First Impressions of Kubuntu Feisty

Now that Ubuntu Feisty (which will be version 7.04) has just entered beta I decided to take the plunge and upgrade my home machine to it – having done a full backup of all my data onto two different media first!

The upgrade itself went fairly painlessly, apt-get dist-upgrade did its usual magic but I got caught with a corrupted /var/lib/dpkg/alternatives/x-window-manager file (containing just NULL bytes) which stopped the kwin package from configuring. Now that may sound catastrophic but in fact apt is very good at working around problems, it carried on happily configuring anything that didn’t depend on kwin so at the end I just had to remove the corrupt file, tell it to upgrade again and that solved the problem.

Here’s what it looked like when it found the problem file:

Setting up kwin (3.5.6-0ubuntu16) ...
update-alternatives: internal error: /var/lib/dpkg/alternatives/x-window-manager
 corrupt: missing newline after manflag
dpkg: error processing kwin (--configure):
 subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 2

Then this is what it looks like when apt tries to configure a package that depends on the broken one:

dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of ksmserver:
 ksmserver depends on kwin (= 4:3.5.6-0ubuntu16) | x-window-manager; however:
  Package kwin is not configured yet.
  Package x-window-manager is not installed.
  Package kwin which provides x-window-manager is not configured yet.
dpkg: error processing ksmserver (--configure):
 dependency problems - leaving unconfigured

Then once the file was gone telling it to upgrade shows the following:

Calculating upgrade... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
6 not fully installed or removed.
Need to get 0B of archives.
After unpacking 0B of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

Setting up kwin (3.5.6-0ubuntu16) ...

Setting up kde-style-polyester (1.0-1ubuntu1) ...
Setting up ksmserver (3.5.6-0ubuntu16) ...

Setting up kwin-style-crystal (1.0.2-1ubuntu1) ...
Setting up kubuntu-default-settings (7.04-34ubuntu1) ...
Installing new version of config file /etc/kubuntu-default-settings/hidden-media
Setting default mouse cursor theme to Kubuntu ...
Installing and enabling Kubuntu KDM theme ...
Installing and enabling Kubuntu KDM wallpaper ...

Setting up kubuntu-desktop (1.31) ...

A reboot and I was running Feisty with the 2.6.20 kernel!

Now I was already running KDE 3.5.6 on Edgy thanks to the Kubuntu folks, so it didn’t look that different – some of the icon effects had changed marginally but it all felt a lot snappier – hard to tell if that’s due to the new kernel or library changes but certainly a nice surprise.

Everything works as before (always a bonus with a beta release) and the only downer is that the system currently takes about 50s longer to boot than the Edgy. Turns out that is a known problem (( Ubuntu bug #92647 )) that existed in the upstream hal daemon (( bug #10364 )) and is already fixed in their git repository. What happens is that for each logical volume it discovers it registers it with the device mapper and forces a 1s wait before carrying on. When you have lots of logical volumes (as I do) this becomes quite significant!

Update: There is a fix to that problem now available as an unsupported update in the repository of backports to Feisty. To enable it just follow the instructions at the backports page and do an upgrade. My boot time is now quicker than on Edgy! 🙂

Other than that I’m impressed by it – I generated a bunch of benchmark figures from testing various filesystems under it (including ZFS) which I’ll post separately.