Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ubuntu is Swahili for Meerkat Berries

Ubuntu 8.04 is definitely not ready for prime time. In fact, after several weeks of letting it run native in its own partition, I can report that Ubuntu sucks. It's fragile, it breaks, it's undocumented ("support" means somebody who can answer your questions 24/7, not Ubuntu Forums!), and it's hazardous to the health of your hard drive.

Yesterday, under Gnome, my Appearance manager lost the ability to select a background image by clicking on it with the mouse (arrow keys navigation worked, though, sort of). That should have been a clue, like the first crack in the dike. (Actually, the first indications were various screen artifacts that suggest somebody is not playing nice with null pointers — squares of garbage instead of icons, entire screens of text hiding behind sandstorms, etc.)

This morning, my Updates Manager choked, said it could only provide "Partial Updates" and said it could find no way to authenticate a list of twenty or thirty common (but non-Ubuntu) utilities. Then gave up, without apologizing or suggesting a fix or work around.

When I attempted to reinstall Ubuntu from the distribution CD (previously used to install in the first place), the disk partition step choked. Windows Vista now thinks it has the entire hard drive and I haven't dared try to boot Ubuntu.

Now I've got a master boot record infested with Grub, but at least it boots Vista.

[Update: MbrFix seems to work nicely. Nice, quiet boot straight to Vista, no waiting and no nasty Grub left over. However, this utility is DANGEROUS! You didn't hear about it from me!]



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