Author Topic: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems  (Read 196 times)

Offline fox

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Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« on: December 04, 2019, 09:09:50 am »
I'm not really asking for support here because I'm pretty sure that no one in PLUG is using vanilla Ubuntu (i.e. Ubuntu with Gnome). Having said that, I want to report that, for the first time since I started using Ubuntu as my regular OS/distro, I am having issues that are annoying enough to make me re-evaluate my choice of desktop environment. This started with version 19.10, which I installed as an update on top of 19.04. The new version employs a new version of Gnome (3.34 I believe). Caveat: this is running on a 2011 iMac. I also have 19.10 on my xps 13 laptop, and have only noticed one problem there, but I don't use it frequently enough to determine if it is buggy as well.

The major issue is irregular freezing of applications (I've noticed it in Thunderbird, Firefox and Word 2010 running on Crossover), and sometimes, the whole computer freezes up and requires a reboot. I have had occasional problems like this in the past (maybe one or two monthly), but this is now happening once a day or every other day. The minor issue is that the cut/copy command, implemented with a mouse, only works every other time and sometimes it even fails when using the keyboard. The cut/copy problem also occurs on my xps if I use a mouse. So far I haven't found any consistent sequence of activities that causes the freezing problem, so I don't think it's the same cause every time. But it is clearly related to the DE, as so far it only happens when I'm using Gnome.

For this reason, I recently added the Cinnamon desktop to my installation, and when I use it, I have yet to experience a freeze-up or a cut/copy problem. While I like Cinnamon and I use it as my regular DE on my 2015 iMac in the office (as part of Linux Mint), I find it distressing that my old friend Gnome is doing this. I have done an internet search and have come up with two possible causes: a kernel regression and graphics drivers (see this post. The ways around involve either installing a new kernel (5.4) and/or newer graphics drivers, but both are beyond what Ubuntu 19.10 supports so I'm hesitant to do either. I think that for now, I'll use the cinnamon desktop until there is either a fix in 19.10 or until Ubuntu 20.04 is released.

Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 01:38:32 pm »
That's a shame that you're having issues like those. 20.04 will be an LTS release, too. So once you get it, you could just stay with it. Do you use timeshift? Unless you have installed a lot of applications (and don't want to do so again) since the 19.10 upgrade, you could roll it back.

Does Grub give you the option of using the previous kernel release? If so, you could boot to that.  You can also go back to a previous kernel version regardless but I haven't really tried this so can't speak to it. Linux Mint makes it very easy with update manager (there's an option for kernel management). I don't know if there is something similar for Ubuntu.

Is this really recent or did these bugs happen right after upgrading to 19.10? Because there have been a few kernel updates since then.
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
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Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 01:44:05 pm »
I saw this:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/945403/how-to-downgrade-kernel-after-bad-update-16-04

Have you tried it? It's old but I'm pretty sure it still works. Make a timeshift before it so you can get back if it ends up broken. You can use any live distro with timeshift on it (or the ability to install it) to revert to the previous image. But this will likely only revert you to the kernel you received with 19.10 so if it was broken right after that you'd be out of luck.
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 ) on Virgin

Offline fox

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 01:48:24 pm »
....
Is this really recent or did these bugs happen right after upgrading to 19.10? Because there have been a few kernel updates since then.
I didn't have any of these problems until I upgraded to 19.10. As to whether they occurred immediately after the upgrade or somewhat later, I can't remember.

Using a previous kernel to test out the cause is a good idea I hadn't thought of. I'll have to check my iMac when I get home to see if I have the Ubuntu 19.04 kernel still installed. If not, is there any risk of installing an earlier kernel, because there would certainly be some in the repositories.
Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2019, 02:44:00 pm »
The main risks would be in security and hardware support. Kernel aren't supposed to directly affect how well apps behave and such although they're in charge of them ultimately.

Security-wise, likely minimal. Hardware support, it depends on what you have. If it's only a slightly earlier one like the 19.10 one, you likely won't notice.

One other thing. If this is a laptop, check to see if you have the issues when it's plugged in or not.

And do the freezes slow the system down (apps eventually become active again, after 10-15 seconds) or is it a total-lockup?
Can also leave the process manager up (or whatever it's called in Ubuntu) and note the RAM usage and processor percentage.
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 ) on Virgin

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2019, 02:50:55 pm »
I have lots of ideas but I'm not show to weigh them from most likely problem to least likely problem. But I have a philosophy of - never trust your hardware. Often freeze-ups and such have to do with the hardware and not the OS, a lot more than we think. Bad memory (could just have a few little issues, check it), failing HDD or SSD), even touchpad areas. And age doesn't matter. Hardware failure happens more often in older computers but can also happen in a computer you bought hours before.
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 ) on Virgin

Offline fox

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2019, 02:57:54 pm »
Age doesn't matter - you mean my age or the computers?  ;D I highly doubt that it is the computer because I don't have the problem when it's running the MacOS, nor do I seem to have the problem when I'm running Ubuntu 19.10 with the Cinnamon desktop. This is a desktop, not a laptop.

There have been a few kernel updates in Ubuntu 19.10, but all within the 5.3 series as I recall. I could try an earlier 5.3 kernel, but my understanding is that the problem is inherent to the 5.2 and 5.3 series. If I have a kernel earlier than 5.2, it would be the 19.04 kernel (5.0). Is that safe to run if it's still there? And is it safe to run if it's in the 19.10 repository and I install it?

