UbuntuUpgradeInProgress: Laptop chicanery

I’m in the middle of upgrading Ubuntu on my laptop from Dapper Drake 6.06 to Edgy Edge 6.10. This is a risky move, as Dapper is rock-solid stable, but Edgy is much more cutting-edge (hence the name). I’ve held back a few months to make sure that the worst of the bugs have been squashed, and taken the plunge.

I wanted up upgrade for several reasons:

  • See if the new drivers for the wireless card means I don’t need to use ndiswrapper any more
  • New via driver in X11, so hopefully the 3d acceleration will be faster
  • New version of GNOME which is apparently much more memory efficient
  • The new version comes with Firefox 2.0 as standard, which is nice
  • Upgrading is fun :D

Alongside that, there’s new versions of all major applications too which is always entertaining.

The upgrade itself went through ok with only one hiccough. A whole raft of important low-level applications failed to install (hal, avahi, evms, udev – all the stuff which manages memory and hardware, basically) all because of a single missing directory.

A quick

 mkdir /lib/modules/2.6.18/
 apt-get install -f

from a root prompt fixed that though, and all that remained was to check the bootloader script at /boot/grub/menu.lst was configured correctly (it was) then run

 grub-install /dev/sda

This set up the bootloader to work with the new 2.6.17-10 kernel, and all was good.

With fingers crossed I rebooted – and it worked!

Wireless works fine straight out of the box without a need for ndiswrapper to use the firmware from the Windows drivers, which is excellent news. The whole boot process is a little faster too, and GNOME is certainly nippier than before. It barely makes entry into top whether sorted by memory or CPU, which is downright amazing.

I’m using the default vesa driver right now, which is good but not 3d accelerated. I’ll fiddle with the via driver later today. In fact, that’s pretty much all I need to do following the upgrade. Sound works, wifi is better than before, the boot process is good, apache amd mysql are behaving themselves and all the applications are working just perfectly.

Over the next few days I’ll be stress-testing the system to see what breaks and what doesn’t. I’ll be grabbing new apps from the package list, checking the CD writer and mp3 rippers behave and putting GIMP through it’s paces.

In other words, I’ll be using the laptop exactly as I normally do :D

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