Upgrading Ubuntu

In a fit of lunacy, I upgraded my trusty laptop from Ubuntu 6.10 to Ubuntu 7.04 today. That’s a whole….uhhh 0.94 of a version. Woo! I wonder where the other 0.06 went.

But anyway.

I wouldn’t call it an upgrade at all, more of a sidegrade. Not a lot has changed between versions, but what has is an improvement. It starts a little faster, supports my hardware a little better (my fan turns off! Yay!), and the fonts are definitely clearer on screen. That’s not so say any of this was anything less than great to start with, but things seem just a little tighter than before. It’s hard to explain.

Of course, a few things needed adjusting after the upgrade. One re-compilation of the openchrome graphic drivers, and I’ve got lovely 3D magic working, and I’ve still got to use ndiswrapper to get my bcm43xx powered wifi working. That’s just two things out of a whole mess o’ laptop hardware though, and an easy fix in both cases. Nice.

As to the specifics, there’s the latest version of Open Office, which is significantly faster than before. There’s kernel 2.6.20, which accounts for the improved hardware support, and the latest version of X11. I’m disappointed that Unichrome is so poorly supported, but that’s thanks to the hardware maker’s couldn’t-care-less attitude; the openchrome alternatives are pretty good, and a testament to the skills of reverse engineering. Ubuntu also saw the light with this release and made it dead easy to listen to mp3s, watch movies and the like. I’m already there, but this will doubtless be a big boon for a clean install.

I’m still checking things out, and it all seems to be just fine. Even with my heavily customized Ubuntu installation, the upgrade went without a hitch, and nothing disappeared in the process. My most important software – perl, apache, opera, vim, ruby, gcc, mysql – survived perfectly, and I just needed to adjust apache2.conf to my liking after the upgrade is done. Nice.

An upgrade like this where you’re shifting from a well-used and hacked system is a great stress-test of the OS, and it’s passed with flying colours. I’ve no doubt a clean install of Ubuntu 7.04 will be the best Linux yet for new and experienced Linux users alike.

Which is good.

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