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I'm a big fan of ubuntu in general, however after numerous incompatibilities with 10.4 on laptops and graphics driver issues with 10.10 after upgrading, I'm more that a little worried about ubuntu's testing process. I hope 11.4 is great, but I won't be be among the first adopters this time.
I don't know that this is Ubuntu's fault. At least for Intel, a lot of the graphics driver is now in the kernel, and it seems that every other update is broken. Since different distros go "gold" with different combinations of XOrg/Mesa/xf86-video-intel/kernel snapshots, it may seem as though one distro is more mature than another. In reality, they just ship whatever was most recent at the time, and it happens to have been bad timing. Use a rolling-release distro that always pulls in the latest software, and watch how one update can totally mess up the graphics stack, and next week's update runs as good as Windows.
"I don't know that this is Ubuntu's fault...it may seem as though one distro is more mature than another. In reality, they just ship whatever was most recent at the time, and it happens to have been bad timing."
I agree, maybe the problems stem from upstream, however I bricked two Ubuntu systems by hitting the "upgrade" button, and now I'm afraid to do it any more.
I've installed Debian many times, and I think Ubuntu has done a great job making the whole process more user friendly. It's just that the last few releases have been of worse stability/quality than predecessors - to the point where I'd recommend avoiding the upgrade.
They should test compatibility more thoroughly before official releases and if necessary roll back pieces which are broken. It's not like Fedora, who's users expect the bleeding edge.
Edit: This is a beta...so I guess instead of complaining, I should be installing it to report problems *before* the official release. Edited 2011-04-01 02:41 UTC
Yes, upgrading has been a problem since 2004!
How is it not Ubuntu's fault? They have plenty of employees that should be testing for regressions.
A while back they broke Dell netbooks that came pre-installed with Ubuntu. How is that excusable?
Something is very wrong at Canonical. They have a massive amount of employees and yet I see no reason to believe they are any better for desktop users than some of the smaller 1-3 man distros.
In that case, perhaps Ubuntu/Dell should have a team dedicated to making sure that their product continues to work. Especially considering that Dell was selling their Ubuntu laptops for considerably more than similarly spec'd Windows machines...one would think that extra $$$ was going to long term support.
That reminds me of another failure of OSS and hardware vendors...a few years ago when it looked like OpenSolaris was going to take off, Toshiba was selling OpenSolaris-branded laptops. Except the chosen wireless adapter wasn't supported at the time, and ACPI S3 didn't work...and that was straight from the factory!
I moved away from Ubuntu a year ago after multiple issues including an upgrade causing my system to commit suicide.
I am now on Arch a rolling release system were you always get the latest software and I am have had almost no instability or incompatibility issues, and I am very happy. If a rolling reason Distro like Arch can get it right what is Ubuntu doing wrong?
When PCBSD 9 comes out I plan on giving that a shot, but I am done with Ubuntu and all of its children.
My wife just had a problem with her ubuntu 10.10 system when she tried to do a partial upgrade; looks like I'll be doing a system restore in some form this evening. Or I may as well try the beta. I'd like to try another distro; I used to use Suse but I feel it breaks even more often, and same for Fedora.
OpenSolaris is great (I know it isn't linux), of course there are few updates and fewer than ever now obviously.
Try Sabayon or OpenSuse. The former is a easy-to-install, easy-to-use binary / portage hybrid system based on Gentoo that can either be a stable release or a rolling release depending on whether or not you add the "Limbo" repository. You can install cutting edge binary packages or compile them in the traditional Gentoo way. I've had the same installation for almost two years now and it upgrades right along nicely. Plus, it's smoking fast. Comes with all desktop environments. OpenSuse is probably the best KDE desktop out there; it's Gnome desktop is very nice too. It now also has a rolling option in the form of its "Tumbleweed" repository. Other than it's tacit ties to Novell and thus Microsoft, which some people find objectionable, it's probably one of the best distros out there for regular folks.
Check for issues with your system
This morning I checked and did not find issues with mine, so I installed, and it works.
Unity is slow showing all installed applications and Firefox has crashed 1 time so far, on opening a PDF.
Also I miss not being able to switch off desktop effects. The tab is gone at "Appearance".
All the rest is OK. New shiny kernel, and the concepts introduced by Unity (when comparing with Gnome 2, at least).
...omg I just discovered tiling :_) Edited 2011-04-02 14:08 UTC
Canonical needs to work on compatibilty and reducing bugs rather than introducing new features as fast as possible.
Every time I do an upgrade I have a problem with something that used to work.
I hate to bite the free hand that feeds me but Canonical needs to re-prioritize and re-focus to protect the existing user base and slow down the too-rapid introduction of new features.
"Canonical needs to work on compatibilty and reducing bugs rather than introducing new features as fast as possible. Every time I do an upgrade I have a problem with something that used to work."
Not that they'll hear it here, but...*bump*.
It sounds like maybe it is time to check out a different distro.
You sound like you need (RH)EL6, no more problems for the next 7-10 years.
Why would you stick with a 6 months release schedule distro if you don't want problems?
Agreed, unless you need some bleeding edge package, it is better to stick to a long time support release.
It's not a matter of stability vs bleeding edge.
An OpenOffice update that has been out for months is not bleeding edge.
Desktop users shouldn't have to stick with old software to avoid system breaks.
Ubuntu has never been an option for me and all of my various hardware - it simply didn't work. It booted fine, but then there was always some GUI-related problems, everything was constantly restarting, X server was crashing ...
