Ubuntu 7.10 (aka Gutsy Gibbon) has a DNS-related bug.
I referred to it when I posted about having upgraded to 7.10 last week but since then I have found how to get around it.
First the problem –
After the upgrade, browsers, mail clients and other Internet-related applications run very slowly. Loading pages in Firefox can take 30+ seconds and sending/receiving emails seems interminable too.
On inspection, the Network settings seems to forget any custom settings (I had pointed it at the OpenDNS servers). Adding the OpenDNS servers to the router’s settings didn’t help. Re-adding the DNS servers to the Network Settings helped for about five minutes when it would once again lose the configuration and slow down.
Checking the Ubuntu forums I discovered that this appears to be related to IPv6.
I tried the following suggestion and it fixed the problem for me straightaway:
- IPv6 is supported by default in Ubuntu and can sometimes cause problems
- To disable it, open a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and type the command: gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/aliases
- Find the line alias net-pf-10 ipv6 and change it to read alias net-pf-10 off
- Reboot Ubuntu
Everything is zinging along happily on my laptop once more!
Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) launched yesterday. Ubuntu is a linux distribution with a focus on desktop systems and usability. It issues major releases at pre-scheduled six monthly intervals.
I installed the previous version of Ubuntu (7.04) on one of my laptops recently and was very impressed with its performance and stability.
The update from 7.04 to 7.10 was completely painless – it was a one button click in the Update Manager!
The new version has lots of tweaks and newer versions of applications but it also has eye candy visual effects built-in (System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects:
I have had one problem with 7.10 so far and that is that it won’t remember my DNS settings. I’m not sure why that is or if it is only me. I normally use OpenDNS for my DNS – it is annoying to go back to Eircom’s significantly slower DNS servers after using OpenDNS servers for so long now.
When you see something new being lauded by Matt Mullenweg (of WordPress fame), Kevin Burton (of TailRank) and Chris Pirillo (of GnomeDex fame) you sit up and take notice.
In this case they are talking up a new service called OpenDNS. OpenDNS is a very simple idea – it is a centralised series of DNS servers which protect you against phishing sites and speed up your browsing.
How do you use the service? Simply change the DNS settings in your computer (or router) to point at OpenDNSs DNS servers (188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206) and off you go!
They claim to be much faster by enabling huge DNS caches (does this mean changes to a sites DNS settings will propagate more slowly?) and by having their caches “at the major intersections of the Internet” – so far U.S. only.
They also claim to protect you against phishing by comparing sites you want to visit against their database of known phishing attacks. This strikes me as a dubious claim as these sites change daily and keeping up with phishing sites is a fast paced game of leapfrog. Marshal Kirkpatrick is equally skeptical (if not more so!).
The speed difference of using the OpenDNS servers isn’t especially obvious for anyone based in Ireland. Browsing to any of my regular sites is in fact, initially, a little slower then normal (most are not in their cache yet I suspect) but speeds up on second load.
However, one place I did notice a definite speed bump was in my RSS reader. Chris Pirillo mentioned it in passing when he said:
If you use a news aggregator, either one (or both) of these solutions is mandatory
He was correct. Browsing websites might not seem much faster but my NetNewsWire RSS reader refreshed my >200 feeds in a fraction of the time it normally takes. Maybe this is how they should be promoting their service. Anyone else notice this?