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Upgrading to Ubuntu Edgy Eft a "Nightmare" 529

Theovon writes, "It's only been two days since the announcement of the official release of Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft), and the fallout has been very interesting to watch. By and large, fresh installs of Edgy tend to go well. Many people report improved performance over Dapper, improved stability, better device support, etc. A good showing. But what I find really interesting is the debacle that it has been for people who wanted to do an 'upgrade' from Dapper (6.06). Installing OS upgrades has historically been fraught with problems, but previous Ubuntu releases, many other Linux distros, and MacOS X have done surprisingly well in the recent past. But not Edgy." Read on for the rest of Theovon's detailed report.

Reports are flooding in to Ubuntu's Installation & Upgrades forum from people having myriad problems with their upgrades. One user described it as a 'nightmare.' Users are producing detailed descriptions of problems but getting little help. This thread has mixed reports and is possibly the most interesting read. Many people report that straightforward upgrades of relatively mundane systems go well, but anything the least bit interesting seems not to have been accounted for, like software RAID, custom kernels, and Opera. Even the official upgrade method doesn't work for everyone, including crashes of the upgrade tool in the middle of installing, leaving systems unbootable, no longer recognizing devices (like the console keyboard!), reduced performance, X server crashes, wireless networking problems, the user password no longer working, numerous broken applications, and many even stranger things. Some of this is fairly subjective, with Kubuntu being a bit more problematic than Ubuntu, with reports that Xubuntu seems to have the worst problems, and remote upgrades are something you don't even want to try. Failed upgrades invariably require a complete reinstall. The conclusion from the street, about upgrading to Edgy, is a warning: If you're going to try to take the plunge, be sure to make a backup image of your boot partition before starting the upgrade. Your chances of having the upgrade be a total failure are high. If you're really dead-set on upgrading, you'll save yourself a lot of time and headache by backing up all of your personal files manually and doing a fresh install (don't forget to save your bookmarks!).

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Upgrading to Ubuntu Edgy Eft a "Nightmare"

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  • by Plug ( 14127 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:12AM (#16630360) Homepage
    Users are producing detailed descriptions of problems but getting little help

    I remember rushing to try XGL and Compiz the day they were released, and getting nowhere. About a week later the smart people who do such things had figured it out, and I was able to run it, but it was still pretty 'hardcore' and prone to breakage. About three weeks later it was simple.

    Don't upgrade on the first day and expect things to go smoothly. You can only be as good as your last RC, and not enough people upgrade them to be able to find all the bugs. Wait a week and then answers will have been found for all the common problems.

    Open source is crying out for more QA people. All you have to do is report a bug, or help by triaging the bugs that are there. It's a contribution that almost anyone can make.
  • by drgonzo59 ( 747139 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:33AM (#16630480)
    I have been using the development Eft tree ever since they opened it (I like to live on the 'Edge' I guess). I watched new upgrades trickle in over time. The biggest problems were the volumeid changes i.e. referring to the drives using and UUIDs instead of /dev/hd[a-x][0-9] format coupled with a change in udev (and or kernel) that re-mapped the drive order and names. That caused a bit of a headache but I thought it eventually got fixed. Otherwise, there have been no major problems.

    The reason I think the upgrade disasters happened is because most developers have been upgrading gradually, over time, just like me. After the release, they assumed upgrading works fine and focused most of the testing on fresh installs. This left the situation of a sudden dist-upgrade from Dapper to Eft un-tested.

    In general testing upgrades is pretty difficult. One has to account for X possible previous versions (Dapper, Hoary, Breezy along with mixed software from universe repositories installed by hand) times Y possible hardware configurations. This results in a lot of testing scenarios....

    My other take on the situation is that a lot more people are upgrading and therefore there is a total increase in upgrade problems. A year or more ago, there weren't that many Breezy users who upgraded to Dapper (just because there weren't that many Ubuntu users). Now there are a lot more users --- a lot more upgrades --- a lot more upgrade problems.

