Upgrading from Kubuntu “Dapper Drake” to “Edgy Eft”

When it was time to upgrade my work laptop to a newer Linux distribution some months ago, I decided to install Kubuntu 6.06. I’ve been using the “Dapper Drake” release on my web servers for more than half a year now and never had any problems. The combination of Debian tools and Ubuntu application repositories is awesome.

When I realized on Friday that some applications only come in packages for newer Ubuntu versions, I decided to ditch the Long Term Support release and try to upgrade to Kubuntu “Edgy Eft” 6.10. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d regret starting an upgrade on an Friday afternoon, but soon gave in to the challenge.

Having a really big pipe at work has its advantages. After issuing the apt-get dist-upgrade, it took exactly 3 minutes and 31 seconds to download the 1002MB of upgrade packages. Installing them took about an hour and went without a flaw, but when the system finally rebooted, I got a mild shock that my encrypted home volume (that I didn’t take the time to backup, of course) didn’t get mounted. A little web search revealed that the kernel options “quiet” and “splash” prevented the passphrase necessary to decrypt the data from being displayed. Removing both options from /boot/grub/menu.lst took away the pretty boot splash screen but the problem, too.

My desktop looks a a whole lot more shiny now. I could finally install Firefox 2 from the official repositories, and when it first encountered a Flash applet, I was surprised to be able to download and activate the plugin successfully with just one mouse click. I was used to having to do a manual download and installation. As easily, I replaced GAIM with its successor Pidgin, so my online life has an up-to-date foundation again. WiFi and Bluetooth continued working without a change.

This upgrade went even faster and more smoothly than I had expected. You just have to love Ubuntu Linux. Knowing myself, it probably won’t be long until I make the next step up to “Feisty Fawn”.