Gee That Didn’t Work Out Very Well…

…But it was easy, even for this technophobe.

As you know I always keep “running home” to Xubuntu when things get squirrelly on other distros and the first few attempts to fix it fail. It’s not because I’m lazy and immature, but because I’m practical and busy with other stuff. Now a true Linux distro-hopper is always looking for something “better” (a relative and subjective term – better for me, better on my hardware, etc), but almost every distro-hopper has a default; a “safe-place” to run home to. My safe place is Xubuntu. Because:

  • Xubu has always been almost entirely trouble-free for me since I first discovered it.
  • Xubu still runs awesomely on my aging, modest hardware in spite of the fact that it’s no longer intended for older hardware.
  • Xubu has an awesome support community, arguable the best and most cordial of support forums for any operating system.
  • Xubu is a community-developed distro. Ideas are received, debated, tested, and implemented if they work well.
  • Xubu is good for technophobic users and much less “bloated” than most of the other “user friendly” desktop distros I have tested.

So it’s no wonder I want to help in it’s development, right? Yes, even a technically challenged scardycat like me can help in some small ways to develop his or her favorite Linux distro! Not just by writing enthusiastically about it like I would do anyway here on my blog, but also with testing when I’m feeling brave and have a little time on my hands. So yesterday I was feeling brave again.

Following a complete backup and update, I volunteered to test the upgrade path from one LTS version to the next. The current LTS version is 12.04, “Precise.” I tested the upgrade process to the upcoming 14.04 LTS release, “Trusty.” My interest in this is personal and practical, since my old relic hardware doesn’t have a DVD burner and the new Xubuntu iso images won’t fit on a CD anymore. I ordinarily upgrade with a fresh new installation rather than upgrading an existing system. I still recommend that, and I think most Linux users who don’t run “rolling release” distros do as well.

Running the command

update-manager -d -c

after fully updating my system opened the Update Manager, which now offered the upgrade to 14.04! Upgrading would be as easy as clicking on the Upgrade button, right? That would be awesome.

A new window opened to explain that many packages would be removed and new ones installed, and how much disk space would be required. I clicked “Yeah let’s do this!” (not treally, I think it was just an “OK” button) and off it went, fetching 700+ new packages from the Internet. The entire download took less than 7 minutes on my Cox Internet connection. And then:

After downloading the packages it got stuck on installation, “configuring apt.” I let it go for hours just to see if it would unlock itself and get going, but it was just frozen solid. And on top of that, everything else was frozen too. Rawr. So I tried a “hard reboot” (pressing and holding the Power button to turn off the computer, then restarting). It failed to bring up anything beyond the splash screen. The dreaded “partial upgrade” nightmare scenario. Pft. Heck with that. I simply reinstalled and updated 12.04 with no trouble at all. Then did my usual little tweaks like setting swappiness to 5 (I’ve only got a half-gig of RAM) and enabling cntrl-alt-backspace, uninstalling the Software Center and putting Synaptic Package Manager in it’s place, etc. My unformatted /home partition was fully intact, none the worse for the dreaded “partial upgrade.” All that took about 40 minutes from start to finish.

Still feeling brave, and finding that the weather applet still didn’t work, I installed screenlets (in place of the gdesklets I had used before) from Synaptic. Guess what?! It has a weather applet! It actually offered three different ones! I picked the prettiest one and added a clock, a calendar, and a wicked-cool looking CPU and RAM usage monitor for the desktop. It looks awesome on my green graphic wallpaper. I’m using the High-Contrast icon set in the lower panel:

Ain’t it gorgeous!? Best ever. EVVVERRRRRR. Now I don’t want to change anything! Maybe I’ll just leave this alone until Precise reaches the end of it’s support life (April, 2015!). Unless I get to feeling brave again…

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