In Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex and due to changes in Xorg, each model of joystick needs a special .fdi file to be used properly. Ubuntu 8.10 doesn't ship with these files, and thus your joystick shouldn't be working anymore (instead, it should move the mouse cursor, sometimes preventing the use of the mouse until you unplug the joystick).
Since each joystick model is different, in order to provide these fdi files we need users to provide a little information about their joystick model - else your joystick may never be supported in Intrepid.
If you are the owner of a joystick (or any game input device, joypad, dance mat, etc...), can borrow somebody's joystick for 5 minutes or can go to a friend that has a joystick, you would be a great help if you could check if your joypad is on this list, and if not follow the instructions at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Joystick_lshal
If you are on a mailing list or forums where the users might be happy to help Ubuntu's gaming, you can also politely direct them to this post in the forums (I'm already sending this to the ubuntu-devel-discuss and ubuntu-users mailing lists).
Please note that I'm not an Ubuntu developer, just been an Ubuntu user for a while
I'll monitor this thread for a while, feel free to post any question or suggest any improvements to the wiki or the launchpad bug.
Thanks in advance,