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Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala 1231

Posted by kdawson
from the arrows-in-back dept.
Norsefire writes to mention a Register piece reporting that early adopters are having a tough time with Karmic Koala, Ubuntu's latest release. "Ubuntu 9.10 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Linux distro. Blank and flickering screens, failure to recognize hard drives, defaulting to the old 2.6.28 Linux kernel, and failure to get encryption running are taking their toll, as early adopters turn to the web for answers and log fresh bug reports in Ubuntu forums." What has been your experience if you've moved to Karmic?
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Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

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  • Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:29PM (#29969526) Journal

    Just imagine the amount of bashers if the news would had read;

    Windows 7 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Windows. Blank and flickering screens, failure to recognize hard drives, defaulting to the old kernel, and failure to get encryption running are taking their toll, as early adopters turn to the web for answers and log fresh bug reports in Windows forums.

    This again comes from the fact that both Windows and Mac OS X releases are properly tested and maintained and tend to be in more professional quality.

    But why don't the Linux distros go to same lenghts? It shouldn't be impossible, unless of course, commercial projects are maintained more professionally.

  • indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pele (151312) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:31PM (#29969564) Homepage

    me being one of the early adopters that got stung
    I haven't seen so many bugs and reboots since the days of windows 95

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by db32 (862117) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:34PM (#29969602) Journal

    The irony is too good...

    Flagging this as "Troll" for being critical of how Linux distros don't get the same levels of QA testing isn't exactly demonstrating great professionalism...

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:36PM (#29969658)

    Just imagine the amount of bashers if the news would had read;

    There'd be almost exactly the same number of bashers that Vista had.

    <\trollfeeding>

    I installed Karmic from the RC, didn't upgrade though. Backup, clean install, restore. No complaints. Didn't use the disk encryption

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:37PM (#29969664)

    part of the reason is that community are the testers. you never should move to using a new release as soon as its out.

  • by solevita (967690) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:40PM (#29969744)
    In fairness, it does sound like the failure of a single individual to get their home folder encryption running was picked up by El Reg and blown up out of all proportion [dustinkirkland.com]. Flickering screens? Yes, I saw that, but it was fixed by a fresh install rather than an upgrade.

    There are some niggling bugs and lack of polish, but this isn't anything like Canonical Vista, despite what some people are hyping.
  • by quanticle (843097) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:40PM (#29969748) Homepage

    As long as we're trading unsubstantiated anecdotes, let me say that my experience with Karmic Koala has been perfectly smooth. I have it running natively on one machine and inside a VirtualBox VM on another, and in both instances both the install process and the system as a whole have worked very satisfyingly.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by characterZer0 (138196) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:43PM (#29969816)

    But why don't the Linux distros go to same lenghts?

    Debian does go through great lengths, and people complained that the time between releases was too long.

    Then they switched to Ubuntu.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by migla (1099771) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:46PM (#29969876)

    Check out Debian.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:52PM (#29969974)

    Upgraded from 9.04 to 9.10 the day after release on a dual-boot Ubuntu - Win7 laptop (Thinkpad T60). Upgrade went smooth as silk, I had one reboot to complete the process and bammo, working Ubuntu.

    Yes, the dual-boot still worked. The only change I made was to modify the menu to comment out the old kernel so I have a shorter neater list.

    I honestly don't understand how people can have such trouble. It's not like I'm some kind of Linux guru, I barely qualify as "power user".

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by period3 (94751) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:52PM (#29969976)

    Ubuntu is hardly representative of all linux distros. It is just one distribution, and there are many other better tested distributions. I use Ubuntu currently, and it is among the slowest and buggiest of all the distros I've tried.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shotgun (30919) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:52PM (#29969982)

    How much did those users pay for their copy of Karmic?

    Yes, it does make a difference. If I pay for a finished product, I expect it to be finished. If someone hands me a CD and says try this, I will try it, but not get upset if it doesn't work out perfectly.

    In this society that we call open source, we fully understand that Canonical doesn't have the resources to run large test labs. We also know that we get the product for free, and can ban together with a large cadre of like-minded folks to fix problems that we do find. Most Ubuntu releases are initially full of problems. They tend to dissipate much quicker than your first Service Pack that you'll get from the behemoth that HAS charged you enough to do some proper engineering and testing.

  • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:52PM (#29969990) Homepage Journal

    The two boot screens look sparse and cold to me. I wondered if Mark Shuttleworth was paying people back for the complaints about his "human" color scheme. The GDM window looks ugly to me. I definitely want the old one back.

  • No Problems here (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Zathras (9441) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:57PM (#29970080) Homepage

    Zathras upgrade one PC to Windows 7 ... very bad
    upgrade another PC with Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10 ... very good
    Never use Windows 7.
    Ubuntu 9.10 is the one.
    Zathras like Ubuntu 9.10 very much because it works!

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:00PM (#29970132) Homepage

    There are a couple things that I'm inclined to point out. First, the article is basically saying, "some people had trouble, some people were unimpressed." It's hardly a scientific study of the quality of the OS. Sometimes the complainers are the most vocal, and the people who are happy sit quietly.

    But more important, just a bit of advice for anyone who got burned by the upgrade and are upset: if your computer is important to you, don't be an early adopter. Just because a new version of your OS comes out doesn't mean you need to upgrade right away. Sit and wait to hear what people say about it, and wait for some of the kinks to get ironed out.

    I'm not making excuses. Yeah, sure, it'd be better if Canonical would make sure that every release was perfect right out of the gate, but still, exercise some common sense. If you've been doing this for any amount of time, you should know better by now, especially since it has happened with pretty much every single OS. When Vista was released, it was a buggy POS. Yes, I used it. They cleaned it up well enough, but it wasn't any good when it was released. I forget which release of OSX it was (maybe 10.3?), but one of them erased your external hard drives if they were connected when you installed the new OS. That made it really fun if you had just backed up your data to an external hard drive in preparation for the upgrade. And I think it was FreeBSD 5 where everyone was complaining about how crappy it was for months after release.

    Whatever system it is, you just can't trust blindly that they'll have it in perfect working order on day 1. If you want to be an early adopter, great, you get to help work out the kinks. Otherwise, give it at least a month or two.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moridineas (213502) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:01PM (#29970148) Journal

    Ubuntu not hardly representative of all linux distros? Maybe not, but it IS by all accounts I can find, far and away the most popular (even more so if you included Ubuntu-derived distros)

    If Ubuntu is not representative, then gentoo, slackware, etc are even more unrepresentative of linux distros as a whole, no?

  • by Tribbin (565963) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:01PM (#29970158) Homepage

    What features do these early adopters badly need that is made available through this fresh release?

    Even a fresh debian-stable release needs a cool-down period before running it on anything but hobby or non-mission-critical computers.

    You'd expect quirks to come up on anything that is released to a wide public for the first time, being it windows, linux, a media-player, an instruction manual, ...

  • Debian Sid (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:02PM (#29970174)

    As a user of Sid for about three and a half years, I really think that more software should work how it does. As I am regularly updating, I see changes as they come down rather than all at once. If something breaks I have a pretty good idea where it broke and can roll it back to a previous version (using snapshot.debian.net at the very least to get the old packages).

    I feel like users would be more comfortable with this kind of upgrade if done properly. What's more, I feel like if new users could be introduced to a program's features in this way it would make the learning curve much shallower. Think about it: you didn't start first grade of school learning trigonometry. Math is introduced to you gradually over the years; as you learn the basics you progress. Why should a new piece of software be different?

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:03PM (#29970196)

    In the same vein, I can hand out a piece of shit to you and you would gladly accept it because it is free? Or you get free medical treatment for an illness but in the process the doc cuts of your dick but no problem, it was free so it is kind of okay.

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:04PM (#29970216)
    Why do people insist on trotting out their own experiences of success on a limited subset of hardware as if they somehow negate the fact that people are suffering because of the Ubuntu developer's subservience to the tyranny of the "Six Month Release Cycle (OMG)." Even your example fails since you are having difficulties but are willing to brush them off.
  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc.paradise@g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:06PM (#29970266) Homepage Journal

    One wonders how much of this stuff is self-inflicted in some fashion or another.

    Rule 1: blame the user.

    I say this only 2/3rds jokingly. It's a problem in that it's often the first reaction we'll have upon reading something like this -- but there's also often a /reason/ it's the first reaction.

