Ubuntu Upgrade: 8.04 to 9.04

Yesterday I upgraded my Ubuntu machine directly from Hardy Heron to Jaunty Jackalope (release candidate 1), in defiance of the release notes. I could not find any specific problems indicating what would happen if I broke the rules so I went ahead anyway and it worked fine—fortunately there is no Change Management Board in this flat!

Upon first boot it is not immediately obvious what is new in this release, although the new ‘Dust’ theme is so polished it feels like my desktop has received a heavy application of windolene, and it was nice to see that my widescreen monitor was now recognised automatically rather than requiring the installation of an additional package. Moving to Jaunty also brought an upgrade of my entire application set, including the latest version of Gnome Do which features an OS X-style dock.

Rarely is an upgrade without issues but this was a pretty good one:

  • The Gnome desktop sharing service (vino-server) now causes X to consume 60% of CPU time even when no one is connected. The only workaround is to turn off desktop sharing.
  • The new human-theme package conflicts with the Blubuntu theme packages. I just left this un-upgraded since I really like the blue theme.
  • Not so much an issue, but after three years of successive upgrades there was some junk that needed to be removed manually: php5 and emacs22 are now default/production (and you still need emacs-snapshot for anti-aliased fonts) so I removed all the php4 and emacs21 packages. There were also half a dozen old kernels that were too out of date to be any use.

Blogs: Conversation or Monologue?

This weblog now allows for commenting via Facebook. Read on for the reasons why social networks will make blogs are proper conversation.

Back in February, the twitter-verse reverberated with a post describing a system for using twitter as a replacement for comments on blog posts. Regardless of the effectiveness or shortcomings of that particular system, I think the author explains very succinctly the failings of blog comments and the potential of using a social network to overcome them. Recently another blogger noted that when it comes to popular websites:

I’d rather hear what any of my friends says on any topic, rather than what people I don’t know say about a specific article.

Sites such as Disqus and Intense Debate also try to address these problems but populating yet another website with ‘friend’ information seems like duplication compared to using an existing network like Twitter, or Facebook.

Facebook recently released a very simple Comments Widget which I have installed below as a trial-replacement for traditional comments. To leave a comment, click ‘Connect with Facebook’ and authorise toobusyto.org.uk as a Facebook application, then leave your comment in the box. Regular comments are available below the Facebook Comment widget for people without Facebook accounts but since the Facebook widget can be customised to support anonymous comments, if the experiment is successful I eventually plan to turn that off. Let me know what you think!

PS – The ‘number of comments’ stat on the front page will be inaccurate due to the new system.
Comment counts should now (mostly) be accurate.