The Intersection Of Quality And Expectations

There has been a little bit o’chatter on the tubes recently regarding quality and our recent release, Ubuntu 9.10. There we were on Thursday, champagne in hand, kicking a new release out the door and while I have seen countless reports of happy users with effortless upgrades and hardware and software working better than ever before, there are of course some reports of things going less-well, some broken upgrades and unexpected quirks.

Those of us involved in the Ubuntu project, like anyone involved in any kind of endeavour, are emotionally invested in our work. When we hear of problems, it hurts us, and it is tempting to get a little defensive and find fault in those who criticise. Well, I don’t want to denigrate the experiences of our users who face problems: if something goes wrong, that user’s experience is genuinely marred. Irrespective of whether the fault was in our package, with hardware, with networking, in the upstream version of the software or elsewhere, that user had a bad experience, and we need to come together as a project to help prevent these problems from occurring again.

What I am conscious to do though is to put things in a little bit of perspective. It is tempting to believe that the sky is falling when we see patterns of negative outcomes: that is the way human beings are wired up. This concern can be further confounded when journalists write articles that look at a portion of the picture; a news-wire always makes things look more worrying than they really are. Then again, that’s what journos do: they look for patterns and they report on them. Hell, I used to be a journo, and that is what I was expected to do with the publications that I wrote for.

In the interests of keeping things in perspective, I just wanted to remind us all of some of the things going on in the background that I think are worth remembering. Take these for what they are, but I think they go a long way in helping to understand the picture before us.

Firstly, criticism is a sign of success. Ubuntu is arguably the most popular Linux distribution in the world, and has been growing every year since it started. This release of Ubuntu outdid each previous version in terms of how much data we shifted on release day. “With enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow” is one of the foundational attributes of Open Source and therefore it is not entirely surprising that when we kicked out a new release of the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution, there were more eyeballs, more hardware, more networks, more devices, more configurations, more expectations and therefore more opportunities for things to go awry inside these attributes. If we then combine this with the natural inclination for human beings to communicate complaints as opposed to share praise, it is also not entirely surprising that we see these patterns before us, and that journalists report on said patterns.

Around the time we set the Karmic Koala loose, many comparisons were made to Windows 7. Of course, Windows 7 has generated an incredible amount of press, and the mere fact that we are being compared to the most dominant Operating System in the world is something that I consider an achievement. 11 years ago when I joined the Linux journey, it took 2 weeks to get the bloody thing installed, there was barely any device support, you needed a degree in rocket science and integration was something that happened to other people. Microsoft never stood still and we needed to catch up, but today we are direct competitors. This is a tremendous testament to the upstream community and the Ubuntu community for building an integrated system.

There is one key difference between our quality story and Microsoft’s though: we are transparent. You can download all of the source code that comprises Ubuntu, you can see all of our bugs, you can see all our patches, and because the software is free, you can download it freely and try it out, if only for shits and giggles. With a transparent development and quality assurance process, a culture of openness and transparency develops and we are all frank and honest about defects. Speaking as one dot on the Internet, I work for Canonical, a company directly invested in Ubuntu, and I feel comfortable reporting public bugs and defects in Ubuntu and I feel comfortable talking about what rocks it and what ails it: it is part of the Open Source culture in which we all exist. I love this attribute of free software: we are not afraid to talk about problems, and due to the open nature of our environment, the opportunity exists for success.

Fundamentally, if someone experiences problems with software, we need to resolve those problems. The global Ubuntu family is proud of all that we have achieved so far on this journey and we are firmly committed to the road ahead. Karmic was a ballsy release: we shipped some adventurous new technology and in the short six-month cycle that we are committed to, we tried to ship the most exciting, feature-full and compelling release that we could. It is this exact reason that attracted me to Ubuntu back in 2004: it was a project that was unafraid of pushing the envelope. The difference is that now we have millions of people who are judging our work, many of which have stories that we will never hear.

We have a tremendous opportunity to embrace these challenges. With our Ubuntu Developer Summit coming up in a few weeks, and with us focusing on a Long Term Support (LTS) release that is underlined by stability and enterprise-grade maintenance and support, we have an opportunity to really indulge in stability, QA and testing. As ever, this is a story in which we can all play a part and I welcome you all to join us.

