Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Ubuntu & Gdm make me angry.

I installed the new and shiny Ubuntu Karmic on my computer today. Now there’s a speciality: I run the same installation (on a 2nd harddrive) both natively on the computer, but also in a VirtualBox VM.

That’s actually not complicated to setup, and most of the things work out fine, but there’s a remaining wart, which is the X-server needs additional and different configs for native-mode and running under the VM.

In former times, I just set the X-server being run by gdm (in /etc/gdm.conf) to /usr/local/sbin/ and used that shell-script to launch the correct server (with a different config, or even the same config but different “layouts”).

Now the wise men of gnome (gdm programmers) and Ubuntu decided to hardcode the paths of every component involved… And I only found out after learning…

  1. that gdm no longer looks at /etc/gdm/gdm.conf, but rather is configured via the gconfd-mechanism
  2. that the X-server configuration is not included in the new mechanism, but rather a compile-time default is hardcoded
  3. that the X-server is not run directly, but rather via the wrapper /usr/bin/X, which is, indeed, configurable… but also lacks a configuration directive to choose which server to run.

So, again, in the sake of… “simplification”, or should I say dumbing-down, of their core programs, they made deviating from their “single user on a dedicated machine with internet dial-up” standard scenario even more painful. I might just use MS Windows then, because it basically adheres to the same “do what we have forseen and don’t deviate” belief.

Immediate update: One can adjust the symlink /etc/X11/X! Which isn’t documented (as far as I see) and also not as flexible as the original gdm.conf solution, but should suffice.

No comments: