Welp, that was an inter­est­ing exer­cise in holy crap. After installing Ubuntu 9.04 (net­book remix) on my Acer Aspire One net­book, things looked great; I switched the sys­tem over to the full Gnome desk­top UI — the remix has a sim­ple launcher as its default — and every­thing just ran slick and sta­ble … until I rebooted, and the sys­tem menu bars were gone.

That’s a bit of a prob­lem, since pretty much every­thing you need to load and run the Gnome GUI resides in those panels.

Oops.

Googling about on my Mac I came across a thread in the Ubuntu sup­port forums that got me pointed in the right direc­tion. It began a year ago. Seems I wasn’t the only one who had this prob­lem. (I’m post #15 there.)

Most of the pro­ce­dures sug­gested for fix­ing the issue didn’t work for me. I couldn’t get a win­dow acti­vated to accept my key­strokes. I was finally able to cor­rect the prob­lem, but what I actu­ally enjoyed about it was:

(1) I wasn’t the only one who had this prob­lem, and the Ubuntu sup­port forums were a hell of a good source of infor­ma­tion; and

(2) I was able to get the prob­lem fixed with essen­tially no effort, panic or pro­fan­ity. That’s never been pos­si­ble with Windows when some­thing goes wrong*, and Ubuntu Jaunty is such a vast improve­ment over what I remem­ber of Red Hat that I’m gen­uinely impressed at how well Linux in gen­eral has pro­gressed. It was a hell of a lot eas­ier than, say, edit­ing an XF86.config file by hand to match your dis­play card and mon­i­tor dot clock.

So, basi­cally, I’m still hav­ing a good time. I fixed a bro­ken com­po­nent in my OS with­out hav­ing to rein­stall any­thing; that’s always a sat­is­fy­ing thing to be able to do.

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* On Mac, these kinds of things just don’t hap­pen at all.

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