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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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  • Network problem. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MartinG ( 52587 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:06AM (#16630318) Homepage Journal
    I've done a fresh install of edgy on my laptop and the network device does not get set up. Previously with dapper it was fine. I now have to do "sudo dhclient eth0" manually. I can't really complain though, since I haven't even raised it as a bug yet.
  • by lixee ( 863589 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:13AM (#16630370)
    My laptop upgrade went well, but of course successful upgrades don't make up a story.

    However, when I tried to get Beryl working, X got broken and I had to reconfigure it manually. I blame it on Nvidia for not opening up the source though. Kudos to everyone involved in Ubuntu, you did a great job!
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:28AM (#16630454)
    Gentoo was an even bigger nightmare of manual updating of configuration scripts and bizarre breakages whenever I would do updates. Don't even get me started.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:32AM (#16630474)
    I'm really getting annoyed by this.

    In my experience upgrading works like a charm. Now this doesn't mean that it works for anybody of course, but reading those blogs and forum posts it's clear that most of the problems are homemade.

    For one, people simply don't use the official way to update their system. Instead they blindly edit their sources.list, then run into problems and take hours and hours to complain about them on their blogs and in forums when all they had to do was take the 10 seconds it takes to read the instructions.

    Further, most of the problems occur because people blindly installed outside, unstable packages without knowing what they were doing or being able to fix the problems that might occur.
    Just think of all the people that used XGL, AIGLX, compiz, etc on dapper.
  • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:47AM (#16630564) Homepage
    As a way to get some scripts to execute faster they changed from using bash as the default shell, to dash. dash breaks compatibility all over the place, none of the extensions found in practically every other bourne shell derivative are there. I first found out about this when someone using one of my scripts reported that 'read -s' (for reading passwords without echoing them) and 'trap function SIGINT' both give errors.

    So if the scripts you write are going to be used on Eft, you have to either drop a lot of functionality, or tell users to replace #!/bin/sh with #!/bin/bash (which, of course, only works on Eft; it's /usr/bin/bash elsewhere, /usr/local/bin/bash in other places, bash doesn't come on OS X and BSD but /bin/sh works, etc).

    A bit of a reckless move for a bit of extra speed. It would have been more respectable if the Ubuntu team had worked on optimizing bash instead of going for a crippled, but faster, shell.
  • by robzon ( 981455 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:03AM (#16630646) Homepage
    ... that this was not supposed to be production-ready release.

    It had a very short development cycle (only 4 months, because of dapper's delay).
    It was supposed to be 'edgy' and an unstable entry point for future next-gen Ubuntu releases.
    It's not even available in Shipit!
    Dapper is recommended for a casual user, Edgy is for a little more advanced users, who know what to do when something breaks.

    So while your opinions are very welcome, don't blame Ubuntu guys for screwing up the distro. It's just the way it was planned to be :-)

  • by also-rr ( 980579 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @07:26AM (#16630756) Homepage
    Gentoo was an even bigger nightmare of manual updating of configuration scripts and bizarre breakages whenever I would do updates. Don't even get me started.

    Oh, indeed. I have a

    Powerbook, 100% up to date against Edgy Eft. Total time spend fixing upgrade bugs: 5 minutes.
    Workstation, 100% up to date against Dapper Drake. Total time spent fixing upgrade bugs: 2 minutes.
    Home server, 100% up to date against Gentoo. Total time spent fixing upgrade bugs: 966,352 subjective years.

    Despite that there are many reasons to use Gentoo instead of Kubuntu - after all if you wanted the easy life you wouldn't be using Linux in the first place.
  • Unfortunately there are a lot of HOWTOs and Guides people have written for Ubuntu without really knowing what they are doing, so some highly crackful customisations are out there, as well as poorly produced and unmaintained apt repositories for later versions of various packages. ubuntuguide.org is a perfect example of how not to change things on an Ubuntu install ;)
  • by distantbody ( 852269 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @08:13AM (#16630988) Journal
    I think anyone who actually installed it at all without having to make some compromises to their intended settings is pretty lucky. For example, the partitioner gparted simply refused to recognise the ext3 partition that I planned to freshly install to. So I had to forgo indexing when I had to install to an ext2 partition. Yes, WTF indeed. Then fstab forced me to mount other partitions through the terminal, as I didn't want then to automount my porno... um, windows partitions, something that was as easy as double clicking the partitions icon in 6.06.
  • by Gossi ( 731861 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @08:37AM (#16631130)
    Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. And I'm serious. Frankly, I don't care that I did something in an unsupported method (ie installing a bloody graphics driver). All I wanted was to upgrade Ubuntu from a version released 4 months ago to the current version. If Windows died every time a service pack was applied, you would probably be laughing your arses off at Microsoft.
  • It would be nice if bash rejected the use of (or at least spewed warnings about) bash-extensions when it is invoked as sh.
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @09:42AM (#16631518)
    I agree with careful partitioning, but I do it in a fairly crass way... I just have one partition for "/home" (ext3), one for swap, and then a bunch of partitions for "/" of each each distro/release I want to install. I always do fresh installs to a new partition - never upgrades.

    This approach is a compromise - your old and new installs are guaranteed to work (as much as any new install is!) since there's no sharing of any system files, but you do then have to reinstall anything outside of /home after a new release, which is tolerable as long as you don't do it too frequently. In the meantime the older version remains 100% unmodified (untouched by the new install) and you can continue to use it until your post-install updates are complete. I try to upgrade as infrequently as possible - I don't upgrade just because there's a new version, but because there's some extremely compelling reason to do so.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @10:28AM (#16631766)
    After all, most of them don't realize that key upgrades in Linux land can be as simple as

    via apt (`sed -i "s/dapper/edgy/" /etc/apt/sources.list && apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade`)

    All of this talk about average desktop users finding such things in some way mysterious or intimidating is nonsense. My grandma uses more complex command lines in her gingerbread recipe.
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @11:52AM (#16632328)
    I agree with your last paragraph more than anything I've read in this thread. Open source products, in general, have terrible or non-existent QA and that needs to change before it's more than a hobby and server OS. From my own experience attempting to put in bugs, it seems to me that if you put in a bug you're expected to write the code to resolve it as well. If you're not able to write the code, your bug will invariably be forgotten (and eventually marked as 'closed' when the next version is released, even if that bug still exists), or it will become a flamefest between the developers and the poor soul who put in the bug.
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @12:25PM (#16632594) Journal
    Firefox 2.0 had only been officially released for a couple of days before Ubuntu shipped with it. That's not just fast, it's bleeding-edge. (Actually, this is more bleeding-edge than Gentoo unstable, which is still, possibly partly because Gentoo has to fix the build system again...)
  • Re:Wrong attitude (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @01:21PM (#16632998)
    "Socially conscious" my ass. They just want something that's free (as in beer, surely not freedom).

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