[ FIX ] Mouse Pointer Blinking Flickering Issue on Ubuntu

Mouse Pointer Blinking / Flickering issues can be caused by a wide range of reasons. According to askubuntu.com, fractional scaling on the external monitors, graphics driver misbehavior, etc can cause the issue. If you have enabled Cursor Blinking from Gnome Accessibility Settings, this can also happen.

I have started facing the Mouse Pointer Blinking / Flickering issue on my Ubuntu Desktop (Ubuntu 22.10 Kinetic Kudu ) from last week onwards. I don’t have an Nvidia graphics driver installed as I don’t have an Nvidia Graphics. The fix mentioned on askubuntu and other forums revolved around fractional scaling, which is off in my situation, so it can’t be the issue. Gnome Curser Blinking settings is off as well.

After a lot of Google searches, I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t find the exact solution and solve the problem. I had to restart every time this issue hits, and it won’t stop it from appearing again. What else can I do? I thought to myself. That’s when I remembered i could try switching to a virtual console and then switch back to the UI and see if it fixes the issue… and it did.

Here is how I fixed my Mouse pointer blinking issue

Press Ctrl + Alt + F4 – it will switch you to a virtual console. Now, come back to the UI by pressing Ctrl + Alt + F2. If the issue you have is similar to mine, this should fix your issue. This is not a permanent solution, but it’s an easy temporary fix to execute.

Top 10 Gnome Extensions to Install on your Ubuntu Desktop

Ubuntu 22.10 (Kinetic Kudu) was launched in October 20, 2022. Users running older versions like 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish), 21.10 (Impish Indri) etc can upgrade to the newer version via the update manager app. Even though the new Ubuntu 22.10 is a great operating system, there are certain features and functionalities we wish it had out of the box. Since Ubuntu no longer runs Unity Desktop and comes with Gnome, you can make use of Gnome Extensions to add a few tweaks to the overall experience, and also add some features to enhance the usability.

Below are some of the best Gnome Extensions we use to make our Ubuntu experience better. You can install them on your system via your browser at https://extensions.gnome.org/ and you can see the installed extensions on your system at https://extensions.gnome.org/local/ .

Important Note: There is a chance some of these Gnome extensions become unusable when a new version of Gnome or Ubuntu is released. In those cases, you will have to wait for the Extension author to update it to work on the new build.

Extension List by grroot

This is a must-have extension as this lets you quickly enable or disable other extensions installed on your laptop/desktop system via a drop down menu in the top panel. Install it from here.

Desktop Icons NG (DING) by rastersoft

If you are like me and want to keep a clean, iconless desktop, this extension is for you. This extension lets you hide all icons from your Ubuntu desktop. Install it from here.

Freon by UshakovVasilii

This extension is for the Geeks and for people who love to keep a check on what’s going on inside the system. This extension can show CPU temperature, disk temperature, video card temperature ( NVIDIA / Catalyst / Bumblebee&NVIDIA ), voltage, and fan RPM. You can also customize, disables the ones you don’t want and move the info panel to the left, middle or right of your top panel. Install this extension from here.

Clipboard Indicator by Tudmotu

As the name suggests, it gives you a drop-down Clipboard history in the top panel. It also has a feature to enable private mode. You can clear history from the drop-down itself. Install this extension from here.

Simple System Monitor by LGiki

If you check the Gnome Extensions Library, you can find a lot of System Monitor Extensions. This particular one is my favorite one as the appearance of this on the top panel looks very good while many others look out of place. It also has plenty of customization options. You can disable the ones you don’t want and change the font if you don’t like it. Install it from here.

Simple net speed by bijignome

If you are not interested in the above Simple System Monitor and wants to install an extension that displays the internet upload and download speed, this is a nice extension to have. Install it from here.

User Themes by fmuellner

This extension helps you Load shell themes from the user directory. You can also switch between them by clicking the extension setting via the Extension list extension. Install it from here.

NoAnnoyance v2 by bjoerndaase

This extension helps to remove the annoying ‘Window is ready’ notification and puts the window into focus. Install it from here.

