What *bangs head on desk* was *bang* I *bang* thinking?
I tried KDE4 before, I didn’t like it. I downgraded back to KDE3 just to get something that worked. I know my new toy upgraded to Intrepid without problems, but that was running Xubuntu, not KDE, so why did I think that a quick apt-get dist-upgrade to Kubuntu 8.10 was going to work on the machine I have all my precious, precious data on?
Argh! This is becoming unacceptable. The whole point of an upgrade is to improve the functionality of the system. In my case, the Intel wifi driver was happily causing kernel panics and locking the machine solidly, with only a sadly flashing caps lock light to indicate that it wasn’t merely “thinking about it”, that it was really right off the deep end into la-la-land and wasn’t going to make it home for supper. Ubuntu forums indicated that the problem is fixed in Intrepid, and it’s been out for a good few months now, long enough to work out the kinks. Right?
Not only is the problem not fixed, it’s far far worse – kernel panics every five minutes or so in fact. That’s unbelievable. I had fewer panics than that while writing device drivers for 2.4 for crying out loud. Worse, nothing else works properly either. KDE4 design choices aside, things like menus and submenus render by blotting out a chunk of the screen and then filling it, so you get this distorted and torn section of the screen for a half-second or less before the menu appears. That’s just klunky. Bluetooth, it turns out, doesn’t work at all. It’s in the release notes. Along with a dozen other failings.
Look kubuntu folks, a little word here. A system as large as bluetooth – an entire networking stack – not working, that doesn’t go in the release notes. It is meant to stop you from releasing at all. You do not release something so fundamentally broken because then noone will ever trust your software in future. It’s like the first KDE4 release where proxy support wasn’t available in networking, so every machine behind a commercial or university firewall couldn’t work. It’s stupid and lazy and sloppy to release something that is so widely used in so fundamentally broken a state. This is why most of us abandoned windows at some point – unstable, buggy crap for software doesn’t allow you to just get on with doing work. For crying out loud people, stop playing with stupid eye candy and flashy crap until the basic infrastructure is working, would you? Yes, I like compiz, I like the spinny cube, I like the wobbly windows, it’s all wonderful. It’s just that I need to be able to actually do some work in the windows, not just wobble them about as I drag them around the spinning cube, y’know?
I’m starting to side with the linux hater blog these days because of things like this. I can’t even back out the change and go back to Hardy and KDE3 without hours of work. I’m sick to death of having to think of defensive stratagies to use against the people maintaining distributions these days. What, I have to partition off my /home from the rest of my disk so when I upgrade and it goes wrong I can reinstall without losing data? I could try virtualising my entire PC so that if the upgrade goes bad I can recover?
Would you *”£& off?!!! I’m not virtualising my entire PC because I’m not paying for a fast laptop to make it into a slow laptop in software, and I don’t know how much diskspace my data will use or my apps, so I’m not going to partition them apart in case it makes more work for me down the line. And I shouldn’t have to do it either, we invented directories and hierarchial filesystems in the 1970s for a reason and this is it dammit!
I’m so damn sick of stuff that looks cool but doesn’t just work. It sucks down the time I want to use to do my work. And as designs go, that’s just broken.