Linux Upgrade: Kubuntu Hoary to Breezy

It seems the kernel update that was published a week or so ago by the fine folks at Kubuntu left my system in an awful state! Much poking, prodding, and configuring couldn't get things back to their rock-solid state. So I bit the bullet and went up to the next stable release "Breezy" and this is my experience. Firstly, let's give this blog entry some context. My system is an AMD64 machine running the 64bit Kubuntu. I'm a KDE die-hard...it's one of my few vices :P Anyway, here's my machines specs:

  • CPU AMD64 3000+ (2000MHz)
  • Motherboard Asus K8VSE Deluxe
  • RAM 1GB (2x512) Coarsair something in dual-channel
  • Video Winfast A360 - nVidia FX5700 with 256MB VRAM
  • Hard Drive Western Digital 200GB SATA on the VIA controller (/dev/sda)
  • Optical Storage Samsung CDRW/DVD-ROM combo drive on primary ATA (/dev/hda)

The update was kicked off around 7pm on Saturday night. This began with a simple edit of the /etc/apt/sources.list file and replacing every "hoary" with "breezy". I was lazy and used "mcedit" for that job, but I could've used vi, or even sed.

With the sources list update I rebooted into "recovery mode" which is Kubuntu's single user mode with a root shell. At this point the real waiting began. I issued an "apt-get update" to get the new package lists, then an "apt-get -u dist-upgrade". Screenfuls of packages scrolled off and I was given the summary that over 570 packages would be updated, 200-odd will be installed and 37 removed. This would require a 788MB download and when the install was complete, about 500KB extra space consumed. So I said "Yes" and went to bed about 2 hours later with stuff still coming down the wire.

This morning I checked on the progress and noticed it was stopped on a screen asking which word list I wanted by default. Promising sign - looks like everything downloaded :) So I answered the questions and the upgrade progressed.

Time for a coffee. With the caffeine hit out of the way, I went back and checked on progress (I drink quickly, and the espresso machine in the kitchen makes coffee fast too). Hmm, it's barfed on a kdevelop3-data package because it's trying to overwrite a file that belongs to kdevelop3. Oh well, time to break out the big stick:

  1. dpkg -i --force-overwrite /var/cache/apt/[package]
  2. apt-get -f install

Unfortunately, there were two other packages requiring this sort of love and attention too: kdevelop3_4 and knemo. But after going through the 2 steps above for them and waiting for the second step to complete, I could finish the upgrade with "apt-get -u dist-upgrade" and all was well.

At the end of the upgrade I did one last "apt-get update && apt-get -u dist-upgrade" and noticed there was nothing to upgrade or install BUT there was one package "kept back": libtunepimp-bin. So I simply, removed it, then did a cache search to find what has become of it. Then found the new package "libtunepimp-bin" which I installed manually. Voila. Even though the package has the same name, it actually installs the new version - probably why it was kept back.

My system uses the nVidia binary driver for the video card and I choose to use the nVdidia installer, rather than the Kubuntu package. This way I'm always up to date :) The drawback is, that nearly every time there's a kernel update, my xorg breaks and I need to recompile a new kernel module for the nVidia driver. I can live with that. So after the upgrade, I rebooted into recovery mode again to recompile the nVidia driver.

This was a little odd. I ran the installer (like I'd done dozens of times before) so didn't pay that much attention to the messages; just go through the "accept, yes, uh-huh, ok, just-compile-it-already, fine, you-done-yet?!" routine. But it bombed. Seems the kernel is compiled with gcc-3.3 but the default compiler in Breezy is gcc-4.0. The installer doesn't like this (and rightly so). So I had to set the "CC" environment variable:

CC=/usr/bin/gcc-3.3 ; export CC

Then re-run the installer. All was well and the driver installed without a hitch. Reboot for real this time and see what the system does :)

The first thing I noticed was the hdparm (Setting drive options IIRC) in the boot sequence seems to happen before my IDE drivers are loaded so it complains it can't find /dev/hda. I'll move it later in the boot sequence - no biggie.

The rest of the boot went fine. The new KDM login screen is VERY slick. Once logged in as my normal user account, my entire session was reloaded, exactly as I had left yesterday and I began exploring :) My first impressions of Breezy are:

  • KDE 3.4.3 is noticably faster than 3.4.0
  • The eye-candy is sweet
  • Kontact loads faster (much faster)
  • Still have the occasional artsd lock-up requiring me to restart the KDE sound system. But this is a bug with the sound driver on my Asus K8VSE Deluxe mother board AFAIK.
  • The problems that prompted the whole upgrade are resolved
  • My pen drive doesn't automagically appear on the desktop any more, but I can live with that. I just created a manual entry in /etc/fstab and then created a link on the desktop. Solved.
  • Can't comment on stability too much yet - haven't had it running long enough!

Well that's about it. Contact me if you want to ask any questions or have any comments :).

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