Friday, April 18, 2008

Is Hardy Heron AMD64 a Second Class Citizen?

In the past three days, I've answered too many questions about installing Ubuntu Hardy on an AMD64 platform. Most of them were excited to move to 64 bit. Many of the others were being encouraged to use it. I felt like the lone voice crying "No! Don't do it!" Ubuntu 64 bit just has too many problems, and time is running out to fix them.

Flash is a disaster. It's not really great on x86, either, since there's no hash check before the package is installed and the file downloaded from Adobe doesn't match the hash, leaving the package half installed and broken, requiring manual intervention. On AMD64, however, you've got the added issue of nspluginwrapper (via nsviewer.bin) crashing about once an hour, meaning that the user has to close and reopen Firefox. I feel like I'm back on WindowsME and the Active Desktop.

There's more to the Flash problem, though, because Pulse Audio doesn't work with it, either. In a last attempt to fix the stability problems, libflashsupport was removed as a dependency and users were suggested to remove it from the system. It made Flash work with Pulse Audio, but it also caused instability. Removing it stops the crashes, but makes audio inconsistent when Flash locks ALSA down. Neither choice was good, but crashes are definitely worse.

Then there's F-Spot .... The dots here represent waiting for it to open. F-Spot was chosen as the default photo manager for Hardy, pushing out GThumb (which, by the way, was a decision I supported). The caveat by the development team was that they needed to make sure that F-Spot was a lot more stable than it had been to that point in time. About four weeks ago, an update to F-Spot or Mono caused the program to segfault on every AMD64 Hardy system that I have. The bug still hasn't been looked at.Shipping an LTS with a non-functioning photo manager is not a good choice.

There is a long list of other problems to be worked on in the next few days.

I would suggest that Canonical do what they did for the last LTS -- delay the release by two months -- but I doubt they'll do that this close to the release date. Whatever happened to "We'll release it when it's ready?"


Anonymous said...

Preach on. I installed the AMD64 Hardy and talked to people in the forums or on IRC and they acted like I was a moron making the points you do here. I did surrender and install the x86 version. I support your call to wait.


The Flash problems are hardly 64-bit-specific. That Firefox bug especially is one I've gotten a lot.

Same with that , which was just fixed in the last week or two.

The rest of the list is hard to gauge as problems that are definitely 64-specific (as opposed to "amd64" just appearing in a comment). I agree that there are problems (again, in general), but I don't think I've seen any showstoppers in a while, and I don't think you've made the case here that there are really that many related to 64-bit architecture.


Also, here's a better search. Looks like the only Critical bug is related to the nvidia driver, which is something that's hard for the community to fix (like Adobe's Flash).
Are there other bugs that aren't showing up in these lists? If they're really that serious, they should be marked and milestoned, and if the developers don't know about them, they should be notified.



The mono bug remains unfixed for me. Tomboy was never affected.


I understand your concerns. I am running on Debian Stable amd64, and I had to do some googling to get Skype up and running. I found Flash Plugin in backports...

On the other hand, I installed a Debian Testing amd64 box, and things were much easier... Skype is the only app the one has to "force install", since it only comes in i386...


I'm experiencing these same problems. I've yet to find a tutorial that explains exactly what to do, Barney style, to get flash to work with my AMD64.

As for "What ever happened to 'We'll release it when it's ready'", that SHOULD be the credo they stick by, it has worked for Wordpress, why not try it on for size too?

Rynor said...

I'm using Hardy Heron on AMD64 right now, and I have to say, it all works fine.

I'm using libflashsupport for the audio to work together with pulseaudio. Haven't had any crashes so far and I've been using it for a while now.

It's rather silly of them to remove libflashsupport rather than fixing it. As I've had issues with flash not working on both i386 and AMD64 without it.

I am using firefox 2 though, as I've had some issues with firefox 3 beta 5.

Anonymous said...

KeithGlazer said...

As for "What ever happened to 'We'll release it when it's ready'", that SHOULD be the credo they stick by, it has worked for Wordpress, why not try it on for size too?

3drealms has that copyrighted for Duke Nukem Forever

SilverWave said...


My PulseAudio problems.

I had no sound in Totem if I left the "Sound" at autodetect.
Setting to ASLA worked for Totem but not Firefox flash.

Went and installed the tools etc. from here:
(as per

started PulseAudio applet and had a look around - found that the default device was my USB skype phone!

If I listened in on the phone I could hear the flash from the bbc iplayer in firefox!!!

Couldn't find a quick way to change the default device but for the time being just pulled the USB phone.

Rebooted all working including flash!

I didn't do this bit:
* Checkmark all three options under Network Access.
* Checkmark Enable Multicast/RTP Receiver.
* Checkmark EnableMulticast/RTP Sender.
I installed restricted drivers and libflashsupport.
(Then uninstalled and reinstalled and mucked about until I found the above work around).

Ubuntu 8.04 64bit
SM-226BW 22" - GF 8600 - Intel Quad Pro Q6600 - Abit AW9D-MAX
4GB GeIL RAM - WD Caviar - Pioneer DVD IDE - 600w OCZ - Saitek KB - FD


Well, I bitched before Hardy came out about the F-Spot bug, but was ignored. Now that people are using it on AMD64, the bug reports are starting. I got two duplicates of my report in my inbox today. I expect a bunch more.

F-Spot will launch once, but it writes some GConf entries which cause it to crash when launching subsequent times.

Hardy is more appropriately named "Feeble" on AMD64.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I think you're really judging an overall sound architecture based on some really insignificant and mostly third party problems.

I have hardy 64 bit running on my thinkpad x61s. pulseaudio was a problem - i switched to alsa. also had to configure cooling fan stages (very important).

but, for all important points - this linux distribution has been super solid. it looks great, it's efficient, and any problem i've come across i've been able to work a solid fix on it.

64 bit linux on a merom processor and santa rosa platform in an ultraportable x61s??? ummm - i'm so NOT crying about this release folks.


When 8.04 was released for AMD64, it was a dog with several bits that didn't even work in the default setup.

Your setup looks nice, but shipping a default application which wouldn't run (F-Spot) was an amazing butchery of the LTS release cycle. Shipping several broken parts just seemed amateurish. AMD64 should never have been claimed to be supported.

It all worked out by 8.04.1 (the time of your screenshot), prompting me to proclaim that Ubuntu is now a "Wait for SP1" system, just like MS Windows.

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