Picking Through the Rubble that is Ubuntu 6.10

First off, I really like using Ubuntu. Here at the university, my time is in short supply, and it’s nice to have something that I don’t have to tweak at if I don’t want to. (Things that do require constant maintenance include Windows, Gentoo and Slackware.) Ubuntu just works. At least, it used to. Then I heard about the next release, a slightly less reliable testing version by the moniker of “Edgy Eft”. But it’s a major release, right? One new official release every six months and an extended support release once every two years. So, while it probably won’t be as good as the current LTS (long time support) version, it can’t be horrible, can it? Well, can it?

Ah, yes. It’s never a good sign when the upgrade program shipped on the cd is broken, is it? I was denied the task of upgrading off my shiny new CD-ROM by an ugly python error message and some text urging me to report this as a bug. I don’t recall seeing a URL displayed with the message, and I didn’t feel like googling to find the official Ubuntu bug station. So I proceeded manually.
Now, I only have 3 Gigabytes of bandwith a month, so I had to install directly off the CD-ROM. My general idea was to tell Ubuntu that the CD contained an abundance of happy new packages which are better then the old ones. Ubuntu would then process them and upgrade everything. Except, it didn’t work that way.

“Behold, ye of limited bandwidth,” proclaimed my computer. “The path of the CD is a lame one. Allow me to show you a better way.” I was then asked for permission to download 1.2 gigabytes of data. For the good of mankind, of course.

“Forget mankind!” I said. It was a long hard struggle. I’ve posted my fragmented upgrade notes here in the hope they might come in handy to someone.

I’ve got a Radeon Xpress 200M card in this Toshiba Satellite notebook, and after upgrading, I was greeted by both a broken boot screen and an X.org server crash. The boot sceeen was resolved with a quick “apt-get install ubuntu-desktop”, but X was a bit trickier to fix. You can get a quick fix by enabling the basic, no-3d-acceleration “ati” driver, but in the time it takes you to do that, you might as well go here and read up on the fix.

Even though Eft looked like an utter disaster the first time I booted it up, underneath it’s quite nice. Nothing exactly revolutionary, but updated versions of all your programs are always appreciated. They fixed a bunch of small annoyances as well, like the high pitched pips and squeaks my speakers used to make when I turned the volume up all the way.

But, yeah. It’s actually a pretty good upgrade, but only if you know what you doing and are prepared to be set up the bomb. Everyone else, just stick with Ubuntu 6.06 LTS – for great justice.

4 Responses to “Picking Through the Rubble that is Ubuntu 6.10”

  1. 1 Felipe Alfaro Solana November 1, 2006 at 9:21 am

    I’m glad to know that the post that I wrote on getting fglrx working on Edgy was useful for you πŸ™‚

    Ah! At the end of your post you mention Ubuntu 6.6, but I think you really meant Ubuntu 6.06 LTS instead πŸ˜‰

  2. 2 kmandla November 1, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    I’m with you on this one. I’ve run into more than my fair share of Edgy ‘quirks,’ none of which warrant fixing when Dapper is so strong. I keep Edgy on hand for poking and prodding, but it’s definitely a ‘development’ release in my book. Cheers!

  3. 3 phanboy_iv November 1, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    So they still haven’t refined the upgrade process, eh?

    I always used to wipe my root partition before an Ubuntu upgrade, just to be safe.

  4. 4 James November 1, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    Felipe – Thanks for posting that. I seriously never would have figured it out. Well, maybe. Eventually. But your post was still quite appreciated. πŸ™‚

    I’m sure the upgrade went fine for some people. unfortunetly, they were probably the people who were testing the development releases and not installing anything not in the official repositories.

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