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Early adopters "bloodied" by Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

Norsefire (1494323) writes | more than 4 years ago

Linux 3

Norsefire (1494323) writes "The Register reports that early adopters are having a tough time with Karmic Koala, Ubuntu's latest release. 'Ubuntu 9.10 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Linux distro. Blank and flickering screens, failure to recognize hard drives, defaulting to the old 2.6.28 Linux kernel, and failure to get encryption running are taking their toll, as early adopters turn to the web for answers and log fresh bug reports in Ubuntu forums.'"

3 comments

What they left out (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29963586)

The Register failed to notice the text in red boldface on that ubuntuforums.org page which states:

"*** Disclaimer for those willing to analyse this poll ***
Most of users voting here are users with issues.
Users with painless experience are not likely to come here."

The statistics derived by The Register are thus invalid, and probably utterly wrong, being from a nonrepresentative self-selected set.

I, on the other hand, have upgraded a Sony VAIO laptop and a Dell desktop from Jaunty-i386 to Karmic-i386, and another desktop from Jaunty-amd64 to Karmic-amd64. I also installed Karmic-amd64 on yet another desktop, migrating the user accounts from the Jaunty-i386 which was installed on it previously, and installing all of the previously installed packages. These are our home PCs, and the upgrades, installation, and migration went perfectly, including several commercial packages (Bibble, Noise Ninja, Maple - paying for Linux stuff: the horror!). Being a self-selected non-representative dataset, would that entitle me to proclaim that every Karmic upgrade or installation was flawless?
Obviously such a conclusion would be unfounded, and so are those of The Register.

Flamebait (1)

Alanbly (1433229) | more than 4 years ago | (#29966492)

I acknowledge that this may be flamebait, but when has this ever happened with a commercial OS, ever? It's "releases" like this that make normal users afraid to make the switch to Linux.

Re:Flamebait (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29967210)

I don't think your post could be considered flamebait, but I'd respectfully suggest that this poll may not be a valid base for assessing the quality of this release.

The poll is on a site that will, by its nature, draw people who have had problems with their install and are looking for help. It'd be like having a poll while waiting in queue on the Microsoft or Apple helpdesk - you don't call the helpdesk unless you have problems, so associating a poll with helpdesk callers will give you a high percentage of people with problems. Now, granted, there will also be people on the site (those who offer help) who will give it good marks, but the majority of site visitors will be there because something emitted an earth-shattering kaboom and they need to find out what buttons to click to get unkaboomed.

I'm not saying Koala is perfect, in fact it's almost unbelievable to me that they included ext4 with a known bug (albeit one that most users won't run into, but remember when Intel tried that excuse with their floating point failures?). I also don't excuse Canonical for releasing Koala to the world with bugs that users have encountered, but having been the victim of several failed Windows upgrades and a few fresh installs that didn't go all that well, I'm not going to single them out for criticism over it. Anything as complex as an operating system is going to have bugs.

I never adopt ANY OS on the first day, and I'll certainly hold off on Koala until an ext4 fix is released and tested (I downloaded the disc and ran it for a while as a LiveCD to get a taste for it, and liked it, but I'll hold off for a while before upgrading my Linux box). PS: I also avoid installing Windows Updates for about a week or so on my Windows box, and generally hold off on MintUpdates as well for a few days, just so others can trigger the boom-boom of the land mines for me. If a couple of weeks pass and the streets aren't littered with festering corpses of other people who loaded the update before I did, I figure I'm good to go.

I'd be interested to see failure rates in Koala against, say, any version of Windows. (Or Mac. Or name your OS here.) But the problem is that such information would be very hard to gather, and even harder to validate. You're comparing products based on two different software distribution models with different support models and different standards of reporting. One generally requires payment and tracking per seat installed, the other throws their product to the four winds and users install it as they please.

Linux wants and actively encourages bug reports in general, because exposing flaws allows them to be fixed, and their communications medium is by its nature open. Sure, you get people who are pricks about criticism of their code, but by and large bug reports are good for the community. If you want to find a list of bugs in the Linux kernel, it's a trivial search, and you'll get some serious eye-openers. But, it's not like those bugs don't EXIST for closed-source models, it's that you are only made aware of them when a third party discovers them and finally blows the whistle in frustration because a fix isn't out, or when they've already been fixed.

As far as comparing failure rates...

People who purchase Windows tend to use the disc they have purchased, since it cost them money. On the other hand each installed seat of Windows can be traced back to a sold disc, license code, or volume license agreement. So license sales are approximately equal to installed seats, give or take. By a similar token, users who experience problems will tend to call Microsoft or a licensed partner for assistance. So, in the Windows world, Microsoft knows the "failure rate" and the rest of us can get some level of information about it. Even then, many users/businesses use the Internet to search for solutions to their Windows problems rather than pay Microsoft for a problem ticket, so the number of problems will be understated if you only use Microsoft support calls (of course, if you take piracy into account, the number if installed seats may also be understated).

Problems and installed seats are not so easy to track in the Linux world. One downloaded disc image may freely be used to install one, ten, a hundred, or thousands of computers with no further approval required by the distro author. On the other hand, a lot of people collect distro images and either switch freely between them until they find "the one" or even just collect them so they can say they have them around. Problems, when they encountered, are generally solved by doing an Internet search and/or asking for help from one of thousands of online forums.

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