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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Upgrading Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook to 11.04 Desktop: The Bad, Ugly and Good Story

Earlier this month, I took the decision to upgrade from Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Remix to the latest 11.04 Desktop. In this 11.04 release, there is no longer a separate Netbook Remix edition, as the main Desktop edition has discarded the Gnome desktop interface, and in its place used Unity which is fairly similar in look to the Netbook interface.

I really liked the simple Netbook interface, so even when 10.10 came out with the first Unity, it was still raw and I kept with my nice 10.04 Netbook Remix. The 11.04 release of Unity was much better, so along with Firefox 4 and LibreOffice, I decided to make the upgrade on my Lenovo X100e netbook.

Now comes The Bad, Ugly and Good Story (in chronological order)
  1. 30 Apr 2011 - Tried using Update Manager by changing the Settings to Show new distribution releases to Normal releases (from Long Term Support Releases Only). And it duly informed that the Ubuntu 10.10 release was available - meaning that I had to upgrade from 10.04 to 10.10 before upgrading to 11.04. But when I clicked on the Upgrade button, I was greeted with a message stating "Unable to download release notes". Perhaps the server was overloaded, since it was less than a week after the official release date and it was a weekend. The Bad.
  2. 7 May 2011 - Tried upgrading again using the Update Manager with the changed distribution release and changing the Settings to Download from the Best Server. Still no luck and kept getting the message "Unable to download release notes". The Bad.
  3. 14 May 2011 - This time initiated the Update Manager from Terminal "sudo update-manager -d". Clicking on the Upgrade button, now starts the process of upgrading to 10.10. But after the upgrade was done, the Desktop would not start, leaving me in command line Terminal. The Bad.
  4. 17 May 2011 - Resumed where I left off at the terminal and this time editing the sources "sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list" to have "main restricted universe multiverse" in the sources list. Then installed the Ubuntu Desktop "sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop". After the installation, then I was able to restart and get into the Desktop - which had skewed trapezoid dialogs and windows. The Ugly.
  5. 18 May 2011 - I stumbled on a Driver icon on the Launcher, clicking on it displayed information that I was using the proprietary driver for the ATI graphic hardware. Clicking on the Remove button then got me to normal non-skewed dialogs and windows, but response to mouse actions was really slow, there were not much options on right-click on the desktop (not even to copy and paste files and folders). The Ugly.
  6. 18 May 2011 - In the evening, used Update Manager to upgrade to 11.04, whatever it is, it must be better than 10.10. Took about 3 hours to complete the whole upgrade process. After restarting, the Desktop was much more responsive, things such as right-click worked as it should be, changed the theme and background. My files, settings, configurations, bookmarks, and saved passwords were all still intact. And it was alright. The Good.
I also have to mention that I was really fortunate that my Yes 4G Huddle device was automatically detected and worked through USB cable even when I was in command line terminal. Fortunate, as the Yes sales representative initially mentioned that the USB cable was only for charging.

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