…is, without a doubt, the worse Ubuntu release I have ever used (understanding, of course, that the first release I used was 6.06 or so, and that on on an older machine; prior to that I was 100% Gentoo). Not having anything better to publish yet, but a lot on the burner, so stay tuned!, I figured I’d rant a minute.
I run Ubuntu, primarily, on my Compaq Presario F700 laptop. I had everything working that I tried under Ubuntu 8.04. Wireless (thanks to my old friend ndiswrapper), accelerated video (how I love nvidia), the whole shebang. All I hadn’t tried was the modem (why are there still modems on laptops, anyway? I can’t remember the last time I used one) and the xD/MMC/SD card reader. I swore I wouldn’t upgrade. Everything was working and working well. Then I got curious. Kubuntu even defaulted to 4.1, which I had heard so many good things about after the dreadful (or, perhaps, it would be more fair to say incomplete) 4.0 release. So, I dist-upgraded my system–then the world fell apart before my eyes. Suspending and hibernation broke on the spot, wireless followed, and before I knew it, I had broken the nvidia binary driver. I reinstalled. Shortly, I had nvidia back. It took some hassling, but eventually I got wireless back. But suspending and hibernation were broken. After more tinkering I have hibernation, but no suspend.
After trying to deal with it for a bit, I have decided that I don’t want to deal with it. I am downgrading to 8.04 and will roll on with life. Here is hoping that 9.04 is a better release than 8.10. More up to date software has been touted as the advantage of using Ubuntu over Debian. It is, in fact, an advantage–but it is also a pretty big disadvantage. Frankly, I would rather see one awesome Ubuntu release a year than having to retinker my laptop every six months. I am glad to see, though, that 8.10 finally uses the restricted drivers automatically, allowing the user to revert to a free-software only system if they want to. It makes getting up and running easier (I know that the first thing I do on my laptop is to enable restricted drivers) and it fits the needs of a much greater percentage of the users or potential users of Ubuntu.
Postscript: My downgrade is more or less complete and everything works beautifully again.