Updating Ubuntu Kills Firefox?

Getting tired of being hostage to Microsoft, I bought a laptop from Dell with Ubuntu 7.10 loaded on it. It came with Mozilla Firefox as its browser, which is cool because I was already using Firefox on my Windows XP machine. Last week I responded to a prompt to allow an automatic upgrade to Ubuntu 8.04. After the "upgrade", Ubuntu/Firefox would no longer access the 'Net, so I can neither try to upgrade Firefox, nor try to go back to 7.10. In fact, if I didn't have my older XP beast, I wouldn't have been able to send out this call for help. I'm trying to convert to Linux rather late in my life; much of my computer experience was with IBM 3090s, PL/I, DB2, etc.

Sounds like a network issue

Sounds like the network may not be enabled.

Are you working wired (With a cable plugged in) or wireless. The easiest thing to do is solve the problem in steps. Try wired first. Plug in a cable then open a terminal. Run "ifconfig eth0". See what address is assigned. It will be in the field called - inet addr.

If you have an address then try "ping". If you do not get a valid response then the network is still broken. If it is then please post the results from the ifconfig.

If the previous ping worked then try "ping www.google.com". If this works then the network is functional. If it fails then the resolver is likely the problem.

Result from Ping

Thanks for your help. I work only wired; don't want to introduce wireless complications till I get control of this much. I have a DSL modem with an Ethernet cable that I plug into whichever laptop I intend to use. Till I upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 both laptops were able to access the 'Net. Just for grins, I did unplug and re-plug the power cable to the modem.

I did the ifconfig; got a valid inet addr. When I pinged, I began to get iterations of this line: "64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=50 time=125 ms" . Each iteration bumped up the icmp sequence number by one, and the time varied between 123 and 127 ms. These returns would continue as long as I would allow; I never did get my input prompt again without shutting down the terminal window. Not having used ping for more than 20 years, I don't remember if this is normal or abnormal behavior.

Network is OK

What you did sounds good. BTW, Control-C will kill the ping.

What happens when you use the name to ping by. "ping www.google.com"? If the responses are similar to what you got earlier, then the name resolver is working.

If the resolver is working we're good with the network. If not then we need to look at the resolver. For the moment, I'm going to assume that it's working as well.

Next thing to check is can you reach the repositories. On the command line run "sudo apt-get update". You should get a bunch of output that looks like this:

Hit http://us.archive.ubuntu.com lucid-updates/restricted Packages
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net lucid Release
Hit http://us.archive.ubuntu.com lucid-updates/universe Packages
Hit http://us.archive.ubuntu.com lucid-updates/multiverse Packages
Get:3 http://ppa.launchpad.net lucid/main Packages [3,686B]
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net lucid/main Packages

If you do then you can reach the repository.

Let me know what happens.

Error Msgs

Thanks for the tip on how to shut down ping without having to shut down the terminal.

I pinged www.google.com and as you said got returns similar to those from the earlier ping. So my problem is not there.

When I ran "sudo apt-get update", I got 2 error messages, repeated 3-4 times each. I will paste in samples of both here:

Err http://security.ubuntu.com hardy-security Release.gpg

Could not connect to security.ubuntu.com:80 ( - connect (111 Connection refused) [IP: 80]

Err http://archive.ubuntu.com hardy Release.gpg

Could not connect to archive.ubuntu.com:80 ( - connect (111 Connection refused) [IP: 80]

These were followed by an equal number of "Failed to fetch http://..." lines, one for each error message.

I had noted online that for us newbys to Ubuntu, using the automated upgrade to a newer version should avoid this type of issue, but apparently in my case, it didn't.

Error followup


I understand about the challenges. The problem is that a user can do so many things with the system that it's hard to cover all of the possibilities that exist. I just upgraded 4 systems to 10.04 with no issues. A friend had problems with his upgrade. I never assume that any upgrade is going to be perfect. In fact most of the time I do a fresh install so I don't have to worry about how to handle inherited issues.

Ok, let's get back to your issue. Ping (ICMP) traffic is working and HTTP traffic is failing. Firewall issue? Run "ufw status". We want to see a status of inactive. If you see anything else run "ufw disable" then verify by rerunning "ufw status".

Let me know what you find....

F/W Issue

I ran "sudo ufw status" and got "firewall not loaded". However, my issue is a firewall issue. Not knowing there was a built-in firewall, back when I got my laptop with 7.10 on it, I figured out how to pull down Firestarter from an Ubuntu library. Not knowing any better, I left it on my system when I upgraded to 8.04. Turns out if I disable Firestarter, my Ubuntu laptop can access the 'Net just fine. For some reason that firewall didn't interfere with 7.10, but it does 8.04. Now I need some type of firewall, to keep out the curious and the bad-intentioned. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Firestarter; still doesn't allow 'Net access as long as it's running. Do you recommend I use ufw instead? Or is there some way to poke a hole in Firestarter, to allow the desired access?

While we're at it, do you recommend that I continue upgrading Ubuntu till I get to 10.04?

Firestarter and 10.04

Firestarter is a very full featured GUI, and allows you to add or deny access to different ports and services. I would check to make sure it is working with "Blacklists" instead of "whitelists". I have heard that firestarter is not very actively developed, other than the occasional patches (cannot quote sources, just read on a forum), so it may be wise to find a different FW.

As far as upgrading, if you are on 8.04 and want to upgrade to 10.04 you can do so directly, instructions are here.


They are both LTS (Long Term Support) releases, so there would be no downside to upgrading.

FW Solved!

Good catch! I'm glad that you are working now.

UFW is the default firewall that is installed in the newer releases. I use it from the command line and it's really easy to use. There may be a GUI for it, I just have not looked.

I'm not familiar with Firestarter, so can't provide any real advise there.

As for upgrades, it really depends on what you do with your machine. For me, I use Kubuntu and each release has been a good step up. I always move up, but I tend to start the upgrade process with the one of the beta releases.

Look at the software that you normally use and see how much those packages have changed in the two years since 8.04 was released. If there are changes that you need then do the upgrade. I generally find that the software that I use changes every 6-9 months and doing the upgrades make sense for me. Also, I tend to find that it's easier to ask for help if I'm on a current release. YMMV.



Thanx for Help


Thanks for patiently walking me thru the steps to isolate what was wrong. Using a terminal window takes me back more than 20 years; reminds me of the DOS commands I once used but have forgotten. Guess I'd better dust them off! I still have my first microcomputer, an IBM PC-AT with (GASP!!!) a 30 MEGABYTE hard disk! (It's in storage, however....)

Thanks again for your help,