Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nothing nice to say about new Ubuntu

I take back everything nice I said about Ubuntu! I upgraded from 7.10 to 8.04.1 about a month ago and it's been one breakage after another. I thought I was being smart, waiting for the 8.04.1 "Service Pack" to come out before upgrading. Maybe a clean install would've worked fine but my upgrade has been so bad I'm seriously considering rolling-back to my 7.10 backup.

Since upgrading:
  • The Alternate CD updater rewrote my repository and update lists, then crashed without any message, leaving my system in an unstable state. After hours of experimenting I finally managed to get the update restarted and through to completion.
  • After the update none of my drives were accessible?! Apparently the new version uses a new naming scheme for drives but the update failed to update my 'fstab' configuration file. Fortunately I had another computer handy and was able to track down the required changes.
  • The Ubuntu-supported Nvidia video driver no longer works so I've had to switch to the official Nvidia driver. I'd previously learned (the hard way) that you can't trust this driver to work through a kernel upgrade. And, in just the past month, I've already had to uninstall it temporarily, apply a new kernel update, then reinstall it. PITA...
  • I had previously installed the now-included User Switcher. Needless to say, the update broke it, so my wife has to use a workaround. I was able to fix it once but now I can't remember how I did it; my latest attempts have failed.
  • I had previously installed the latest version of HPLIP (Hewlett-Packard Linux Printing). Ubuntu tried to install an older version alongside it, causing neither to work. I eventually uninstalled both, then reinstalled the newer version.
  • I spent DAYS trying to find a way to rip my CDs to MP3. WTF? The built-in 'Sound Juicer' used to work but refused to let me select MP3 anymore. I eventually tracked-down the needed change but... even though MP3 was selected it still did OGG format instead. WTF WTF?! Eventually, I settled for an old program, 'Grip', which does the basic task but fails to record any ID3 info.
  • Amidst all the printer mayhem, the VirtualBox printer support is malfunctioning again. I can get it to print but then I have to reboot the machine in order to get HPLIP working again.
  • My installed version of Crossover 6.1, which admittedly is not current anymore, stopped working. Fortunately the Ubuntu forums quickly yielded the solution: There was a new security lock-out in Ubuntu 8.04 which had to be partially disabled in order to allow Crossover to work.
  • Finally, my DVD drive no longer reads DVD data discs. I think my initial problem was an old flaky drive but even the new drive is having problems. I've managed to find a multi-step manual procedure to get discs to load, but it should all be automatic! In fact, as a test, I booted from a flash drive with generic 8.04.1 and the drive seemed to work fine. So something in my configuration is causing the problem.
Unfortunately, for now, I think I'm just going to give-up on making things work any better. And I'm certainly going to stop recommending Ubuntu to people.

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