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[Discuss] Ubuntu 12.04.1 w/Cinnamon install success

Tom Metro wrote:
> I'll try again with 64-bit 12.04.1...

I did have better luck with 12.04.1.

When I went to look up the PPA to install the Cinnamon desktop, I ran
across mention of:

  The Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is Ubuntu 12.04.1 with Unity removed and
  replaced by Cinnamon with two panel (classic) configuration as
  default, multimedia extras included and preinstalled along with
  Firefox plugins and addons. Weather applet is also preinstalled.

which might have saved some time, but I don't want to purge Unity, as
inevitably it'll will be needed to troubleshoot an app at some point
before reporting bugs. (In order to confirm that whatever bug exists
when using the baseline desktop and isn't an artifact of running an
alternate desktop.)

> Strangely there was no option here to set up a wireless connection.
> That didn't appear until a few screens later, and then I was never
> asked again whether I wanted to have updates installed.

This time I didn't wait to be prompted to setup a network connection. As
soon as the desktop appeared, I clicked on the Network Manager icon and
connected to my wireless network. Then when the dialog later appeared
asking about whether to install updates, the option wasn't disabled.

Still seems like a bug that they don't prompt the user to establish a
network connection before that point.

(BTW, what happened to the old installer option to test the checksums of
the files on the CD?)

> Next was the disk selection and partitioning screen.
> I was, however, surprised to see the installer ignore the blank /dev/sda
> as a possible install target. I was only able to select it by going to
> the advance option, manually partitioning the disk, and then returning
> to the disk selection screen.

The options weren't any better the second time around. I had to manually
delete and recreate the partition used for 12.04. Seems like I should
have been able to say "use this partition," and not had to delete it and
recreate it.

Even after creating a new partition there seems to be no way to
explicitly designate that as my desired install target. It was done
implicitly by specifying that the new partition should be mounted at the
root directory.

It also required that I edit the previously created swap partition to
again designate it as a swap type partition. (A warning dialog prompted
me to do this before leaving the partitioning screen.) Not sure why the
partition type was not recognized from before.

> At this point the installer chugged away for quite a while.

Actually, it chugged away for a while, which I thought was the start of
the installation process, so I left it, only to return and find it
sitting at a silly prompt waiting for me to select my user icon. (It
must have been just formatting the disk.)

This is another bug...all the user Q&A should happen before any lengthly
operations commence.

> I came back a while later, rebooted, and noticed the first graphical
> screen to appear was distorted, and then disappeared to be replaced by a
> message telling me Ubuntu couldn't detect my video hardware and was
> using a low graphics mode, and then dumped me at a console prompt.

This was either a fluke or fixed in 12.04.1, as it didn't happen this time.

> On the next boot up I logged in to the Unity shell with no
> problem...except the 2nd monitor was not detected, and selecting the
> option to detect monitors didn't change that.

> A notification appeared telling me my hardware could use a proprietary
> video driver and brought me to the video driver selection screen...
> I chose the 4th and newest option. On the next reboot/login the 2nd
> monitor now worked, while the primary monitor was blank.

These issues still happened. I installed Cinnamon and moved on...

> (With 9.10 the Nvidia driver has its own monitor setup app. Trying to
> run the Gnome app results in a warning message. If you run it anyway it
> won't detect a dual monitor setup. Does 12.04 also have an
> Nvidia-specific setup app, but Unity dropped the warning message?)

It turns out there still is an Nvidia-specific configuration app, which
I was successfully able to use to configure the desired dual monitor
setup. Apparently the warning dialog when running the stock display
config app is absent in both Unity and Cinnamon. (I'm not sure who is
responsible for installing that warning. It might be a bug in the Nvidia
proprietary package.)

> Around this time I noticed the sound was broken.
> I also noticed that playing back an MPEG4 (H.264) video showed inverted
> colors. Codec problem, or still video driver issues?

I didn't retest either of these in Unity, bot by the time I was running
in Cinnamon neither were a problem. (My guess is that they'll work fine
in Unity now as well.)

With the basics working I switched focus to customizing Cinnamon. This
process reminded me of the mess that is GNOME themes. There's a desktop
theme. Window theme. Cursor theme. Keybinding theme. Icon theme. And
GTK+ theme. Most significantly alter the appearance of the GUI. You'd
think you could just pick a theme from a gallery that would encompass
all of these things, and then customize it. Instead you end up selecting
them piecemeal. (If I recall correctly, there's a better theme selection
app that lets you tweak all in one place, but I don't recall what it is

So my current theming is mostly functional, but still needs some color
tweaks in a few spots where different GUI elements have been assigned
the same color and confusingly blend together.

Next was looking up how to get rid of the weird "overlay" scrollbars
used by Unity, which were still lingering:

The last step was customizing the panel. The workspace switcher app
simply shows a "1" and "2" inside boxes. That needs an upgrade, but no
alternative seems available. The weather app[1] didn't seem to want to
work. Nor did the better Window List app[2]. I'll have to see if
DockBarX[3] will run under Cinnamon. (I installed a version from a
tarball, but it won't run as a GNOME applet. Only a stand-alone dock. I
can't really find any reports or official statement as to whether
Cinnamon, or even GNOME 3 more generally, is supported.)


As you mouse over panel applets, some display text over the desktop
background. Problem is they're using black text on a transparent
background over a dark desktop image, so the text is illegible. Not sure
where to change that. (For now I changed the background image.)

Generally the layout of items on the panel is a mess. Some stuff
scrunched together too much. Others spaced out too much. (Selecting the
option to let Cinnamon scale applets to fit the panel helps.) The "edit
mode" where you are supposed to be able to reposition things doesn't
seem to work all that well. Hopefully there is a text file somewhere
that can be manually edited to fix things up.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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