Republished: A couple of issues with Karmic Koala

Originally published on 05 November 2009

I reviewed Karmic Koala a few days ago, and though I did encounter a few minor niggles, everything was running quite well. However that has now changed, I've discovered two issues, both of which I would class as pretty major usability issues.


Bluetooth support in Kubuntu Karmic Koala is very limited. Konqueror lacks the file Kio_obex, so you are unable to browse your phones folders from the PC. This is apparantly due to changes they are making in Kbluetooth itself, but the end result is that I've lost some functionality.
Reports suggest that Bluetooth support is a little borked in Koala's Gnome environment as well, although it sounds as though it may be in a better state than in the KDE environment.

Sooner or later there will be a fix out for this.

Intel Users Beware

If your graphics card would normally use Xorgs Intel driver, beware, the implementation of Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) has broken the XV functionality of this driver. If you try using mplayer (for example) with the xv driver as your Video out (i.e. mplayer -vo xv somefile.mpg) you will be told that no xv device exists.

Try running xvinfo if the output tells you no device is present then you have probably been affected by this.

If your graphics are running slow, or your CPU load seems to be unusually high, this is why. At time of writing there is no fix for this (though they are working on it upstream), there is however a workaround. You need to disable KMS. To do this, do the following;

  • Restart your computer
  • At the GRUB screen select Linux and press 'E'
  • Type nomodeset and press enter
  • Once the system has booted try xvinfo again, you should get device details this time
  • You're good to go!

If this fix worked, and you want to save typing nomodeset every time you boot your computer, do the following;
  • sudo nano /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  • Enter your password (if prompted)
  • Press 'Ctrl' and 'W'
  • Enter linux and press enter
  • This should take you to a line that ends with splash.. If not then press Ctrl + W and enter until you find it
  • On the end of this line add nomodeset
  • Ctrl & x to exit, press Y to save
  • The option is set as default

On the scale of things, these are pretty minor issues, but they are irritating. Whether we will ever see the KMS fix in Koala isn't clear, but those feeling brave can compile their own kernel and patch it. If you're happy to do without KMS then nomodeset is probably the way to go.