Kubuntu 17.10 upgrade - Should you?

Updated: January 10, 2018

Predictably, Ubuntu Autumn Release was underwhelming, bringing in a whole plate of regressions to the table plus some fresh new bugs and issues to make the experience even less pleasant. It seems inconceivable that there should be several successful distro releases in a row. Consequently, the entire Ubuntu family suffers, and Kubuntu is no exception.

All that said, I decided to upgrade the Zesty instance on my Nvidia-powered Pavilion laptop, to see whether my experience was going to be any different from the afore-linked lukewarm and mediocre product called Aardvark tested on the likewise Nvidia-powered LG RD510 laptop, which also happens to be a year older than the HP box. Let us.


Prepare to commence to start the upgrade

As you probably recall, I think Kubuntu 17.04 is one of the best distributions ever released, near as perfect as it makes no difference. It works beautifully, and I decided to try having Kubuntu, hopefully the next LTS, as my primary Linux on whatever new machine I buy next. The Awful Aardvark experience sort of makes that promise empty, but I still do want to see what kind of end result is expected on the HP box. It will also help me understand better what kind of foobar we're dealing with.

Ubuntu in-vivo upgrades have been relatively safe and painless in the past several years, and this attempt was no exception. It took about two hours to complete, but complete it did and without seemingly any errors from the invocation of the upgrade wizard tool to the very end. A whole bunch of software resources were freshed, packages downloaded and upgraded, and the system notched up from 17.04 to 17.10.

I did not want to use Discover, because it's a buggy program, so I executed the upgrade process from the command line. Seems like a more reliable option to me - notice the different style the upgrade tool has. Not in line with the latest Plasma edition.

kdesudo "do-release-upgrade -m desktop -f DistUpgradeViewKDE"

Password prompt

Welcome screen

Upgrade 1

Third party sources disabled

Upgrade 2

Upgrade 3

Upgrade 4

Restart notification

Crash oh-oh!

Of course, it can't be all perfect anymore. The logout greeter crashed, just like in the Aardvark live session and once in the installed 17.10 instance on the LG laptop before the Nvidia drivers setup. So silly. And to think I had such a perfect record with Zesty. It really is the most complete, well-rounded Plasma release, and one of the best Linux distributions ever released. And then you get something like Aardvark, and it starts flipping even before you reboot into the installed system. Bollocks maximus, in Latin. At least there was no kernel crash on manual reboot from the command line.

Will it start?

The system cycled fine, the boot sequence took a long time, but then the Nvidia driver loaded, and the desktop loaded, and it looks pristine and nice as it should be. It seems the process was successful. Fingers crossed.

Desktop, first reboot


Upgrade complete

I started exploring about, to see whether I would end up triggering some ugly bug or issue somewhere. Samba performance remains all right, so I'm not sure what triggers the whole regression nonsense. Or perhaps the issue was patched (again) in the meantime. Nvidia drivers were working fine, Steam was working fine - it needed a rebuild of some of the cached libraries, but then it launched without any problems.

Nvidia, Steam

I also had to re-enable disabled sources - Skype and Chrome were temporarily disabled during the upgrade, but this is marked with a comment, so if you use Muon - Discover is useless as it has no ability to edit software repos - you can restore that easily.


MOAR crashes!

Then, all of a sudden, Baloo crashed. A second issue, within three minutes of logging into the new desktop. Never had any problems with the search functionality in Zesty, but I did see this on the LG machine as well. Oh, Linux, Linux. There should be jail penalty for software regressions and badly performed QA.

Application crash


I am not joking. I seriously believe that software regressions should be punished. They destroy people's mood and will and desire to use programs, and the users start developing almost PTSD-like effects, not knowing when something is going to crash because no one bothered checking their fresh code. Jail time seems appropriate. Failing that, strict and rigorous validation procedures that currently DO NOT EXIST in the wider Linux world.

Zesty remains the perfect distro and the best Plasma release ever. It's so much ahead, I feel like shedding a tear every time I use it. In comparison, Awful Anteater is a pale shadow of what Kubuntu can do. So yes it works. But it brings crashes and unnecessary nonsense that just spoils everything. It's such a shame, and such a wasted opportunity. The upgrade itself was flawless. But it's not an upgrade. It's a version increase and a definite downgrade. Wait for the LTS. Or something. Oh, the humanity!