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    Thinking and wondering out loud...

    UPDATE: For the source of the Internet connectivity problem, see this post.

    ==========================

    If you've followed my recent threads, you're well aware that I've had an extraordinary amount of problems with my new laptop, a beautiful System76 Gazelle 17.3". Kindly note that I am not condemning System76 in any way. I believe all the problems have been flukes, user [that would be me] error, and so on.

    But they've left me really scratching my head! Things that I've done a million times have fuc... mucked up! I mean, right from the get-go, I received it, powered it up, saw its installation of Ubuntu 20.04, got to a command line, and installed Kubuntu. Bam! Dead laptop. I mean dead dead. I couldn't do anything, get anywhere, NOTHING. I didn't have a USB thumb drive, so I patiently waited after ordering one--that was supposed to arrive the next day...but ended up coming several days later.

    (And for this I pay Amazon's Prime fee annually? They were very apologetic, but late is late, you know?, especially when you're in desperate need of what you're waiting for.) So it came, I burned 20.04 on it, used it to successfully resuscitate the brand-new laptop, and things were looking good, until they weren't. I've had a LITANY of problems, everything from being unable to mount USB drives to losing my Internet connection in a seemingly random manner.

    Regarding that last point, it happened again yesterday. Things had been running really beautifully for several days. I'd tweaked and customized my desktop/menu/taskbar/environment almost as much as I wanted. Note that I've been saving my $HOME directory, with all its settings, periodically, always before making ANY changes. So yesterday, when this happened, I reinstalled the OS--again!--and then restored the last known working $HOME, and all was fine. So what caused this sudden mess? I don't know. I literally had done only two things right before it started: one, I installed and used Inkscape, and, two, I copied a few svgz icons to /usr/share/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons/ -- which I assumed to be the new location of the default taskbar icons. Years ago, that location was the now-nonexistent /usr/share/kde4/apps/desktoptheme/default/icons/.

    That was it.

    Bam! No Internet connection. Once again I had the inexplicable "temporary failure in name resolution" [or however it's worded].

    As usual, *NO* other devices were affected in any way. My other System76 laptop, sitting right next to it, had no problems. Nor did two Android phones--one of which was running a continuous ping/sleep test in Termux. No blips whatsoever--ONLY on the new laptop.

    How on earth could installing Inkscape and/or copying a few icons to /usr/share/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons/ screw up my Internet connectivity?! I'm really at a loss...

    And it turns out /usr/share/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons/ isn't where *my* taskbar icons are stored--the ones located there do not match what I see in my taskbar, but neither do any of the other icons I've seen while trying to figure out where they are! Where are they?! The ones from my plasma theme are not the ones I see in my taskbar.

    Okay, /rant.
    Last edited by DoYouKubuntu; Nov 24, 2020, 01:50 PM.
    Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544


    #2
    I'm not sure this point is relevant to your problems, but you haven't mentioned this location:
    Originally posted by DoYouKubuntu View Post
    ...
    /usr/share/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons/
    Wherever there's files in "/usr/share", they're normally customized in "~/.local"; so in the example above "~/.local/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons". This is some kind of desktop standard and KDE plasma seems more compliant with the standard than previous versions of KDE, hence there's no .kde5 or .plasma directories.

    Customizing in .local avoids an update overwriting your changes.

    Also, with icons beware of icon caches, they seem to make the icons you get unpredictable. Some icon cache or caches are large and persist across logins; deleting them and restarting KDE may be needed to reset them.

    IME stepping away from the default breeze themes (IMO execrable iDreck-inspired rubbish) can cause trouble, especially with GTK apps. I've spent a lot of time hacking icons just to get something usable, that also doesn't spew screeds of warnings if started from a terminal. Anyway, the breeze themes cause a 600 ms delay starting gvim for me so I can't use them. IME KDE plasma the "get new..." functions improve with each release, in that they sometimes work now, and the choices are better and more robust.
    Regards, John Little

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by jlittle View Post
      I'm not sure this point is relevant to your problems, but you haven't mentioned this location:

      Wherever there's files in "/usr/share", they're normally customized in "~/.local"; so in the example above "~/.local/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons". This is some kind of desktop standard and KDE plasma seems more compliant with the standard than previous versions of KDE, hence there's no .kde5 or .plasma directories.
      The only thing in my ~/.local/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons is a directory containing the icon set I use [and have carried with me for 20+ years!]. On a fresh reinstall, the icons in my taskbar/system tray are nowhere I can find, therefore I don't know how to change them--and, in my not humble at all, downright mean opinion, they're ugly! I want them replaced with pretty ones. But I am still at a loss as to where to look, since /usr/share/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons wasn't it.

