Ubuntu: 6.10 (Edgy) to 7.04 (Feisty) upgrade

Today, Ubuntu made their latest release, 7.04 Feisty Fawn. I’ve been using Ubuntu since before their first official release and love it. They’ve really come a long way in making Linux a usable desktop for the average user. Overall, this upgrade went pretty well, though I ran into a couple problems.

My first, and biggest problem, is that upon rebooting into Feisty, the boot process stopped for maintenance. That’s never a good sign; Linux wasn’t able to identify several of my hard drives. “That’s no big deal.” I thought. “I’ll just log in and see what’s up, I know my data is safe.” Well, it turns out that in Feisty, the way drives are mounted has changed. No longer are IDE devices mounted using “/dev/hd*#” instead, they’re assigned to “/dev/sd*#” where * is a letter that may or may not match up with the old hd* designation.

Since I have a mix of SATA and IDE drives in my machine, things got complicated pretty quickly. My /etc/fstab (which controls which drives mount where) was in shambles. The computer was trying to mount devices that had changed names. The default way this is now handled in Ubuntu is by assigning a UUID to each partition. This ID allows devices to be mounted no matter what order they’re plugged in, which is cool. If I wanted to reorder my drives and still have them mount in the same places. It’s not so cool when your drives no longer mount and you aren’t sure what’s what.

After some experimentation, I was able to identify all my drives (by mounting every device and seeing what it contained). I then found the UUIDs for each device and edited my /etc/fstab by hand. This is not what I expect from Ubuntu however. If a “normal” user (think Mom or Dad) had run into this problem, they would have been lost and probably would have never recovered their data.

A bug report has been opened and hopefully is solved soon, this is a major problem.

My second problem is that metacity no longer starts up on login. This appears to just be a setting in Gconf that needs to be fixed (things work fine with a new test account). I’ll update this post with the fix once I find it.

Update: I tracked this error down and at some point I apparently created a .gnomerc file when I was playing with compiz. It contained the following information:

export WINDOW_MANAGER=~/.gnome-compiz-manager/openbox

Why this didn’t cause a problem before, I have no idea. I deleted the file and metacity starts again.

Why I love my major

While I often complain about my classes – how I’m taught things that I already know, how I don’t find them useful and how many of the education professors I have can’t seem to teach… there are moments when I’m reminded how much I love my chosen career path.

Today I was working on a plan for the micro-lesson I have to give in class tomorrow and grew excited by the possibilities of discussions we could have. I got excited about the topic matter we were going to discuss, by all the possible ways the discussions could turn. Teaching is excited because you enter the classroom with a plan and some days you make it all the way through it… and some days you start talking about something even more interesting that one of your students has brought up. And the whole time – you’re helping to expand someone’s mind, getting them to think about things they’ve never thought about before, in ways they haven’t thought before.

It’s moments like the one I just had that make the drudgery of my undergrad worth it. At this particular moment, the next 4 weeks of school don’t seem so awful, they don’t seem so long.