Upgrading to Ubuntu 8.04

There have been many blog posts on the Ubuntu Planet about the ease of upgrading to the brand new 8.04 version. Unfortunately, my experience with my Dell Inspiron 1420N was not flawless. Of course, the three big problems were caused by software that was not fully supported; one problematic package was an esoteric bit of software from the community-supported “universe,” the second was caused by a Dell-provided driver for a softmodem I never use, and the third was caused by a proprietary program that hasn’t kept up with the changes to the Linux kernel. There was also a minor problem with the Wifi light that is easily fixed by installing an additional package. Most people, who stick to Ubuntu-supported software (the “main” component), or well-known stuff from universe, will probably have an easier time. I did, however, get everything working with a little bit of elbow grease, the details of which follow for anyone who finds themselves in the same boat.

The first and most serious problem: pam-encfs, as shipped in Hardy, does not work, and will mess up your PAM configuration. This will prevent you from logging in, and in fact, will lock you out of your system in the middle of the upgrade if your screen locks after a period of inactivity (as happened to me). To gain control of things, I had to boot into recovery mode, run “dpkg –-configure -a”, and then “apt-get dist-upgrade” to make sure everything was installed correctly. Even then, I still could not log in. From recovery mode, looking in /var/log/auth.log revealed the following messages:

Apr 22 21:10:18 pigwidgeon gdm[5577]: PAM unable to dlopen(/lib/security/pam_encfs.so)
Apr 22 21:10:18 pigwidgeon gdm[5577]: PAM [error: /lib/security/pam_encfs.so:
    undefined symbol: __stack_chk_fail_local]
Apr 22 21:10:18 pigwidgeon gdm[5577]: PAM adding faulty module:

After disabling pam-encfs in my PAM configuration, I could log in normally, but my encrypted directories weren’t mounted automatically. Googling around turned up bug 20573 in Launchpad, so I’m not the only one who ran into this. Luckily, there’s a patch, and I’ve built a usable package that will work until the official fix gets into Ubuntu, which can be obtained from my Personal Package Archive on Launchpad.

If you encrypt your entire home directory, something like the following might work (I haven’t tried it myself, so YMMV):

  1. Do the upgrade, make sure your screen doesn’t lock, and don’t do anything that would require authentication.
  2. Reboot when it’s done, but make sure you reboot into “recovery mode,” and drop into a root shell.
  3. Add the my Personal Package Archive on Launchpad to your Apt sources.
  4. Do the usual “apt-get update && apt-get upgrade” thing, make sure libpam-encfs gets upgraded.
  5. Exit the root shell, continue bootup as normal.

It appears that libpam-encfs is not a very widely used package, so hopefully the number of people who will be bitten by this is small.

The second problem: No Sound. This always seems to be a problem with the 1420N (I initially had no sound on the Feisty to Gusty upgrade), and it has the same cause: the softmodem driver. But I didn’t figure that out until an entry on the Dell Linux Wiki about it appeared soon after the official release. After following those instructions to remove the driver, the problem was solved. I’m sure that in a few weeks the Dell folks will have a new, working driver for the softmodem, but since I never use it, I’m not too worried about it.

Third problem: VMware doesn’t work. There are two issues here; the first is that VMware Server 1.0.x is incompatible with the 2.6.24 kernel series, and the second is a conflict with a system library that VMware overrides. The kernel issue was solved by uninstalling the vmware-server and vmware-kernel-modules packages, installing the tar.gz version of VMware Server 1.0.5, and then running the latest vmware-any-any package (download here). The library conflict, which prevented even the server console from running, manifested itself with the following error messages on startup:

libgcc_s.so.1: version `GCC_3.4' not found (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)
   /usr/local/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1: version `GCC_4.2.0'
   not found (required by /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6)
   /usr/local/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1: version `GCC_3.4'
   not found (required by /usr/lib/libcairo.so.2)

This was caused by an incompatible version of the library libgcc_s.so.1 that’s shipped with VMware. Removing the file /usr/local/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1 forced VMware to use the Ubuntu-supplied version of the library, and allowed VMware to start normally.

The fourth problem, which is very minor, was that the WiFi light on the front panel no longer works. This is a consequence of moving to the next-generation driver for the Intel wifi chip. To solve it, simply install the “linux-backports-modules-2.6.24-16-generic” package.

Once those problems were out of the way, I was able to enjoy the new release, which is full of the incremental improvements I’ve come to expect from Ubuntu every six months – including an integrated version of the new Firefox 3, which is worth it for the JavaScript performance improvement alone.


2 comments so far

  1. […] order to get VMWare Server set up on Ubuntu 8.04, do this and then do this. […]

  2. kjetilk on

    Ouch, that libpam-encfs thing was painful… 😦 It just bit me. I’m not totally up and running yet.

    Thanks for the packages, but they didn’t work that easily for me. For one thing, I think that to be upgraded, the version number must be higher than the version number in Hardy. Is the tilde higher than the underscore?

    Anyway, I got the source package, unpacked the .orig, renamed it to match the patch filename, patched it, made debian/rules executable and then it would build.

    I was starting to think about using Ubuntu on my commercial production systems, but this really calls the Ubuntu QA and release process into question. This is something I don’t think would hit Debian, with a patch known well in advance of release… 😦

    Now, I’m back to struggling with the kernel, I’ll keep you posted about the libpam-encfs problems if you want.

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