Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

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Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:15 pm

So I decided to install Ubuntu 12.10 on my wife's old Lenovo. It was running Vista and was slooooooooowwwww...

Install went very smoothly. Impressively smoothly, really. Basically just booted up from a USB stick, played around for a bit running off USB to make sure everything worked, and then did the install. No errors, no warnings. Everything seems to work just fine...

Almost.

My problem is with the "Dash Home" thing. It seems to work just fine when I first boot up, but after I'm running for a while I'll go in and several of the icons will be blank. You can see an empty square where the icon should be, and you can still click it and it works, but you can't see it. Sometimes closing and opening Dash will fix this, but most times not. Also, I've had the machine freeze up on my a few times, always when I'm in Dash.

I am considering just dropping Unity and going to GNOME, but before I do that (I am a Linux n00b) I wanted to see if anyone has seen the same sorts of problems and might have a suggestion for a fix. The last time I ventured into Ubuntu world it was a few versions ago, and I think GNOME was the default then...

On a side note, a few years back my venture into Ubuntu world I was left with the impression that it was still more or less a play thing... with this new version, I am honestly impressed. Everything seems to work. No problems with graphics (aside from the above) or networking or the touch-pad - and all three of those things were issues at one time or another in Windows. I had to run a console command to install a plug-in for the built-in VPN to connect to my work network, but even that works flawlessly now.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:40 pm

I know it's still in beta but give 13.04 a try instead. I've been testing it on a spare laptop and it seems far more stable and polished than 12.10.

It might also be worth seeing if there isn't something wrong with the hardware. "Old laptop" immediately makes me thing of a failing hard drive. If you can get the dash work at all you might want to have a look in the disk utility which can display the smart data from the drive.

If you want to give gnome shell a try I'd suggest installing a distro that supports it by default or give Mint a try as a lot of people say cinnamon is good.

Might also be worth posting what Lenovo it is and what hardware it has in case its a driver problem :wink:
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:55 am

What video card is in the Lenovo?

A partially supported or unsupported video card could be causing the problems. Running the code below from the command line will give you info about the video card and 3D capabilities.

Code: Select all
sudo lshw -C video
sudo glxinfo


There is also somewhere that will tell you the specs of the system from the settings panel, but I'm not sure where it is.

If the video card isn't supported, I would suggest switching to something that doesn't rely on a compositor, like Xfce.

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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:57 pm

cheesyking wrote:I know it's still in beta but give 13.04 a try instead. I've been testing it on a spare laptop and it seems far more stable and polished than 12.10.

It might also be worth seeing if there isn't something wrong with the hardware. "Old laptop" immediately makes me thing of a failing hard drive. If you can get the dash work at all you might want to have a look in the disk utility which can display the smart data from the drive.

If you want to give gnome shell a try I'd suggest installing a distro that supports it by default or give Mint a try as a lot of people say cinnamon is good.

Might also be worth posting what Lenovo it is and what hardware it has in case its a driver problem :wink:


Hardware seems okay... memory, CPU, and HDD all tested good. Really the problem seemed to be limited to Dash itself.

In any event, I decided to check out Mint 14 and so far am really liking it.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:06 pm

cheesyking wrote:I know it's still in beta but give 13.04 a try instead. I've been testing it on a spare laptop and it seems far more stable and polished than 12.10.

Heh. I was actually gonna suggest the opposite, i.e. back off to 12.04! :lol:

12.04 is one of their "Long Term Support" releases, which means the versions of the various packages are selected with more of an eye towards stability, as opposed to bleeding edge features.

cheesyking wrote:It might also be worth seeing if there isn't something wrong with the hardware. "Old laptop" immediately makes me thing of a failing hard drive. If you can get the dash work at all you might want to have a look in the disk utility which can display the smart data from the drive.

Yeah, that's a possibility too.

cphite wrote:In any event, I decided to check out Mint 14 and so far am really liking it.

The only caveat I have with Mint 14 is that it is only supported until April 2014, since it is based on Ubuntu 12.10. If you want security patches out to 2017 you need to either go with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, or Mint 13 (which is based on Ubuntu 12.04).

If you think you'll be replacing this laptop or trying out another distro before then, then it doesn't matter. But if you're looking for something that you're not going to need to muck with again for a couple of years or more, Ubuntu 12.10 (or the 13.04 beta) and Mint 14 are not ideal choices.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:23 am

If you think you'll be replacing this laptop or trying out another distro before then, then it doesn't matter. But if you're looking for something that you're not going to need to muck with again for a couple of years or more, Ubuntu 12.10 (or the 13.04 beta) and Mint 14 are not ideal choices.


