At Work With Linux: Ubuntu 11.10 and a Problem Explained, Somewhat
You're looking at the Software Center, working again. I complained about its not working and spewing out an error message. I blamed it on Ubuntu, and I was probably wrong to do that. It turns out it's not a problem with Ubuntu but in this particular case the environment in which it's run.
My instanced of Ubuntu 11.10 is running as a VMware virtual machine. This particular screenshot of Software Center running is after cold starting the instance. You can either shut down a VM or you can just put it to sleep, then restart the VM where you left off. And that's the key to the malfunction.
I was hoping that another upgrade might have restored Software Center. To complete the installation I restarted Ubuntu and after the reboot found Software Center was indeed working again. I put the VM to sleep, then came back to it later in the day and discovered that Software Center was back to it's original failure mode. And then the lightbulb came on.
I shut down the VM, then restarted it. Software Center worked. I did that a number of consecutive times, and Software Center started correctly each and every time. But every time I put the VM to sleep and then restarted it from sleep mode, Software Center always failed to launch.
At this point I don't know if I'll file a bug report or not. My way of running Ubuntu 11.10 is, shall we say, non-standard. But I'm curious if Ubuntu would illustrate the same behavior if it was installed on a tablet and went through the same style of sleep mode. On wake-up, would Software Center fail on in the same way, for the same reason? I supposed I could dig deeper for a full explanation and a solution, but right now the quirk is logged along with a simple solution: reboot after using Software Center in a VMware VM. It's not what I would call a show stopper, and I've got bigger problems and little time.
Now, on to other things...