Google Earth on Ubuntu 12.10

This article is a run through of installing Google Earth to view points from a hike.  At first, it was as easy as installing the Deb package, but then, I had a graphics issue that I had to work through.  So, below you’ll find the error messages and the command that I used to fix the crash.

Google offers an official DEB package, so I just downloaded the file direcly from the Google Earth Website.  I saw several articles that got fancy and used wget to download it.  I just went to the website and clicked the download link.

Unfortunately, it crashed.  When it ran from the terminal, this is the output that I saw:

$ google-earth
Google Earth has caught signal 11.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but Google Earth has crashed.
 This is a bug in the program, and should never happen under normal
 circumstances. A bug report and debugging data have been written
 to this text file:


Please include this file if you submit a bug report to Google.

This is the debugging data from that file:

Major Version 7
Minor Version 0
Build Number 0001
Build Date Oct 29 2012
Build Time 19:13:39
OS Type 3
OS Major Version 3
OS Minor Version 5
OS Build Version 0
OS Patch Version 0
Crash Signal 11
Crash Time 1355715853
Up Time 1.17942

Stacktrace from glibc:

I did check to make sure that the lsb-core package was installed:

$ sudo apt-get install lsb-core
[sudo] password for skp:
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
lsb-core is already the newest version.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

I read a couple of articles that suggested different things.  One article suggested adding the user to a video group.  Another one suggested editing ~/.config/Google/GoogleEarthPlus.conf and adding the “enableTips=false” setting.  Unfortunately, none of those did the trick for me.

The Solution

The problem ended up being video acceleration.  I have the Bumblebee driver installed and a discrete video card, so I just had to add the “optirun” command in front:

optirun google-earth

Now, this works fine if you are running Google Earth from the command line.  The problem is that if you run it from the menu, it still crashes.  So, I opened the Main Menu program, and I added the “optirun” to the launcher there.

Mapping my Trip

Really, what I wanted to do was take the points from our hiking trip and see them on the Google Map’s Satellite images.  See, I told my kids and nieces that I would take them on this hike to see how close we could come to going over the mountain.  I found an app for my phone that would track our hike: Backpacker GPS Trails Lite.  I recorded a few key points including the spot where we had to turn around and go back.  I wanted to see how close we were to getting over the mountain.

So, I read up on creating a KML file.  Google’s KML Tutorial made an great place to start.  Since Google Earth wouldn’t work at first, I found Chris Show’s “View your KML directly on a google map” website, and that did the trick.  I could just paste the KML file into the Textbox, and I got what I needed!

Once, I got Google Earth working, I got a better 3D view of the mountian.  I just did File > Open and chose my KML file.


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