Upgrading Ubuntu Hardy to Ibex

I’ve just upgraded from 8.04 LTS to 8.10.  Inevitably there were some hiccups – no sound, difficulties with the nVidia drivers.

The initial upgrade was flawless, it took under 30 minutes to prepare itself, download the new packages, install everything and reboot.

I have an NVidia 8500GT which requires the non-free driver for decent video performance.  I also have an NVidia 7050 built into the motherboard which I ignore.

After upgrading to Ibex the default video driver was the free NVidia driver – boring but stable.  I tried to use ‘envyng -t’ (the GTK frontend isn’t working for Ibex yet) but it crashes with

TypeError: list indices must be integers

Instead I used the restricted driver manager – this installed, but on reboot I got dumped at the console.

The clue was in /var/log/Xorg.0.log with a message like ‘(!!) More than one possible primary device found’.  dmesg showed nothing useful.  Previously I’d booted to safe mode with the latest kernel and tried ‘xfix’ but that didn’t seem to do anything useful.

The problem is explained in this bug report, the solution is to manually add a BusID line to the Devices section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf (after backing up your xorg.conf just in case).  My xorg.conf now looks like:

Section "Device"
Identifier     "Device0"
Driver         "nvidia"
VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
BusID          "PCI:02:00:00" # !This is the line I manually added

Now that I can play video I notice that there’s no sound.  Investigating System->Preferences->Sound I see that everythign is set to play using ALSA and the on-board HDA NVidia (Alsa mixer) default mixer device.

I only use my SoundBlaster Audigy for sound playback.  I changed the Default Mixer Track to Audigy 2 ZS [SB0350] Alsa Mixer, then each ALSA output device to Audigy 2 ZS p16v (ALSA) and sound now plays back in the sound tool.

To get sound playing in Amarok, VLC and mplayer I had to make sure that Audigy Analog/Digital Output Jack was ticked, ALSA was selected in each media player and pulseaudio was killed in the process list.  There are some notes here and here.  I unticked PulseAudio in Preferences->Sessions, as noted in the first link above.

Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight and in his Mor Consulting, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.