... indistinguishable from magic
effing the ineffable since 1977


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The good, the bad and the Gutsy


So yesterday I upgraded my main work machine to Gutsy. The upgrade finished just as I was leaving last night so I've spent a limited amount of time using it so far, but enough to form some definite impressions.

The Good

  • The icons are much nicer. This is especially noticeable in Gaim, which has had a rather radical re-theming. It will take a little getting used to but I already appreciate the improved consistency.
  • Performance seems better, the display seems less glitchy, and my music (in Rhythmbox) no longer seems to cut out every time I do anything intensive like switch virtual desktops. (My video card driver can't handle the fancy bling though, so I don't have desktop effects).

The Bad

  • Not related to Gutsy as such but a longstanding pet peeve with the upgrade tool: the estimated download time remaining is based solely on the rate for the last 5 seconds or so of downloading, and this fluctuated for me between 20Kbps and 80Kbps - several times a minute. Would it really be so hard to take into account a rather longer period to get a more realistic estimate? I shouldn't be seeing the time go from 2 hours 30 minutes to just 45 minutes - and back - within a span of 30 seconds.
  • Also in the upgrade tool - there was a message saying the upgrade couldn't be cancelled once you started it, and then there was a cancel button that remained active during the download phase. I didn't want to cancel, but if I HAD, I'd have been very scared to click that button after being told I couldn't.
  • My virtual desktops no longer honor the setting that lets me arrange them in more than one row. The setting is still present in the user interface and the value is still saved - but it has no effect on the actual desktops. Since I use Brightside to enable edge-flipping, and frequently flip up and down, that's a BIG usability regression for my setup.
  • My gdm theme went rather strange. I wasn't using the default, but I was using one of the themes that are installed by default. Those shouldn't break on an upgrade!
  • I no longer get any kind of visual progress indication during login - just a blank screen until the desktop comes up.

The Ugly

  • When I arrived this morning my screensaver had activated. Good. And I like the new "leave message" button. HOWEVER, when I typed my password in (perhaps incorrectly), it went to "Checking..." and STAYED THERE. For at least ten minutes. Eventually I Ctrl+Alt+Backspace'd and as expected X died (this isn't exactly a good feature when the screen is supposed to be locked, but helpful in this situation), but it didn't come back up. Ctrl+Alt+F1 to get to a text terminal, login, sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart ... nothing. In fact the terminal hung and things like Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Z to kill the command were ignored. Ctrl+Alt+F2, login again, sudo shutdown -r now ... same nothing, same hang. Had to hard-reboot. And now I'm rather scared about what happens next time my screensaver activates...

I really hope that at least the virtual desktop issue and the screensaver issue get solved quickly! The improved performance and nicer visuals would make this a nice and worthwhile upgrade for me, but those two issues make it a definite downgrade instead. For now.