Why I’m Not Using Ubuntu 6.10

Some people argue that upgrading Ubuntu is easy if you don’t install hacky scripts.

There is a very specific reason why I’m not using the latest version of my favorite Linux distribution, Ubuntu. The 6.10 “Edgy Eft” release was announced October 26, 2006. Rather than upgrading immediately, I chose to wait at least a day in hopes that the download servers wouldn’t be so busy.

So, when I went to upgrade, I first followed the official method:

update-manager -c

And then chose to upgrade to the new release. Okay, except it didn’t work. It said there were unrepairable errors, but it didn’t give any verbose output as to what those errors were. That’s fine, I’ll just use apt-get dist-upgrade. I followed the instructions precisely, making sure that all the appropriate metapackages were installed. It did require a bit of trickiness on my part to finally get the dist-upgrade command to NOT require uninstalling nearly half my system, especially including several crucial xserver and python packages. I finally did the dist-upgrade, and upon rebooting, xserver-xorg was broken. I figured that would happen. It took only about 2 minutes of additional package installations and manually editing xorg.conf to get it up. So I thought.

My first glance of the Edgy desktop was short-lived; my system hard-locked after only a few seconds. Grrr! I hopped over to rescue/single-user mode and changed the x driver to every possible failsafe option – radeon, vesa, vga. All produced the same result, so now I realized that although I was only freezing in the GUI, the xserver-xorg driver wasn’t the culprit.

I figured the upgrade must have borked something, so I ran the deadly

dpkg-reconfigure --all

which was long, pain-staking, and didn’t solve the problem. I knew that my motherboard (an ASUS P5VDC-X) has a VIA-PT880 chipset, which was incorrectly identified by the Dapper kernel. In Dapper, that made it so that AGP was only recognized as PCI, and so I had no 3D or direct rendering until I recompiled my own kernel with the correct identification of my chipset. Messages at kernel.org indicated that this was fixed in Linux 2.6.17, and Edgy was using 2.6.18, so I assumed I’d be fine.

I had an unusable Ubuntu installation, so I tried the Edgy LiveCD, planning on doing a fresh install of Edgy (what I should have done in the first place). But guess what – the LiveCD caused my system to hardlock once the desktop had loaded! Proof that Edgy is in someway incompatible with my hardware. Enough to the point that I can’t even install Edgy on my system to try and bugfix or resolve the problem.

I reinstalled trusty “Long Term Support” Dapper 6.06, and all is well that ends well. Well, after another kernel recompile to get my direct rendering back. And the reinstallation of about 450 universe and multiverse packages. Yes, all is well in Dapper.

And that is why I’m not using Ubuntu 6.10.

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Philip Cain

Ninja Master of the Series of Tubes, musician, audio engineer and geek. More about Philip...

One thought on “Why I’m Not Using Ubuntu 6.10”

  1. I am proud to say that I understood 3/4 of all that was explained. I am glad that you were able to get everything back to normal without loosing to much. Anywho, see you tomorrow.

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