Well, mucking around is kind of the point, at least to a certain extent ;)

I plan on using this laptop for web surfing and occasionally logging into work via remote desktop, but basically I just wanted to try out Linux and play around with a few distros. So far I am liking Mint quite a bit, but I definitely see myself installing something else before support becomes an issue.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:34 am

cphite wrote:Well, mucking around is kind of the point, at least to a certain extent ;)

I plan on using this laptop for web surfing and occasionally logging into work via remote desktop, but basically I just wanted to try out Linux and play around with a few distros. So far I am liking Mint quite a bit, but I definitely see myself installing something else before support becomes an issue.

Ahh, OK. When you said "wife's old Lenovo" I assumed she was still going to be the primary user. Sounds like that isn't the case!
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:46 pm

just brew it! wrote:
cphite wrote:Well, mucking around is kind of the point, at least to a certain extent ;)

I plan on using this laptop for web surfing and occasionally logging into work via remote desktop, but basically I just wanted to try out Linux and play around with a few distros. So far I am liking Mint quite a bit, but I definitely see myself installing something else before support becomes an issue.

Ahh, OK. When you said "wife's old Lenovo" I assumed she was still going to be the primary user. Sounds like that isn't the case!


Nah, I bought her a shiny new Windows 8 laptop for Xmas. It's just taken her this long to get all her stuff transferred over... :lol:
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:25 pm

cphite wrote:I plan on using this laptop for web surfing and occasionally logging into work via remote desktop, but basically I just wanted to try out Linux and play around with a few distros.


Fedora, OpenSUSE, CrunchBang, and Scientific Linux are a couple other distros to try out.

Check your video card first though. KDE 4 and Gnome 3, Unity too, are heavily dependent on the video drivers. If your video card is unsupported or marginally supported, you're going to have a bad experience.

Fedora is Red Hat's test bed. It can be picky about hardware because it adheres to being a FOSS only distro, but it's supported by many software companies because it's Red Hat. It's on a six month release cycle, but each release is supported for 18 months. I usually skip a release or two, but after a year, I'm usually ready to re-install my OS anyway.

Scientific Linux is, mostly, a clone of RHEL. There are few added features, like 3rd party repos in the default repo, but it's pretty much just RHEL. RHEL has something like seven years of guaranteed support, and a new version comes out every three years. If you really don't want to reinstall, SL is the distro for you. However, stability comes at the price of newness, so some software will be a little dated.

OpenSUSE has some of the best desktops out there, and they are all integrated very well. I don't use it much, so there isn't much more I can say.

CrunchBang is based on Debian with OpenBox as the DE, and it's a good minimalist distro and will run well on modern hardware. OpenBox is a good choice for computers with lower specs and those with unsupported video cards.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:54 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:Check your video card first though. KDE 4 and Gnome 3, Unity too, are heavily dependent on the video drivers. If your video card is unsupported or marginally supported, you're going to have a bad experience.

Daughter's older Lenovo (ThinkPad Edge) sailed through a Kubuntu 12.04 LTS install without a glitch.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:30 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Flatland_Spider wrote:Check your video card first though. KDE 4 and Gnome 3, Unity too, are heavily dependent on the video drivers. If your video card is unsupported or marginally supported, you're going to have a bad experience.

Daughter's older Lenovo (ThinkPad Edge) sailed through a Kubuntu 12.04 LTS install without a glitch.


Does it have an Intel video chipset? ThinkPads are pretty standard Intel laptops,and Intel video chipsets are the recommended video chips when absolute performance numbers aren't a priority.

KDE4, Gnome3, and Unity rely on a compositor for all of their neat effects and eye candy, which is why I suggested checking the video card given the OP is having problems already. A newer version of the video drivers or DE might solve the problem because of bug fixes and refinement of the code, but it's not a given.

The downside to relying on a compositor is a bad user experience when the video driver doesn't have the necessary features or the features are buggy. The problems could range from a general slowness to odd problems like icons showing up as black squares.
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Re: Ubuntu 12.10 missing icons and freezing in dash

Postposted on Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:50 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:Does it have an Intel video chipset? ThinkPads are pretty standard Intel laptops,and Intel video chipsets are the recommended video chips when absolute performance numbers aren't a priority.

Yep, Intel HD3000.
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