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Upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

After waiting for just over a week to allow others to discover if there were any major issues upgrading from 7.10 to 8.04, I finally bit the bullet Tuesday afternoon and decided to upgrade my system to Hardy Heron. This was my first distribution upgrade since moving to Ubuntu last fall, so I will admit that I was a bit nervous as to how it would go.

I decided to upgrade by downloading a alternate install disk as I could download it via bittorrent and not add extra load to the distribution package servers for the standard packages. As it turns out, the package servers apparently aren't overloaded any more so this step really wasn't needed. However, I now have a CD I can use to install 8.04 on other systems, so the extra effort wasn't a total waste.

I popped the alternate install CD into a drive and my Ubuntu 7.10 autostarted it, noticed it was a distribution upgrade and asked me if I wanted to upgrade my system. Since that's what I wanted to do, I told it to proceed. It did a bunch of housekeeping things, then asked me if I wanted to download updates to software not on the CD from the package libraries as part of the upgrade. I said yes and it told me over 700 megs would be downloaded. (I guess I've installed a lot of optional stuff in six months.) It then started to download 700+ megs of updated packages. Even with my fast cable connection, this was going to take about 30-40 minutes, so I let it do its thing when I went off and did some non-computer work.

I came back with to only a couple of minutes of downloading left. I sat there and watched it finish downloading and start actually replacing old packages with the new upgraded ones. This looked like it was going to take about 30 minutes so I walked away again. This turned out to be a bad idea as I came back 20 minutes later to discover that it had paused at about 10% completed to ask me if I wanted to replace some config file or keep the old one. Sigh. I had no idea which would be better, so I accepted the default. Upgrading restarted.

I decided to sit at the computer and read a book instead of wandering off again. Good thing I did as there were two or three more pauses for my decision on whether or not to replace a configuration file. I just accepted the default answer each time. Installing the upgrades finally finshed. The installer then did a cleanup and offered to uninstall a list of no longer needed packages. I scanned through the list, did not see anything that looked critical to the system actually running and said yes. A few minutes later the system booted into 8.04 with no problems.

I re-enabled some of my third party respositories (after changing the distrubtion in each one from gutsy to hardy). Synaptic updated its package lists and told me there were some new updates (from those repositories). I installed them and reran the Virtualbox setup program so Virtualbox's kernel driver could be recompiled for the new version of the linux kernel that comes with 8.04. (Typing this one command was the only thing I did from the command line during the entire distribution upgrade, BTW). Then I rebooted the system.

After the reboot everything seemed to work fine. I'll have to tone down the Compiz special effects over the next few days, but they are much faster in 8.04 so even the more silly ones (like the animated window opens and closes) aren't that annoying. Windows XP still runs fine in Virtualbox, I can still print to the Windows printer on my wife's machine, connect to the Net, etc. In fact, my only real complaint about Ubuntu 8.04 so far is that it installed Firefox 3 beta 5 -- and about 50% of my Firefox extensions (including two I really use a lot) have not yet been updated for Firefox 3.

The upgrade was a much more smooth process than I expected it to be. My only complaint about the process is those questions about keeping or replacing various config files. Some warning that the upgrade process might come to a halt with such questions would have saved me 15 or 20 minutes of time. It would also be nice if some advice on what is best to do for the config file it is asking about in the dialog box would have been very helpful.

One very nice thing about Ubuntu 8.04 for people using Windows is Wubi: a method for installin Ubuntu 8.04 to a large file on your hard drive. This means that it is possible to create a dual boot system from a computer with Windows installed without having to repartition the drive. Better yet, you can remove a Wubi-installed Ubuntu 8.04 from the Windows Add-Remove Programs system. While is is not a great method for installing Ubuntu for permanent usage as your main OS, it is a great way to install Ubuntu to learn about it.

Get Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/

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Blog | by Dr. Radut