While I did get the occasional short-time freeze in 19.10 (Gnome), most were either lock-ups or freezes that lasted for a minute or more.
Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline buster

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2019, 03:14:30 pm »
Could be as simple as Gnome sucks.
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2019, 03:32:48 pm »
Could be as simple as Gnome sucks.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 03:34:37 pm by Jason Wallwork »
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 ) on Virgin

Offline buster

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2019, 04:33:41 pm »
Excellent picture Jason. Hope I didn't offend anyone. But it seemed a humourous way to point out the desktop choice may be the cause of the problem, which I admit is odd since that's the default.

And many, including Mike, know my opinion of Gnome. After studying it extensively, and considering in a balanced way the pros and cons, I had to come to the conclusion that, like, ya know, Gnome seriously, in big neon letters, sucks. I mean, like, really sucks.
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline fox

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2019, 07:15:40 pm »
.... After studying it extensively, and considering in a balanced way the pros and cons, I had to come to the conclusion that, like, ya know, Gnome seriously, in big neon letters, sucks. I mean, like, really sucks.
This from a guy that is allergic to terminals and only runs Linux on a VM.  :P

I get that a lot of folks coming from the Windows world don't like Gnome because .... well, it isn't like Windows. Coming from the Mac world, I was open to anything that WASN'T like Windows, and Gnome certainly isn't set up like Windows. But more generally, Gnome (and Unity before it) are set up to behave very differently from Windows. Some would argue that Gnome is more efficient than Windows-like desktop environments like KDE (at least KDE in default mode). I don't know if it's more or less efficient, but I find it easy to get what I want done in Gnome. I find Cinnamon pretty functional too, at least when set up to look like Gnome. But aesthetically it isn't as nice. Application shortcuts are too close to one-another on the panel, and there is less flexibility than in Gnome to change their spacing and their size relative to the width of the panel.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 07:19:58 pm by fox »
Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline fox

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2019, 07:52:17 pm »
....
There have been a few kernel updates in Ubuntu 19.10, but all within the 5.3 series as I recall. I could try an earlier 5.3 kernel, but my understanding is that the problem is inherent to the 5.2 and 5.3 series. If I have a kernel earlier than 5.2, it would be the 19.04 kernel (5.0). Is that safe to run if it's still there? And is it safe to run if it's in the 19.10 repository and I install it?
....
Unfortunately, the only kernels still on my grub are in the 5.3.0 series, including one that is earlier than the current one. I doubt that this would help if the issue is with the 5.2 and 5.3 series. Looking in the repositories with Synaptic, there are kernels in the 5.0.0 series, which would have come from Ubuntu 19.04. There are also kernels in the 4.15.0 series, which would have come from 18.04 LTS. Should I install a kernel from the 5.0.0 series and try it? Any risk, given that it's in the Ubuntu 19.10 repositories?
Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline buster

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2019, 10:44:19 pm »
" and only runs Linux on a VM."

Actually not true. (But I understand the jab  :) )I run a Mint system installed on a hard drive that works pretty well. KDE. But then it's sort of hard to tell the difference between a VM and an hd install when you're inside it. Mint hd and Mint VM seem about the same.

And it's not that Windows users don't like to try a different OS like Gnome. It's mostly that Gnome sucks  :)  .
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2019, 02:27:13 am »
....
There have been a few kernel updates in Ubuntu 19.10, but all within the 5.3 series as I recall. I could try an earlier 5.3 kernel, but my understanding is that the problem is inherent to the 5.2 and 5.3 series. If I have a kernel earlier than 5.2, it would be the 19.04 kernel (5.0). Is that safe to run if it's still there? And is it safe to run if it's in the 19.10 repository and I install it?
....
Unfortunately, the only kernels still on my grub are in the 5.3.0 series, including one that is earlier than the current one. I doubt that this would help if the issue is with the 5.2 and 5.3 series. Looking in the repositories with Synaptic, there are kernels in the 5.0.0 series, which would have come from Ubuntu 19.04. There are also kernels in the 4.15.0 series, which would have come from 18.04 LTS. Should I install a kernel from the 5.0.0 series and try it? Any risk, given that it's in the Ubuntu 19.10 repositories?

Are you talking to yourself now? :) Anyway, I mentioned the risks and how to minimize them several posts above.

As far as Gnome vs. other desktops, Buster was just egging you on and you took the bait :) Regardless, from a guy who doesn't think Gnome sucks (necessarily), Plasma (KDE is still the company, Buster) used to be a real hog. I don't think that's the case anymore. I just installed a fresh version of Kubuntu. And running no programs, it was using about 800 MB. Considering that you'd be hard-pressed to find a computer that doesn't have 4 GB of RAM, I think it's doing just fine.

I've also used Gnome, too and haven't found any difference in performance between it or Plasma. On the Toshiba laptop I bought from you I found even Gnome can be a pig. Anything installed on it heftier than Cinnamon and you're just asking for trouble. I haven't tried Plasma on it. But a big part of that slowness is the processor speed and likely shared video memory. The basic specs on it are in my sig.

But I mainly like Plasma because it gives a lot more customization options. The same reason that I used to hate it. Oh, and Astronomy picture of the day for the wallpaper. ;-)
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 ) on Virgin

Offline fox

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Re: Ubuntu 19.10 gnome problems
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2019, 06:50:10 am »
Back to the older kernel question, the Ubuntu repositories have the 4.15 series from the last LTS and the 5.0 series from 19.04. Support for newer hardware isn't an issue because the iMac is 2011. Can I assume that the 4.15 series is still getting security patches because the LTS is still being supported? What about the 5.0 kernel, given that Ubuntu 19.04 is no longer supported?
Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1