When Do You Trade in Your Gibbon for a Heron?

by chromatic

My main computer these days is a laptop from System76. I was very happy to support a vendor willing to ship and support a laptop without the Microsoft or Apple tax, and very pleased to have hardware supported by a Linux distribution.

That was a couple of Ubuntu releases ago. Now that Hardy Heron is out, I feel the urge to run through the upgrade. Improved battery life is one big draw, but getting updates for all sorts of software I rely on is nice. (New Wine, new Valgrind, new Firefox, new GCC....)

Upgrades are never 100% perfect, though. There's always a risk of mishap that'll take me a few days to straighten out. I don't have any talks to give or books due in the next several weeks, so the timing seems good, but perhaps I should wait a few days more for the early adopters to expose any bugs that I'm happy not to fix?

I know plenty of people like Jim Zemlin who were very happy to run pre-release versions of Hardy Heron, but he had Greg K-H to help him out.

How do you decide to upgrade?


Caitlyn Martin
2008-05-12 21:22:56
It really depends on how good or bad Gutsy Gibbon has been for you. In this household Gutsy only survived on the 64-bit Gateway where it has proven to be terribly buggy. The bugs are the sort that never got fixed and really did get in the way of getting work done. In a case like mine getting to Hardy Heron as fast as possible made sense. OTOH, when I was an early adopter of Feisty Fawn I regretted it. Edgy Eft worked perfectly for me. Feisty didn't.

It really depends on how the current release is working now and how much the upgrades to your software can potentially make life better. On a laptop (all I use nowadays) extended battery life is a big deal.

How's that for a terribly unhelpful answer?

Andrew Hamilton
2008-05-13 15:29:07
I'd be wary if you have a Wi-Fi card. My Cisco Aironet 350 Wi-Fi card didn't make the transition from Gutsy to Hardy. Wi-Fi cards seem to be a perennial problem for Linux.
Steven Rosenberg
2008-05-15 13:41:57
Try the live CD first and see how it treats your hardware before committing to the install.

I have a Hardy install, and it solved more problems on my hardware than it created, but it did create a few that are annoying enough.

While the last Ubuntu LTS -- 6.06 -- runs very well on the undemanding box that I have in installed on, I hope that the Ubuntu people pay adequate attention to fixing bugs in 8.04 LTS. I hope it doesn't get lost in the "new every six months" shuffle.

Marianne Bogle
2008-05-15 14:45:44
I've had Hardy Heron since it first came out, but I also got a brand new dual core desktop that had to have an operating system (No Vista, thank you). So the old Dell that had started with 6.06 and had gone all the way up to 7.10 with initial install and then upgrades was ditched for the newer and prettier machine.

The install went perfectly, no glitches, and I've even installed Virtual Box 1.6 with Windows XP. But of course with no data to save and wiping the drive clean of everything why shouldn't it work.

I've got an XPS and an Acer I'm waiting to do anything on. When Fiesty came out tried to update the Acer and it was totally unhappy, so stayed with Edgy on it...hopefully when I get the guts it'll like Hardy better.

2008-05-15 16:55:57
>> should wait a few days more for the early adopters to expose any bugs that I’m happy not to fix?<<

Do you think a few days will make a difference?

Days? I think some of the serious bugs might still take a few weeks to be resolved. I've read many reports about 'slowness' and a new kernel scheduler.

Hardy Heron has been out for almost a Month now. I wonder how the bugs are doing now?

Jyrki Brotherus
2008-05-16 04:28:00
I upgraded to 8.04 from 7.10 the day it was possible. Works fine, no complaints. Firefox 3.0b5 has crashed a couple of times, but it is a "beta". So I see no reason for postponing the upgrade.
2008-05-16 07:30:35
1. Is the new release stable? Heron generally is, but including a beta version browser is one clear risk factor (although I've had no problems with it).
2. Are there genuinely tangible advantages of the new release that outweigh the risks of spending hours figuring out unexpected problems. Personally I see little reason to upgrade on this count.
3. Can I do a clean install? i.e. Re-install from scratch, know which packages I need to install and reconsitute my data from backup media. If the answer is no, then it is probably not worth doing the upgrade, instead concentrate on getting your sysadmim in order!
4. Do I have any packages, custome code etc I might want to test before I decide to upgrade, using LiveCD or a dual boot environment. This would include things like Skype and your favourite Python script.
2008-05-16 10:43:33
I'm a coward. I usually buy a new drive for the system in question and do a fresh install. If all works well I pull what I want from the old disk. There are nifty USB to IDE/SATA/etc adapters that work great for laptops.

Storage is cheap and you get the added bonus of a spare drive for your existing system if the new drive decides to release its magic blue smoke :)

2008-05-18 05:27:23
How much WAS that Sys76 lappy? Man, they're a ripoff. I just got a Dell insp 15.4, 2GB,250GB,1.83/667,BG,BT,cam,Vista, and 2 years of on-site for $749. The same thing in a Sys76 looks to be > $1K. People talk about the windows tax...
Dude - you just paid a $350 'Linux Tax' by NOT going mainstream in your hardware...
2008-05-18 19:53:55
I upgraded by installing PCLinuxOS 2008 Minime over the top of it. All my small niggling problems disappeared :)
2008-05-19 16:39:54
Scummy said "People talk about the windows tax...
Dude - you just paid a $350 'Linux Tax' by NOT going mainstream in your hardware..."

And you will probably have to fork out more than $749 in the next few years on a windows system because of obsolete hardware not passing windows validation or no longer supported, Ant-Virus software (usually only good for 1 year), drained battery life buying new battery, paying for video, image and music editing software, not to mention all software really that may not work on your hardware, paying for tech services (if need be) because of system crashes, trojans, etc

So all in all YOU will be paying more in the long run.

Adrien Lamothe
2008-05-29 23:30:54
You trade in your Gibbon for a Heron immediately. Heron is vastly better than Gibbon. The completely fair kernel scheduling is a big improvement, you'll notice everything is snappier. Heron has tighter security. Gone are the weird boot issues that plagued Gibbon. Wireless networking is improved in Heron.