Nowadays I still don't use Ubuntu, because it still doesn't work on my hardware [even an upgraded one], and the Unity interface is the heavy nightmare.
There are so many simple, lightweight, configurable and efffective GUIs. I'm shocked they choose Unity.
I'm even shocked that Ubuntu is [*cough* still] most popular linux distribution.
I still remember the times when Ubuntu was a young startupper. I was using other OSs at the time, but I though it would be nice for linux OS to be more recognizable in the OS world. Too bad it's Ubuntu that tries to fulfill that mission ...
I just want to say that I'm a very happy Ubuntu user.
I started to use it in 2006, I installed Kubuntu 6.06 then. I had some problems with the language support. The next couple upgrades were a little bit problematic, but nothing very serious. I didn't loose any data, only 1 or 2 hours learning how to solve the problem.
After that, all the upgrades and new installs have been wonderful. All the hardware worked fine. And, each released feels faster and more polished.
About LTS, in an office environment they have a big problem: OpenOffice.org updates. In my case I want/need to have the newest version of it. In each new version the support of Microsoft formats improves a lot and that's something I need because I work in an MS environment. This is the main reason I upgrade my Ubuntu setup when there is a new version. When I was a SuSE user (yes, SuSE) I upgraded much less frequently.
I gave 11.04 beta a spin last night.
1. Still a little buggy (yeah yeah...it's a beta)
2. Was able to properly setup my dual screen resolutions; laptop [secondary] + 22" LCD [primary] (was borked in alpha3)
3. Can't seem to find a way to properly configure which display is "primary"
4. Unity has placed the panel at the top of BOTH screens. From a usability standpoint, it should only be on the primary.
5. I don't know if it was just me, but as a whole the desktop experience seemed more responsive.
6. Over all, I think after some getting used to, Unity may provide a nice user experience.
I grabbed both the beta ubuntu and kubuntu 11.04 last night.
The ubuntu interface had me stumped until I realised the new unity
interface wasn't working under virtualbox, went thru this same saga a
while back, this is going to confuse the hell out of everyone, hope
the general release tells you what is happening with some popup like
the unity interface will not work on your hardware!
The Kubuntu beta is awesome, the activities and desktop binding is
fixed now, a desktop activity contains both widgets and apps, so now
it is possible for example to create a home and work desktop
acitivity, so you can switch between the two and see a different set
of widgets and running apps, so I think KDE 4 has finally matured, I
am thinking informed Ubuntu users will switch over to Kubuntu with 11.04, see
whats happens I suppose.
I just upgraded to the beta on a non-production desktop machine (w/ nvidia, the way it's mean to be run).
I'll go on the record to say I actually like the new unity desktop shell. Seems more mature and functional than gnome shell, while being a "conservative" for old gnome2 users.
Unity used to suck quite badly, but now it's really coming to its own.
I had given up on Ubuntu by December '10. Every now and then it would go unresponsive system at boot splash screen with no way to switch consoles, the only thing that worked was the CTRL+ALT+DEL combination and voila! But that was just one of several things that made me give up on Ubby and go straight to Fedora 14.
With Mark ShatterMyWorld announcements of window buttons going from right to left, and the announcement of Unity interface, I got really upset and apprehensive. Then I had waited to the first 11.04 beta (as you see, I still was holding my last breath for Ubby...) - after the installation I noticed that both Unity and Classic mode comes with default "Amiga/MacOS" global menu - the one that puts your text menu right into the panel, away from your application window.
If Ubuntu only kept the default GNOME menu layout, that would be just fine for me. But they had to go and change that too. Sure I can remove it with some clicks, by adding new panels and such, or maybe we get rebelled GNOME fans who will put up a website with available packages for system modifications, like some .deb package for us to get the previous behaviour with just a click.
All of this is very annoying. And it's not just me. There will be a huge user base that will get annoyed too. Specially the so loved Windows refugees now having to deal with a Amiga/MacOS rip-off interface that, in my vision, has no real logic at all. I doubt Ubby is figuring #1 at Distrowatch.com by the end of the year.
Mint and Fedora have the opportunity now to conquer the world, if they want to...
(Edit. grammar) Edited 2011-04-02 19:19 UTC
Sounds like yet another typical cynical comment. So Ubuntu isnt wanting to make their interface exactly like everything else. Big whoop. It's not that hard to change.
I personally prefer window Close on the left, with Min and Max on the right. Know what I did about it? I changed it myself.
While you're at it, complain about the wallpaper.
You're not getting it. Windows has millions of users because they don't need to configure anything like that upon default install. Ubuntu looks for Windows refugees (look at bug #1 in launchpad) and I am afraid the target users now will become the Amiga/MacOS ones. Are you really confident that Windows newcomers will adopt the Amiga/MacOS global menu? Just wait and see.
Default settings usually have a huge impact on userbase, so it's just not a matter of yourself going there and change it.
I can remember the first thing I did after installing Windows XP was to change the theme back to classic instead of that awful Luna theme.
Ubuntu 11.04 looks like Ubuntu 10.10 if you select Ubuntu Classic at the login screen. Or go to System > Administration > Login Screen, and set Ubuntu Classic as the default.
If you dislike buttons being on the left and/or being out of order then you could select another theme or download a different one or make a new theme.
So Ubuntu is doing something different and it will either be a success or a failure. If it really bothers you then could start a constructive discussion on lauchpad or the mailing lists. For the unexpected slowdowns, perhaps raise a bug report. Or just continue to use another distribution.