White Screen of Death

Remember the good old days when Windows had problems with the “Blue Screen of Death.” Years later, XBox followed with its “Red Ring of Death.” Now, it’s Ubuntu turn, what others are coining as the “White Screen of Death.”

Yesterday, I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. Prior to the upgrade, I was using Ubuntu 11.04 and the Gnome desktop (not Unity). Somehow, for some reason, when I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10, it wiped out my Gnome default environment and switched me back to Unity. Argh!

To make matters worse, I was getting a blank white screen every time I switch to full screen mode. Outside of the full screen, everything seemed ok. I’ve only had a few hours to test the system. But, I think the problem is stemming from the video drivers that were introduced in Ubuntu 11.10.

What’s the workaround for now? After several hours, I ended up using Ubuntu 2D as my desktop environment instead of the default Ubuntu 3D. I should switch back to Gnome and get rid of Unity all together. But, like a good supporter, I’m trying hard to like Unity. I should give it one more chance.

Update: It turned out to be the NVidia video driver. I rolled it back to version 173 and it seems to work fine.

Ubuntu 11.10 New Features

Softpedia just ran an article listing the Top 10 Features of Ubuntu 11.10. Ubuntu 11.10 code name is Oneiric Ocelot. The new features are: a new login screen, improvements to the Unity Desktop, Deja Dup backup utility, Mozilla Thunderbird 7, Firefox 7, new Alt-Tab utility, Libre Office 3.4, Nautilus 3, and a redesigned Ubuntu Software Center. View the article and screenshots here.