      Customizing in .local avoids an update overwriting your changes.
      During my most recent seven thousand reinstalls, I've taken to formatting /home so I'm starting clean and fresh each time. But I save my old $HOME prior to that, and then pick and choose what to restore from it. So how can I use ~/.local/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons to make my taskbar icons as I want them? Right now, they're being pulled in from somewhere with no effort on my part. I need to know their default location which, again, used to be /usr/share/kde4/apps/desktoptheme/default/icons/. Back then, you'd just copy the icons you wanted to that directory, restart KDE and you were good to go!

      Also, with icons beware of icon caches, they seem to make the icons you get unpredictable. Some icon cache or caches are large and persist across logins; deleting them and restarting KDE may be needed to reset them.
      Great point. Thanks!

      IME stepping away from the default breeze themes (IMO execrable iDreck-inspired rubbish) can cause trouble, especially with GTK apps. I've spent a lot of time hacking icons just to get something usable, that also doesn't spew screeds of warnings if started from a terminal. Anyway, the breeze themes cause a 600 ms delay starting gvim for me so I can't use them. IME KDE plasma the "get new..." functions improve with each release, in that they sometimes work now, and the choices are better and more robust.
      Right now, on yet another reinstall [yes, really, I mean since posting this thread!], I'm just sticking with default EVERYTHING. No fancy, schmancy plasma stuff, just the bare-bones settings that came with it, with the exception of my icon set. So far, my ping test hasn't burped...but you never know when it's going to rear its ugly little head again!

      The part of me that used to love solving mysteries needs to get reactivated. I'd REALLY like to hone in on what's causing this first in my lifetime problem. I simply have never seen this issue before, in 35 years of using *nix, and it's killing me that I can't figure out its source. Every time I think I've gotten closer...it happens again!
      Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544

      Comment


        #4
        During my most recent seven thousand reinstalls, I've taken to formatting /home so I'm starting clean and fresh each time. But I save my old $HOME prior to that, and then pick and choose what to restore from it. So how can I use ~/.local/plasma/desktoptheme/default/icons to make my taskbar icons as I want them? Right now, they're being pulled in from somewhere with no effort on my part. I need to know their default location which, again, used to be /usr/share/kde4/apps/desktoptheme/default/icons/. Back then, you'd just copy the icons you wanted to that directory, restart KDE and you were good to go!
        In my opinion, you're making the clean install process way too complex. If your /home is on a separate partition, then when you clean install the new OS, and apps, they will build new config files as needed. Then when previous configs are restored to /home, they are out of sync with the new OS. That can cause issues, depending on which configs and how many.

        When I clean install, I leave /home alone. I don't know if that is at the root of all your issues, but I believe it contributes. Of course, there are other considerations with drivers - especially wifi. Each issue MUST be dealt with one at a time, and a length of ethernet wire always helps. I keep one, I rarely need it, but it's there when I need it.
        I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.
        HP Envy x360, i7-1165G7 , 12GB RAM
        Kubuntu 20.04.3 LTS, 5.11.0-27-generic, x86_64, Plasma 5.18.5

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jglen490 View Post
          In my opinion, you're making the clean install process way too complex. If your /home is on a separate partition, then when you clean install the new OS, and apps, they will build new config files as needed. Then when previous configs are restored to /home, they are out of sync with the new OS. That can cause issues, depending on which configs and how many.
          But I've done it both ways: wiping and not wiping /home. I've also done it wiping /home and then not copying over ANY previous config files. The problem always returns. And it's always after some change, which--as I've pointed out--can be as simple as installing Inkscape or making a change in my desktop's appearance.

