Jaunty to Koala: Ubuntu Upgrade

I heard that 9.10 (“Karmic Koala”–I take no reponsibility for Mark Shuttlesworth’s choice in names) was out, so I decided to upgrade my laptop.

I started the Update Manager, ran the update routine to make sure I was at the latest version of Ubuntu 9.04 (“Jaunty Jackalope”), then clicked the “Upgrade” button, which had appeared coincident with the release. A dialog box appeared listing the steps of the upgrade process and telling me that, if I went all the way through with it, it was irreversible.

I clicked to “Proceed.”

Upgrade Step 1

In the “Preparing To Upgrade” step, the upgrade routine assessed the current state of my computer. Then it reset the paths to the internet download sources for the software, as well as disabling some unofficial software repositories I had used from time to time, as, for example, when I installed the XMMS audio player.

It then downloaded the packages for the new version, which took about half an hour.

At this point it seemed to stall. I gave it a good long wait, then clicked “Cancel.” When I restarted the Update Manager and clicked “Upgrade,” the Update Manager looked around, determined that all the Upgrade packages had been downloaded, and picked up with the next step: It displayed another warning that, from this point on, there was no going back. When I clicked “Proceed,” it proceeded to install the upgrade packages.

For this picture, I clicked open the Terminal, which showed the line-by-line progress of the installation, which took about an hour:

Upgrade Installation

At one point, it asked my permission to do something, but I foolishly did not note what. I told it to go ahead, because, honestly, what other choice was there?

After it finished the installation, it cleaned up the detritus, then asked for a reboot (Note: Linux does not need a reboot after a normal software installation, but this was an OS upgrade).

Finishing Up

The first thing I noticed, because it was the first thing, was a change in the login screen. Because the background was black, I could not get a good picture of it, but here’s the summary:

  • The screen defaults to displaying the name of the primary user of the computer; you can click to log in as a different user.
  • When you click the displayed name or “Other,” the password field appears under the name. In addition, “Session Chooser” dialogs appear arrayed along the bottom of the screen; they allow you to choose the desktop or window manager, the keyboard layout, and the language. (In earlier versions, you could select and change one of these at a time; now you can change all three directly from the logon screen.)

Once I logged in, I saw no obvious changes. My wallpaper, menu customizations, and the like were preserved. This shows me logged into Gnome.

Login Screen

A closer look revealed some changes in the Gnome menu. The


menu item was gone and most of the items that had been there had been moved to


Most of these items from “Other” are items that a typical user would seldom notice, let along use. “Accessories” had included the text editor, the screen capture utility, and four or five other things; frankly, I think this change is a bad idea, because it clutters up the “Accessories” menu unduly.

I also noticed that the system did a better job of detecting my podplayer; the earlier version detected it, but would not let me open it directly from the desktop; only after I put it in my fstab was I able to manipulate the files on it. You can read about that in detail here.

Now, I could open it, but I still could not manipulate the files. Ownership of the files was given to “root,” not to user. I fixed that by adding the “noauto” (no automatic mounting) to the fstab entry. Now, when I plug it into the USB cable, the system does not mount it automatically; as user, I can mount it with a simple “mount /[path]” command. Since I mount it as user, I own it, all other things being equal, and then, as user, I can add, remove, rename, and otherwise manipulate the media files, just as if it were another hard drive.

Here’s the new line from the fstab with “noauto” highlighed:

/dev/sdb /media/iriver vfat rw,noauto,user 0 0

My Fluxbox configuration was untouched, but I suspect I’ll have to fine-tune my Fluxbox menu a bit to catch up with some new naming conventions for utilities. No big deal.

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