Posted by: reformedmusings | April 25, 2009

Upgrading from Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid to 9.04 Jaunty

This proved to be the easiest upgrade yet for Ubuntu. I had been testing the betas and release candidate for a while and had no issues with them. I was notified that a new version was released by the Update Manager when it presented Intrepid updates yesterday morning:


Clicking on the Upgrade button starts the process, which took me about 2 hours. Downloading the new packages took almost all that time. Although I have a broadband connection, the load on the Ubuntu servers was very high due to the new release. Download rates varied between about 20k/sec and 180k/sec. The good news is that you can continue to use the computer during the long download.

First it downloads the Upgrade Tool:


It then presents the release notes:


Clicking on Upgrade started the upgrading process with this dialog:


During that preparation, the upgrade tool examines your system to determine your setup – what you have installed, etc. In my case, it found third-party repositories like Medibuntu and wisely disabled them:


These had to be disabled because they point to Intrepid repositories. Ubuntu has no way of knowing if corresponding Jaunty respositories exist on third party sites. Click on close and eventually the upgrade tool tells you what it will be doing and roughly how long it might take:


Note that you can change your mind about upgrading any time during the long download process, but once everything is on your local disk, you’re committed. Click on Start Upgrade and the process starts in earnest:


After the packages are downloaded, it will start the upgrade itself, which only took about 25 minutes or so. You should close all running programs at this point:


Please note that I clicked on the arrow next to “Terminal” in the dialog window. This is important to do. You may be asked some questions in the terminal window during the upgrade. If you don’t have the terminal window open, you won’t see the questions and the computer will wait forever until you answer. These questions usually ask permission to replace some of your existing settings with new ones. I answered yes in all cases, which worked perfectly. Ubuntu saves backups of those configuration files in case you need them later. Don’t worry about non-fatal errors scrolling through the window. These are most likely due to running processes – in my case the applets on my panels, especially the temperature sensors and network tool.

If you watch the terminal window closely and have an nVidia or ATI video card using proprietary drivers, you’ll notice that Ubuntu downloads and installs the correct new drivers for you. It also preserves your compiz-fusion configuration. When the upgrade finishes, you will be asked to reboot the system:


Do so and be amazed. When Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty started up, it did so quickly and almost flawlessly. My nVidia driver loaded perfectly and compiz-fusion worked like nothing happened. My relatively complex configuration was entirely preserved, as was my multiple user setup. Here’s my post-upgrade Ubuntu Jaunty desktop:


It doesn’t look much like the default configuration, which shows how highly-configurable Ubuntu is. Notice that the sensors, weather, and network applets came through with no problems. Even my KDE applications like Krusader and k9copy upgraded flawlessly. Moneydance works perfectly as well.

For reference, here’s the default Jaunty Release Candidate desktop:


Before the upgrade, I was concerned about VMWare Workstation 6.5.2 functioning properly under Jaunty. My research on VMWare’s forums indicated that it should work OK. The only glitch in my reboot after the initial system upgrade occurred when the VMWare kernel modules failed to load. That was expected since they were compiled with the old kernel. So, when I ran VMWorkstation for the first time,the kernel module updater appeared:


This flawlessly recompiled all the VMWare kernel modules and started their respective services. Awesome! I was up and running my virtual machines in less than a minute.

I also updated my third-party repositories to point to Jaunty packages. I found that some, like the 3.x PPA, weren’t needed anymore and deleted them. This only took a few minutes.

So what’s different now? Jaunty does boot significantly faster. Once you are started, loading another user’s session is way faster than Intrepid. Programs seem to load faster, but reexecuting the same program again is much faster than before. The Gnome utilities have minor updates. For instance, the screenshot utility has more options.

I’ve only discovered two issues so far. First, I had to reinstall Flash in Firefox. That’s a trivial but curious issue, since the rest of the configuration preserved perfectly. A more annoying issue involves the system file dialogs. Whenever I want to open or save a file in a program, it takes a long time – between 20-25 seconds – for the actual file list to appear. That’s very strange and annoying. I will investigate this further this weekend.

UPDATE: The slow file dialog issue disappeared after restarting the system. The problem was most likely due to the recompilation and activation of the VMWare kernel modules. Everything is fine now. That makes the Flash issue the only ding in an otherwise perfect upgrade, and it was fixed by simply reinstalling the Flash support.

Overall, I’m thrilled with the upgrade. The Ubuntu Jaunty developers have done an outstanding job streamlining the upgrade process. Proprietary video card drivers were handled perfectly, as was my RAID1 setup. I was fully operational as soon as I rebooted after the upgrade. Hat’s off to the Ubuntu team!



  1. […] This has been a banner week. First, Ubuntu 9.04 hit the streets, which I wrote about in this post. Then, Windows 7 Release Candidate hit Microsoft’s Developers’ Network and the […]

  2. […] reading this blog entry over at “Reformed Musings” I decided to take a […]

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