    That being said, it's been long established that most people don't read prompts in software. Perhaps (in addition to realizing the users are stupid for not reading) we should design with that limitation in mind, so that it does the "right thing" by default for stupid users.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrSenile (759314) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:18PM (#29970460)

    Funny, and all this time I thought the majority of the reason people use Windows is because it comes pre-installed on all the computers that they buy. The fact it 'just works' is because the people who make the systems have already prebuilt the systems with a tested and verified image that works on that specific hardware being purchased.

    If they did the same with Linux, which some distributions do, then it would 'just work' as well.

    I mean, get real. Can you imagine grandma getting a barebone system and installing Windows 7/Vista/Xp from cd, then having to search the internet for the drivers required for the hardware that isn't automatically recognized?

    Pretty much the same headache grandma would have looking for any missing linux drivers, and funny enough, in a bare-bone install, linux is likely to support more out of the box than Windows. Go figure.

    So for the 'lack of tinkering', you have to thank Microsoft and their excellent marketing division and their stranglehold on the hardware corporation.

    Cheers.

  • by diamondsw (685967) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:19PM (#29970480)

    Wait, did you say everything went smoothly except you didn't have sound or video ?

    That right there is why Linux hasn't gone mainstream.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:30PM (#29970666)

    Right. That's why I'm still running XP on the Windows side of the box and have no plans whatsoever -- nor really any motivation -- to upgrade to Windows 7. And the next box will likely be running XP under virtualization. Odds are that it will be quite some time before there is any significant Windows software that won't run under XP.

    You can bandy the word "professionalism" around with all of its varied meanings and hope that no one here is literate enough to call you on it -- this is Slashdot, after all -- but the fact of the matter is that the only relevant aspect of professionalism here is the amount of money involved. When you're running a multi-billion dollar company, you can afford to test your software on a wide variety of machines with a large QA staff to run the whole exercise. Microsoft and Apple have the billions; Canonical does not.

    All that said, there are any number of free software packages out there that are polished and refined and blow away their commercial competitors, so it plainly can be done. On the other hand, an operating system and all of its associated software is a lot more complicated than any single application, so testing it thoroughly has got to be a daunting task. Moreover, the risk and effort involved in downloading the latest Firefox beta is much less than downloading and installing an operating system beta, so there are probably a lot more testers for apps than OS distributions. Still, the last couple of Ubuntu releases have had non-trivial problems, and for a distribution that prides itself on stability, this definitely should serve as a wakeup call to the folks at Canonical.

    In the end, though, I'll take a rough start on an Ubuntu point revision over the "professionalism" of Windows Vista and, for that matter, the rough start that many people have reported with Windows 7. And while I'll grant you that OS X is a polished product, several OS X releases have had noteworthy issues, and that doesn't even begin to cover the primitive suckware that passed for the MacOS pre-OS X. Modern operating system development is hard. Neither commercial nor free OS producers do it as well as we'd like. Even so, how much do you want to bet that there are fixes for the problems with Ubuntu 9.10 a good six months to a year before Microsoft issues its first service pack for Windows 7?

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by story645 (1278106) <story645@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:33PM (#29970722) Journal

    If I did my math right, based on that poll on ubuntuforums fewer than 40% of people were able to install/update successfully. That is pitiful.

    You mean the poll on the forum someone's only likely to end up at if things go wrong? I'm surprised the number isn't lower considering the inherent sampling bias.

    Granted, I had a friend attempt to install karmic and it didn't work out so well for him, but he also had some funky hardware. I didn't even attempt it 'cause I've finally gotten 9.04 working mostly sanely. At this point, most people should know to install earlier versions or the LTS if they want stability. (Ubuntu tells people to install the LTS versions for large deployments for just that reason.)

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by munctional (1634709) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:33PM (#29970726)

    By "bleeding edge versions of Ubuntu" you mean "bleeding edge versions of Debian Unstable", right?

    I'll remain with Debian Stable for all my machines for now.

  • by daffmeister (602502) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:42PM (#29970884) Homepage

    Hardly "let's push out on the Windows 7 day, no matter what". That date (certainly the month) has been set since Ubuntu began. With only one exception (if I recall correctly) they've released on schedule.

