Even experienced computer users can have a "bad day." Two weeks ago I managed to mangle my desktop OS when something hiccuped while downloading several updates to the networking software. Kernel panic. CPU went to 100 percent. System wouldn't shut down. To condense the next several minutes of troubleshooting into a single sentence, it looked like the easiest way to resolve the issue quickly was to spend 15 or 20 minutes and reload the OS.
That's not as drastic as it sounds. First off, I had a fresh backup of the home directory from the day before. Even better, since the home directory and all the current files were on a separate partition, so I could reformat and reload just the partition with the OS without harming the other working files. I might not even need the backups. Once the decision to reload was behind us, the next question was what version of the OS should I install?
The desktop was originally running Ubuntu 9.04 when the confusion started, which was about a year old. I could have reloaded with Ubuntu 9.10, released in October 2009, which is running very smoothly on my laptop. I had already been hearing good reports about the next release of Ubuntu, 10.04, nicknamed Lucid Lynx. Ubuntu 10.04 is still only available as a Beta version for testing, and not recommended for a production computer in daily use. Having had good experiences with previous Ubuntu Beta's, I decided to take the plunge and move forward - not backwards.
Downloading the 10.04 Beta, I burned a copy of the OS to a CD and within 30 minutes was looking at the test version of Ubuntu's "latest and greatest" operating system. It booted right up and seems to have given my aging desktop a vitamin shot. The new version 10.04 boots noticeably faster, shuts down even quicker. The new OS still has a couple of wrinkles and I've filed a few minor bug reports. The best news is that the normal series of OS update over the past two weeks have shown visible progress. Ubuntu 10.04 already seems very stable and I'm looking forward to the final release on April 29th. Lucid Lynx is one of Ubuntu's long-term-support (LTS) releases and security and other updates will be provided for an extended period of time.
A few applications from the Ubuntu repositories that aren't automatically loaded with the new OS were checked off my checklist of installed software, and as...