Scott Hanselman

Upgrading an old Compaq Ipaq from Ubuntu 5.10 Breezy Badger to 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

December 2, '08 Comments [12] Posted in Musings
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I've got an old Compaq Ipaq that I gave my then 10 year old niece to play with. I put Ubuntu 5.10 "Breezy Badger" on it. Fast forward to today, and she wants it refreshed. It hasn't been on the Internet for 3 years so it doesn't have any updates. I remember years ago that Ubuntu had an update manager so I figured it'd be pretty straight forward. It wasn't really, but it was manageable.

It took a minute to remember that Ubuntu has LTS (Long Term Support) versions, and then it has intermediate versions. I could have just paved her machine, but she'd customized a lot of it, and I didn't feel like the hassle of starting from scratch.

You can upgrade from any version to the next LTS easily, then hop between LTS major versions. That means I needed to run three upgrades:

  • 5.1 -> 6.06.2 LTS
  • 6.06.2 LTS->8.04.1
  • 8.04.1->8.10

First I updated her /etc/apt/sources.list file and changed every "breezy" to "dapper." 

An hour later, I was on 6.06. Reboot. Then I used the Update Manager to get me to 8.04…churn churn churn. Then Reboot. Then Update Manager to 8.10, hour later, and she was fully up to date.

I then added all the Edubuntu educational applications from a downloaded and burned CD. Now, to figure out why the sound no longer works. ;)

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Tuesday, 02 December 2008 10:12:04 UTC
So how's performance? (comparatively)

Wait... don't you work for Microsoft?
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 10:16:26 UTC
The perf is about the same. I didn't notice anything bad or good. I DID notice the sound card died as they moved from ALSA to PulseAudio.
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 11:19:10 UTC
All those upgrades and only sound broke?

I'm impressed in the sense that I would have expected network card, graphics driver, IDE chipset support and a few other basic things to go as well :)

Although I must say its amusing that PulseAudio is the New New hotness. I remember when ESD was dropped for ALSA, now they're back to the ESD model, rebranded as PulseAudio.
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 12:56:17 UTC
Sound in 8.1 is a cluster----. But other than that, I've really been happy with it (more so than 8.04).
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 13:17:41 UTC
Its good to see a Microsoft employee openly admit that they have used other operating systems. Next thing you know someone from Microsoft may admit that they use google and have a blackberry...LOL

I always enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the good work.
Mike Ceranski
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 19:49:07 UTC
Jarasu - Heh. I'm not sure how much more broke, but at least I didn't have to reconfigure X *again* for picking the wrong resolution.

KentB - Yes, there are no words to describe how truly epically screwed up sound is in 8.10. I would have stayed on 8.04 if I'd known. I'm shocked that we can't get SOUND right in this day. At least they know it.

MikeC - ;)
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 21:50:08 UTC
Scott, can you please specify what model the Compaq Ipaq was? Thank you.
Martin C
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 00:09:42 UTC
I've had problems with the sound in 8.10 on all of my machines that have Intel based audio. There are some workarounds in the forums if you search on it, but nothing that's worked for me so far.
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 00:35:42 UTC
I must be the only one with sound that worked out of the box ;). Heck, even the advanced visual effects worked on the (at least) 2 generations ago integrated Intel GFX!

Wireless, on the other hand needed a Internet connection to install the restricted drivers... What is the old adage about the chicken and the egg again?...
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 17:49:14 UTC

What sort of CPU does that old Ipaq have? I have an old Windows 98 PC that my kids would like to use and I want to repave it with a more robust OS. I've always wanted to install Ubuntu and I would like to know hwo ti behaves on older machines.
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 18:26:55 UTC
Chris - It's a PIII 400Mhz with 384Megs of RAM. Very modest. Works fine.
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 18:34:02 UTC
Thanks Scott, that's pretty close to the specs on the boat anchor that I'm going to repave.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.