After must procratination I finally got my main PC running the latest release of Kubuntu Linux, 8.10, AKA Intrepid Ibex. I could have attempted an upgrade, but my system seems to have built up a few issues over the last couple of years and I hoped that a fresh install might resolve these by undoing anything I might have messed up in the configuration.
I prepared by backing up the whole system to my USB drive and making notes of things like the drive partitions and the user names. I booted off the install CD and used that to get a desktop to check that everything looked okay. From there it was a matter of running the install which asked a few questions about language, location and partitioning, then a matter of minutes later I was rebooting into the new version. I kept my data and home partitions, so most of my settings have been preserved. Email and other apps required no set-up.
I hadn't been able to use the proprietary nvidia driver for a while, but now my hardware was detected and I was prompted to install it. My kids will be happy that they can play 3D games again. I've got some cool 3D desktop effects to play with.
This upgrade moves me from KDE3 to V4. This is a radical reworking that will take some getting used to. The system menu works differently, with a scroll bar! I've not found all software where I expected it to be, but there is a search. The main panel needs some tweaking to fit my needs and the fonts seem larger than they should be. I need to read up on what has changed.
I've been installing the various software I use. Adding the Medibuntu repository gave me Skype and Google Earth. I've also installed the non-free Flash, but I need these to operate with the family. I need to set up MythTV again if I want to record TV.
Mostly it is doing what I need, but I have encountered a couple of issues. I can't seem to read SD cards with my reader and the Bluetooth adaptor I was using before with my phone is not working either. I've seen a few people mentioning the latter on the forums.
My webcam still works with Skype and Cheese. I also tested my Zoom H4 audio recorder/interface that had issues before and it worked fine with Audacity. Perhaps this will encourage me to do some multi-tracking at last.
Overall I'm glad that the install went so smoothly and happy that it fixed a few of my issues. I just hope that I can resolve the couple of issues above. I'll be trawling the excellent Ubuntu Forums for answers. A Stack Overflow style site might make it easier to find solutions to specific issues as the forms can get clogged with long threads and duplicate questions.