    Now, whether being beholden so tightly to a schedule is a good idea is another matter, but it definitely was nothing to do with the Windows launch.

  • Re:Only Use LTS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:45PM (#29970922)
    6 month release cycles have their place. Ubuntu is a useful testing ground for beta software, and it evolves very rapidly. It sacrifices stability, but when you look at how far it has come in 3 years it is very impressive.
  • Re:Professionalism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Korin43 (881732) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:47PM (#29970958) Homepage
    And then I thought Ubuntu was too slow, so I switched to Arch (rolling release) and it's more stable. That may seem strange to you, but only if you don't know how Ubuntu/Debian defines "stable". Stable on Debian and Ubuntu means old. If it was release a year ago, it's stable. Who cares if sound doesn't work on your computer, at least it's stable! Who cares if pidgin-facebookchat crashes every couple minutes, in Debian-land it's stable (this is a particularly interesting case because pidgin-facebookchat was added right after the project started, and then Ubuntu arbitrarily stopped adding new versions to the repos even though the plugin still isn't done, so every release adds to the stability). Mozilla release are remarkably stable and always contain security updates.. but sorry, Firefox 3.5 wasn't old enough until this release. Every version of the nvidia drivers add more stability, but I think we'll stick with the old versions.. you know.. because they're old.

    And that's not to say that sticking with old versions is always bad, it's just that the method of deciding what's stable is literally "is it old?". Why not test things and then update, instead of arbitrarily picking a version and declaring it to be stable? Or keep track of projects that release safe code and give them 2 weeks to make sure there's no horrible bugs, and then update (like what exactly is the reason for holding back Firefox and Pidgin?).
  • Re:Professionalism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:48PM (#29970976) Homepage Journal

    Well, then they don't want windows either. The fact windows needs 'tinkering' as you put it is why there is an entire PC support industry in the first place.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by euxneks (516538) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:48PM (#29970980)

    Just imagine the amount of bashers if the news would had read;

    Windows 7 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Windows. Blank and flickering screens, failure to recognize hard drives, defaulting to the old kernel, and failure to get encryption running are taking their toll, as early adopters turn to the web for answers and log fresh bug reports in Windows forums.

    This again comes from the fact that both Windows and Mac OS X releases are properly tested and maintained and tend to be in more professional quality.

    But why don't the Linux distros go to same lenghts? It shouldn't be impossible, unless of course, commercial projects are maintained more professionally.

    I doubt it's less professional on Linux than it is on Mac or Windows. The real fact of the matter is, Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows all have hiccoughs on the first day of release. How they deal with those hiccoughs are what really matters.

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Falstius (963333) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:55PM (#29971088)
    I have a better idea. Canonical can release every six months and you can upgrade once a year.
  • Re:Great (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @07:56PM (#29971112)

    Also, regarding the bootup animations, they've changed for three or four consecutive upgrades now. I don't mind a refresher when appropriate, but "refreshing" every six months tells me that some priorities need some reordering.

    This is a common misconception about software development. There is no rule of conservation of features. Just because they add one feature doesn't mean that another feature had to fall off the list.

    It isn't true that all that time they spent on a bootup animation would have been put to use in writing more code.

  • by Trogre (513942) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:02PM (#29971178) Homepage

    Though that's not always the case. The 6.06 release was originally meant to be 6.04.

    Of course that's LTS so...

  • Re:My experience (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daishiman (698845) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:09PM (#29971266)
    Guess you've never had a Windows install crap out of the blue or become noxiously saturated with garbage at book. I admit that the quality of releases in Ubuntu hasn't been as good as Windows during the timeframe I've used it. Nontheless, I've always been able to fix stuff in Linux, while I've had to reinstall Windows from scratch many more times.
  • Re:Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:12PM (#29971314) Homepage Journal

    And if you think that telling people to access a command line application will win you users, you are incorrect.

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jezza (39441) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:15PM (#29971344)

    Mine is a disaster. Now am I dropping Ubuntu? No, I'll drop back to 9.04 (I have all the data - I've been around the block enough times to not make that mistake). However, I might look at Red Hat if the problems aren't resolved quickly.

    And here's the advantage of Linux - I can move to another supplier, I'm not locked in.

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reallocate (142797) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:15PM (#29971346)

    So... Linux is not ready for the real world?

