Kubuntu unhappiness

I upgraded my system to Kubuntu 5.10 Breezy the other day and it didn't go as smoothly as I might have hoped. For one thing, the geniuses running the Kubuntu project gave really crappy instructions on upgrading. The directions basically said to edit your sources.list and run apt-get update followed by apt-get upgrade. This is all well and good, but for those of us who aren't really that familiar with Debian, they didn't bother to describe what to change in the sources.list file. They did, however, give explicit instructions on how to open it in a text editor as root. As if there are a lot of people out there who can't manage to that part, but know by heart what lines need to be changed. Anyway, to make a long story short, I did a s/hoary/breezy/g and that appears to have done the trick.

Once I got my sources.list edited, though, it still took me half a dozen tries to get the upgrade completed. The installation bombed out at various points, apt gave me errors, and so forth. This is probably largely due to the fact that I didn't really know what I was doing, which was in part due to the fact that there were no decent instructions for upgrading. I did eventually get all the extra lines commented out of my sources.list and get everything upgraded, but it was a much, much bigger pain than I had expected.

The pain was not over yet, though. It turns out that the upgrade broke several of the programs that I use on a daily basis. First, ivman, while still installed, no longer works due to a version change in HAL. I guess I'll just have to recompile that. Opera and kpager2, however, where removed during the upgrade due to dependency issues. Opera wasn't a big deal to install - they even have a proper dynamically linked Breezy package now (although Konqueror insisted on treating the download as a plain text file). Kpager2, on the other hand, I needed to recompile. This turned out to be harder than anticipated, as the default compiler for Breezy seems to be GCC 4.0, and it refused to build kpager2. It didn't even get through the first file. So I had to revert to building with GCC 3.3, which was still installed, and managed to get it working.

The most perplexing problem was the sudden breakage of the KDE menu editor. I was able to open it and modify my menu, but none of my changes where sticking, i.e. when I closed the editor, the menu was exactly the same as before I changed it. Well, I searched the Ubuntu forums and found the answer in this thread. Apparently the ownership of my /var/tmp/kdecache-<username>/ksycoca file got set to root.root somehow and that's what was causing the problem. So now everything is more or less back to normal.

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Comments #

    You seem like a pretty capable debian dude...

    Are you running special repo's for APT? Or are you using the run of the mill entries?
    How much are you running which has been compiled from scratch?

    I've also experienced a bit of pain with Breezy, particularly with some changes to 2.6.12, their insistence upon compiling the kernel with gcc-3.4 and only including gcc-4.0, and a minor Kontact bug which slows down my email filing process.

    The 2.6.12 and gcc issues caused VMware to break, requiring a patch and an explicit setting of CC=/usr/bin/gcc-3.4
    2.6.12 also causes some pain with the Cisco VPN client (not included in distro) and the Atheros wifi a/b/g card I like. Whenever the wifi card loses signal, the machine completely freezes.

    Well, I got the VMware patch applied and stuff compiled and working fine, and I downgraded to an older Cisco 350 wifi 11b card and I no longer freeze up. Now things seem good... but I'm still cautious about upgrading using the method you mention. Some of the benefits of new versions are improved default configurations (which are often skipped in an upgrade). I also find that fresh installs give me warm fuzzies and teach me about the state of the distro (which is important when deciding whether to recommend it to several demographics).

    Good luck!

    I'm glad somebody thinks so...

    Well, that's the thing: I don't really konw which are repositories are the safe ones. I pretty much just copied what was in the Kubuntu FAQ and hoped everything went well. I guess it worked, since I no longer have any problems that I didn't have before the upgrade.

    As for programs built from source, not having to do that was half the reason I switched to Kubuntu. So far, it's worked - I can count the number of programs I've had to compile on my fingers. And I've converted all of those in to .DEBs for easy removal/upgrade.

    As for the "fresh install" upgrade method, I did that for my first couple of years with Slackware. After that, I realized that upgrading was pretty safe and that spending half a week redoing all my changes to the default configuration was a collosal waste of time. And to be honest, I really don't enjoy the system installation and configuration process. Yeah, I can do it without any major problems, but I'd rather be coding. So my attitude is, why start again from scratch when I have a configured system that I can just upgrade?

    Fair enough

    Hey Peter,

    There are always incremental things which get fixed or broken worse. In my case, Breezy solved some Kontact issues with IMAP storage of stuff. It also broke the VMware config process. It looks cool, and all that jazz.

    I moved to Kubuntu for much the same reason, availability of packages and freedom... and I had to try this new Debian approach, having spent my entire Linux-lifespan in RPM-hell.

    And that, I guess, is my reason for not doing the "in-place" upgrades. I just don't trust it enough yet. Years of Winders and RPM-based distros taught me to have warm fuzzies over fresh installs. Also, my role as evangelist and support person leads me to desire understanding of what a new install is going to look like. Add to that my predisposition to installing the beta versions prior to release, and you'll see why I install fresh. Perhaps this next go 'round I'll try doing the in-place upgrade.

    Have fun.

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