I generally move from LTS to LTS releases of Ubuntu but reluctantly had to update my system to Karmic when my old HDD gave in. I also thought of trying out Kubuntu (KDE based) this time as I had heard that its doing a lot of interesting things (Akonadi/Nepomuk etc) and that with 4.3.1 it is stable as well. The installation went fine, all over within less than half an hour and then the problems started. Here are the 2 main issues that I faced along with their solutions, in the hope that if someone else runs into same issues does not have to waste time (and hair) on it :)
1. Bootloader Issue: I dual boot my system along with Win XP (Needed for some office work) and generally install the bootloader onto a separate boot partition instead of overwriting the MBR. But this time when I did the same, I couldn’t boot (not even the grub menu). When I did this, the very helpful message that I got on restarting after installing kubuntu was “Error loading operating system”. I could still go back to my good windows install by setting the boot flag onto its partition. I mucked around with it a lot, trying to install grub2 again and found that actually it fails when I try to do the above (install on a partition). I also tried copying the boot sector from my /boot partition to C: and use ntldr to boot into linux but that also didn’t work. This lead me to believe that the same thing happened during my main installation and the installer failed to tell me anything about it. I tried then to install it on MBR but that also mucked up things and I couldn’t even get the error message, a cursor just kept blinking. Finally, the solution. I had to install kubuntu again and this time selected to overwrite MBR (this is default, BTW).
2. Wi-Fi Connection Issue: Second immediate issue was with knetworkmanager. It failed to start my wi-fi module (even after installing restricted drivers). I disabled and enabled wi-fi, so that brought some life to it (wi-fi led started glowing) but it still couldn’t scan for any access points. I could do the scan through command line and see my AP but my AP is WPA2 secured and I didn’t want to mess around with wpa-supplicant stuff. Solution: Installed Wicd. And it worked automagically.
Hope this helps someone else who faces the same issue. Looks like my idea of moving to kubuntu wasn’t a good one (especially because I had 2 lockups during the 1 hour I used it for in the wee hours of this morning). I’ll probably give it another week or so before taking the decision whether to move back to ubuntu or not.
One good thing to take away from this though: For the first time I could really appreciate the live CD installer that these linux distros give. As I could search about the various issues I had without having a second computer. But then again, it’s not that good as well because it means that so far I never had any installation issues at all…