Making Edgy Eft less Edgy

Kubuntu Ever since I upgraded my (K)ubuntu install from Dapper Drake (6.06) to Edgy Eft (6.10) I’ve had a few rough edges. This morning I finally sorted them out.

The first was related to my Dell Lattitude D810’s touchpad – an Alps Glide touchpad. Ever since the upgrade it has been fundamentally unusable, moving the cursor so slowly I’d have to drag across the trackpad itself two dozen times to get the cursor halfway across the screen.

The second was related to using XGL and Beryl – hitting the keyboard combination Shift-Backspace would terminate and restart XGL, making me lose whatever unsaved work I had in that session. (I never knew how many times I hit Shift-Backspace until this).

Fixing the touchpad was ultimately a matter of downgrading the synaptics driver back to the version from the Dapper Drake repository. Based on this forum posting, I was able to locate the .deb file here (i386 version), and install the 0.14.3 version over the 0.14.6 version that is current for Edgy.

Not sure how the problem got introduced, or if it is a bug in the driver itself or elsewhere, but I know that as soon as I got 0.14.3 installed all returned to working order. Your mileage may vary. (It may be that if I futzed with my xorg.conf enough, I could get it working with the 0.14.6 version – but for now I’m happy just to revert to 0.14.3).
Fixing XGL was also relatively simple. Turns out to be a fairly common user complaint, as a google search of “shift backspace crashes XGL” shows you.

Adding this line:

xmodmap /usr/share/xmodmap/

To my /usr/bin/ (and restarting) was all it took. (The, as the name suggests, is the script which starts xgl, as specified in /usr/share/xsessions/xgl.desktop, which I created when I installed Beryl and XGL). I put it before the calls to XGL itself. This maps shift-backspace away from terminate app to delete, which is a sensible enough action for that key combo.

Nice to finally have (K)ubuntu back to it’s normal self – hopefully this post will help others who hit these same hiccups.