A little too Intrepid for me

I recently upgraded, for want of a better word, my Lenovo Y510, running Ubuntu Hardy to Intrepid, and, as you’ll see later, also Kubuntu Intrepid 8.10.

I’ve been running Ubuntu since around Feisty. I switched from Kubuntu, which I was running before that, around that time as I realised that Kubuntu was lagging far behind Ubuntu, and wanted to see what I was missing out on, as well as have a bit more stability on my work machine.

Every release of Kubuntu/Ubuntu, bar one, has been a mixed experience. Two (or three) steps forward, but one step back, an annoying regression. The exception, surprisingly, was the switch from Dapper to Edgy, which for me went fantastically.

Every release since then has been subject to annoying regressions, and sadly Intrepid is no exception.

I got the CD’s at the well-attended Cape Town launch party, complete with security guards showing the cars in. Some of the hordes may have been attending the party on the field next door, but most, I’m sure, were trying to get their copy of Intrepid.

The first sign was the person burning the CD’s unable to burn any CD’s on his copy of Intrepid. He had to switch back to be able to supply the impatient crowds.

The day I installed started equally well with me typing rm -rf * from my home folder, instead of tarring it up to back it up. Another sign…

After I installed Ubuntu Intrepid, I noticed a minor flaw. My trusty old, unbreakable wired internet wasn’t working. Sadly I only have one PC at home right now, and left disconnected without Google I couldn’t do much to fix it. After rebooting with the Hardy Live CD, reading a solution or two from one of the numerous networkmanager bugs, rebooting into Ubuntu, failing to fix the problem, and repeating a few times lost its novelty, I decided, while writing off the evening, to install Kubuntu Intrepid. I only have the alternate CD, so haven’t had a chance to preview it with the live CD. Nor have I checked out KDE 4.1 yet.

In between all the restarting, I did notice another issue with Ubuntu Intrepid. The brightness keys, which are reversed in Hardy, seemed at first to work the right way round. However, if you keep pressing them, they first make the screen brighter, and then dimmer, and vice-versa. I’m not sure whether this is an improvement or not?

So, over to Kubuntu. While installing, the connection to the internet was working, and I admit to getting hopeful.

Unsurprisingly though, after rebooting, the same problem occurred with Kubuntu, and I just couldn’t connect. I did manage to get a quick look at KDE 4.1, though I’m not going to make a snap judgement after such a short time. The interface is very different to KDE 3, and of course GNOME, which I found appealing in itself. I’ve generally preferred KDE in the past, and some of the KDE apps, so I would prefer ideally to go back to Kubuntu one day, after switching to Ubuntu 3 or 4 releases ago.

The interface intrigued me, and I would like to explore it more.

Kubuntu Intrepid would be an odd choice as a desktop, and I can’t see it being popular. The rock solid, conservative choice of Open Office 2.4, complete with the cutting-edge crash-prone KDE 4.1. Yes, sadly I was reminded of a Windows 98 machine after three Microsoft updates. It crashed numerous times while I was exploring – and thanks to no connectivity I couldn’t even file a bug report (or three).

It’s also noticeable slower than Ubuntu, something I was quite surprised about. In the past, I’d found KDE (around Edgy or Dapper) slightly more responsive than GNOME. Ubuntu Intrepid is fast, and boots extremely quickly, a noticeable improvement.

I think I could like KDE, it does look more appealing to my eye, but until it stabilises, it’s not going to be usable for my purposes. Interestingly, the bright/dim worked correctly and perfectly in Kubuntu. I can’t say what happened in Kubuntu Hardy, as I never tried Kubuntu then.

Just for good measure, when not crashing, the mouse stopped working at some point (and the next time it was fine).

I certainly won’t be trying Intrepid on the office machines just yet, as the Hardy installation was extremely painful, and, although the machines all worked smoothly with earlier versions, the old wrecks we use required some serious xorg.conf hacking to get them working. I don’t want to repeat the process with the Intrepid Xorg improvements, although perhaps, as desired, it would actually be easier.

So, back to Hardy (Ubuntu) for my home machine, tail between my legs.

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  1. I had some troubles upgrading to Intrepid, initially with the mirrors, and the gnome source manager not running (edit sources.list instead). Afterwards its just having to reinstall the nvidia drivers, and deal with a few bugs like alt-shift-tab not working in compiz.

    I’m running some KDE apps (educational ones like parley and the physics simulator), and yes – both of them have crashed, with the well-known KDE crash dialog, when I was clicking around to see what the controls did, that can’t possibly be related to running under gnome. One has to wonder.

  2. I upgraded to Intrepid with no issues. In fact, on a practical level there is no noticeable difference, except for better support for 3G internet.
    Everything works fine – wireless (and it has remembered all the wireless keys from the coffee shops I go to), sound, video, webcam etc.
    It is probably fair to say I am a bit underwhelmed, but all things considered I am finding it an excellent operating system, and ideal for some one like me who doesn’t know too much about the technical details.

  3. I’m actually finding Intrepid to be unstable. The updates have made Nautilus crash prone. I can no longer access my Places Home folder via the GUI. Why is Bonobo crashing my apps? Feisty was never this bad.
    gOS is way more stable than Ubuntu at this moment. I’m going back to that flavor. Right now Intrepid is a failure, way more than 1 step backward this time.

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