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Not all ‘buntus are Born Equal


Precise Pangolin, or 12.04 is a long term support (LTS) release.  One might think that particular care has been put into it.  11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) has served me well during my first year in law school, but I thought that going on an LTS version will serve me better for the next two.  Wrong.

Contrast and compare Ubuntu 12.04 and Kubuntu 12.04.  When I boot my backup workstation attached to a 47″ FullHD TV with the installer CD, Ubuntu installs just fine, it recognizes the 1920×1080 resolution of the display and gives me a usable desktop.  Kubuntu in contrast set it up with tiny fonts that are not even readable with a magnifying glass.  Moreover, I don’t even get to update the settings: the second or third window or dialog no longer open / displays, and the old venerable 3GHz Athlon X2 is slower than a snail.  The same machine that runs smoothly with Ubuntu.  Both on the same 12.04 LTS basis.  What is wrong?

One of my keyboards is a Logitech diNovo Edge.  Bluetooth.  A long standing bug has not been fixed yet, so I must install with another keyboard and then pair the diNovo.  Up until 10.04 it used to work perfectly without the need for such workarounds.  The bug seems to be fixed in the upcoming Quantal Quetzal release, but hold your breath if it will be fixed in the long term supported Precise Pangolin, released less than six months ago.

My laptop’s wireless used to work.  Until a bug broke it.  I found a workaround: blacklist the kernel module (i.e. disable the driver in Linux-speak) that was too greedy and grabbed for himself the wireless card even if it was not able to drive it.  The bug is fixed in the upcoming Quantal Quetzal release, but the developer asked me if I needed a backport (i.e. a fix in previous versions of ‘buntu) and to mark it as invalid if I don’t.  Since I have the workaround with the blacklisted module, I would lie if I would say that I need it.  The point is not whether I need it or not.  The point is: is Ubuntu 12.04 really supported until 2017 and what exactly does “support” mean, if obvious bugs that have been fixed in the development version are not fixed in the “supported” versions?

Under such circumstances it is difficult to recommend any ‘buntu version.  Those are situations that the ordinary user should not be confronted with.  Upgrading?  What was I thinking…

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