Ubuntu 8.04 upgrade woes

Ubuntu’s generally splendid Linux distribution came up to version 8.04 a few days ago.

The three Ubuntu systems in my life were headed for an upgrade! First off a Kubuntu laptop I use for work. Fairly vanilla configuration. Upgrade took a while due to a *lot* of downloads, but it went well and the upgraded system worked fine. [EDIT: See below – Later saw this upgrade was bad too…]

Unfortunately this encouraged me to try two others, which both went very badly…

A Kubuntu workstation at home: Upgrade seemed to complete well. However at the time of writing the new system is completely and utterly unbootable. The new kernel cannot even see the root disk. This is a really poor show. Luckily I can still, via grub, boot off the old kernel and it works fine. But to upgrade a machine and make it unbootable…. well, that smacks rather of Microsoft. Really bad, only very slightly ameliorated by the fact that they leave the old kernel in place for recovery (which makes one wonder whether they expect this sort of thing!)

The other system to suffer was a Ubuntu server installation. For a server it was pretty straightforward: web-services, MySQL, etc and some Samba (Windows) file-sharing. Quietly and without any sort of warning, the Ubuntu server upgrade rips out the working SMB-fs installations and replaces it with CIFS. Yes, I *know* smbfs has been deprecated for a while, but you do NOT silently remove software and replace it with something that is NOT a 100% drop-in replacement. Sure, CIFS is similar. Very. But it ain’t damn well identical. I know what I’m doing yet I had to spend a good hour faffing around with CIFS mount options to restore the server to its prior working state.

I checked out the release notes – not a word about ripping my Samba installation to shreds. I checked the server-edition specific upgrade guide. Nah. Nothing.

Note to Ubuntu people: you should NOT do that without appropriate documenting and hence warning people.

Ubuntu, on a clean install, is a fab distro. But the upgrade process, at least this time around, is very poor indeed.

[EDIT: From the intro, shortly after posting this I found, on the apprently successfully upgraded Kubuntu laptop, that if I tried to start KDE’s System Setting (kind-of like Windows’ Control Panel) it simply crashes, with no meaningful error message. This, folks, is why Linux, much as I love it, is not going to take over the desktop from Windows just yet… 3 machines, 3 bad upgrades, each bad in a different way, but resulting in an unusable machine]

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