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:31PM (#29971564)

    The reason I switched to Karmic beta is that some other problems that weren't there in the release of Jaunty were already biting my ass.
    Truth is, Linux is completely unstable in regards to basic things like hardware support. Minor kernel versions fix and destroy support for millions of desktop machines. Extend that to parts of Linux that are not really Linux, like PulseAudio, and you have Ubuntu.
    I have never had OpenBSD break working hardware or software even in versions pulled from CVS because they do that newfangled thing called t-e-s-t-i-n-g.
    Still, do you know what's worse than Ubuntu? All other distros.
    Anonymous to avoid the karma rollercoaster.

  • by Jerry (6400) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:41PM (#29971656)

    I've been using Linux for 11 years. Before Linux captured 10+% of the desktop market share (according to Ballmer himself!) most of the community was technically oriented and ranting wasn't that common. We understood that those doing the developing were VOLUNTEERS and the best way to help them was to post BUG reports filled with details of the bug that the developer could use to resolve the bug and fix it. IOW, the users were the testers. We understood that and agreed to it. We were patient and our patience was rewarded.

    Now, we have a generation of users who don't appreciate or care that most of the developers are still volunteers. These users don't care that they get the OS, the desktop and tens of thousands of high quality apps for free. Even worse, they don't want to take the time to take notes of the problem they think they are having and file factual bug reports at application's bugzilla site. What they will take time to do is write rants in blogs and news groups. Rants that are devoid of facts or knowledge but long on flames and vituperations. Thankfully, most developers know about these kinds of "Penguins" and ignore them. What else can they do? The rants rarely contain useful information and the developer doesn't have the time to search the countless blogs and forums for rants about his software. If he did he wouldn't get any developing done and he'd get discouraged and quit, which would make Microsoft happy,

    To make matters worse, many ranters are serial ranters. They aren't satisfied with ranting in a single forum or blog. They visit as many as the can and post essentially the same rant in all of them. This makes the ranter appear to be part of a larger movement when, in fact, he is not. There were several ranters in the KDE4 dustup that were identified as serial ranters, and for a year and a half you could track them through the Linux sites as they dropped one rant after another. If someone called them on the topic of a rant they'd switch topics in their next rant. It didn't matter. The purpose was to destroy KDE4, if possible, and force developers back to KDE 3.5.x. The ranters were totally ignorant of the technical issues and reasons why KDE was redesigned from the bottom up.

    The examples of stupid rants are almost endless. One ranter registered on a forum just to make his first post a rant against KDE 4.2.1 because "IT didn't have a way to change the menu structure to KDE 3.5.10's." Read the documentation? NO! It takes too much time and he's much too important to do such trival stuff. Ask a question on the forum instead of ranting for his first post? NO! He's not about to humiliate himself by asking a newbie question.

    So, he rants. The first reply states "right click on the K-Gear menu icon and select "Convert to classic menu".

    Now, everybody knows that not only is he a mindless ranter, he is also an idiot.

    The problem is that his subject line appears in some Google search of "Problems with Ubuntu" and adds at least one count, or more if the rant is picked up by multiple blogs, to the number of users supposedly having trouble with Kubuntu (or Ubuntu). Someone takes the results of that search and extrapolates it into a story about how "Some Early Adopters Stung By Kbuntu's Karmic Koala".

    Meanwhile, my Kubuntu Karmic 9.10 instalation on my Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E/H notebook with an Intel GM45 video chip continues to hum like the perfect combination that it is. Did I say that I checked the compatibility of my notebook with Linux before I installed Linux on it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:48PM (#29971746)

    "This software is released for free public use under several licenses. It is provided without warranty, without even the implied warranty of merchantability, satisfactoriness or fitness for a particular use. ..."

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nametaken (610866) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @08:58PM (#29971836)

    If you want a Debian that stable, use Debian. :)

  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tarlus (1000874) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @09:00PM (#29971868)

    ". Canonical is also interrested in stable, long term release versions, called LTS."

    And why should anyone in the real world know this?

    Because it's not uncommon knowledge, its extremely relevant to Ubuntu's philosophy, and because any responsible person who would spend fifteen minutes researching something as major as the operating system they plan to install on their computer would be aware of it.

