Thursday, November 12, 2009

bitten by ubuntu

I like Ubuntu. This is why it saddens me to see that the quality of its releases are going down.

I have been waiting with high hopes for the Karmik Koala release and I've started installing it on my boxes the same day it was released.

To my surprise, the quality was really low.

For a start, there was no simple way to cleanly install on an encrypted disk. For a long time I keept my /home and / on separate partitions and I prefer to reformat / when moving to a new release, while preserving the data from /home. Unfortunately, Karmik can't do it if your / and /home are inside a crypted drive. I had to boot into the live cd, install by hand the crypto and lvm stuff, mount the crypted drive, install Karmik than do some more configs so that it boots. Fortunately, I was able to find enough info on the net. But it wasn't a nice experience.

Then I've installed MC. To my surprise, MC doesn't create its ~/.mc directory, so your settings are not saved.

Moving forward on, I tried to view some movie with VLC. At some point I've decided I need some more buttons on VLC and started to reconfigure it. Bad idea. The system locked up and after waiting for more than 15 minutes, I've decided to hard-reset the system.

But nothing was more annoying than the latest contraption from Ubuntu: mountall. This little crap of software is supposed to speed up your booting time, I guess. What it does is that it magically decides that some partitions are needed and some are not. Therefore, when a fsck is due, if the partition is not needed (but beware - not needed in mountall's conception), the fsck is started in background, without any warning. You get a loggin prompt and all your services are running, but not all partions are mounted. Maybe some very important partions to you (but unimportant to mountall) are still checked and missing :(

This is a major change in the way boot is handled. And not in the good way. In my opinion, a change this big should need explicit enabling. That is, by default, the system should behave as before and need special enabling for the new functionality. Unfortunately, the mountall's Ubuntu developers think they have the holly grail of knowledge and they know better than anybody else. When people complained about this new Ubuntu bug^h^h^h feature (see bug 439604) they said this is not a bug and the system behaves as designed.

My question is who asked them for this design?

Is this the directions Ubuntu wants to take: break existing stuff and releasing crappier and crappier software?