A painful upgrade to Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex

I’m writing a piece on Ubuntu – makes a change from all that Windows at Microsoft’s PDC. I wanted to be up-to-date, so I upgraded my laptop from Hardy Heron (8.4) to Intrepid Ibex (8.10), released just yesterday. I followed the officially recommended procedure. Currently I only have a wi-fi connection, which is not ideal, but I reckoned it might work. Before upgrading, I applied all available updates to the existing 8.04 installation.

The update manager started off confidently enough, though it sat for a long time on ldconfig deferred processing. Then it asked for a restart, and things started going wrong. Ubuntu could only boot to a terminal prompt, since it was missing packages needed for X, the graphical server, to start. I tried to fix this with apt-get; but I had another problem: the wifi connection was down. I managed to get this working with ifconfig and iwconfig, and repaired my system with apt-get update and apt-get dist-upgrade. This downloaded and installed some 340MB of packages, after which I could boot to the desktop.

I was not done yet. On startup, Ubuntu was pausing when configuring the network. When the desktop appeared, I had the problem usually expressed as nm-applet not appearing in the panel. This actually meant that the network manager had crashed. If I tried to restart it, it said “no connections defined” and hung with some other errors. Once again, I could only restore wifi by fidding with console commands. I discovered I was not alone with the nm-applet problem. The fix that worked for me was to remove all references to network devices other than loopback in /etc/network/interfaces, as described here. Restarted, the network applet returned, and I could finally connect conveniently.

I got a surprise when I tried to browse the web. The upgrade had removed most of my applications, including FireFox and OpenOffice. I had to reinstall these using Add/Remove applications. I did find that FireFox had remembered my settings, once reinstalled, for which I was grateful.

Now that Intrepid Ibex is up and running, it will probably be as stable, fast and capable as Hardy Heron before it – really, it was. Linux is great, honest.

6 thoughts on “A painful upgrade to Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex”

  1. Just as a matter of interest, what do you prefer to do on Linux that you don’t on Windows? I had Ubuntu running in a VM on my workstation at home and was impressed by the speed, power and flexibility. There was little I could do on it that I couldn’t do just as easily on Windows, however.

    And then again, when it goes wrong as it did for you, you are pretty much on your own. This should not be an insurmountable problem for the likes of us, but heaven help the novice.

  2. To Clyde:

    I’d rephrase your question: What do you prefer to do in Linux -for free- that you don’t on windows -paying-.

  3. I only wish it did just boil down to purchase cost, but as Tim has pointed out above, there’s more to the issue than that.

  4. I’ve upgraded three Herons to Ibex without any issues, one of them a laptop with only a wireless connection. For me though, I had Linux in mind when purchasing the laptop, so I made sure there would be as few issues as possible with hardware.

    On a side note, my uncle called me yesterday saying that his computer complained that it couldn’t find NTLDR while booting after upgrading his Windows XP to SP3…. ;P

  5. @John

    I am fully up and running now; but not all the problems were bad luck with this machine, as it were. Windws PPTP VPN was broken in the 8.10 release build. The Tablet stylus support is semi-broken; haven’t quite got to the bottom of this, but I had to make manual changes to xorg.conf to get stylus support back. The Create USB drive applet seems to depend on mtools but mtools doesn’t get installed by default. Similar dependency issue with Compiz which broke because libgl1-mesa-dri was not installed and apparently should have been, though Synaptic didn’t report any dependency issues in either case.


  6. It isn’t about price… to answer the question posed in the first posts… I bought a Vista laptop and it was… well it was Vista, letś leave it at that… so I bit the bullet and revisited Linux via Hardy… not everything worked perfectly but it was a far better upgrade… I didn’t expect to BE able to do everything that I could in Windows however I can do far more actually… 1 example I am constantly running anywhere between 10 and 30 different applications on my 8 desktops of all types… I never have to worry about resources and speed… and the only thing I miss is Ableton Live… I loved XPSP2 for what it did for me but there are sooo many more options for making this computer operate HOW I WANT IT TO… it truly is personalised to my work routine and THAT is the real difference… oh and the fact that if something DOES break then it CAN be fixed by me… as far as “being on your own” goes you have to be kidding if you think that there is more support and solutions in the Windows community… Windows is a simple fix sure… the same one all the time really… pay money for someone else or something else to fix the problem… and just as a last point my day job is managing a cross platform network for a small Sydney corporation… so I deal with issues on Windows and Mac all day long as the only Linux machine on the network is mine…

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