The Update


Tech Rant Alert: Non tech heads may get bored :D.

I've been a home user of Linux for a while now but also a big subscriber to the principal of 'If it ain't broke don't fix it!'. It is a way of thinking that has severed me well.

While using the distro called Mandriva for a long time I used to just get it working and configured just how I wanted, then left it. Only updating the system when there was no other way to achieve a goal. I'd do an overall system update maybe once a year, if even, which generally involved a full reinstall.

Recent I got stung by Mandriva, right around the time that I decided to change over to Ubuntu. Some strange and wonderful things happened when I updated a few files on the system and we parted on bad terms.

I nearly parted with Ubuntu this week over similar reasons.

I was impressed with the OS as a whole. It installed nicely, was easier to configure and get up to a state you wanted. The automatic updates were a very nice feature. Click a button and away it goes.

Sadly they were also the cause of two days of madness this week, as I hadn't been keeping on top of the features and bugs contained in each update. A quick search on the web revealed the error of my ways as a number of people hit the same issue I had.

See, a new release of the OS came out this week, referred to as Ubuntu 10.10. I was running 10.04, so not that far behind considering it was fairly update to date. As 10.10 was released a new kernel was available for 10.04, which I just accepted as being good and installed.

Mistake number one.

It turns out that with the latest kernel in Ubuntu there is a major issue for graphics cards that use the Nvidia driver. Apparently only a beta driver is available at the moment, one which my laptop decided it did not like all that much. From a load up time that never went over thirty seconds I now had a system that took the best part of ten to get going. Crashes, mis-matched files, a requirement to manually start the desktop and then be logged off the system ten minutes later as the desktop started again properly. It was many shades of annoying.

Worse still, there was no fix for it. Some websites had hacks, but they were very specific. The ones I tried only seemed to make the matter worse. The suggestion that seemed to make most sense was install 10.10 and you'll be right as rain.

So I did.

Which I shouldn't have.

It was worse, much worse. A suggestion from the lady friend was taken. To reinstall using 10.04. That I did, but was stung when, after the install had finished and everything was working, an automatic update pulled down the latest kernel and pretty much destroyed my night's work.

After not loosing the rag and throwing the laptop against a wall for consuming so much of my time I reinstalled with 10.04 one last time.

Keeping the system away from the Internet for as long as possible I disabled the auto updates. Bad move some might say, but considering the "trusted" source I was updating from couldn't ensure that a graphics driver was working I'll take my chances.

Lesson learned: Never assume that just because a company provides you with a nice and safe way to keep your system up to date it will work. Considering my experience with OpenSolaris over the years and the fun that updating that was, I shouldn't really have been so trusting when it came to Ubuntu. But it's back online now, for the moment, devoid of updates.

End of techie type rant, you all can read the next one ;).


=^-^= | Wed, 13 Oct 10 09:56:06 +0100

Windows 7? ;)

blue_jester | Wed, 13 Oct 10 10:03:37 +0100

Get off my site, get off right now. :| Windows 7? May as well say Vista and be done with it. Good lord the only reason this wouldn't have happened with Windows is the drivers are made for it first. Windows 7, I think I just threw up a little :P

=^-^= | Wed, 13 Oct 10 10:07:21 +0100

I just make the suggestions since it doesn't seem like you're taking advantage of the fact that Linux is open source. Either quit yer bitchin' or do something about it mate! :P

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