Thoughts on Ubuntu 10.04

I’ve read that this latest release is buggy.

And I’ve also read that it’s got an “unfinished feel”, especially for a Long Term Release.  And from what my own experience with it tells me, I would have to agree.

I mentioned earlier how I downloaded the beta and installed it on my netbook.  That went… oddly.  For starters, it was the first time I’d installed an OS via USB flash drive rather than CD or DVD.  I had to do some poking around on the net and figured out that I needed some specific files on the flash drive (SysLinux) as well as the files from the iso image of the install CD.  And I needed to freshly format the drive as FAT32, and make it “bootable”.  That was done with the excellent app Gnome Partition Editor.

And here’s how it went.  I tried to use the “Install now” option and got bad, bad error messages.  So I rebooted and let the Live CD desktop load.  Then I installed it and got lots and lots of bad bad error messages.  I tried this a few times from the start, but each time I did I got the same bad bad error messages.  I think I mentioned this in an earlier post.

I figured since it’s a beta release, I can’t expect too much.  The installation crashed several times before it finally and somewhat unexpectedly finished and left me (upon reboot) with a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04 (beta).

Now, the first thing I do when I install Ubuntu is to get my proprietary drivers installed.  On my netbook, these were Broadcom wireless drivers.  That was easy, like it’s been in Ubuntu since 7.04 when I first experienced it.  Another reboot.  Then I went straight to Update Manager so I could get all the latest updates and bug fixes.

Now, by this time I had seen some “dpkg” error messages in with the other bad, bad error messages.  This meant I had broken packages, which means the installation did not go well.  I was hoping a trip to Update Manager would solve this.  Well, once I had all 101 updates downloaded, I found that not all of them could be installed.  In fact the progress bar was only about 15% of the way finished, so I don’t think very many updates installed at all.

Update manager crashed, and I got an error message telling me to use Synaptic Package Manager to fix my broken packages.  So I tried that.  Synaptic wouldn’t even start.  Neither would Update Manager.

So I rebooted.  And I tried both of those again.  Nothing.  So I rebooted and tried the boot option to “repair a broken system”.  That crashed too.

I then considered this installation “pooched” and tried to install the beta again.  That took probably about 30 attempts, and I’m not kidding.  I did that over the course of a day while I vegetated and read news.  The installer kept crashing, and sometimes upon booting from the USB, the installer would not even start.  I reformatted the USB drive and re-copied all the files twice, but I saw no difference.

Finally, and I still don’t know WHY I kept rebooting and trying again, I managed to install the beta again.  I got a different set of error messages, but did not bother to investigate further.  I did not attempt to try to update my system, as I did not want to “pooch” my system again.  So all I did was to install the wireless drivers and install the good old LXDE desktop.  I have mentioned before how I tried the actual “Lubuntu” desktop.  My opinion of that package is that it sucks.

It was bed time then, and I had to do some work for another week.  So I left the netbook and went about my business.

Fast forward two weeks, after I had finished my (awesome) second comic and after I had done some more serious hardcore vegetating this week, and after I had done some more wishing I didn’t have the flu, I decided to fiddle with the netbook again.

I turned it on.  The default LXDE desktop greeted me, just as I had left it.  I was going to go directly to Update Manager, but it popped up almost instantaneously for me.  I downloaded and installed all the updates, and this time the process finished.  It finished with errors – broken packages – but it did finish.

So I went to Synaptic to repair the broken packages.  Firefox was broken.  I reinstalled the packages, and to my surprise and good fortune, that fixed it.  Then I rebooted and tried to see if I was notified of any more errors or crashes.  And nothing happened.  I had a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.04, it had gone via updates from beta to release version, and there was nothing wrong with my system.


And that’s how my netbook sits right now.  I will have to wait until the weekend to start fiddling around with it to see if I can get all my favorite software working like I want it to work.  I’m mainly seeing if I can stick with Ubuntu, or if the changes Canonical is making are going to be too much for me to stand.  I can always go with Debian.