Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Desktop

From MarcsHomepage

Installation notes for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on my new Intel Core i5 4440. You can find more complete Howtos on the Net, so I won't repeat this here.


Downloaded the Live-DVD. Install. Done. I actually did not like the installer. It's so dumbed down, that it asks almost no questions at all any more (yes, there is an "advanced settings" button or something, but...).

Doing nothing, you get a suboptimal setup with 8 GB swap on a 8GB machine and ext4 filesystem (xfs or btrfs would have been better).

Basic install

Painless, everything worked out of the box, except for the mouse (see below).

Additional repositories

If you can't endure Unity, you probably want to install an alternative desktop (no, Gnome 3 Shell is not one). See below.

nVidia closed source drivers

Can be installed using the graphical third-party driver selectio tool. Very painless.

Oracle Java


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java -y
sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer
sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-set-default

Prerequisite for Eclipse.

Truetype fonts



Installed automatically.

Google Earth

Needs some fixing. The 64 bit package seems to be broken, but the 32bit one works with some extra base packages. See http://askubuntu.com/questions/366438/how-to-install-google-earth-64bit-in-ubuntu-13-10-ia32-libs-dependency-error


Needed Java JDK. Otherwise -unpack, start, done.


The quest for a usable desktop

Unity sucks -even more so, because it does not work with my mouse. LightDM (the standard graphical login greeter) sucks as well. Or maybe my mouse sucks. In any case, there where strange problems with 30 second delays from entering the password to the desktop (on a quad-core SSD-only machine...). The mouse stops working after around 30 seconds into using the desktop (even with the tweak described below), log off/log in helps. This is a known problem, see http://delightlylinux.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/using-the-cyborg-r-a-t-7-with-ubuntu/

As Unity sucks anyways, as does Gnome 3 and Gnome Classic, I decided to use Mate, which at least is a decent interface.

See http://wiki.mate-desktop.org/download#ubuntu_1404_lts_trusty_thar for current install instructions of Mate 1.8 (now part of Ubuntu 14.04). I used the Ubuntu Mate Remix install and the Replace Unity with Mate Howto, which solved some bugs with the 1.8 release I had installed previously.

Works pretty good so far.

Legacy OSS games

UT2004 had no sound and refused to start out of the box (as usual for the last -Idon'tknow- 10 Linux installations.

See e.g. http://www.holarse.de/wiki/unreal_tournament_2004 or http://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/Spiele/UT2004 (german, but you will get the important stuff) for setup instructions.

Currently I still don't have sound and am to bored to fix this (I'm not playing UT2004 a lot any more due to a diminishing number of servers with acceptable ping times).


Just works. Counter Strike:Source just works, as do the other HL2 based games. Great.

Cyborg R.A.T. 5 mouse

My current mouse was known to have issues with Linux. Doh.

The X11 desktop did not recognize mouse clicks roughly 30% of the time.

This could be fixed by Googling as per [1] (basically add
pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 0 0 0
to your /etc/X11/Xmodmap).

In addition, the sensitivity and acceleration can not be dialed down enough using the graphical mouse config. Based on http://patrickmylund.com/blog/lowering-gaming-mouse-sensitivity-in-ubuntu-9-10/, putting the following script into my list of startup applications helped

xinput --set-prop "Saitek Cyborg R.A.T.5 Mouse" "Device Accel Constant Deceleration" 2 
xinput --set-prop "Saitek Cyborg R.A.T.5 Mouse" "Device Accel Velocity Scaling" 1

Shutdown issues

Ubuntu fails to shutdown the keyboard properly (legacy PS/2), the Num lock LED keeps on on shutdown. This sucks, as it has been an issue with e.g. Fedora 13 several eons ago. This should not happen...

Transient desktop problems

I had some transient issues with infrequent hangups of Mate Caja during file copy operations , as well as broken applets in the task bar, which may or may not have been related to the somewhat broken Mate 1.8 install I used before. Fixed with current Mate 1.8.1 install.

Final words

For a LTS release, which is supposed to be stable and well tested, this has a surprising amount of annoying glitches and bugs in central parts (LightDM, the whole Unity mess, shutdown (probably kernel and/or motherboard related). Otherwise working quite stable so far.