    Those who choose to be ignorant about the major components of their computers have no business altering them.

  • Re:indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eil (82413) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @09:05PM (#29971928) Homepage Journal

    *sigh* We see these kinds of articles on every major new release of Ubuntu/Fedora/Windows/OSX. This is NOT news. When you're swapping out major parts of your OS and applications, things are bound to break. I'm not an Ubuntu fanboy or anything, but this kind of stuff gets on my nerves. To everyone who claims they were "stung" by this update, I have two questions:

    1) Did you bother to test the new release at any point during its 6-month development cycle? The alpha and beta builds are available as a Live CD well ahead of the final release, it's a trivial matter to burn a copy, stick it in your machine, and give it a test run.

    2) If stability is important to you (and I assume it is by the use of the word "stung"), why did you upgrade anyway? If I'm not mistaken, Karmic is not even an LTS release.

    To provide a counter-example, I have 5 machines under my control that have been running Ubuntu for years. Out of those, NONE have ever had a problem upgrading to any version of Ubuntu, even Karmic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @09:24PM (#29972072)

    2 Partitions 1 /home and one /

    install fresh system + apps and there is no pain with upgrade bugs!

  • Re:Professionalism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tweek (18111) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @10:04PM (#29972434) Homepage Journal

    NetworkManager is a piece of shit w.r.t wireless. I've read every fucking thread out on various mailing lists and the author simply says "It's the driver's fault" despite the same problem happening across the board to multiple users of different cards.

    The biggest problem is the stupid fucking background scanning it does. What happens is that when NetworkManager gets a wild hair up its ass and decides it time to scan for more networks, your wireless NIC will disassociate from the current AP until the scanning is over. God forbid there happens to be one shitty AP somewhere at the edge of your range and it takes too long to respond. Your connection is toast and you have to re-associate but meanwhile you've just lost connectivity for 2 minutes. Hope you didn't need that download anytime soon or that you remembered to screen that SSH session to a production server. Any machine I use that has wireless, is running WICD now instead of NetworkManager ( http://wicd.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] )

    I love Ubuntu. Honestly the only problems I've ever had were with the switch to PulseAudio. I grew out of tinkering with my distros a LONG time ago. I need my machine to work so I can work. I did a fresh install of Karmic and moved my home partition stuff around this time. The ONLY problem I had was with PulseAudio and my Audigy card ( https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/467732 [launchpad.net] ).

  • by zogger (617870) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @10:40PM (#29972722) Homepage Journal

    ..including the last question, complete with minor typo. The submission asks for your experience upgrading.

    For me, my upgrade went completely smooth. I first skimmed through the forum, realized most of the problems people were having were outside of my concern, as I don't quad boot from a natted raided clouded server with 4 dimensional desktop effects resonating off my skypedTivo relay home robotic automation system from the wirleless AP off my moonbounce pringles can home media center rig..so I just adjusted the one thing I needed for insurance, switched to the nv driver instead of the nvidia blob, and the upgrade went fine. Took a long time on my almost broadband (we'll call it "hey, better than freaking dialup and cheaper!). but the net upgrade method worked just fine.

    The distro is bleeding edge or close to it..if you choose it to be and demand a lot of exotic action from it.(apparently, my guess skimming around those forums and generally speaking).

    Really, most of the problems appear to revolve around the *need* for eyecandy and wiggly windows and whooshing around the desktop. Skip the eyecandy, it might work better. Run some cheap ethernet cable under the carpet at the wall edge, eliminate a lot of other problems.

    KISS still works. You want bleeding edge, you'll get cut once in awhile. For what people pay for it, they sure can bitch a lot.

    HOWEVER, I totally agree with you on six month release cycles, or even further, WTF is it with "release cycles" anyway? It really has gotten to the point that that is ridiculous, it is a worthy goal of sorts, but impractical. Now seven years is way too long, but once a year instead of twice, then a very concerted effort on bug fixing for a long time before development starts on the next generation, might work better. I just think modern linux distros are way too complex and have so many programs and libraries, that come with them etc that it is just impractical to try and maintain that pace. It is an arbitrary and artificial number picked out of the ether for some esoteric but flawed reason.

    Maybe they should put it to a vote on the ubuntu forums?

