Saturday, April 12, 2008

No more Ubuntu

Well, after several updates, I find that rhea's Ubuntu 8.04 beta has developed the following little 'quirks':
  • Compiz, which has worked so smoothly on this platform since upgrading the video card to an nVidia 7600GS under Ubuntu 7.04, no longer works. The simple graphic desktop works just fine, but with Compiz selected none of the windows have a border, and none of the other features seem to work. When CompizConfigure Settings Manager is brought up (from the command line, ccsm) it has had everything removed except General, and that only has one entry.
  • In an attempt to see if it was anything in my local environment (i.e. home directory), I attempted to create a new blank account. So I started System | Administration | Users and Groups (users-admin), and discovered that it would no longer allow me to either create new users nor to modify any existing accounts except my own. Turns out that something has changed in the binary so that it runs with degraded permissions, even if run as root. In fact, the link to start users-admin is simply users-admin, while in Ubuntu 7.10 (on europa) the command string is 'gksu users-admin'. So what happened there? Who the hell knows anymore? I got around the problem simply enough by running useradd from the command line, but hell's bells, what is happening with quality (QA) that working applications and functionality are breaking between updates, and less than two weeks before the full release of 8.04 LTS?
I'm not the only observer of Ubuntu's deteriorating quality. In googling around I found this entry from December 2007 titled "Ubuntu Innovates Excuses":
For all of the cool things that Ubuntu has done, their lack of quality control is astonishing and baffling. They’re better at innovating excuses than actually responding to bug reports. This is the latest fun example, “Bug #145805 in aumix, https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/aumix/+bug/145805 “. The binary Aumix package was built incorrectly for Gutsy, so it doesn’t work. Rebuilding it from sources fixes it. So does the crack Ubuntu team leap into action? Yes, but not to fix it….
This, of course, is almost identical to my experience with K3b. I had to rebuild K3b from sources (as well as install all the support runtime and developer libraries) in order to get the full functionality I was used to in earlier versions of Ubuntu as well as from openSUSE. I didn't bother to report it as a bug because a number of others already had, and it turned out that Canonical decided it wasn't worth fixing for Ubuntu 7.10.

So what will I turn to next? Mandriva 2008.1. I've downloaded and burned live CDs for both the KDE as well as the Gnome desktop and taken them both for a spin on rhea. And both of them booted clean and ran the Compiz desktop off the live CD on rhea. So we'll give Mandriva a test run on rhea, the test system. And in the mean time I'll keep europa as Ubuntu 7.10 until openSUSE 11 gets a little further along. But no more Ubuntu, and that means no more derivatives of Ubuntu either.

Update

One of the commenters commented that I had updated over 7.10. No. Not this time. I documented how I had to do a fresh install to get sound to work (Ubuntu 8.04 Beta: A second install). I was working with a fresh install of the beta, and just accepting and installing the updates as they came in. I learned the hard lesson not to update over 7.10. I had to do a complete re-install of 7.10 over 8.04 alpha because (surprise!) an update for 8.04 completely trashed the entire system, to the point it wouldn't even boot. Which is a shame, because upgrading from 7.04 to 7.10, even prior to 7.10's release, never caused this much trouble.

Links
  1. Bug fixes? Why would we bother to ship bug fixes?
  2. Editorial: Open source is not about love
  3. Fixing bugs: how distributions react

7 comments:

  1. My god
    The deteriorating quality of Ubuntu ?
    COME ON, you are using an alpha or beta version. Better not expect to high. That is why they are called like this.

    And by the way, if you are looking for almost perfection, which is very hard to find, I recommend you to try debian stable or testing.

    Although, I must warn you,
    The software there is a little bit old...

    Oz

    ReplyDelete
  2. We all know that Alpha's and Beta's are flaky here But as Bill has pointed out, these are fundamental errors that should not be occurring at this stage. The worrying thing is this is going to be their "Flagship Edition" Long term support etc..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't hesitate do read the docs for Mandriva. This is not the same thing than Ubuntu :
    + Official doc :
    http://club.mandriva.com/xwiki/bin/view/KB/Mandriva_Linux_2008_Spring_documentation

    + Mandriva's wiki :
    http://wiki.mandriva.com/en/Home

    + Mandriva dev planet ( where you can find my blog too ) :
    http://planetmandriva.zarb.org/
    From next week, i will begin to blog about some Mandriva tips, so don't hesitate.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would recommend you to run Debian Stable... With it, you shouldn't have any issues...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Duuuude. From what I've read, you're not even using a clean beta, but rather you've upgraded from 7.10 to the beta. That's so not a fair way to evaluate. However, I agree with you on the responsiveness of the Ubuntu developers to bug fixes. It can be a very frustrating experience.

    Also, realize that some Ubuntu derivatives like Mint actually clean up some of the Ubuntu bugs and fix some of the packages with custom versions. Not all Ubuntu's are created equal...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Pixie
    take the blinders off. Ubuntu sucks. Been running it for 2 years now. It keeps getting worse instead of better.

    Bug report people are getting snotty with people reporting bugs instead of responding to and fixing problems.

    I am to the point of the author. Give up on ubuntu and try another distro.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Actually the bug you mentioned in aumix was fixed in gutsy. Click on your own link.

    I administer well over a dozen boxes with Intel, ATI, and nvidia graphics. Hardy installed correctly on every one of them. My point is to not extrapolate your individual experience onto the OS as a whole.

    Also, the libc6 problem you mention occurred in Hardy alpha5 not the beta version. If you had waited a day instead of reinstalling it would have been fixed. Several command lines fixes were posted on the forums minutes after the corrupt package was mistakenly released.

    Partial updates with unresolved dependencies occur constantly during Ubuntu development cycles. If you can't avoid (or fix) this type of problem then you should probably not run an alpha or beta OS.


    Dapper (the last LTS release) was also very buggy after final (and was actually delayed two months). I would like to note that Hardy will have a 8.04.1 release in July. I would recommend waiting until then to give it another try. This is the release that is intended for production/enterprise environments.

    ReplyDelete

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