[Wow. It’s been a year since I last posted. Huh.]
Right. Over the past year, I’ve kinda migrated away from Linux Mint. I like it, it’s good, but there were a few too many things keeping me from loving it. It’s been in a state of constant development over the past year, with Cinnamon and MATE growing better by the day, but whenever I tried it out it on my computers it had an unfortunate tendency to shit itself.
So I tried out Xubuntu 12.04 [rather than vanilla Ubuntu, since I still ain’t a fan of Unity]. And it worked. On both my EeePC and my HP laptop, it worked just fine. Gloriously, in fact. Like a bloody champion. Did everything I wanted it to and didn’t give me any ugly surprises.
Of course, like a lot of Ubuntu users, I went ahead and installed Ubuntu 12.10 when it came out [or, more specifically, Xubuntu 12.10]. I like new stuff. New stuff’s cool. New Ubuntu! What could go wrong?
Well, nothing, to begin with. Xubuntu 12.10 seemed fine out of the box. But with all the hubbub about Steam coming to Linux, I figured it was high time I tried getting the propriety AMD drivers working on my HP lappy, in anticipation of gettin’ my game on. What followed was a full day’s-worth of teeth-grinding, hair-pulling, near crying-jag levels of frustration.
I tried both drivers included with Ubuntu [now squirreled away in the Software Sources], and both dumped me at a stinkin’ TTY text prompt upon reboot. I then tried the newest, most bleeding-edge drivers direct from AMD. Same deal.
It wasn’t that I’d been caught up in the whole AMD Legacy driver brouhaha. My card’s a 6470M — fully supported. No, the problem as far as I could tell from all my Googlin’-about was X.Org. See, with Ubuntu 12.10, Canonical’s gone and upgraded X.Org from 1.12 to 1.13. And that puppy is well finicky.
So I went running back to Xubuntu 12.04. I installed the latest AMD drivers and, lo and behold!, everything was golden. No being shat out to a TTY prompt, no wonky windows, no screen tearing, no dramas. Everything I threw at it worked, and all was right in the world.
Seems there’s a good reason Valve are suggesting Ubuntu 12.04 for running Steam. In fact, seems there’re a couple of good reasons. 1) It’s a Long Term Release [Good ’til 2017!]. 2) It bloody works. Fact is, despite all the whizz-bang improvements to Unity [which I don’t care about], 12.10 is little more than a glorified Beta for the upcoming 13.04.
Which, really, is the case with any non-LTE version of Ubuntu. They’re where Canonical’s developers try out new stuff — which is ace, of course, and necessary. But in terms of stability, they just don’t cut for the average user.
By all means, try out Ubuntu 12.10. Hell, it might work better for you than it did for me [It does seem that way for some folks]. But me, I ain’t shiftin’ from 12.04 until I have a compelling reason. It’s solid, stable on every system I’ve thrown it at, and it’s supported for five good long years.
No, despite the temptation to embrace the latest and ride the bleeding edge, my experience with 12.10 has taught me a lesson: If it works, leave well enough alone.