From Dapper to Edgy

I upgraded my Dell 8600 laptop from Dapper to Edgy tonight. I waited a bit because I've heard a lot of problem reports, and as a developer, I tend to trick out my machine config, and tricked out machine configs are usually especially vulnerable to upgrade problems. I do want to take a moment to mention that people who label any complaint about the upgrade process as F.U.D. are quite out of order. Your upgrade might have gone smoothly, but that does not invalidate warnings fro folks whose upgrades didn't. These people are doing a valuable service by making users cautious about any upgrade. That having been said, my own upgrade has been very smooth so far. Herein a few notes others might find useful.

I prepped the install by following the suggestion on this SlashDot thread. I ran a query for packages no longer available from any of my repositories:

apt-show-versions | awk '/No available/ { print $1 }'

Then after inspecting the results and not finding anything I was desperate to keep, I nuked them all:

apt-show-versions | awk '/No available/ { print $1 }' | sudo xargs dpkg --remove

I did have to install the apt-show-versions command first. Then I just followed the official upgrade instructions. The first attempt aborted with

Error during update...A problem occurred during the update. This is usually some sort of network problem, please check your network connection and retry.

It turned out that I had stuff in /etc/apt/sources.list that has become unavailable (stuff from Penguin Liberation Front and Cipherfunk). I just edited the file and uncommented the problem lines, but I think they need to fix how the installer handles this situation. A newbie might indeed think he has a problem with his network, and go on a wild goose chase. The error message should at least mention the possibility that certain remote repositories are having trouble, and maybe even offer to disable the problem repositories for the user. As for the PLF stuff the instructions suggest touching up the sources line to:

deb edgy-plf free non-free

My first impression of the new version is that it looks even nicer than Dapper. I'm deciding whether I like the aggressive anti-aliasing in gnome-terminal. I don't mind AA in general, but something about a terminal or programming editor makes me prefer sharpness over slickness. The new fonts are definitely slick in Firefox.

I'm yet to upgrade all the multimedia/non-free stuff. I let the upgrade nuke all that (something I highly recommend). I used to use Automatix (check that slick new Web site), but these days the restricted formats Wiki is good enough for me not to need any magic tools.

Based on my positive experience (so far), I'll upgrade my main desktop tomorrow. Thanks, as always, to the Ubuntu folks.

[Uche Ogbuji]

via Copia