Similar update experience: got flashing text login screen on tty1 with normal bootup--no way to log in since most keystrokes did not register. tty2 - 6 had the same flashing. tty7 was blank. With either "recovery mode" option, got to login but startx gave "screen not found" error, among others.
With the guidance of other posts here, I am now writing from a working 9.10 system. Yeah! Since my network connection was working and I apparently needed the latest nVidia driver, I did the following:
1. Hit ESC after the BIOS loads (at the grub screen).
2. Select the "recovery mode" with the later kernel: 2.6.31-14. (The other choice I had was 2.6.28-16.)
4. Pray that ftp will work and you can download from nVidia's site--necessary step! don't skip!
6. open download.nvidia.com15. chmod 777 NVIDIA*
7. for username, use: guest
8. for password, just press <Enter>
9. cd XFree86
10. cd Linux-x86
11. cd 190.42
13. get NVIDIA-Linux-x86-190.42-pkg1.run
and wait for it to download; took about a minute for me
16. sudo ./NVIDIA*.run
17. Follow instructions in nVidia installation. Remember to choose Yes when it asks if you want to replace current X config options.
19. Praise God with a prayer of thanksgiving when it works, and add a prayer of thanks for the Ubuntu community.
Boot up time for me is about the same, maybe a few seconds longer. The new graphic defaults look cool and so far have been very fast and non-intrusive.
While I don't mind installing an extra file, getting a huge file onto a machine that doesn't boot correctly is a *major* source of stress. Please, Ubuntu, put a message for nVidia users in big, bold type on your main 9.10 page saying the latest driver is needed. Fetching this file beforehand would save a *lot* of trouble, as this thread shows. This really is a serious issue that should not be present in a standard release. (More than 40% with major problems? Is that normal?)
Still don't have working sound or floppy, but nothing new there. I saw a sound sticky...
On a positive note, thanks to the Ubuntu forum and community members for pointing me in the right direction!!!
mobo: MSI K9N2GM-FIH (nVidia GeForce 8200); proc: AMD Phenom X3 (AM2+) 8450; 4 Gig mem