  • anon

    Yea, yea, and now go away and fix your bugs please 😉

  • Joe Buck

    It is to be expected that once you roll out a major upgrade, people will have problems. PC hardware exists in such huge variety that this is inevitable.

    One thing I do notice, though, is that your promotion for this release might have sent the wrong message. Of course you’re proud of the work of the Ubuntu team, as you should be. But the cheerleading for the release makes it look like everyone should immediately run the cool bits right away, because they are better, faster, cooler, and more wonderful.

    In practice, maybe releases shouldn’t be trumpeted in quite that way. Instead, when a new release goes out, only early adopters, those willing to put up with some nits, up to and including a blocker bug, should try it out in the first week. The worst bugs will get sorted out quickly, and by a month later people will have a good sense as to whether it’s a near-perfect release, needs a brown paper bag, or somewhere in between.

  • Pedro Côrte-Real

    I agree with all you’ve just said. Ubuntu has been a very large step forward in terms of making the Linux desktop viable for the general public. We’re not there yet unfortunately. I don’t think there has been a single release so far that didn’t introduce a new bug I had to work around. I’m usually proactive in filing bug reports and end up implementing work-arounds that fix the problems for me. The problem with these is that regular computer users will not be able to do the same kind of command-line wrangling to get their systems stable and most of these bugs never get fixed until the next stable release. This problem together with the fact OpenOffice is way too buggy to be usable make it so that most people can’t really replace Windows with Ubuntu. I think these are the major impediments right now for solving bug #1. Which is actually a testament to how far we’ve come. I remember when wireless support was non-existent and getting X to do dual-monitor was an exercise in xorg.conf wrangling. These days there’s an icon on my notification bar for each of these and they just work.

    6-month release cycles are great to keep the project moving but have not been stable enough to give a consistent desktop experience. The project should probably start labeling LTS releases as the ones people should really use and actively backporting all fixes into them. The other releases can be labeled more like beta ones that people with Linux knowledge will be able to run without problems and help sort out the bugs. Nothing changes in terms of the release process itself but the non-techie users will have a much smoother ride. The problem with this is of course new hardware support. Backporting may solve part of that though.

    I have no idea about how to solve the office situation and suspect we’ll only get over it when google docs or some other browser based office suite becomes the norm. If I had to guess though I would say investing in Abiword and Gnumeric (or maybe the KDE ones) would be much better options than continuing to invest in OpenOffice.

  • Steve_

    You said “When we hear of problems, it hurts us, and it is tempting to get a little defensive and find fault in those who criticise” I saw you respond to a user on who was saying it 9.10 sucked and so on. your response “Would you be interested in helping to make the next release better?” I was impressed by your response. As an artist I can understand putting my heart into something and then have someone tear it apart. Not sure I would have handled that with the wit that you did.

  • Ian Stoffberg

    My opinion is that the 6 month release cycle is hurting quality and forcing devs ro rush things to be ready in time. Having upstreams like xorg and ati/ nvidia/ intel releasing code and breaking things makes you look bad too.

  • a

    Well, it’s simple stuff that adds up: I upgraded from 9.04 on my ThinkPad X40 and immediately noticed that the screen backlight no longer gets turned back on so now I can’t close the lid and the volume buttons no longer worked. I didn’t have time to try it before the release but is it that no one bothered to just run 9.10 on a ThinkPad and file bugs? This stuff all worked in 9.04 but between updating Intel graphics drivers and deprecating HAL and all these other low-level changes, you’re sure to break things that result in a pretty painful experience. Perhaps the beta cycle should be longer?

  • ethana2

    They do as good of a job as could be expected within the time they have. They need more time. We need a beta cycle of at least two or three months.

  • ethana2

    If people want bleeding edge, let them use Fedora. I suggest setting back all OS releases by two months, but not delaying any of the code freeze dates by a minute.

