By Martin Stut, 2011-11-05

Besides my Debian Linux Desktop at home, I'm operating an encrypted portable Ubuntu Linux on an 8 GB USB stick. When Ubuntu 11.10 came out, I ran the usual upgrade on it.

The process downloaded more than 900 MB (23 minutes on a 6000 kbps home DSL line), the upgrade took almost three hours (cheap USB sticks are slow when being written to), but there were no flaws in the process. The system was even perfectly bootable after the upgrade - a lot better than a year or so ago, when some change in /etc/fstab broke the encrypted root mount.

But when I started logging in, I was disappointed to have lost my Gnome Desktop. Just before I started to (grudgingly) accept the loss, I got the idea of searching the Ubuntu Software Center for packages containing "gnome" in their name. The first (most relevant) match was "gnome", the desktop environment. I installed that (took more than ten minutes, but it's a big piece of software and USB sticks are slow when being written to) and after the reboot, there was a gear wheel next to the password field. Clicking on that gear wheel opened a menu with half a dozen choices, including "Gnome without effects". I chose that and got the Gnome desktop.