  • by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:03AM (#16630644)
    The guy who provided details had his installation fail because he had modified his system in non-standard ways. If he's doing that, he should also be capable of upgrading himself, otherwise, he should have stayed with what he had working, or consulted someone before upgrading, or even paid an expert to help him upgrade.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:06AM (#16630664)
    In my opinion, both disribs have issues, but I still prefer gentoo despite de fact that it is somewhat more compicated to manage than Ubuntu. So why is that ?

    Because with Gentoo, I write the config files myself, and in fact i HAVE to, in most cases.
    The consequence is that I know how everything works and most issues are resolved quickly ( well it fells quick anyway ).

    I also use Ubuntu on my laptop, and when something breaks, it's much harder to get to the source of the problem.

    This may seem like a mad idea, but I would certainly like ubuntu to be less dependent on graphical administration tools. The problem may be that Ubuntu hides to much from the user, even if he is an administrator.

    stop me if this is nonsense ...
  • Re:Yep, bull. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kjart ( 941720 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:26AM (#16630754)

    Ubuntu is apt-based. Contrary the the "OS upgrades are typically fraught with trouble" claims of the article, upgrades for debian-like systems are usually flawless -- people do them on a DAILY basis with debian sid and (k)ubuntu's development versions, never mind once every 6 months or so. This article is FUD.

    Maybe read the rest of the sentence you quoted: "but previous Ubuntu releases....have done surprisingly well". RTFA is one thing, but Read The Fucking Sentence? Come on.

    Also, disagreeing with an article doesn't make it FUD. Perhaps you should tell all the people on the linked to Ubuntu forum that all their upgrades went flawlessly?

  • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:29AM (#16630766) Homepage
    Not nonsense really. It makes sense to me, which is why I still use Gentoo. There is something reassuring abount a set of command-line tools and forums. Too often a system is borked up too badly to get into the graphical tool. Hmm, actually that might just be my system...
  • This is a symptom of a long-standing misunderstanding about shell scripting.
    If you have #!/bin/sh you should be using POSIX shell, which will execute fine in bash, dash or the old sh. People run into problems because they've put #!/bin/sh and then used bash-only syntax - ie they should already have used #!/bin/bash, but didn't because they didn't read any docs and don't know better.
  • by wolf08 ( 1008623 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:38AM (#16630816)
    Edgy Eft is full of new and beta packages, and it has had half the release cycle of most ubuntu versions. Because of this, I'm amazed that it's working as well as it is. If people want stability,
    stick with Dapper! You'll save yourself headaches. There's a reason why they have LTS on Dapper.
  • by arodland ( 127775 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:46AM (#16630862)
    So what you're saying is "I installed some important drivers through an unsupported tool that works in a stupid way so that it can be called 'easy', and then when the official tool failed to upgrade this manually-installed software of which it was unaware, causing problems, I was pissed" ?
  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @08:55AM (#16631228) Homepage
    Just exactly what part of "unsupported" did you not understand? This is not analogous to a XP Service Pack
    installation breaking things as you put it. It's analogous to a service pack breaking all the registry
    hacks you've done to make Home act like Professional and not report back home. What you did was unsupported
    and it doesn't matter whether it's Windows, MacOS, Linux, or any other OS you choose to name. Unsupported means
    precisely that- and if it breaks on you you get both pieces.
  • by elvum ( 9344 ) * on Sunday October 29, 2006 @09:27AM (#16631412) Journal
    Sorry, but if you assumed that /bin/sh was guaranteed to be bash, you only have yourself to blame.
  • interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArbitraryConstant ( 763964 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @09:29AM (#16631428) Homepage
    My network ports got flipped around (eth1 and eth0 got mapped onto different hardware).

    IMO, you shouldn't have to submit a bug to be able to complain. Writing a good bug report is a fair amount of work, and if you're expected to do it whenever the OS whenever the OS has issues, then that OS is suddenly a lot of extra work to use.
  • Rethink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @09:29AM (#16631434) Journal
    I'd never consider upgrading a distro like this. Save off your settings and personal files, wipe and reinstall. As many have found, the alternative is asking for trouble.