  • Jonathan Lozinski

    I think you’re dead right about more eyes bringing more bugs to light. There is also a different expectation of how to address bugs for different user groups. Perhaps it’s time to include a QA tool on first boot after install to get feedback from those who don’t know how to give it. It would also catch bugs which are maybe more low level, like grub, no hal and sound issues etc.. this might also gain positive feedback too.

    Probably best for rc versions, but maybe none LTS too.

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  • nigel

    So the bug preventing even booting the livecd with a DL Gw520+ wifi card since Hardy has been fixed, then? I raised this long ago and have told various people:

    among others, so I admit ubuntu is a strong variant and fundamentally stable I can’t help thinking that it is turning into a ‘we’re more gui-fied and have more widgets’ race with win 7. I was hoping to get to LugradioLive to discuss this sort of thing but my plans were changed for me! regards Nigel

  • James Mansion

    I think the problem here is that when the chips-on-the-shoulder crowd get together and whip up group hysteria about how they are going to eat Microsoft’s lunch, it is easy for them (and the feckless press reporting it) to forget that the millions that Microsoft spend on usability and QA – and their length test and release cycles – are actually there for a reason. Likewise we’ll see how long Sun take to bake Solaris 11.

    You are always going to have to deal with upstreams who have their own agendas wrt quality and compatibility and your life is never going to be easy. But you can at least try to restrain the hype and keep expectations in perspective. If you are getting kicked because the quality wasn’t good enough, its your own fault, and no, I am not going to help you fix your bugs. Its your product, your hype, and they’re your bugs. Admittedly you got them from upstream, but that’s your preferred process, so you get to keep the pieces when its broken.

    And no, my Xubuntu dist upgrade was not straightforward, though I’ve bullied it into working now. I shouldn’t have to know to go looking in /etc/network tho, or to fiddle oround trying to get startxfce4 to work again after the upgrade.

  • Don Birdsall

    Much of the release criticism is based on a poll at that shows about 35% of those upgrading or installing encountered significant and possibly uncorrectable problems. I would expect this from a beta release but not from an official release or even a release candidate. Ubuntu’s commitment to a six month schedule is hurting its quality. At some point they must extend the testing period or users, like myself, will switch to another distro.

    I had serious problems with the upgrade. As far as I am concerned, while the developers call it an official release, it is still a beta. Never-mind the excuses and rhetoric, get busy with the fixes and prepare a real official release.

  • Fr33d0m

    There are IMHO several small factors that lead to greater frustration here. At the root is the lack of clarity on the difference between LTS releases and these mid-term releases.

    Again, IMHO, the issue is more one of properly communicating that these mid-term releases are not considered stable in the same way that LTS is. When we see other blogs trumpeting a mid-term release as the great and almighty MS killer, we should point out that mid-term releases are not considered to be the most stable releases. It would help if there were some indication in the numbering scheme that it isn’t intended to be a stable release.

    We aren’t selling a product on the market here. We’re giving it away. On top of that we’re hoping that the users will help us grow our offering by pointing-out bugs and useability faults. It would be easy to have a staid–though reliable–offering. That is one that doesn’t press the envelope and try to get markedly better and faster quickly. What is hard is being dynamic and reliable. That is the reason for the difference in focus between the mid-term and LTS releases. Our challenge is in remembering that.

  • anonymous coward

    Nice post! I just wanted to pop in an give some more anecdotal evidence :)

    I upgraded 4 machines to 9.10, all different brands and formats (a work laptop, a netbook, a home desktop and a home server). There were 0 problems with any of them. In fact, some of them gained abilities they didn’t have before, such as actual suspend/resume, or network manager connecting much faster. My feeling after the installations was that Ubuntu is getting more and more solid. So, congrats to everyone involved!

    (By the way, I also have the volume-key problem with my Thinkpad, but that is not new in my case. It started in 9.04. Luckily I already had the solution from back then: install the old hotkey-setup from 8.10. Still works on Karmic!)

    Regarding longer cycles, I disagree. The short cycles are what keeps Ubuntu going. What we need is more eyeballs. A way to invite new users to post bugs, to talk on IRC, and so on. This could come in the form of a new Help tool, that sits in the System menu, and provides a unified portal for posting bug reports to the major apps. This help tool should also pop up on the 5th day after installing a new release asking for input such as what were the major and minor problems encountered in the install/upgrade.

