Why I hate Ubuntu? The upgrade nightmare…

I've been an Ubuntu user since 4.10. Yep, that's over 5 years ago. Upgrading gradually from version to version I have never changed the distribution ever since.

Am I happy with the system? Hell no!

Ubuntu is great for a new user. It's easy, it sets you up in minutes, your hardware usually works, whether a laptop or a desktop computer. I found it the easiest distro to set up as I mostly didn't have to do anything. I wrote about Ubuntu a few times on polishlinux.org:

So what has changed? Nothing has changed. It's still a breeze to set up. It still works fantastic out of the box. I never had to do all that boring stuff I was forced to do after installing a Windows system — getting all the drivers, spending hours installing software, etc. Ubuntu has it all in a package and after some minor tweaking it's ready to go.

The nightmare starts when you try an upgrade.

Ubuntu is a 18-months cycle distro. Every year and a half a new version arrives and you are forced to uprade if you want to keep being up to date with the software. It's always tempting to stay with the current release but it's almost impossible – backports are a pain to use and mess up your system and there is always at least one single app that you need in the latest version that justify the upgrade.

And Ubuntu upgrades simply don't work. They don't. Not a single upgrade of any Ubuntu system ever worked for me.
Either suspend or hibernate stops working.
Or video card forgets how to switch to the console mode and back to gui.
Or sound support crashes.
Or wireless settings get messep up and you no longer can connect to your WPA network or any network at all except for manual config editing.
Or brightness cannot be adjusted anymore.
Or systems starts being stupidly slow and you don't know why.

Whatever your current reason is, it always turns out to come down to the choice between:
– searching through hundreds of web forums to find the reasons why your stuff is now broken
– reinstalling the system from scratch to find out it actually works, but only on a clean install.

I'm choosing the latter option. It's more convenient. It's highly inconvenient but still better than spending your weekend trying to hack your system. I was doing that in college for fun – recompiling Linux kernels, installing nasty software, getting the latest and greatest stuff that almost never worked as it should but it was so fun to use anyway. Now I don't have the time for that anymore. I want a system that works and I want it now.

So here I am. Reinstalling Ubuntu 9.10 from scratch yet one more time. It was the suspend and the brightness and the video on my Thinkpad X61s this time. It will be something else next time.

Am I going to quit using Ubuntu or Linux whatsoever? Nope. I'm too used to the Linux way of doing things to change now. But I can understand why no one sane really stays with Linux for a long time. It's a pain. And after more than 10 years of using it, it's still a pain with no prospect of getting any better.

Or perhaps I'm just unlucky.

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