Ubuntu Insistant Upgrades & Testing

Ah hell! This weekend has be a pain in the backside and the good people I have to thank for this upset are the designers who thought it was a fantastic idea to pop up a giant box insisting the user should upgrade from Ubuntu 10.10 to Ubuntu 11.04 one week after the release.

This wouldn’t be a problem normally, but some of my Ubuntites (my community of Ubuntu people I help manage support for, friends and family etc) have special requirements or old hardware.

The first hint I got that this might be a problem was in the new community center. This isn’t a problem as I should be disabling upgrade popups like this as the system admin for the network and no user could do any damage. (although Ubuntu is not the best solution for community centers for this and many other reasons). But it set my mind up for thinking about what my Ubuntities would do when faced with it.

I thought they would upgrade. They did. Problems occurred. The main problem so far (thankfully) has been speed problems. Everyone has gone classic and they are complaining of slowdowns. There was also issues with printers, virtual box, wacom issues. I say these issues are thankful, because at least they’re not the black screen of death like my computer.

As Ubuntu gets more complex and used by a greater number of people, the testing systems we used are going to need to be orders of magnitudes better. I’ve heard people compare Ubuntu 11.04 to Windows Vista, I don’t think Natty is Ubuntu Vista (although at least XP didn’t insist on upgrading) but I get the feeling that it’s a painful release suffering from the same sorts of issues.

A new development causing hardware breakage, lack of testing, further slowdowns, a release which is preparing the way for a better release down the road. I just hope that 11.10 is that release. Guys, at UDS, please put testing front and center; figure out a way of testing ever greater numbers of machine combinations and DO NOT just use the linux kernel project method of only doing geek testing. We don’t have enough technical users to test all hardware this way. Implement systematic testing, unit testing, automatic testing, “StubToe LiveCDs” (CDs that boot, run tests, report and restart automatically, to test is booting is possible or if you’ll get hurt). Something substantive to improve our method of testing please.

Because releasing are becoming a burden for me. Your thoughts dear reader?