          When I clean install, I leave /home alone. I don't know if that is at the root of all your issues, but I believe it contributes.
          See above.

          Of course, there are other considerations with drivers - especially wifi. Each issue MUST be dealt with one at a time, and a length of ethernet wire always helps. I keep one, I rarely need it, but it's there when I need it.
          I'd agree--except that it doesn't apply in this case. HARDWIRED connections were failing, too--something I have never seen in 35 years. When the intermittent loss of Internet connectivity started, I grabbed an Ethernet cable and plugged it in, thinking, there!, that'll fix that! WRONG. I sat with my mouth open as it spit out the 'failure in name resolution' error, just like on Wi-Fi. I know I sound like a broken record, but this is an absolute first for me, and I'm not some newbie. I started computing on UNIX [well, unless you include my VIC-20 and Commodore 64] and have used *nix continuously since 1985. I'm glad I'm no longer responsible for a company's system...I'd be beyond screwed if a problem like this happened and I was useless figuring out its source!

          ETA: I totally forgot about something else I've tried, after the connectivity issue rears its ugly little head: creating a brand-new user and logging in with it. Nope! Didn't help. My theory, or anyone's theory, that the issue is somehow in my $HOME isn't it. The new user has nothing but the stock $HOME created by the system, but the problem exists for it, too.
          Last edited by DoYouKubuntu; Nov 15, 2020, 12:32 PM.
          Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544

          Comment


            #6
            So far--today--everything's been working great! Haven't had to reinstall once!

            I did something different yesterday, during my most recent reinstall: I unchecked 'install third-party software...' It referred to graphics and Wi-Fi drivers/software, but I figured it CAN'T get any worse, so what the hell?! Now I'm not saying I've found and eliminated the source of the connectivity problem, just that right now things look good.

            I haven't done much customization to my look and feel yet. I've added icons to my taskbar for the handful of apps I use regularly, and that went off without a hitch. I'm getting ready to install some software...so we'll see!
            Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by DoYouKubuntu View Post
              I did something different yesterday, during my most recent reinstall: I unchecked 'install third-party software...' It referred to graphics and Wi-Fi drivers/software, but I figured it CAN'T get any worse, so what the hell?! Now I'm not saying I've found and eliminated the source of the connectivity problem, just that right now things look good.
              That's something I am surprised I didn't catch. You probably want System76's video drivers over the ones from Ubuntu anyway, let alone any other drivers they provide via their repo.

              Switching between different proprietary Nvidia drivers can be annoying or worse

              Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk
              I'll ask Jeeves

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by claydoh View Post
                That's something I am surprised I didn't catch. You probably want System76's video drivers over the ones from Ubuntu anyway, let alone any other drivers they provide via their repo.

                Switching between different proprietary Nvidia drivers can be annoying or worse

                Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk
                Again, that's just nuts.

                <rant> A piece of hardware made to support an open source project, it's locked down tighter than Scrooge McDuck's vault, and requires that only it's provisions will run the damn thing. Yes, it's locked down with (hopefully) open source stuff, but it's beyond the scope of reasonably talented users to go off the reservation and load a different open source OS. And they want an arm and a leg to buy it. That's ridiculous, and all thoughts of ever buying one of their machines are gone from my mind. </rant>

                There are a lot of really good new and used machines that can bought off the shelf, for several hundreds of dollars less. Within an hour of doing that, Windows will be gone and one of any number of Linux distros will be happily humming along, computing, being useful.
                I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.
                HP Envy x360, i7-1165G7 , 12GB RAM
                Kubuntu 20.04.3 LTS, 5.11.0-27-generic, x86_64, Plasma 5.18.5

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by DoYouKubuntu View Post
                  ... HARDWIRED connections were failing,... When the intermittent loss of Internet connectivity started, I grabbed an Ethernet cable and plugged it in, thinking, there!, that'll fix that!
                  I've thought that, working on similar connectivity problems, and twice been stung by what turned out to be intermittently failing ethernet cables.
                  Regards, John Little

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by claydoh View Post
                    That's something I am surprised I didn't catch. You probably want System76's video drivers over the ones from Ubuntu anyway, let alone any other drivers they provide via their repo.
                    No... I can't expect you--or anyone!--to keep this all straight. But at one point along this journey, I did install System76's drivers--and ended up with [yet another] borked laptop! That was the time I ended up with a blaCk [as opposed to blaNk] screen, like the display died...or something...making the laptop absolutely useless.

