[OT] Ubuntu 8.10: headaches and nothing else.

Richmond Mathewson geradamas at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 7 10:08:29 EST 2008


I don't hate Ubuntu. 

Ubuntu has served extremely well, breathing life into a few extremely low-spec Pentium IIIs in my EFL school. Those computers have been running Ubuntu 5.10 since that distro was released; no crash, no smash, and always does what it is meant to do.

Having spent days guttering about in the late 90s, in the United Arab Emirates, trying to get SUSE and Red Hat to do anything at all (and failing completely) I appreciate the Ubuntu Alternate Install CDs like nothing on earth - dead easy; and in a relatively short time I can have a system up and running; and in a relatively short time more I can tweak GNOME or XFCE around to get the sort of GUI I want, or my customers feel conmfortable with. Runtime Revolution standalones work a charm on Ubuntu.

However, the other day I bought a Pentium 4, 1.7 GHz, 256MB RAM; popped a stray 40 GB Hard Disk into it and thought: "That's just what I need for RAD with Runtime Revolution in the school." So thought I would bung in Ubuntu 8.10 - - -  and ended up with a black screen.

That computer is now "strutting its funky stuff" very well indeed with Ubuntu 8.04.1.

I suspect that the ".1" may, actually hold the secret of what is happening to Ubuntu: they are getting slack, or, in the urge to get a new distro out every 6 months, their Beta-testing has not been as rigorous as it should be.

No doubt, in a while, we will see a "8.10.1". This however, will make people begin to lose faith in Ubuntu; as the idea of bug-fix releases looks like what Microsoft has always been about, and Macintosh seem to be becoming. I cannot cry about this that much as a Free operating system, inevitably, has a price somewhere else. Maybe Ubuntu should stop being quite so arrogant and stop shouting from the rooftops, and release a better, more tightly tested distro once a year, or, even once every 18 months. After all, upgrading (despite the cult of "ever upwards, ever onwards") is a slightly illusory process; it looks remarkably like the theories pushed by people who, willingly, misunderstand Darwin, and would have humanity at the top of a "great chain of being" that is continually improving; another load of old tosh.

Now, I have never bothered to upgrade my school computers as they do what they are meant to do - and upgrading is time consuming, requires an internet connexion (which I do not have in the school - i.e. herniated discs carrying machines up 3 flights of stairs), and unnecessary.

My initial posting under this heading was merely intended as a warning to anybody in the Runtime Revolution community who was thinking of either installing or upgrading to Ubuntu 8.10 no to.

I am aware that there are all sorts of ways, through exotic terminal commands, and so on, to work one's way round the 8.10 problem: Hey, life's to short, I've got kids to educate, programs to write, and so on ad nauseam.

Actually GIRARD Damien, I cannot understand why anybody would HATE any
particular operating system. I, personally, dislike Microsoft Windows, mainly because it seems resource-hungry, shot full of holes, and pushed by  a company with a cynical attitude towards its end-users. However, like it or not, I have to use Windows about once a month, and there are some aspects of that system I rather like. And, quite honestly, apart from FreeDOS running the GEM GUI, I find all systems never quite match up to my expectations; they are shot full of inconsistencies and little quirks: but, then, so am I, and so are you: we are human, and operating systems are made by human beings. [The reason I like FreeDOS with GEM is that it is so obviously a rickety old system with a cack-handed attempt at a GUI I have no illusions about what it can do - so we get along fine!]

sincerely, Richmond Mathewson.
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A Thorn in the flesh is better than a failed Systems Development Life Cycle.
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