ColorTint by MatthewBarnard

The description of the extension reads “Tint your desktop with a color of your choice to help with dyslexia, scopic sensitivity, and related conditions.”. Install it from here.

Bluetooth Quick Connect by bjarosze

This is one of the function Gnome should have baked in. It’s a shame an extension is needed to enable this. Install it from here. You also would want to install the incredible Quick Settings Tweaker by qwreey75 which lets you tweak gnome 43’s quick settings. Using this extension, you can add Media Controls, Notifications, Volume Mixer on quick settings and remove useless buttons!

These are some of the Gnome Extensions we use. If you find a great one, please let us know in the comment sections. You can find all gnome extensions on their official library here.

How to Hide Desktop Icons in Ubuntu 22.10

A lot of Ubuntu Users prefer a clean desktop without icons displayed. Historically, people used to disable desktop icons easily with gconf-editor or dconf-editor and by entering commands like gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false in the terminal.

However, these commands and workarounds do not work well in newer Ubuntu Linux operating system versions like Ubuntu 22.10.

In Ubuntu 22.10, you can easily disable/hide Desktop icons using a Gnome Shell Extension.

What is a Gnome Shell Extension ?
The official description reads ‘GNOME Shell extensions are small pieces of code written by third party developers that modify the way GNOME works. Since extensions are created outside of the normal GNOME design and development process, they are supported by their authors, rather than by the GNOME community. Some features first implemented as extensions might find their way into future versions of GNOME.’

How to disable Desktop Icons in Ubuntu 22.10
Go to the Gnome Extensions Library page and install the Desktop Icons NG (DING) extension. After successful installation, you can enable/disable this extension to make Desktop icons appear or disappear. It’s that easy.

I would also recommend you install Extension List Gnome Extension by grroot which places a drop-down list of installed extensions in the top panel. This helps you easily enable and disable your installed extensions.


Also check out: Top 10 Gnome Extensions to Install on your Ubuntu Desktop 2022 – 2023.

My Experience with installing Ubuntu on Acer Iris Xe Max Laptop

I recently bought an Acer Swift 3X SF314-510G renewed laptop from Amazon.in as a backup laptop to test out Windows 11 Insider Edition. Since I use Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute Hippo) with GNOME 3.38.4 on my regular laptop, I was curious to see how it will work on this new hardware.

Acer Swift 3X SF314-510G is not just another Intel-powered laptop. This model is unique as it comes with Intel Iris Xe Max GPU ( Intel DG1 ). As of this writing, the Ubuntu official kernel doesn’t have support for this GPU. However, since the 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 also comes with integrated Iris Xe graphics, the latest Ubuntu bootable USB installation drive booted into it without any issues. Everything was working except the Intel Iris Xe Max GPU because of a lack of drivers.

Installing Ubuntu 21.04 Linux on Acer Swift 3X SF314-510G

Since I was able to boot the live USB without any issues, I thought i will install it after updating Windows 10 to Windows 11. I enrolled in the Windows Insider program and installed the new Windows 11 without any issues. The UI looks much better and polished than the older Windows versions. If you are a Windows user, I would highly recommend you give it a try. From my limited usage, I didn’t see the Blue Screen of Death, which is now black I heard.

After using Windows 11 for a while, I decided to Dual boot Ubuntu 21.04 on my new Acer Swift SF314-510G. Installation went without any issues. Since the new Ubuntu versions support Secure Boot, you don’t have to disable it in the Bios and use legacy mode. Everything got installed and the system rebooted. However, the GRUB bootloader, which was needed for Ubuntu to boot didn’t load at startup. Naturally, I googled for solutions and got a wide range of solutions to try out.

A few users suggested i try the following commands

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\shimx64.efi
or
bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\ubuntu\grubx64.efi

For me, both of these commands didn’t work. So I moved on to other solutions.

Acer has a Bios feature that lets you choose a .EFI file as trusted. In order to do that, first, you have to set a Bios Supervisor password. You can do that easily from the Security tab. Then you have to choose the Select a UEFI file as trusted for executing option. This will let you browse through the EFI partition. From there, navigate to the ubuntu folder and find the shimx64.efi. If no such file exists, look for grubx64.efi. Select it by entering. It will prompt you to enter a name. After finishing this step successfully, reboot. You will now have a new entry in the bootable items listed in the F12 boot menu. This process will give you the Grub loader to boot from on many many Acer Laptops.