  • Fr33d0m

    IMHO the problem is entirely a communication problem. The difference between the LTS releases and the non-LTS releases (I’ll call them mid-term) is not made clear enough. I think there ought to be some way in the numbering, perhaps in the install slide show as well, to differentiate between LTS and mid-term releases which are less focused on stability. I also think the committed should point out to the journo’s that mid-term releases are not as stable as the LTS whenever they hear a mid-term release being touted as the next great MS killer. There was alot of hype over this release and the hype is one big reason people are as frustrated as they are. I only remember reading one story where the author was pointing out that the next LTS was the one we ought to be touting, not the less stable mid-term release. The LTS is our “flagship” offering.

    Its tough for me to remember that mid-term releases are intended to drive enhancements more than they are to be stable releases. Stability tends to mean less advanced. The whole 6 month schedule is predicated on driving development forward–to get the advancements into the system. What we really have is an 18 month schedule between stable releases with 6 month technology previews in between. It is aggressive, and aggressive usually means less stable.

    It is important that we have lots of folks installing the mid-term releases because it helps make them more stable and therefore helps bring the advancements into the LTS releases while keeping the release stable. And that after all is the point in all this–to boldly advance the OS so that we have not only a stable but a fast and exciting OS. The problem isn’t that we don’t focus as much on stability between the LTS releases, it is that the user community tends to forget that. We must find an appropriate way to communicate the difference without driving everyone away from these releases.

  • Fr33d0m

    Sorry for the dual posts, I thought the first one was blocked by our security system. I think the extra time to think led to a better post so the second one is the one I like best.

  • Jim Cady

    Here’s a snapshot for you: I’m a computer repairman and an unabashed Ubuntu cheerleader. Because I now have friends and customers who’ve switched to Ubuntu, I’m in the position of having to help and advise them when a new release comes out. My advice this time was ‘don’t do it’. Why? Because I have 2 main computers I use Ubuntu on (an older desktop and an MSI Wind netbook) and the upgrade failed miserably on BOTH. The desktop I restored from backup and the netbook I tried to just wipe and do a clean install on. Except you can’t DO a clean install on an MSI Wind. The only way I was able to get 9.10 on it was to do a clean re-install of 9.04 and upgrade that, and it STILL has showstopping bugs that are new in 9.10

    To make matters worse, bugs from previous versions are still un-addressed. Let’s take a case in point: network-manager. Since modem support was removed people with tethered phones (in my case a Palm Treo 700wx) are in the lurch. Looking at the bug tracker for network-manager NO work is being done on it as evidenced by the fact that of 270 some odd bugs, the second oldest (2 and a half years) is marked ‘new’. When I found a bug similar to mine, the original poster got a reply from whoever is in charge of it MONTHS later asking for more info.

    Maybe the answer here is to put Lucid on hold for a cycle and (publicly and transparently) move those devs to fixing Karmic before it becomes known as Canonical’s version of Vista.

  • Bob C.

    All of us who use ubuntu should be thankful to the Ubuntu developers and all those involved in putting out the distribution, which anyone gets to use for free (as in beer) if choosing to do so, as well as using freely. In mentioning problems that have arisen, we shouldn’t lose focus that there are many, some paid but many unpaid, putting time and effort into the project on our behalf. Yes, I know that Canonical would like to make a profit at some time-but meanwhile this is put out for free and in my experience has worked more easily with my hardware than the other leading distributions except for Puppy, which has also seemed to do a good job of supporting my hardware, and Mint, the latter of course not being at all surprising.

    However, one must acknowledge there have been many issues reported with the release of Karmic, and there are often issues in the days following Ubuntu releases. Personally, I attribute most of that to the short times between releases and the decisions to keep to release dates set many months previously.

    I’m a somewhat experienced Linux novice (i.e. able to fix the OS about as well as I can fix my car, which is very little) who did a fresh install of 9.10 on one of my computers and found far more issues, and far more work to deal with them, than had been the case in previous installs (8.04, 8.10 and 9.04 as well as Xubuntu 8.10.) Several of my issues I’ve seen reported as experienced by others.