    OR, my major point, just try to work out minor perpetual upgrading instead of all at once? Install once, that's it, no need to reinstall the whole thing ever, ever, ever again. I would prefer that latter method if possible from a user's standpoint. I am not a dev, I don't know if this is possible, but seems like it should be. The kernel can be upgraded and is. Individual programs and libraries and so on are. Whole desktop environments can be. uhh..not much left. Maybe, don't know..

        So why isn't the perpetual slow upgrade then the way to do it, why have a whole new "version" all the time anyway? That part I never understood. There must be a reason, I just really don't know what it is. Just slop over thinking from the closed source world where they need an excuse to dun you again for another wad of ca$h every few years or something?

  • Anon E. Moose (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @10:41PM (#29972726)

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1305924

    There's the official sticky feedback vote. It's pretty much right across the board on votes. Which is understandable. As ubuntu releases live on the BLEEDING EDGE. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleeding_edge Not cutting edge but rather bleeding edge. Then the OP says early adopters. So beta testers living with bugs???? Say it aint so.

    Personally my 1 netbook had highly customize grub2 setup so when i upgraded from jaunty that got busted up. I otherwise have had all positive experiences. The death by papercuts has fixed many little bugs I never had the interest in fixing. Very nice.

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:38AM (#29974872) Journal
    The Register failed to notice the text in red boldface on that ubuntuforums.org page which states:

    "*** Disclaimer for those willing to analyse this poll ***
    Most of users voting here are users with issues.
    Users with painless experience are not likely to come here."


    The statistics derived by The Register are thus invalid, and probably quite wrong, being from a nonrepresentative self-selected subset of Karmic installations or upgrades. Here's another nonrepresentative data set: I have installed or upgraded 4 PCs from Jaunty to Karmic at home (2 upgrade 32bit, 1 upgrade 64bit, 1 conversion 32bit to 64bit). All went flawlessly, even the migration of user accounts and reinstallation of applications (including commercial paid-for apps) on the 32bit to 64bit reinstallation. Being a self-selected non-representative dataset, would that entitle me to proclaim that every Karmic upgrade or installation was flawless? Obviously such a conclusion would be unfounded, and so are those of The Register.

    It's tricky to get reliable statistics on Ubuntu installations. According to an unofficial monitor on the official torrent tracker, there were over 16 million torrent downloads as of today http://spreadubuntu.neomenlo.org/ [neomenlo.org]. The number of direct downloads from the servers is unknown, and the average number of installations per download is also unknown. BTW, I've uploaded more than 60GB on these two torrents in the last several days from home, and the upload rate is still humming along (I limit each of the torrents to below 1Mbit/sec upload).

    It's also tricky to get reliable statistics on Ubuntu installation problems. The forum mentioned by The Register probably has only a fraction of those with problems, and that came to about 1400 as of yesterday. Comparing this number to the number of torrent downloads would give 1 in 10,000 but that would also be an example of bad statistics, since both of the numbers are incomplete to an unknown extent or nonrepresentative to an unknown extent.

    Systematically incomplete nonrepresentative data produces incorrect statistics. It's the old adage: GIGO.
  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @05:01AM (#29975388) Journal
    5 years? LTS is just for 3 years.

    And even then it's still just a gamble by Ubuntu and the users. Or should I say a hopeless dream.

    Because not all the developers involved in building the software in the LTS release work for Ubuntu. Ubuntu can't force them to fix bugs even if they are critical, and worse it's even harder to convince them to _backport_ fixes to some old version.

    So what actually happens with "LTS" (or most Linux Distros) is it gradually gets less and less supported over the years. The developers just say "Bug? Try the latest version and get back to me"[1], and if the latest version just doesn't quite fit with "LTS" you're stuck with the options of living with the bug or heading to uncharted territory.

    With a server system it's usually not such a big problem since you don't tend to change the software and hardware much. But for a desktop system - you might wish to change your vidcard, soundcard, printer, network card or harddrive (to SSD with TRIM for example) within that 3 years. And if the support happens to only be in the latest and greatest Linux kernel, good luck getting it backported to your "LTS" kernel.

