If you’re familiar with this blog, you’re aware that I’ve reviewed Ubuntu before. I’ve decided to break the total Ubuntu 6 review in multiple parts to allow for detail and clarity.
These installs are documented in the order I remember them, not in a true chronological order.
#1 – I fired up my test bed platform with it’s version of Ubuntu 5 after being shelved for a while. After performing all the prompted updates it automatically integrated a feature on the update tool that allows you to initiate automatic upgrades to the latest version of Ubuntu. With a few checks of documentation, I started the upgrade.
My test bed (at that time) was a Compaq Presario with an AMD k6/450 mhz cpu and 184 meg of ram and 8 meg of that used as shared for video and 7200 rpm 40gb HD. Certainly NOT a speed demon.
The upgrade took many hours. I lost track being involved with many other things at the time, but think it was somewhere around 6 to 8 hours that it completed. Then there was the reboot, which took quite a long time with all the module changes, kernel over writes and package updates.
As soon as I booted up with the Ubuntu 6 that was downloaded, it prompted me to do more updates. Makes sense. Again with more updates and a few more hours of recycling and package building. I occasionally monitored the messages and saw strings of errors. Whether they were serious remained to be seen.
Eventually the desktop appeared in what I thought was the Ubuntu 6 desktop, although later learned a few things weren’t quite right. Comparing this desktop to a full install of Ubuntu 6 [upgrade vs cd install] I noticed the packages from Ubuntu 5 were still intact for the most part. However, the default toolbar at the top of the desktop in Ubuntu 6 has a little red icon all the way to the right for shutdown and it was missing on my install.
Overall, understanding the age of the test-bed, it went fairly well.
#2 – I also performed a load from scratch on another PC. 1 GB AMD Athlon with 256M Ram, 40 GB hard drive, 64 M PCI video card, and an atheros wifi card using the Ubuntu 6 latest install CD.
As expected, this went swimmingly fast in comparison. A couple hours to build from scratch on CD. The messages showed no errors and the desktop appeared very sweet and smooth. I installed a nic card and the update process went very smoothly with all packages. Still no errors. I had enough horse power left over to easily search the http://www.Ubuntulinux.com documentation for advice on Wifi while the updates were loading.
Documentation steered me to a wonderful tool called Wifi Manager. I am using an atheros wifi card which is already integrated with the kernel level I have. Wifi manager made it very sweet to configure and utilize. Some awkwardness with this is the prompting for a password for a Gnome Key…. I didn’t want to fool with it, but on the surface there didn’t appear to be any way around it.
Once I got it installed and configured for my wifi network (802.11g with WPA TKIP) everything connected easily. While connecting a nice little icon shows up with two spots and graphic that moves between them as the card talks to the network. The spots turn green as the authentication process moves forward. Once the connection is successful, the icon is replaced with color coded bars to indicate strength of the signal.
This definitely beats having to play the entire manual configuration game I’ve had to perform in the past.
# 3 – Install to the test bed again from scratch with Ubuntu 6 install CD. (The very same test bed used in #1 above with 384 M ram and a 5400rpm 20gb HD.) In summary this install was much smoother and the desktop appeared correct and true to the default as designed. However, the install took a little less time since I didn’t have to perform the upgrade from scratch. I was still prompted through updates after the initial reboot.
#4 – Identical to the system used in #2, only loaded from scratch with Ubuntu 5, then upgraded to version 6 and then updated through the default tools. I received multiple errors in the install process.
The why and wherefore were ignored. I ran across the desktop default discrepancy previously mentioned in install #1. There also seemed to be package problems, synaptic package and update packages challenges.
I did get it to the point of loading the wifi manager and making connections. However, the continued errors caused me frustrations so I gave up, wiped the drive and moved on to install #2.
Overall the installs went pretty well. Especially with the install from CD’s.
In upgrading, it appears that residual links, packages or something creates discrepancies that may cause as much frustration as I ran into.
If you have a choice, I would recommend installing from scratch with the Ubuntu install CD rather than upgrades, especially on older systems.
When upgrading between levels in this case or with any OS, I would ensure you back up your data (which all good techies should do periodically anyway) prior to committing your system.