                    Switching between different proprietary Nvidia drivers can be annoying or worse
                    Right. Which is why I figured--after ALL THIS--that choosing not to install third-party drivers couldn't possibly make matters worse. And, so far, it hasn't! I'm humming along today without issues. I'm not convinced of anything yet, but this is a good sign.

                    Can anyone please point me to where I should store the icons I want to see in my taskbar? For things like volume, battery, KDE Connect, Bluetooth, etc. I strongly dislike the icons I have now, but have yet to figure out where they're stored.
                    Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jlittle View Post
                      I've thought that, working on similar connectivity problems, and twice been stung by what turned out to be intermittently failing ethernet cables.
                      Yep, I considered that--that's why I tried two different Ethernet cables and got the same result!

                      Honestly, this is just so head-scratching...
                      Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544

                      Comment


                        #12
                        System 76 must have changed the way the install an OS and software. My son bought a S76 Gazelle about 5 years ago. He's managing a team of programmers and doesn't have time to install or update an OS so I am his IT guy.
                        I've put Kubuntu on it 5 years ago and have kept Kubuntu on it every since, always using the LTS. I always use the stock install and never "spruce it up". It has not given him one hiccup.
                        "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
                        – John F. Kennedy, February 26, 1962.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My older System76, the Kudu Pro, ran without issue for 5-1/2 years. A year ago, I upgraded it to 19.10 and it immediately had some issues--but nothing like this! Nothing that borked it. Nothing that required a billion [or even one, IIRC] reinstalls.

                          This laptop is definitely an anomaly.

                          One thing no one's mentioned, including me: what if it's just a lemon? They occur, even in the best brands.

                          I'm on my phone at the moment, so haven't yet checked the laptop. It's been pinging all night. I installed...oh, shoot...I can't recall its name, but it's a system-save thing using rsync to take snapshots per my schedule. So we'll see if that screwed it up!
                          Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Well, folks, I may be about to commit heresy...or whatever using a non-*buntu Linux distro would be.

                            I'm pretty fed up now. I've reinstalled two more times since my last reply. Yesterday morning and this morning, when I opened the laptop, it was frozen solid at some point during the night [different times, by several hours]. Despite that, yesterday was pretty much issue-free, so I dared to install a few things... One I mentioned, somewhere, although I couldn't think of its name: timeshift. A system snapshot thing using rsync. Blah blah blah... today, after booting up, I fired up my handful of usual apps, including SeaMonkey [which has been ruled out as the culprit], and immediately had that damned 'name resolution failure' and sporadic Internet connectivity. So today, after TWO reinstalls [one failed after choosing a different option from the boot menu: safe mode graphics...something...], I'm close to being done. Either send it back to System76 and let them restore it to its shipping state, then deal with it--either install Kubuntu as I've done for 15 years, or live with Ubuntu.

                            Or...try a different distro.

                            It's been a good 5+ years since I last tried Slackware, but I remember really liking it. I know there are many more distributions available now, so I'd have plenty to choose from. I just can't continue using a primary computer that loses its Internet connection randomly [SEEMINGLY randomly], and requires continual reinstalling of the OS. If I wanted an OS whose problems were solved by continually reinstalling the OS, I'd use window$, you know?

                            Right now, with MANY things disabled, and with almost no customization of my environment, it's running great. But what I've learned is that it won't last. I'll install something, or run something, or change a font setting, or...WHATEVER...and that ridiculous connection problem will rear its ugly head again. I'm out of ideas. If you have any, please let me know. Including suggestions for other distros.
                            Xenix/UNIX user since 1985 | Linux user since 1991 | Was registered Linux user #163544

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Since your S76 came with Pop!_os I was wondering if it ran on your S76 box OK?
                              "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
                              – John F. Kennedy, February 26, 1962.

                              Comment

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