    Or say the developer totally revamps the architecture of something lets call it XYZ - you could end up with a split - old XYZ for old stuff new XYZ for the latest stuff - but your LTS GUI might not be fully compatible with the latest XYZ for some stupid reason. You grumble and the GUI developers say "try the latest version". So now you have new XYZ and new GUI on your "LTS" distro, which kind of defeats the purpose right?

    In contrast, Windows 2000 and XP have actually got better and better supported over the years - more and more drivers were released that wouldn't BSOD the system, more and more software released that didn't require Administator privileges to run (or even install - many games and apps nowadays install fine without requiring admin). Yes support for Win2K is dropping, but that's after way more than 3 measly years.

    [1] In my experience the developers too often say "WONTFIX" or "WORKSFORME" even if the behavior is broken. Good luck spending a fair bit of time convincing the developer that its broken and should be fixed. Yeah it's free software, so I'm happy that it mostly works as it is, but still...

    I think too many of the bug reports are going directly to a developer. I think they should go to someone like a project manager (with a clue). The project manager can then coerce the developer to "fix this", or just ignore the bug (dupe or user error) and not have the developer even know of the report. Or group a bunch of reports into one bug, or split a report into a bunch of bugs.
  • Re:Release cycles? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reallocate (142797) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @09:22AM (#29976962)

    Common knowledge only among a certain segment of Linux fans, not among the general public where Ubuntu ought to be focusing its efforts. When was the last time Ubuntu ran some ads targetting the folks at Bet Buy and Walmart?

    Few members of the general public have any interest at all in Ubuntu's philosophy, no more interest than in their philosophy of the company that made their toaster. Virtuous thoughts do not compensate for software shortcomings, real or perceived.

    And, sure, people ought to spend some time researching an OS, but that isn't going to happen. People don't understand tech specs or language about technical capabilities. They want an OS that runs the software and hardware they already own, looks better than their current OS, is subjectively fast, and doesn't crash.

  • the points (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zogger (617870) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:45PM (#29981436) Homepage Journal

    1. Build Hype.--so the number one reasons is as I thought, it is just market driven to be able to "sell" new shiny?

    2. Developer Fatigue---they wouldn't be under any pressure at all that would result in fatigue, as I pointed out if it was only released when ready, not held to a drop dead date on the calendar. There is no one developer does every single thing here, they all work on their little niche aspects. If it was incremental, when this or that niche was deemed good enough for the release to the generic public (I leave alpha and beta testing out, most people don't do that really), they would do it then, irregardless of some arbitrary date on the calendar. I'm not a code guy, I am a farmer, you harvest and take to market (a release analogy) when it is ready, that's it, not on some date picked out of the air. Stuff takes what time it takes, that's it. You just can't make this or that thing grow past what it is capable of, and it is silly to harvest too early or too late. You use the goldilocks principle, only when things are "just right", whatever that is. Ya, still problems can occur, but creating additional problems on purpose, like insisting on an arbitrary date for your crop to be "done", doesn't make the other problems any better, just makes them worse all around.

    3. Support Cycles--the whole idea of cycles is eliminated with incremental, so I am not seeing the problem there. "Support" would go to what is released. You sign up, you accept that in advance. We *already* get and deal with updates on this that or the other, even within these six month "cycles", I've seen that with every distro I have ever used, and the default in business anyway is to have test boxes. And with an automatic "revert to past good working" feature, that works at the app/driver whatever level, all of it, you can "try before you really buy", or really commit all the way to the change. As to how long support for this or that would last, that is really still left up to thhe devs, how long they want to support some older version. This is how it is now anyway, either they do it, or you take it on. There's no change there, it would be up to the developers to say "we will only support and bug fix back two versions on our app, after that, upgrade or do it yourself". It is what we have now, I don't see how that would be different on an individual app basis with a distro that did incremental perpetual changes as opposed to some version number for the whole thing. So I'd have to call that a wash, a non issue with comparison.

    4. Stability.---see all of the above. The way they are doing it now, the current default status quo of major all at once massive changes in "cycles", every six months or whatever like that, STILL results in major borkage, still results in "INstability", else this entire thread wouldn't exist, we wouldn't be discussing it at all if the cycle method worked all that well. Even in closed source, how many times have we heard "wait for service pack 1 before installing"? And service packs in themselves are just a fancy way to say "whichever this or that needed an incremental update to".

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