Testing Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid

Disclaimer: you should do this on a computer you want to work on only if you like taking risk, since it very well break some things (and in fact it has for me – luckily I managed to work around the breakage).

The process itself is pretty simple:

  1. You edit your /etc/apt/sources.list and replace occurances of “hardy” with “intrepid”
  2. You do:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

  3. After ~2G of downloads and ~1h of installation, you should have your 8.10 alpha system

What broke for me and how I managed to fix them / work around them:

  • It lost my WPA2 key. Fortunately I had it on an USB stick (I say fortunately because it is a 32 character random sequence :-))
  • It lost the setting that sounds should be disabled. This was fixed quickly in System -> Preferences -> Sound
  • The screen went all weird after the second reboot, making it impossible to use (even after switching to the terminal). Fortunately booting the new “last known good configuration” GRUB menu fixed this.
  • It complained that a package can not be installed. Since it was for a game I never played (heroes), I just uninstalled it.
  • Some programs kept crashing (mainly timidity and cupsd). I uninstalled timidity (I won’t listen to any MIDI songs in the near future) and cupsd crashing seems to have stopped.
  • Sound stopped working. After fiddling around I found that it muted the speakers (so the volume bars were still up, but the speakers were muted). However I still have some kind of background noise whenever I play back something…
  • It replaced the “all-in-one” shutdown screen with two separate screens: one for logout/user switching and one for shutdown/sleep/hibernation/restart. Since I’m the only one using this machine, I found it a little annoying. Fortunately you can remove the lgout applet from the task bar and put in its place the shutdown/hibernate button.
  • My wifi led started blinking with the traffic. This is very annoying. I found this bug on launchpad and hopefully it will be fixed until then, because it is distracting. In the meantime I found the following solution to reduce the flicker: create a shell script with the following content:
    while [ 1 ]
        # your path may very, make sure that you use the correct path
        echo 255 > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/iwl3945/0000:0c:00.0/leds:iwl-phy0:radio/brightness
        sleep 0.01s

    And run it as root. This reduces the flicker somewhat (although it doesn’t eliminate it completely).
    Update: an anonymous commenter pointed out a potentially better solution. Currently I don’t have an Ubuntu laptop (or any laptop at all for that matter :-)), so I can’t try it out.

  • Galeon (a browser based on the Gecko engine which I use from time to time) seems to be a little broken. Specifically it complains that it doesn’t know the “myportal:” protocol (a URL which it uses to show the startup page). To resolve this, you can either set an other startup page or set it such that new windows/tabs start up blank.

PS. It is my understanding that if you have Ubuntu 8.04 installed, it won’t offer by default to upgrade to 8.10 when it comes out, given that 8.04 is a LTS (Long Term Support) release and 8.10 isn’t. To change this behavior, go to System -> Administration -> Software Sources, select the “Updates” panel and change “Show new distribution releases” from “Long term support only” to “Normal releases”.

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