Saturday, 17 December 2011

In-place Upgrades a Bad Idea

I don't think pulse Audio killed it. I don't think Mumble killed it. I don't think Xfce killed it. I don't even think Unity or the Generic PAE kernel killed it.

All I know is, when we tried for a podcast recording the other day, Ubuntu 11.10 on my Dell laptop just died. No dektop sessions. Nothing.

This is a machine on which I ran the in-place upgrade from 11.04 and things went swimmingly, as I reported at the time; two months down the road, it's all gone horribly wrong.


The Compaq is still running fine, although the hardware is well-worn Pentium-M from 2002 designed for Windows 2000. It can't do very much to begin with, so there's nothing much to break.

The Dell I keep pushing to do more, possibly a bad idea as the T7300 (Won't) Go graphics is a constant headache. The Intel internal sound rack isn't much better.

Only one thing for it; clear down and re-install, probably the  thing I should have done in the beginning. One Dell Inspiron 6400 now running sweetly.

The conclusion? Software upgrades remain tricky beasts to wrangle. Linux, being open source and subject to all us cowboys, hackers, hobbyists and tinkerers, falls even more liable to incompatible libraries and conflicting settings than certain other - ahem - operating systems we could mention. We're not out of the woods yet, kids. RC

Image: Demolition of Woodward's building in Vancouver, Canada by Tannoy at en.wikipedia