-or-less OK, but this one has stopped my sound card working and video isn't too great, either. I just haven't got the time or the inclination to start mucking about getting them working, so I'll be doing most things on the XP partition until they've sorted it out. Conclusion: it might be nice for Linux hobbyists but it's absolutely no good at all for Joe Public.

  43. Chewy

    RE: Eye candy crap

    I think you are missing the point of Ubuntu. If you want something stripped down then obviously Slackware is going to be more your thing. But most people out there do want effects - you think OSX would have taken off if it didn't look pleasing to the eye?

    Really what is the point in slating a distro when you are happier with another?

  44. Nigel Wright
    Thumb Down


    The upgrade from 8.04 totally trashed my Linux workstation to the point where it wouldn't boot after post. So, a complete re-install (ummmmm...bit too Windows like for me) is required. Serves me right - I am usually slow to upgrade and my 8.04 installation was running just lovely. :(

  45. Adam Williamson

    Version 0.7?

    Er...where are you getting 0.7 as a version number? They ship with 7.4, x11-server version 1.5. There's not a 0.7 in there anywhere.

    And, for the record, Mandriva's network tools have supported 3G devices since around 2004 (I forget exactly's been a while). And...seriously...NetworkManager is only starting the connection during startup in *this release*? How the heck did it used to work? How could you use ntpd...or, well, any other kind of server, more or less...if the network connection wasn't up until you got to a desktop? That sounds kind of baffling. I dunno. Maybe I'm not reading your description right.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Browsing network folders

    Doesn't seem to work:

    Oh well, off to YAD (Yet Another Distro)

  47. John White

    @Francis Fish and

    As someone who has just struggled with to crop/resize/edit 3 photos and a jpg logo for a newsletter - I could have screamed at P****.net. Give me any flavour of basic Linux paint program and they are easier to use/more powerful. I gave up and used Paint for KDE on my Asus EEE PC instead. GIMP is overkill for most users needs - so don't compare to!

    As for Intrepid Ibex - I'll wait a month or so and check that are bugs are sorted before upgrading. At least I can choose that unlike my son's XP auto-update. That introduced a keyboard/mouse interrupt conflict which could not be uninstalled - needed a complete XP re-install - over 5 hrs of his time.

  48. kissingthecarpet

    Keyring password issue

    What you need is the PAM keyring module(libpam-keyring) that allows you to authenticate to the keyring when you log in - It works seamlessly for me (I've got Debian, but that shouldn't matter).

    I think its in the Ubuntu repository anyway.

  49. Martin Walker
    Thumb Down

    very buggy release

    I'm typing this without the aid of cursor keys that have disappeared as the keys think they are other keys like prtscn. My screen drivers are unstable, my crossvc program is virtually dead it is so slow now... I could go on. This simply is not a good experience unless you get lucky.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    and sound???

    Which is a perennial problem in linux, and i have spent many hours reconfiguring ALSA whenever i upgrade (to any distro).

    With the last release, Hardy, all sound was moved away from ALSA to PulseAudio, which kinda works but not if you want more than one program to use the sound at once.

    A better network manager would be nice if i get my 3g card working... (eventually could not longer use my linux laptop as a portable machine.. .had to go mac to get internet on the move).

    I'll take a look, but experience of Ubuntu (even though i am a fan) will make sure i do it at the start of a very free weekend, as i have no doubt it will take some major configuration, even on my very standard HP machine.


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