    At least two of the issues might have been deal breakers for those experimenting for the first time with the Windows 7 competitor they’d read about in the press. Both Synaptic and the Ubuntu Software Center stopped working until I reinstalled one package from the command line, and web browsing was so slow I wondered if my ISP was having problems until fixing the ipv6 configuration in two browsers to be consistent with the network settings. That may seem really simple to most Linux users, but for a newbie who just wants the computer to work, it would be a real deterrent.

    The system now has good performance and so far (knock on wood) good stability, and I’m happy with it-though in view of the effort on that one install, my three computers running Jaunty will keep doing so until Lucid has been out for a month or so.

    All of this seems to me, as has been commented on by others, related to keeping to fixed release dates, which except in the case of the first LTS release, I believe Ubuntu has always met. I understand the desire for short release dates and new features, with the Linux press looking for new exciting features with each release (anyone read techiemoe’s review of Jaunty lately?) and a desire to keep Ubuntu in the spotlight (and way ahead in the Distrowatch hits rankings.)

    I don’t pretend to know the answer when balancing the wish to promote the OS and keep it seen as exciting, and the necessity to put out a system that is stable and which works. Personally I’m in the group that would prefer longer times between releases and that releases be held back a little more to work on bugs-or that there be less added to new releases so that there are fewer bugs created and there is sufficient time allotted to deal with things like kernel patches and other upstream problems.

    Windows 7 had a long gestation period-it was available for testing for many months before being released. If one ignores bug fix and update consolidations (which sometimes add some other updates, but not major ones) most of the other major Linux distributions seem to release less frequently than Ubuntu. To give one example, from Mepis 8 through 8.10 there are now eleven releases of Mepis 8, but there aren’t described as new releases and announced as being new, and seem really to be consolidations just as Hardy has gone from 8.04 to 8.04.3.

    My (less than) two cents worth.

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  • MG

    It should be remembered that MS Windows 7 had a few release problems as well. People with unbootable computers. People with unsupported devices. People with video and audio problems. Some of those problems are still unsolved. Some users have gone back to Windows XP and will wait until the service pack before they try it again. I would be rather surprised if there were no problems at all when people upgrade an OS.

    The number of complaints on forums is not a good measure of how many people actually have problems. The people who have problems will complain, and the people who don’t have any problems will get on with their lives in silence.

    I think though that some of Ubuntu’s problems are self inflicted because the brand has been stretched to include so many derivative distros. A disproportionate share of the problems seem to occur in derivative distros. Yet when people complain, they say their problem was with “Ubuntu”. You have to dig to find out that their problem was with a dual monitor setup using an obscure window manager when used with an experimental OEM video driver loaded via ndiswrapper in a quadruple boot configuration. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I think you get the idea. I think that a clearer line between the mainline “Ubuntu” and the derivatives will help prevent this confusion. I don’t have anything against the derivative distros, and I think they provide value to many people. However, it needs to be clear that the further from the mainstream that you stray, the greater are your chances of having unique problems.

    I also have something to say about the suggestions that some people have about stretching the release cycles. That would only make problems worse, not better. Longer release cycles just mean that more problems accumulate before the release gets out into the hands of the general public. Look at what happened to Microsoft with Vista over its extra long release cycle as compared to the much shorter release cycle for Windows 7.

    I think the 6 month release cycle is about right. It’s long enough for some worthwhile work to get done, while not being so long that major problems can accumulate without them being discovered. You can make alpha, beta, and RC releases, but the reality is that most people will simply wait for the “real” release and expect it to all “just work”. The more popular a distro is, the more likely it is that users will be people who want to use their computers rather than people who will contribute to testing and filing bugs.

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  • Jared Spurbeck

    “You can download all of the source code that comprises Ubuntu”

    Just not Ubuntu One >.>

  • Matthew Smith

    I installed both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions on my two Dells last week, and in the case of the 64-bit version (I haven’t been using my laptop that much) it’s really made my computer a joy to use again – it’s smooth and it works with my ATi graphics card, which Fedora 11 didn’t, and getting rid of YUM is such a joy. Thanks everyone.

