22 September 2008

To upgrade or not to upgrade?

I'm content with Hardy. It "Just Works." Someone convince me to try Intrepid!

Here's the situation. Every release, I've had a real incentive to upgrade in the form of better hardware support.

  1. Dapper->Edgy: Xorg got AIGLX built-in. I could use Beryl. SD reader module included.
  2. Edgy->Feisty: SD reader module loaded on boot.
  3. Feisty->Gutsy: xserver-xorg-video-intel means no more 915resolution
  4. Gutsy->Hardy: iwl3945 means no more restricted modules
  5. Hardy->Intrepid: ???

Yes, there's eCryptFS and the generated Guest account. I think eCryptFS can be setup on Hardy too. Given the bugs I've been seeing regarding NetworkManager and suspend/resume, though, I'm not sure I want to touch its unstable form.

Yes, there is better hardware support available for my laptop now as compared to when I bought it in July. I fixed my sound suspend bug, and that's been SRU'd for Hardy and is in Intrepid. There are drivers for the webcam and fingerprint reader, but not in the mainline kernel, and not in Intrepid. I'd have to compile them myself anyway.

Any killer new features for Intrepid that I don't know about?


22 comments:

Rolandixor said...

think about it, if you upgrade, you can be a test bed for lazy people like me... :D



muhahahahahahahahaha...
just kidding Mackenzie...

do you think I should?

Mackenzie said...

Any bug I have has already been reported when I try that. I'm kind of feeling more productive trying to help triage for 5-A-Day than finding the bugs myself.

Shane Par-Due said...

tabs in nautilus!!!

Craig said...

I'v been wondering that myself... and I haven't seen anything that exciting in Intrepid either. I'm a bit of an upgrade / bug hunter junkie, so I upgraded anyways. No big changes. But, no problems *fingers crossed* either... I've reported a surprising low number of bugs.

ffm said...

Why not, eh?

Daengbo said...

If it ain't broke...

Seriously, why take the chance? Wait till the next LTS or until you change hardware.

davidnottingham said...

Install Intrepid under Virtualbox?

I'm using Intrepid, and whilst it being better, it doesn't seem as though it's optimised yet, (this is not scientific, as I've not run any benchmark tests) it seems slower than Hardy was on the same machine.

Looks as though it'll be nice once it's been fully polished.

dadgadjohn said...

I prefer to do a clean install rather than upgrade. As a result, I tend to stick with the LTS versions.

If OpenOffice is up to version
3.0, I may upgrade that package, but that alone is not enough to convince me to upgrade the whole distro.

Food for thought.
-John

wolfger said...

KDE 3 is out, KDE4 is in.
Oh, wait... that's why I'm *not* upgrading. Sorry.

C. said...

I agree that tabs in Nautilus is an incentive. Also, having a guest account is nice. Plus, you would get all of the new app updates and a new kernel.
However, from personal experience, I still do not feel alpha 6 is stable yet though. If I were, I wouldn't upgrade yet if this is a production machine.

Mackenzie said...

Well see, this time I have 3 laptops, so if one gets stuck, I can always use one of the others to burn a new install disk. And when I only had one laptop, I would switch to unstable after 3 or 4 alphas. Intrepid has had much bigger changes much later in the cycle though, like a new kernel at the 5th alpha, so it's less stable when further along. Then again there was that time Hardy's compile flags resulted in an unbootable system around beta time...

C. said...

Actually I noticed another new kernel at alpha 6 even. I've had major issues with Nvidia drivers as expected but also some booting issues where it couldn't find the initrd image (I just booted the previous kernel in the meantime). Also, I am really irritated with the new way X is configured. Previously if X didn't look right, I would drop to a tty (ctrl-alt-F1) and then login as root and /etc/init.d/gdm stop. However, this time gdm doesn't appear to stop properly and even if it does, it does not allow me to install the Nvidia binary driver because it says X is still running. This happens even if I enter telinit 3. Strange behavior. The nvidia-glx-177 (recommended) driver does not seem to work either. Also, the gnome applets (namely system monitor) are unstable and Network Manager seems buggy along with major problems with CIFS.

Sold yet? :)

I obviously run this on a test box so it's more for fun to have it break and then try to fix it.

Mackenzie said...

Well of course there'll be kernel updates right through to the end. That's bugfixing. By "new kernel" I mean the change from 2.6.26 to 2.6.27. the -3 or -4 or whatever is irrelevant.

By the way, this is Ubuntu. telinit/init don't mean anything. Ubuntu runs in runlevel 2 by default, not 5. Check out Wikipedia's article on runlevels. Debian does 2-5 all the same. RedHat does that special 3-lacks-X stuff. Other distros do other things.

I only use Intel hardware. They have the best support for Linux, so they get the most monetary support from me :)

C. said...

Oh my! lol Well, I see what you mean about the kernels, wasn't sure you meant the major revision at first.