However, in my case, it didn’t. So I repeated the Ubuntu installation process after resetting everything in the BIOS to default. Also i tried with and without Secure boot enabled. I again ran into the same issue. but this time, I got empty EFI Ubuntu folders. When I mounted the EFI ubuntu folder using a live system, I found the needed files there but for some reason, BIOS didn’t show it.

I tried using older Ubuntu versions – even installed older Ubuntu 18.04 LTS just to see if it will give me the GRUB. Now i ran into a new error – Executing ‘grub-install /dev/nvme0n1’ failed – This is a fatal error. I switched back to the latest Ubuntu live CD, and to my surprise, i started to see this new grub-install error in that as well! Again, I google-searched for solutions, and nothing these great minds suggested worked in my case.

Since I am a full-time Ubuntu user, I actually didn’t need to have Dual Boot Windows 11 and Ubuntu on my Acer Swift 3X SF314-510G. I can easily live without it. However, I wanted to test out the new UI and Windows experience, hence the decision to Dual boot. Also, I was afraid Acer has done some bad EFI Secure Boot implementation that wouldn’t let Ubuntu or other Linux booting on their new laptops. So removing Windows, formatting the whole drive, and installing Ubuntu alone was a risk. However, I was forced to do exactly that thanks to a fix suggested by Gparted. I was using Gparted in the live session to look at the partitions, and it alerted me of some issue with a drive. I hit FIX without thinking much and.. managed to corrupt the Windows partition. ie I screwed up. The Windows bootloader recovery tried to fix it automatically and failed. I tried a few different things and all failed. So I went from trying to fix the Ubuntu GRUB loading issue to trying to fix Windows 11 loading issue.

Finally, I decided to wipe everything off and go Full Ubuntu. I did select Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware and additional media formats during the installation and during the first boot, I performed the “Perform MOK management” and used the “Enroll MOK” option. All went well. It worked. I was able to Boot into the new Ubuntu installation without any issues.

I don’t know the exact reason why the GRUB didn’t load properly. It could be a bug in the GRUB, it could be the Windows 11 bootloader blocking other OSes, or maybe it’s due to some bad Acer BIOS EFI issue.

What I am now trying to do is get a Kernel with support for Iris Xe Max GPU ( Intel DG1 ). According to the reports online, the Linux 5.14 kernel will land with the support for the DG1 GPU. Intel developers are pushing various patches to the kernel to support this new GPU. I tried signing and booting with a 5.14.0-051400rc2-generic but is yet to have drivers for the DG1 GPU.

How to Reduce External Monitor Brightness in Ubuntu 21.04 [ Solved ]

Prior to Ubuntu 21.04 update, we could easily reduce the brightness of an external monitor using commands like xrandr or using the brightness-controller app. However, the new Ubuntu 21.04 switched to Wayland, resulting in xrandr and brightness-controller app non-functional.

I did some research on how to reduce external brightness in Wayland and the many ‘solutions’ and suggestions online seem not to work on my laptop. The brightness of my monitor even at its lowest setting is a bit too bright for my eyes. So I had to find a way.

Just Disable Wayland and switch back to Xorg. This lazy fix is for people who jusy want an easy and quick way to get back the functionality and not tinker with a lot of commands to make it work with wayland. Just follow the below commands.

How to disable Wayland in Ubuntu 21.04

  • Open a Terminal ( Ctrl + Alt + T )
  • Enter this command sudo gedit /etc/gdm3/custom.conf
  • Find the line #WaylandEnable=false in the configuration file
  • Remove the # from the above line – it should now read WaylandEnable=false.
  • Save the file
  • Reboot your system

After the reboot, your Ubuntu 21.04 will reboot with Xorg. The Xrandr command and brightness-controller app will now work as it used to be on earlier Ubuntu versions.

If you haven’t tried xrandr or brightness controller app yet, check here to know more on how to use those to reduce external monitor brightness.