Getting help with Xubuntu

Even though I’d very much like to say the opposite, most people will probably need help with Xubuntu at some point. Luckily, it is quite easy to find help – you just need to know where to look.

First of all, you need to determine what kind of problem you are having.

Getting started

If you are new to Xubuntu, you will want to read the excellent Xubuntu documentation, that is also shipped with Xubuntu (in version 8.04 it is located under /usr/share/xubuntu-docs/index.html). It should be your first stop when trying to figure out how to connect to the internet, how to install applications, and similar basic tasks. All this thanks to the huge, voluntary efforts of the Xubuntu Documentation Team (you can also help out with the Xubuntu documentation yourself!).

Of course, if you want to perform slightly more advanced tasks, such as setting up periodical backups on Xubuntu, the internet is your friend. There are a lot of great resources on the internet that can help you with anything from installing Xubuntu on the Eee PC to browsing Windows network shares with Thunar. However, be sure to double-check which version of Xubuntu the guide is written for. For example, the post on browsing Windows network shares I just linked to is, at the time of writing, a little outdated and contains unnecessary steps.

It is also safest to look for articles written specifically targeting Xubuntu – tutorials aiming at Ubuntu users will often work as well, articles targeting just “Linux” are less likely to result in success.

When you can’t find the answer

If you’ve spent time roaming the dark alleys of the internet, spit through every last bit of Xubuntu’s official documentation, but still don’t have an answer, there are a number of support options.

One requirement for all these options is that you specify as much information as possible. This includes, but needn’t be limited to, the fact that you’re running/wanting to run Xubuntu, which version of Xubuntu you’re running, what you’re problem is, what the expected result is, and perhaps how proficient you are with Xubuntu. This allows other people to help you in the best possible way.

The xubuntu-users mailinglist is, well, a mailinglist for Xubuntu users. All messages sent to a certain email address (xubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com in the case of xubuntu-users) will be delivered to everybody who has subscribed to that mailinglist. Thus, if you need help with Xubuntu, you can subscribe to that mailinglist, send an email to that address explaining your problem, and perhaps the next time you check your email, the answer is waiting for you.

You might not have the patience to wait for people to respond, however. If that is the case, fear no more, as IRC comes to the rescue! IRC is a way of being able to communicate in real time with other people – in other words, a chatbox. First you need an application to talk IRC – Xchat, DarkIRC, whatever, it shouldn’t really matter. Using your IRC client, you need to connect to a network – FreeNode (on irc.freenode.net) in this case. Once you’re connected to the network, you need to join the appropriate chatroom (how old-school is that?) – the Xubuntu support room (or channel in IRC lingo) is #xubuntu. You can join by typing /join #xubuntu.



Once you’re in – ask away! Be sure to be polite, not to spam the channel, and realize that, if nobody answers, probably nobody knows. Don’t ask the same question over and over again.

It is no secret, however, that the Xubuntu community is not quite the size of the Ubuntu community. Luckily, many people in the Ubuntu community can also help you with your Xubuntu problems if nobody in the Xubuntu community can. The place to get help from the Ubuntu community is the Ubuntu forums. With a very large amount of active members, your question is very likely to find an answer here.

Another place to get help is at Launchpad answers, which is part of Launchpad, a project management website where Ubuntu is managed. Here, you’ll be more likely to find developers, who are most likely to be able to help you.

When there is no answer

Even with this vast range of support options, some problems are just errors in the software – so called bugs. These can be reported at bugs.ubuntu.com, where a developer can look at it and, if you’re lucky, provide a fix for you and other users to enjoy.

Conclusion

Of course, there will still be times when no answer can be found. However, after having read this article, you’ll hopefully be able to better find help yourself. And of course, if you cannot find help, feel free to ask me – I may not be able to provide an answer, but I might be able to give you some pointers.

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14 Responses to “Getting help with Xubuntu”


  1. 1 Vincent 18 July 2008 at 10:23 pm

    My apologies to the internet for not having posted anything for this long. By the time you can read this I’ll be on holiday for two weeks so it might take a while for me to respond to comments, but at least this article is posted :)

  2. 2 Robert Mees 3 August 2008 at 2:33 pm

    I clicked auto hide and how do I replace the top tool bar

  3. 3 Vincent 3 August 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Robert, what do you mean by “replace”?

  4. 4 Robert Mees 3 August 2008 at 3:43 pm

    But it back on the desktop

  5. 5 Vincent 3 August 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Move your mouse to the top of the screen so that the panel appears, right click, then select Customize Panel and uncheck Autohide.

  6. 6 Jason Boyles 6 December 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I deleted the shortcuts on my top panel (Firefox) How do I replace them? They don´t list it in the ¨Add Items to the Panel¨ menu.

    On a second note, when I try to use the ´ key, I have to press it twice, even when shifting, the ` is the same way too.

  7. 7 Vincent 6 December 2008 at 12:45 pm

    @Jason – as mentioned above, there are better ways of getting help with Xubuntu than asking here.

    However, the shortcuts on your panel are Launchers, the top item in the “Add Items to the Panel”-menu.

    As for having to press the ‘-key twice – you have probably set your keyboard layout to use dead keys. You can change your keyboard layout to one without dead keys (which allow you to e.g. press ‘ and then e to type an é) under the Layouts tab in the Keyboard settings from the Settings Manager.

  8. 8 nirav 14 December 2008 at 12:47 am

    hello everyone.i have just started using xubuntu.i want few softwares from add /remove program but i am not able to connect internet using xubuntu.is there a way by which i can download those softwares using windows and then try to install it to xubuntu?

    if my question is really stupid for u to answer…kindly do not answer anything.i am new to this and i know this fact.

  9. 9 Vincent 14 December 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Hmm, this post seems to have the opposite effect of what I meant it to have, but anyway…

    Nirav, you can download the applications (.deb files) from packages.ubuntu.com and then save it onto a removable drive. Open them in Xubuntu to install them.

  10. 10 nirav 14 December 2008 at 7:25 pm

    i am sorry vincent…i was just cynical about getting help this way on the net but u proved me wrong……

    thanks.i mean it.:-)
    nirav

  11. 11 Ricardo 20 November 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Hi i have an acer aspire one zg5 model with xubuntu OS that i lost the login name and password and i would like to know work around that or what option do i have to use my computer. my e-mail address is puro.agaves100@yahoo.com i ready appreciate any help. thankx Ricardo


  1. 1 Restoring the Xfce panels « Xubuntu Blog Trackback on 7 September 2008 at 2:27 pm
  2. 2 Xfce announces alpha release of version 4.6 « Xubuntu Blog Trackback on 14 September 2008 at 3:53 pm
  3. 3 Xfce 4.6 Alfa 1 » Gadius Empire Trackback on 9 January 2012 at 10:57 pm

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