In terms of runlevels, since Ubuntu is not my main distro, I'm not shocked to have made a faux pas in that regard but then it still poses the same problem regarding X. I'd rather fix it manually which may not be the point of Ubuntu in a way, however; during Alpha releases it would come in handy. Stopping GDM used to mean X would stop also but it does not seem to be the case in Alpha 6.

Intel may good overall for compatibility but Nvidia is king when it comes to decent video cards for Linux imho. It has been that way for many years which is why I always buy Nvidia cards. I have never had any issues with Nvidia cards apart from in Ubuntu when upgrading through the Alpha stages which I expect.

I think 8.10 will be very good once closer to being finished. On a side note, I am still not convinced that it will take on the rumored theme that many are chatting about. I will only believe it when I see it. It can be viewed here: http://www.lunduke.com/?p=116

Either way, give it a shot if you have space machine around and report your results.

Mackenzie said...

Yeah, that's odd that X wouldn't stop with GDM.

With ATI opening up their specs and all, Nvidia seems to have been unseated.

I've got the community-themes packages from kwwii's PPA installed in Hardy. I really like the Kin theme. And that link is just a mockup, not necessarily a doable one.

ffm said...

@Daengbo

I don't think there's any chance of her waiting for the next LTS in 2 years...

azimout said...

Apart from the new Gnome, I would switch for dkms... The kernel in itself is not so important to me, as I'm already running the latest (stable) kernel...

By the way, I just create a LiveUSB with UNetBootin and test it out...

Also, for me the biggest change in the Gutsy->Hardy switch was PulseAudio...

Mackenzie said...

So here's the thing about dkms. It can only build packages for the currently running kernel. Meaning it can't build your Nvidia drivers before you reboot to the new kernel. You have to wait til you've booted GUI-less. Then you have to get online and reinstall dkms in order to kick it off. What if you don't know how to get online without a GUI? Not a problem for me, since all my drivers are in the mainline kernel, but still, problematic for many others.

C. said...

I managed to get the Nvidia binary drivers to install.

Here is how I did it...

I ran pstree after going to a tty (ctrl-alt-F1) and I noticed that zenity and xinit were running. I killed both for good measure and then I was able to install the Nvidia binary drivers (the Ubuntu Nvidia drivers did not work for me - neither 177 nor 173). I had booted into the newest kernel 2.6.27-4. Now I have X running fine. Overall, it is still a bit buggy, slow and unstable but hopefully that will be refined soon with package updates.

Stopping GDM used to be enough, but I guess it isn't anymore unless that is a bug.

Either way, I have it working now. Just thought I would share in case anyone else found it useful.

Jake said...

Heck, I'm still on Gutsy. I'm waiting to upgrade my current PC, because the new PC I built has issues with freezing every 5-10 minutes under Hardy. I think I've narrowed it down to either the graphics card or the motherboard, neither of which I can really replace right now.

For now, it's a Steam PC running XP. :-P Hopefully I'll get to upgrade this PC, if Intrepid is compatible with the hardware of the new PC. Until then, I'm stuck with Gutsy and Windows.

Frank Ivins said...

Am I the only one who found Hardy to be one massive regression from Gutsy? Gutsy was my first Ubuntu experience and everything more or less "just worked". With a fresh install of Hardy I lost:

1.) Suspend (prob. video driver)
2.) Audio i.e. PulseAudio hell where practically nothing works until you force Pulse off your system
3.) Automatic mounting of my other partitions (I had to look up how to hack HAL to keep from having to manually mount my drives on start-up)

Through months of looking through posts, I've managed to hack everything back into working order (except suspend), but I SHOULDN'T have to do this.

Can anyone tell me if I'm likely to be better or worse off with Intrepid????

I find it shocking that, even though all of these problems are well known and documented, they remain un-fixed for an "LTS" release. From a very good start with Gutsy, I've gone to being a little jaded with Ubuntu. I feel Ubuntu should concentrate much more on making the "It just works" side of things absolutely rock solid before moving on to new whistles and bells.

Am I alone on this??

Mackenzie said...

1. Suspend is more broken on Intrepid than on Hardy.
2. PulseAudio is still there. And the thing you need to understand is that you made the mistake with Gutsy of thinking Linux sound actually worked well to begin with. PulseAudio is an attempt at cleaning up some of the giant mess Daniel Chen talked about at Ohio Linux Fest (see: his slides for a diagram of the current state of Linux audio). PulseAudio actually makes a *lot* of the things that are very difficult to do with ALSA alone very easy (like switching output devices mid-stream). If you're upset about Flash sound, that falls under the category of "blame Adobe" but Flash 10 or open source Swfdec works fine with PulseAudio
3. No idea on this one. Were they not in your /etc/fstab as auto or something? Because that's how you're supposed to do it.