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  • Fixing some GoogleEarth 5 problems on Ubuntu 9.04

    Posté le 7th juillet 2009 leucos 6 commentaires

    GE has at least two huge problems on Ubuntu platforms. One of them only affect certain locales.

    The first problem : the font used for menus. It can be really unreadable or messed up depending on you XOrg DPI settings, and can get worse with your locale too.

    Since GE is a Qt4 application you can fix this by changing Qt4 settings.
    Start qtsettings-qt4 (sudo apt-get install qt4-qtconfig if you don’t have it), and change point size of the selected font to 12 or more. This fixes the problem (at least for me).

    While you’re at it, change the used font from « Sans Uralic » to something more complete (like « FreeSans »), which displays non-english characters *much* better.

    The second problem is a real pain : when you have a locale that uses a comma (« , ») as the decimal separator, any Placemarks (or anything that has coordinates) will be saved with commas instead of dots. Indeed, the KML format only uses decimal coordinates, not HMS style, so whatever settings you use in GE options, this will affect you.

    For instance, if you create a placemark at lon : 1.624801627833013, lat : 47.64969184876774, it will be saved in your ~/.googleearth/myplaces.kml as :


    (instead of <coordinates>1.624801627833013,47.64969184876774,0</coordinates>).

    When you’ll restart GE, it will try reinterpret the wrong entry as :


    leaving you with a placemark really way off…

    To fix this, you have to start GE with an english locale.
    for instance, you can change the GE script /usr/bin/googleearth (which is a bash script), and add this below the line with export in it :

    export LC_ALL=C
    export LANG=C

    As a side effect, this will make GE show all menus in english. You can fix this in the Tools/Options/General menu and select your language. to fix this (thanks smatiauda for suggestion).

    In the modified /usr/bin/googleearth script, you can also add :

    cp ~/.googleearth/myplaces.kml ~/.googleearth/myplaces.`date +%Y%m%d%H%M`.bak

    so it will make a backup of your myplaces.kml before GE is started.
    When you’ll update GE, and forget about changing startup script, you’ll at least have a valid backup of your myplaces.kml.

    There is a third annoying problem I could not fix yet : copy/paste from linux app to GE works fine, until you copy something in GE : the copy buffer in GE will never change to something copyed from another app (while still working fine in GE). Very painful when you copy past coordinates from anoter application.


    6 réponses à “Fixing some GoogleEarth 5 problems on Ubuntu 9.04” Icône RSS

    • Thanks you saved my day.
      Now I can plan my holliday on the french coast in a descent way.

    • Thank you for your nice explanation. It is quite for me that I have this wrong coordinates problem.
      The only thing is that I have been looking for /usr/bin/googleearth and there is nothing there. I have been trying to find this config script somewhere else, even opening different google fiiles to see if I find these lines to change, but nothing yet. I tryied browsing the files navigator and actioning ctrl + h just in case the file was hidden. I started the nautilus as root to try to find it. I have ubuntu 9.04 and google earth 5.0.11337.1968 (beta).

    • Hey Guillermo,

      You can locate the GoogleEarth script by typing ‘which googleearth’
      Check the file type with the ‘file’ command before opening in an editor.
      GoogleEarth ofter relocates in /opt, especially if you install the Google .bin instead of the Medibuntu .deb, so try to look over there.
      You can also use ‘find / -name googleearth -type f’ or ‘locate googleearth’, but the first might take a while to run (and might return several results) and the latter will be fast, but will probably return many results. You’ll have to sort things out…

      If everything fails, you can create a script yourself :

      cat > ~/ge< #!/bin/sh
      export LC_ALL=C
      export LANG=C

      then make it executable :

      chmod +x ~/ge

      And run it with :


      Not very clean, but should work as last resort.
      You can also move this script to /usr/local/bin/ to keep things organized.

      Good luck.

      BTW : there is a newer GE version available.

    • It worked!
      I am not good with French, but:
      Mercy beaucoup, vous etes tres gentil, et maintenant je suis tres content parce que je viens de user windows pendant plus que 15 annes, et maintenant j’ai decouvri que linux est une tres bonne option.

      I can say that so far, I can do 99% of what I need to work. The only non compatible thing I have to use with a win xp VM is Gotomeeting (gotomeeting, mandatory for my company, verifies the OS before installing, so even with Wine it is possible to install)

      Once again, thank you very much.


    • oldiesforme,

      Sorry for the delay, it seems I don’t get emails anymore when comments are posted.

      I’ve been of digital electronics for a while, but I’m cathing up and have new projects. I’ll post about them when I end up with new stuff !

      Thanks for passing by,


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