Posts Tagged ‘display’

If you’ve upgraded your Ubuntu system only to find you don’t have permission to do pretty much anything, as I did after upgrading to 13.10, it can be pretty annoying even for an advanced user, and downright scary for a novice. The symptoms are pretty obvious, as when you go to install updates, all you get is an error message saying “This operation cannot continue since proper authorization was not provided“. And using the Shutdown button seems to do nothing, and even using a terminal command to power off might see the shutdown process halt half-way through, forcing you to use the PC’s power button.

On top of that, even mounting removable drives (or other partitions on your internal drive) ends in being told you can’t, and even trying to play a DVD ends with “Unable to access “DVDVIDEO”. Not authorized to perform operation.

While there are ways around all of these situations for more advanced users, those less experienced with Ubuntu/Linux would find it all quite daunting, and pretty much look at their system as unusable. And one shouldn’t have to go through the bother of manually mounting drives through the terminal, or invoking the Software Updater as superuser, or any other thing we usually take for granted.

Luckily, the fix – which involves PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) – is actually quite simple, and should have everything back to normal in no time.

In a terminal, enter the following command to edit the PAM authentication file for the LightDM display manager:

gksu gedit /etc/pam.d/lightdm

Under the first line “#%PAM-1.0” paste the following 2 lines:

session required pam_loginuid.so
session required pam_systemd.so

Save and exit the file, then log out and back in again, and all should now be fine (you shouldn’t need to reboot).


Another method, which fixed the problem for some (but not in my case, and many others) is to run:

sudo pam-auth-update --force

This opens PAM‘s config within the terminal, at which you either check or uncheck items, or just hit Tab to go to OK, and hit Enter.


If need be, like you have GDM installed and it is interfering with LightDM, run dpkg-reconfigure gdm and select lightdm (you may need to reboot).


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Up until Rhythmbox version 2.96 (the current version in Ubuntu 13.04 is 2.98), the bottom section of the left-hand pane where your devices and playlists are was reserved for the current album’s cover art. Since then, that has been removed and a much smaller version of the cover appears left of the song info in the top toolbar. While this is merely a cosmetic issue, and nothing to get too upset over, nonetheless it was pretty cool seeing a nice-sized picture of the cover appear at the bottom of the left pane.

Rhythmbox Art Display Plugin

But fret not, as there is a way to get this back, via the Cover art display plugin for Rhythmbox. And while it currently isn’t in the software repos for Raring Ringtail 13.04, I’ll show you how to get around that too, and install it easily.

First, you’ll need to add the plugins PPA to your software sources, which you can do by pasting the following command into the terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins

Once that’s done, update your software sources list with:

sudo apt-get update

Now to install the plugin (if there is a current version of the plugin that can be installed):

sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugin-artdisplay

If you’re informed that the package could not be found, it means there is still no version ready for 13.04, but this is no real problem, as we can just install the 12.10 version. To fix this, you’ll need to edit the Rhythmbox plugins sources list:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/fossfreedom-rhythmbox-plugins-raring.list

… then copy the line that should be at the top of the file deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins/ubuntu raring main and paste it at the bottom of the file, then replace “raring” with “quantal“. Once you’ve saved and closed the file, the sources list for plugins will specify to look for both 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) and 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) versions, and when you sudo apt-get update again, all the available plugins will be listed in your package manager. You can then install this plugin and others via Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic Package Manager, or just run the install command again (sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugin-artdisplay).

Once it’s installed, all you have to do is enable it. Go to Edit > Plugins and enable the Cover art display plugin. Your cover art should now be in the left pane, with the smaller one still in the toolbar near the song title.

If for some reason you don’t want the smaller cover in the toolbar any more (I say have both, but that’s up to your tastes), you can disable that by going to the View menu and un-checking Album Art.


Note: If you’re reading this in Ubuntu 13.10 or above, and there is no current version after adding the PPA, edit the sources file accordingly, meaning substitute the word relating to your current version with that of the previous one. In other words, in Raring Ringtail 13.04 we had to replace “raring” with “quantal” for Quantal Quetzal 12.10, in Saucy Salamander 13.10 you would replace “saucy” with “raring“, and so forth (and if all fails, just replace that with “quantal“, which definitely has a version of the plugin).


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If you upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04, you might find that some of your familiar icons in the notification area of your panel’s system tray are missing. These will include such system apps as the Update Manager, but more importantly those programs you are running that usually put icons or indicators there.

Some of these might be used for bringing the related programs to the foreground (which is the only way to access those that disappear when minimised, like Firestarter and Vuze), while others are completely useless if not shown in the notification area. A good example of the latter is Parcellite, a clipboard manager which sits in the system tray, and which you can’t access any other way.

So, in Unity, you might not even be sure certain apps are running, without opening the System Monitor. They’re actually open and still trying to put their icons there, but are being prevented by a default Unity setting. But it’s easy to fix, either by the hands-on/visual approach, or the quicker command-line method.

Dconf Editor

First off, if you don’t have Dconf Editor installed, do so by entering the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

To open it, hit Alt+F2 and enter dconf-editor. Navigate to desktop > unity > panel, where the value for the systray-whitelist entry should look something like: [‘JavaEmbeddedFrame’, ‘Mumble’, ‘Wine’, ‘Skype’, ‘hp-systray’, ‘scp-dbus-service’]

You can manually add programs and indicators to it (eg: [‘JavaEmbeddedFrame’, ‘Mumble’, ‘Wine’, ‘Skype’, ‘hp-systray’, ‘scp-dbus-service’, ‘your-indicator-here’]), or you can just get it to show all notifications (which would be preferable, since any programs you install in the future would be included there).

Simply click the systray-whitelist entry and type ['all'] over what is there. That should restore all your usual system tray icons, which were always running, just not visible. To complete this, you will need to run (via Alt+F2) unity --replace to refresh Unity.

Terminal Command

It’s even easier to do this via the terminal (or Alt+F2):

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

Once again, you’ll need to refresh Unity to see your changes.

Extra Notes

No Notifications: If you actually want no notifications showing up, leave the value empty. Actually, it will need to be [”] (that’s two single-quotes inside the box bracket), which you can do manually, or by the following command:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['']"

Don’t Refresh Unity in Terminal: Use Alt+F2 to refresh Unity, as while running unity --replace in the terminal is fine, if you halt that process, or close the terminal window, Unity will crash. While that isn’t a major deal, it will however leave you without a way to rectify this, as Alt+F2 will not produce the Run dialogue (since the panel isn’t running – which also means no way to log out or restart). You may also find that if you manage to get a terminal up (like if you have a launcher for it on your desktop), you won’t be able to type anything into it.


Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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