A few days ago I upgraded the Ubuntu partition on my HP Mini-Note 2133 from 8.10 to the release candidate of 9.04 (i386). The upgrade itself went very smoothly, for the most part – I ran Update Manager, answered a few questions and waited for the upgrade to complete. With the fairly pedestrian 1.2Ghz VIA C7 CPU the upgrade took around an hour and a half.
When I rebooted, I spotted the first problem – GRUB presented me with the kernels from 8.10 (2.6.27.*) but not the 9.04 kernel (2.6.28.*). During the installation I had elected not to overwrite GRUB’s menu.lst, thinking that it would still get updated when the kernel package was configured. Oddly, that didn’t happen. My solution was to edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add entries for the 9.04 default kernel (doing a dpkg-reconfigure on the kernel package would probably also have fixed it).
Once I had booted the correct kernel, I tackled the second problem – X didn’t work. With 8.10 I had been using the proprietary VIA DRM kernel module, which enabled hardware-accelerated 3D on the 2133′s Chrome9 chipset, but it didn’t work with the updated 9.04 kernel. I moved my /etc/X11/Xorg.conf out of the way and restarted X, which then started correctly with sane defaults (newer releases of X.Org no longer require a configuration file). Rather pleasingly, the OpenChrome driver being used by X.Org started with the correct 1280×768 resolution. The one downside of not using the VIA module is that compiz et al. don’t work – not a big issue for now and one that should be rectified once VIA update their DRM kernel module for 9.04′s kernel. One possible workaround is to boot the most recent kernel from 8.10 (which is still installed), but I haven’t tried that yet.
The third problem, and the most annoying, relates to the 2133′s Broadcom wireless. With 8.10 I had been using ndiswrapper and it worked perfectly. For some reason, as soon as I tried to connect to my home wireless network after upgrading to 9.04, WPA authentication failed (I kept getting prompted for my key and the key I entered was never saved). I then switched to using the Broadcom STA driver, which authenticates successfully, but exhibits a few problems of its own – it often looses the connection to my access point and sometimes doesn’t work correctly after resuming from a suspend. I’m going to switch back to using ndiswrapper to see if it’ll work with a bit more coaxing.
Overall, I’m reasonably happy with the upgrade – other than the issues mentioned above, it went smoothly and the system is working well. The only issue that’s really causing me pain at the moment is the wireless (but then it is Broadcom…).