Dear Ubuntu Dev Team,
I need stability! The lastest round of updates (I updated around January 29, 2014) really messed up the video on all of my machines. I have four devices running Ubunutu and they all have AMD/ATI video cards. I am well aware that AMD/ATI drivers are a constant sore spot and routinely problematic, but the problem had to do with update-alternatives and took quite some time and 5+ reboots on each machine and multiple re-attempts to get working (involved purging fglrx and forcing a re-install of libmesa and a couple of others).
I am mentioning this just as the lastest example that cost me at least 5 hours of time to fix. Some other, non-video-driver related issue cost me multiple hours a month ago. Indeed, it seems that over the last year, the frequency with which updates either fail outright during update (est. 15% of the time) or require significant amounts of time (est. approaching 35% of the time) has increased greatly.
Thus, in general, it does seem like nearly half the time I update, I'll spend on an average at least an hour dealing with probems. It did not use to be this way.
I purposely run the latest LTS versions for their stability, which has traditionally been sound. Over the last six to nine months, I have probably spent at least 100 hours on just these four machines dealing with Ubuntu update problems.
I'm a senior IT guy who's been administring nearly all major Unix and Linux variantas for nearly two decades, so I can only imagine the frusturation less experienced users might be experiencing.
I am not mad or angry.
But I am concerned.
It just seems like testing that updates don't break things is much less throrough than in that past. Often, too, the problems seem involve really simple fixes, but also ones that (a) can be incredibily diffifult to locate the true source of the problem, (b) quite difficult at times to find an acceptable fix, (c) even if the fix(es) are simple, a fix for one person in the forums / launchpad does not work for another person, at least more often than in the past, and (d) seem like they should have never been needed in the first place.
If I were to put a negative spin on it:
It just seems like work on the updates has gotten sloppy.
I realize developing a free and open source operating system is non-trivial, and not just on the technical side. I imagine market forces are pushing Ubuntu to get Mir and Mir-based apps done and out as soon as possible, along with other "one OS for all devices" efforts, which I fully endorse and believe is the key to Canonical and Ubuntu's long-term success.
So I get that there are intense forces in different directions to be balanced here.
My purpose in this post, then, is simple to encourage a bit more oversight, energy, and effort be kept on ensuring that existing releases don't become an utter frustration. I am at the point of considering dropping Ubuntu for other distributions, but I take time to decide such things, so that won't happen for at least six months. The last thing Ubuntu wants, I would imagine, is to finally have Mir up and running with plenty of applications and on all many mobile and of course nearly all non-mobile ones, only to find may long-terms users have left because of stability issues and are hesitant to come back for the same reason, or just the time and effort in doing so might be prohibitive (if I leave, I certainly won't be able to come back quickly, due to the time invovled if nothing else).
Thanks for listening,