From Hardy to Jaunty

Album Cover: The Bends

"All your insides fall to pieces; you just sit there wishing you could still make love."
Radiohead / High and Dry

Posted on May 02, 2009 1:36 AM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Tonight's spur-of-the-moment upgrade from the Hardy Heron (8.04 LTS) version of Ubuntu to the latest and greatest Jaunty Jackalope (9.04) version (with the required intermediate upgrade to Intrepid Ibex (8.10)) was interesting, to say the least.

I wasn't aware that notifications of new releases of Ubuntu are not made available to users of LTS versions unless they explicitly enable the notifications. I figured that out via these instructions. Once I had enabled the notifications, I was presented with the option of upgrading to Intrepid Ibex. That took a little while, but true to previous upgrade experiences, I was informed of all the configuration changes that were needed and presented with the option of keeping the existing configurations or upgrading to the latest, recommended defaults. Due to watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad at the same time, the upgrade to Intrepid Ibex took a little over an hour.

The only glitch I had time to notice after the upgrade to Intrepid Ibex was its apparent inability to recognize its own version information. I was only an Intrepid Ibex user for a few minutes, though, before I was on the upgrade path to Jaunty Jackalope, which was just released about a week ago.

The upgrade process was humming right along when out of nowhere I lost my ability to use my mouse and my keyboard. I dug through my closet to find an old PS2 keyboard to plug in, but that made no difference. I tried numerous times to re-insert the USB cables of the mouse and keyboard, but to no avail. At this point, I started to panic, because there was a prompt on the screen, waiting for my input, and I knew I was smack dab in the middle of the package update/installation process. After a few minutes, relying on memories stored deep down in the darkest depths of my brain, I thought to try the CTRL-ALT-F2 combo. Strangely enough, this combination worked, and brought me to the command line prompt.

My panic hadn't subsided, though. I knew that the upgrade process needed to complete or I was going to be in some kind of half-breed operating system state from which only the geekiest of Linux geeks could escape. This is where the beauty of having multiple computers comes in. I was able to search relentlessly for any information that could potentially rescue me from the predicament in which I found myself.

One thread convinced me I should be editing xorg.conf to get the keyboard and mouse recognized again. After editing that file, I was able to get Gnome to start up in "low graphics mode." However, my keyboard and mouse still were not working and I was therefore unable to confirm the dialog letting me know I was in that mode. Worse yet, after this point I was unable to return to the command line at all. Faced with no other apparent alternative, I resigned myself to a hard restart of the computer. Ouch.

Once I was back at the command prompt after the restart, a comment at Reddit seemed to indicate how I could kick off the distribution upgrade process from the command line (since I still couldn't get a good Gnome session started). However, when I tried to run the first suggested command:

sudo apt-get install update-manager-core

I was presented with a message from the console stating that I needed to run the following command to complete a previously unfinished upgrade:

sudo dpkg --configure -a

You can imagine my relief when, after running this command, I saw a continuation of the packages being installed, only from the command line this time and not as part of the Gnome environment. When the upgrade process seemed to be finished, I ran sudo reboot, hoping that all would be back to normal once the system restarted.

All did return to normal after the restart. Gnome fired up, I was able to log in via the graphical interface, and after a slight delay (presumably because it was the first time launching the user interface after the upgrade), my desktop finally appeared. It wasn't long, though, before I started noticing an error dialog related to the Tracker feature, specifically related to the Indexer used for desktop searching. I couldn't get that dialog to go away for the life of me, and a little research showed that the issue is pretty prevalent among Jaunty Jackalope users. Based on a suggestion in a forum post, though, I was able to address that problem with the following commands:

sudo apt-get install tracker tracker-utils --reinstall
tracker-processes -r

Now I'm at a point where Jaunty Jackalope is up-and-running on my computer and things seem to be working. I guess I'll have a better idea if that's the case once I've had more time to use the new version. In the meantime, I suppose I can thank my lucky stars that the Ubuntu gods took mercy on me tonight.