    Even so, let's hope some good comes of this. Perhaps it will encourage the Ubuntu team to take a hard look at what they're doing and where they're at. In retrospect, calling anything like this "Edgy" was a mistake. Ubuntu is aimed at newer and less technically-minded users on the desktop, primarily. That puts a premium on easy, simple and reliable, not on "edgy" as in "the latest gizmos for techies". Techies are not Ubuntu's natural territory. If you want the bleeding edge and all that goes with it, there are 1001 other distros to use. Maybe Ubuntu will decide that its core appeal does not lie in this game, and adjust accordingly. Otherwise, imho, it risks losing the tremendous goodwill it has built up. Ubuntu has never been "just another distro", but if it allows itself to be led only by what developers want, it could easily become one.
  • Re:interesting (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29, 2006 @09:56AM (#16631582)
    5 minute easy fix. Not worth complaining about. Quticherbitchin! Move on.
  • Re:Rethink (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29, 2006 @10:07AM (#16631642)
    No, no, no. Don't wipe and reinstall. Dual-boot. Keep you /home on a separate partition and have two root partitions. Each major upgrade, alternate between root partitions. You'll never get caught with you pants down.
  • by MO! ( 13886 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @10:18AM (#16631700) Homepage
    This has been an issue I've seen all over the Ubuntu boards. A lot of people were playing around for months with the Xgl/Compiz/Beryl stuff. ALL of which is Alpha code! Then they updated the underlying OS and X broke, they then scream that Edgy broke X. No, your Alpha quality Beryl broke the updated X you just installed.

    For me, I removed all the Firefox 1.5.x themes and extentions I had installed (noting the names in case I could find updates later). I uninstalled the Xgl/Compiz stuff I put in place a couple months back, and returned to a vanilla Gnome desktop. Then I updated and had absolutely no issues at all. I haven't taken the time to chase down the Xgl/Beryl updates to get that working manually again, and the Firefox theme I was using isn't updated for 2.0 yet, but I'm still fine with the standard desktop and all of the other apps/hardware I have.

    It stopped amazing me how many people scream about an OS update breaking things when they've gone so far outside the box. With OS X, the consistent source of breakage is the "Haxie" crap that injects code snippits into core applications to make them look/behave differently. They leave all that crap installed and active, then upgrade to the latest feline... then are surprised when those "Haxies" break everything. I guess I am still amazed that they're surprised every time.
  • Wrong attitude (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gubachwa ( 716303 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @12:53PM (#16632802)
    after all if you wanted the easy life you wouldn't be using Linux in the first place.
    I think this is the wrong attitude to have. People may decide to change to Linux for a number of reasons. There's a large segment of users that feel linux is a more "socially conscious" choice. These same people may not be technical gurus, and may have no idea what to do when an upgrade barfs on them. Linux is trying to be more than just an alternative for the uber-geek crowd.
  • Re:Rethink (Score:3, Insightful)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) * <> on Sunday October 29, 2006 @01:31PM (#16633118) Homepage Journal

    And if your computer is a little flaky, and rebooting doesn't fix it, you should wipe the drive and reinstall. Thank you, Bill.

    I'm typing this on Debian sid. I originally installed slink on my Thinkpad 750, then upgraded to potato, then copied the image to my Thinkpad 600E, then upgraded to woody, then copied the image to my Thinkpad T21, then upgraded to sarge when it was testing, then to sid, which I have upgraded weekly ever since. Oh, and the image got copied to my Thinkpad T40 a couple years ago, and I'll probably get a new laptop in the next six months or so, when it will get copied again.

    My Debian install is now just over seven years old, and I see no reason why I will ever have to install from scratch again.

    My home file server has a similar story -- it started at potato and is now running etch. Ditto for a server I run at work. My media PC is running sarge and will upgrade to etch as soon as that's released. My kids' PC started on woody and is running etch. My wife's laptop started on Jaguar, is now running Tiger and will, I'm sure, seamlessly move to Leopard in a few months.

    Your OS should never force you to wipe and reinstall for an upgrade. If it does, it's broken, and you should get a better one.

  • Yes :) (Score:3, Insightful)

    by steve_l ( 109732 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @02:22PM (#16633674) Homepage
    As someone who works on Apache ant, yes, we like bugreps that are replicable, and prefer patches with tests.

