Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Ubuntu Messiness

For a while now I have been running Ubuntu on most of the equipment that I could. With the recent hard drive failure of my media server, and motherboard failure of Bec’s laptop, I have been down to just one desktop PC running Ubuntu.

And with me in Canberra, that one PC had gotten a fair bit out of date – I think it was running 11.10 (released October 2011) and getting annoying “your version is obsolete” messages for some time now.

So today I tried to update it. I tried from the GUI. I tried from the Command Line. Both attempts failed. I downloaded the software to a USB stick and installed it. I found that while I still had everybodys home folders, I had lost all the user accounts, so I had to recreate the user accounts, then modify them to match the user ID numbers which had access to the home folders.

Keeping the passsword file should be a pretty easy thing to script.

Manually fixing things when the password file had not been kept was harder than it should have been.

Working now; but not too happy about it.


3 responses to “Ubuntu Messiness

  1. Jeremy December 30, 2012 at 12:31 am

    It would have been good to find out why the 11.10 → 12.04 upgrade failed. Often use of third-party repositories can contribute to this, as can modifying other things. (I myself backported packages from newer versions and modified my /etc/apt/preferences file. I forgot I’d done this, and resulted in the upgrades failing.)

    In my opinion, Ubuntu dist-upgrades are way more painful than they should be. We have a non-technical friend who has run Ubuntu since 7.10 after they had way too many Windows problems. Every single dist-upgrade they have done (by themselves, after having been prompted by the update manager) has resulted in an unbootable system requiring me to recover it. Many of the issues they had were errors with not even one hit on Google.

    By and large the quality and amount of systems engineering that has gone into Ubuntu is very lacking compared to that which goes into Windows or Mac OS X, both of which upgrade very reliably. And I say this as a Linux systems administrator who has used (and upgraded) every Ubuntu release since 4.10.

    They really need to pick up their game in my book.

    • Westie December 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      This is in fact abut of a messy build – wubi followed by dual boot which is still in place in case I need to get back to last years tax return.
      I don’t know how much faith I have in Optus’ mirrors.

      My biggest surprise was not the failed update – it was the failure of the upgrade from USB to retain the passwd file.

  2. Pingback: Quantal Quetzal Queerness « ImaWestie

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