How I Cut Myself on Edgy Eft’s Bleeding Edge (Twice)

As a loyal Ubuntu user, I was excited when Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft was released last week. I downloaded my ISO via BitTorrent to have available for any new installs, but planned on upgrading my laptop and desktop machines via these four commands at the terminal:

sed -i 's/dapper/edgy/g'/etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade

After getting the list of packages to upgrade, I found that a few packages, most notably Beagle, Drivel, Tomboy Notes, and a few Python packages, were held back, blocking my upgrade. I knew that the apps were included in the new release, so I figured maybe they needed to be removed because they weren't in the main repository or some such. Given that, I uninstalled them and re-ran the upgrade commands. The upgrade ran fairly smoothly for several hours as it downloaded hundreds of megabytes of files. While the upgrade was running in the background, I continued to work on my system. The first thing I noticed was some cosmetic changes. The Kate editor had a new splash screen, which I noticed when I used it to edit some files. Thunderbird had a new default font, as did some system menues. After switching to a blank desktop, I realized that the background and default theme had been updated. I thought all of these were pretty cool, as they happened transparently while I was working without so much as a hiccup.

When the upgrade was complete, I was prompted to reboot. I happily rebooted the system.

That's when it got ugly.

Somehow, despite Dapper and Edgy being able to recognize my display and configure it properly (Dapper when booting from CD or the drive, Edgy when booting from the CD), it choked when trying to launch X11. I looked over the diagnostic info in the log, but after a few failed attempts to edit the xorg.conf file to a state of happiness, I decided to back up my home directory and do a clean install of Edgy from CD.

In addition to my ext3 and swap partitions, I have an NTFS and FAT32 partition on this machine. I backed up my home directory to the FAT32 partition, then booted from the Edgy CD and selected the options to install over the now-corrupted Dapper to Edgy upgrade. The clean installation went fairly quickly, but I was not able to find the copy of my home directory that I had backed up!

I booted into Windows and couldn't find the files there either. I ran CHKDSK on the FAT32 partition, which found and corrected errors, but didn't find my files. Deciding that there wasn't anything critical there (well, hoping so, anyway) I booted back into Edgy to see what was new with this release.

That's when I got my next surprise. Suddenly it would not mount my FAT32 or NTFS partitions. The partitions simply did not show up. At this point I was getting concerned that I was having hardware problems, so I ran SpinRite on the drive. It found no problems, but my data didn't come back either. Satisfied that the drive was okay, I booted into Edgy again.

This time, after seeing the Ubuntu splash screen momentarily, the whole display went black, except for a blinking cursor in the upper left corner of the screen. I waited for a couple of minutes, and after no disk activity and no login prompt, cold-booted the system. The same thing happened again. Not sure exactly where the machine was in the boot process when it hung, I pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del to see what happened. To my surprise, the Gnome login prompt popped up!

Deciding that this was simply too much weirdness for now, I pulled my 6.06 LTS CD off the shelf, booted from it, and kissed Edgy goodbye for now, as I put Dapper back on my laptop. I'm a little disappointed, because some of the enhancements I saw during the brief time I was in Edgy looked nice, but stability is the main reason I wanted to run Linux in the first place, and I decided Dapper's pretty stable, so I'm going back to Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Dapper Drake for now, at least on my laptop. I'll write again shortly with an update of how the upgrade went on my two desktops at the office.


My X11 configuration was also trashed on my Dell Dimension 2400 after attempting an in-place upgrade over my previous Dapper installation. Beware!