Zim on May 02, 2009 at 2:22 AM:

This kind of things are those who make you feel happy to use Ubuntu, aren't they?
If a Windows installation fails, you better start all over again...
(for the record, I'm still using Windows)
I'll give Ubuntu 9.04 a try very soon.
It's nice to know you solved this and everything is working now! :)


Ian Clifton on May 02, 2009 at 11:51 PM:

Warning: I'm tired, so the accuracy and logic of this comment might be compromised ;)

I believe one of the changes going from 8.04 to 8.10 was a switch to using HAL for configuration of a lot of devices, making declarations in xorg.conf unnecessary (in theory). I ran into that when making the change because of more tablet-related issues. Eventually I was able to completely configure the tablet without a line in the xorg.conf, and it's working better than ever. Howver, that does seem strange that your mouse and keyboard were more-or-less completely useless. I've never had that problem even years ago when I completely ruined my xorg.conf, trying to get one thing or another working, and I've used the same wireless Logitech keyboard and mouse combo for a long time.

My laptop is dual-booting 9.04 and Vista. Ubuntu loads insanely fast, and I am loving it more than ever. Vista... it still has all the bloatware to deal with from the laptop manufacturer and a bunch of its own issues, but it's necessary for some things. Unfortunately, my desktop has XP and 8.10 (on separate hard drives; I don't even let the XP install see the Ubuntu drive). I can't upgrade Ubuntu on there because the FGLRX driver is not supported and the open source one doesn't properly support OpenGL (required for Blender and a bunch of other apps). Hopefully that's fixed one way or another soon.


Ahmed on June 16, 2009 at 4:56 AM:

I felt brave two weeks ago, or let's say greedy to upgrade my Ubuntu Studio 8.04 Hardy to Ubuntu Studio 9.04 Jaunty, so I went through the process of upgrading by passing Interpid, just like you did, i was an interpid user for few minutes, and finally Jaunty was running... but

problems came along.. when i wanted to activate nvidia drivers, as many people know, using linux without the special effects kinda reminds you of windows.. a piece of a brick...

i couldn't activate it, or even install it, due to missing packages such as linux-kernel-headers, gcc, restricted modules, so I tried to install them using apt-get install, but it was always telling me that you already have the latest version!! i kept searching until i got shocked to see that Jaunty is still using the old kernel that hardy was using!!!, so i downloaded the latest kernel , installed it, used it, built some packages and added some modules and so and so...

finally when i thought that everything should be up and running, i went to install the latest Nvidia Driver 180.60, unfortunately it didn't continue, i went back to enable the driver nvidia-glx-180 the classical way, i notice that everytime i install it, xorg is gone, whenever i remove it, xorg was missing, the only way to go back to the gdm is to install xserver-xorg-video-nv, which uninstalls nvidia-glx-180 :( , go tired of that story, and got bored of surfing the internet for useless information.... so i formatted the whole computer, and re-installed 8.04 :| , i only think that clean install is the best key to get it, i'm kinda disappointed with the upgrade results...

i'm thinking about doing it again, but on a testing environment or lets say a crash arena, i cleaned my old old Pentium 3 PC from the dust, installed 8.04 on it, and now i'm searching for better guidance of how to completely upgrade to jaunty without getting into trouble


John on October 16, 2009 at 12:15 PM:

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am currently still running Ubuntu Hardy and was thinking about upgrading to Jaunty in fear of perhaps missing out on some earth-shattering new features. After reading about your upgrade experiences, I think I'll stick with Hardy until the next LTS release of Ubuntu rolls around. My Hardy ain't broke, so I think I won't try to fix it.


Julien on October 19, 2009 at 7:33 AM:

I just went through the same upgrade path without problem. I'm now running Jaunty and have python 2.6, etc. Waiting for the next LTS version was too long because I need the latest development environment. So, for the impatient: it is possible to do the upgrade without any glitches. However I did a complete backup beforehand to avoid any bad surprises.


pmyiwjwd on May 15, 2017 at 5:22 AM:

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