Ubuntu bug subjects TG Daily hack to wrath of fanbois

Dear, oh dear. Nothing quite as bitter as a Linux fanboy scorned, is there?

When we wrote yesterday about trying – and failing – to install Ubuntu 9.10, we thought we had made it clear that the installer failed to recognize two of the three installed SATA drives in our test machine. Despite this, we were exposed to a torrent of spittle-flecked invective suggesting we were variously too old, too young, too stupid, in the pay of Microsoft or simply just an asshole.

We were particularly taken with the number of Linux supporters apparently suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome and especially the ones who hoped our families got cancer. It’s always refreshing to receive good objective criticism.

Luckily, some readers managed to stay calm and pointed out that there is indeed a critical bug in the 64 bit RC version of Ubuntu 9.10 which fails to recognize multiple hard drives, so, sadly, the failure of the OS to install was down to coding errors rather than user incompetence.

As one reader said:

“The Ubuntu 9.10 RC installer has a rather surprising bug dealing with multiple disk drives; see #459054 at bugs.launchpad.net.  It’s already fixed in the daily builds, so I expect the final release will probably not have it. In the meantime, if you seriously want to try Ubuntu, either use a 9.04 CD or wait until the 9.10 actual release.

“If you are feeling conservative, wait until December and then try it, after the teething problems shake out.  I like Ubuntu, but I won’t pretend to anyone that it’s ready for naive use until 3-5 weeks post-release.  Us bleeding edge types start running new versions and/or upgrading around alpha-6, but we also file bug reports and cope with the odd spot of breakage.”

Checking out bugs.launchpad.net as suggested, we found that this was indeed the case. In a post dated 26 October, Jim Leinweber wrote:

“The 9.10RC Karmic Koala ubiquity disk partitioning steps (#4, #5 in the installation screens) seem to have regressions when booting the AMD64 ubuntu live desktop CD on systems with multiple disks.

“On one system, the “side by side” radio button only showed sdc.”Erase” would allow choosing sda, sdb, or sdc. The “manual” partitioning option showed all partitions on all three drives and seemed normal.

“On another system, recently loaded with windows 7 professional on a 250 GB sda, the “side by side” radio button line was missing entirely, and the manual option didn’t show either the sda or the sdb SATA disk drives (intel chipset). It looked normal on a system with only 1 SATA drive.”

So there we have it. Not my fault at all. Sorry about that. I will, however, be trying Karmic Koala again, but not until December, as suggested. I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on.

And here’s a question for you: How on earth is a potential Linux user to know they should check out launchpad.net, or similar sites to discover why things don’t work? If Linux is to succeed as a mass-market OS, it must move away from the realm of the hobbyist and into the mainstream.

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