  • Andre S.

    I updated Ubuntu to 9.10 via synaptic. After the update I have a not working Ubuntu installation. My PC is not a brand new PC and it features a built-in intel graphics card. Currently I can only boot into the root console and hope, that there will be an update available that fixes the problems with the intel graphics cards. Up to now I did not find a work arround to get my Xorg running again. I don’t think it was a wise decision to let users update their systems and not make a warning or check before that there might be problems with the actual system peripherals… Your post does not address the frustration that users like me are experiencing…

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  • Kris Bloe

    I have had minor things happen after upgrading – nothing too bad or damaging, but this is what I would expect from an Open Source release.

    My question is to do with Lucid – how much new stuff will there be? Please can we make the main goal of Lucid to reduce the number of open bugs on Launchpad? The way I look at it, bug #1 is dependant of all other bugs; so the only way to get there is to lower this number.

  • Fr33d0m

    I too have an Intel graphics card, and it works fine. I in fact had three reinstalls before I realized that I was causing my own problems.

    Upgrades can cause issues, though I’ve never had this sort of problem with an Ubuntu upgrade. In fact I wonder if some who had Intel driver issues in Jaunty didn’t cause upgrade problems for themselves by following a how-to on fixing those issues. I did ultimately upgrade my driver, but I also did a clean install to 9.10.

  • anon

    With regards to Lucid, it looks like the devs already have that in mind, planning to sync with debian testing (rather than unstable), shortening the alpha period (when new features can be added), and lengthening the beta period (for bugfixing). You can read more at . These changes have me very excited for what should be an extremely compelling and stable release for Lucid.

  • anon

    I’d just like to add my 2 cents as well. I keep spare partitions on my main machines (~2yr old laptop w/intel chips,~5 yr old desktop with amd/via/nvidia combo) to run the testing versions of each new release so I can tell if it will work as needed upon upgrade. There were some issues with Intrepid, so I didn’t upgrade (though to be honest, I can’t remember what those were, webcam and vmware maybe?). With Jaunty, the functionality of okular and kile in the repos (and the remove of the kde3 packages) prevented me from upgrading (lots of LaTeX usage).

    Karmic, on the other hand, has pretty much been a joy. I upgraded from a fresh jaunty install on the laptop, and from the install on the desktop that was a Hardy->Intrepid->Jaunty upgrade. I upgraded each around Alpha5/6 of Karmic, and I had exactly zero problems with the upgrade. While I’m still waiting for a committed patch to make it into the repos to fix a minor nuisance with network-manager, and I had to track down and install libstdc++5 to allow a proprietary program to work (Mathematica 6), Karmic has been running smoothly and perfectly on both machines, and I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank the devs for all the work they put into their release.

  • Ian MacGregor

    I installed Karmic on release day. I’ve been using Ubuntu since 2005 and Linux since 2001 so I’m not an amateur at this. Despite my prowess, what I found with Karmic was that there were so many problems that I gave up and went back to Jaunty.

    I love Ubuntu and will stick with it despite the problems I found in Karmic, though I may not use each release. It reflects on the developers much better if a release has fewer problems for the end user.

    I feel that the Ubuntu developers should step back just before each release and ask themselves this question:

    If a Windows user installs this release in order to migrate to GNU/Linux, what would be their overall impression of GNU/Linux?

    You see, you are not simply Ubuntu developers, you are ambassadors of GNU/Linux. There is nothing wrong with slipping a release date if a new release isn’t quite as good as it needs to be. The rock-solid stability of Dapper was a perfect example of this.

    Developers must also take into account that not all users can afford to stop what they’re doing and submit bug reports. An operating system is something that many people depend on and should “just work”, some folks don’t have the time to help the developers fix problems. Perhaps a six-month release cycle is not quite enough time to ensure that a release is up to the job. Or, perhaps each new release should be treated as an LTS release.

    Overall I’d like to thank the Ubuntu developers for continuing to develop new releases and I hope that future releases will be scrutinized more closely before being sent into the wild.

