Xubuntu 16.04

I updated two Xubuntu systems from 15.10 to 16.04. One is a seldom used virtual machine (VM) launched for nominal testing. The other is an almost daily used system on my laptop.

Receiving a notice about the 16.04 update from the Update Notifier is refreshing. I wish all Linux systems had something similar. I notice when the update completed the settings had been changed from notifying about any future update to only notifying for the next Long Term Support (LTS) update.

I am looking forward to using a LTS system. I like updated software that doesn’t break, but I prefer quiet and stable on my production systems. During the LTS cycle popular software is updated in Ubuntu, but unlike Fedora, I hope I do not have to be a member of the kernel-of-the-week club. That seemed to be the case with Xubuntu 15.10.

While I connect to the web with single digit Mbps download speeds, the time required to download the packages was not too long. Unfortunately for me, the VM version is 32-bit and the laptop version is 64-bit. I had to perform separate downloads for each system.

Actually updating each system was not as bearable. I needed about two hours on the VM and about three hours on the laptop, which is heavily configured and has many additional packages installed.

Updating GRUB and the initramfs seems flawed. Perhaps the reason is I have five operating systems on the laptop plus additional partitions for /home and /usr/local, but kernel updates always take about 20 minutes to complete. There is no meaningful feedback of any kind. I have noticed this before with Debian systems.

Worse, each time an older kernel is remove the package updater repeats this horrible process because the GRUB menu has to be updated.

The menu opening delay problem has not disappeared. Similarly, like Xubuntu 15.10, 16.04 sometimes fails to fully unmount partitions and NFS shares when rebooting or powering down.

The sntp package was removed during the update, which caused my clock sync script to fail. I use my main server as my local time clock and all systems in my LAN sync with that system using either sntp or ntpdate. Only the server uses ntpd to sync upstream. To remedy the missing command I had to install ntpdate. My understanding is ntpdate was supposed to be deprecated, which is why I started using sntp, but seems many distro maintainers still package ntpdate. Fortunately my script was written years ago before ntpdate was allegedly deprecated and already supports either ntpdate or sntp. All I had to do was install the ntpdate package.

Nominally irritating is on my 1280x800 laptop screen the update dialog is impossible to resize when the terminal window opens and the bottom of the dialog extends below the desktop screen.

While on the VM I received a dialog prompt to reboot after completing the update, I saw no such prompt on the laptop. I will offer a wild guess the reason is when I tried to resize the update dialog that perhaps somehow an extra mouse click or keyboard press got queued that closed the dialog when I was not looking.

On the really irritating side, the update installed a background image on the desktop. I use a plain background color with no images. For each login account in Xubuntu I had to manually reconfigure the background. Something like that should never be changed. I do not know whether this is an oversight by developers or egotism on their part. I am inclined to think both.

For a few weeks I have been using Ubuntu MATE 16.04 beta in a VM. Nothing dramatic there with updating to the final 16.04 release. I am looking forward to installing on real hardware.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: Xubuntu

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