As I posted the other day, the latest version of Ubuntu GNU/Linux has been released.  Ubuntu’s schedule sees a new release every six months, and this is reflected in the release numbering: 7.10 was released in October 2007, 8.04 in April 2008 and 8.10 in October 2008.  Each release has a nickname – 8.10 is also known as ‘Intrepid Ibex’, hence the image of an ibex to the left.

I usually avoid fresh installs of Ubuntu, preferring to go the route of upgrading via synaptic.  This involves considerable file downloading, which can be a fairly lengthy affair, particularly soon after release date when the Ubuntu servers and their mirrors are presumably havily loaded.   I have four computers running Ubuntu, and in light of the usual comments and complaints in the Ubuntu forums, I thought I’d note my upgrade experiences here.

Computer 1:  An IBM ThinkPad R52.  The upgrade went flawlessly.  I was a little disappointed that OpenOffice.org 3.0 hadn’t made it in time for inclusion, but installed it anyway using the repositories described here.  I’ve not identified any problematic issues with this upgrade.

Computer 2:  A Desktop PC built by Efficient PC.  I use this as a media server and backup system.  The upgrade went pretty well, though now booting seems slow and hangs for a period (I still need to investigate this). It’s unfortunate that the main function of this PC is to backup the laptops:the backup software I use, BackupPC, now no longer starts – peculiar error message that I still need to get to the bottom of.  While BackupPC is a pretty effective piece of software, upgrades to it seem to me to be problematic (mostly due to my inexperience in rsync and secure comms).

[Update – BackupPC issue sorted – turned out to be a trivial directory permissions issue.  It’s not obvious to me why this would change during the upgrade, but still…]

Computer 3:  My main computer, a Sony Vaio TX5XN laptop.  This dual boots the hated Vista (which I rarely if ever use).  Upgrade seemed take an age, presumably reflecting weekend load on the Ubuntu servers.  It went smoothly. It took a small amount of tinkering to get the wireless connection to work.  I like the new network manager. Particularly exciting was that my Voadfone branded Huawei E172 HSPA USB modem worked straight off via the new network manager. I upgraded OpenOffice.org to version 3 as with the IBM ThinkPad, and I had no problem persuading the bibliography application Bibus to talk to OpenOffice.org.  The trackpad seems to have reverted to the original hypersensitive state.  Resume from suspend is much faster in 8.10 than it was in 8.04 (and it didn’t work reliably at all in 7.10).

[Update: the new network manager was reluctant to let me use the wired networking at the office.  I think I got the solution at the ubuntu forums: I added these two repositories to update network manager:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/network-manager/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/network-manager/ubuntu intrepid main]

Computer 4: Not frequently used.  I may upgrade this to 8.10, or I may reformat it to some other GNU/Linux distribution.