  • J

    Hi Jono, the problem many are having is that this release breaks things that the last two did not. Yes we can work around it, but it does leave a little bit of a sour aftertaste. Ubuntu was almost perfect and nothing to wory about. Xubuntu was far better than I expected. What did you do with the KDE team? Do you honestly hate KDE that much! It comes without the main two reasons for this release (One and the store). Its repositories are broken and I am convinced no-one every tested it. KPackageKit trys to open packages that are the wrong version in the repositories and no-one has every tried it with the medibutu repository. The Beta was fine. The launch party I attended was excellent, but someone at Canonical must want to try KDE.

    Overall, it is wonderful. I do recommend it to everyone, but please chose to either support KDE properly or drop it altogether.

  • lancest

    I used the alternate cd to install 9.10 on my MSI Wind U90. Worked like a charm.

  • GregE

    One thing I learned a long time ago is not to upgrade. I have a separate /home partition and rename my home folder and then do a new install (not formatting /home) using the same username. Then drag and drop my data from the old folder. This avoids hassles with old config files not working properly with new versions of software. More labour intensive but in the end a more stable system.

    Secondly I am pissed off with updates muting my sound. This happens in Debian too. Every time there is any alsa or pulse update on restart sound settings are stuffed. This is truly annoying.

    My clean installs of karmic are all working well. I did try an update on my daughter’s desktop and it failed, clean install and it works very well. I had to find the workaround to make her FM radio card work with Gnomeradio (never an issue with all the previous versions installed).

  • Mr. Pink

    “Canonical’s version of Vista” is Kubuntu with KDE4. Everyone knows that. :)

  • George

    I was looking forward to updating from Ubuntu 9.04 to 9.10. When I did the upgrade, I had many of the problems others had:

    No working sound Unable to use the new kernel Broken network manager

    I was disappointed to say the least. Fortunately my home folder was on another partition. I wiped out everything but home and reinstalled from scratch. Now everything works. Although Firefox has an issue with Facebook, but I think it is pulling old information from my home folder.

    When I upgraded from 8.10 to 9.04, everything worked… very well. I expressed to many people how easy it was, how successful the upgrade went. Now, I can’t say that. Too many problems that the average PC user would not be able to fix easily.

    Maybe the release schedule should move to a 9 month release cycle. The extra 3 months could be used to refine the OS, work on “paper-cuts”, and clean up anything that might have slipped through.

    I still prefer Ubuntu, but I have to admit Windows 7 is not too shabby.

    Good luck with the next release of Ubuntu!

  • SilverWave

    Thanks for Karmic Love it :)

    For the commenter’s who criticize the 6 month cycle:

    The WHOLE point of Ubuntu is the six month release cycle – that is why we use it and why it is so popular. Large repositories of up to date packages all built to work against the latest Ubuntu release.

    Its a trade off, if you want to play it safe go LTS, if you want all the latest toys and up to date packages you pick the latest and greatest.

  • user

    quality matters more than being fast with new stuff

    concentrate on stability


    seemless install

    dont be the opensource microsoft

  • Kal

    This does not explain why you put the buggy Kdevelop beta5 in your release against the wishes of the Kdevelop project, and made Kdevelop look bad. Why refuse to put in a stable release of Kdevelop? Your blog post is complete crap.

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  • Erick Brunzell

    Very good article. I began using Ubuntu w/Gutsy and when Hardy rolled out I immediately upgraded, but after a few months of continual problems with pulse audio I was pondering reverting to Gutsy.

    Then a light bulb went on and I decided to try a multi-boot. I’ve been happily doing so ever since then. It takes all the risk out of the process. Karmic has been almost unusable for me, but I still have Jaunty installed and it’s been rock stable for me.

    It’s the best of both worlds, I can play with the bleeding edge stuff at my leisure, file bug reports, etc. and yet boot a reliable OS to get my work done. Data transfer is only a few mouse clicks and keystrokes away!

    For those with a tiny netbook drive they might consider doing the same with an inexpensive pen-drive. Learn, relax and enjoy!