    At the same time, we try and test our stuff, internally and externally. But the moment an x.0 release ships, we still get lots of bugreps. And you know why that is? Because when the x.0 release ships, a lot more people grab the app and use it. And unlike beta testers, these are not experienced developers. They are people who (in the Java context) dont know that the CLASSPATH env variable is a recipie for disaster, that you shouldnt have trailing backslashes or inner quotes in it. We have people whose Windows PC is an inconsistent mess and things just dont work on them. We get people who are running jpackaged and self-installed ant distros side by side, and get surprised that delegates to jpackage installations, so the upgrade doesnt appear to take.

    The issue is not that we dont beta test our software, it is that the testers, having a certain level of competence/experience, don't set up the apps in a pathologically bad way. Its not that the code doesn't work, it is that we cannot test all configurations, and that is what burns us.

    Operating systems have the same problem only multiplied.

    One thing I dont agree with is closing bugs unless they are fixed, or unless the team has made a WONTFIX decision. The troublespot is WORKSFORME, because, yes, that is the problem: code that works on some configurations and not others. There is a great ongoing bugrep in Eclipse, that says "LATER bugs get ignored", which is how that team works. Marking something as later doesnt just postpone the fix, it hides it. In Ant, we leave all bugs open until closed propery. Which is why we have 500+ bugreps right now, I guess :(


    Apache Ant dev team; Author "Ant in Action"
  • Re:interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29, 2006 @02:43PM (#16633926)

    The package ifupdown in ubuntu provides a sample script to do just that

    For example:

    auto eth0 eth1

    mapping eth0 eth1
          script .../
          map 12:34:56:78:9A:BC foo
          map 99:88:77:66:55:44 bar

    iface foo inet static ...

    iface bar inet dhcp ...

    For more examples, see /usr/share/doc/ifupdown/examples/network-interface s.gz

    And if you wonder how to get the MAC addresses, try: ifconfig -a

  • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @03:50PM (#16634536) Homepage
    OK so you do seem overly cranky. Some sort of raw nerve there or something?

    In a discussion about Ubuntu I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that the recent Gentoo upgrades have been a pain in the ass. For people on the ~amd64 profile it was practically unsupported. Maybe you were luck in your mix of packages that it just worked for you, but it was not a simple case of following written instructions for a lot of people in that position. Lots of ~amd64 packages broke during the upgrade and there were a lot of people who got screwed trying to fix them. Maybe it was their "simple written" instructions that you ended up following? You don't think these guides spring up out of thin air do you? They are generally written by the people who experienced the pain of doing the upgrade first.

    And yes, my upgrade was relatively painfree, but I think that is because the x86 and ~x86 profiles are a lot more mainstream than their amd64 counterparts, and because I waited for a couple of weeks at which point there were lots of simple howtos available.
  • Re:interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:29PM (#16635934) Homepage

    Submitting a good bug report is a fair amount of work: you need to check for dupes, lay out the conditions necessary to reproduce it, give details like your hardware, etc. This is a lot more work than the work necessary to, say Google something, or read a man page, yet we already know that this is too much to expect from most users. If Ubuntu wants things to be easy enough for people that don't know how to google something, then they cannot reasonably expect everyone to submit bug reports.

    This is a perception that we need to try very hard to dispel. The most important aspect of a bug tracker is bring people together in one place. A bug is a jigsaw puzzle, with different people having different parts of the puzzle. Some people find ways to trigger the bug, others find ways to accomplish the same thing without triggering the bug, some people fix the flaw in the source code that caused the bug, and some people find how other people fixed the bug. We absolutely need as many people as possible coming together to solve a given bug, in hopes of finding the right combination of the above sets. What we find is that people are perfectly willing to write nasty things on a forum, but for some reason they won't put in the same level of effort into a bug report. This effectively divides that community we needed to build, where people who find bugs complain in one place, people who come up with workarounds and find patches in another, and programmers hiding elsewhere. Writing software to find probable duplicate bug reports should not be a significant challenge in 2006. You said yourself, Google is a good tool used to find how other people solved a bug. It stands to reason that much of the same technology can be applied within say, Launchpad. If writing good bug reports is too hard, we should find ways to make it easier, or find ways to use "bad" bug reports, rather than let everyone give up in isolated desperation.

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet