I have upgraded from Jaunty to Karmic on my Dell XPS 1610 and everything seems to work great.

My upgrade was interrupted (my own fault for running another application at the same time and having it crash) and caused some serious problems for a few hours while I tried to fix it. The symptom was that the system wouldn’t boot and told me that it couldn’t read from the root filesystem. In the end I solved the problem by dropping to a shell, re-mounting the root disk so I could write to it (“mount -o remount,rw /”), then running apt-get and sorting out dependency problems with python2.6 and mono-common (I finally had to delete /var/lib/binfmts/python2.5 in order for python to install properly). This process took hours and finally I was able to perform a full “apt-get dist-upgrade” from the shell, then reboot. I still had a disk error which prevented booting, but I discovered a great tip someplace to force a disk check on the root filesystem on reboot with “tune2fs -C 30 /dev/sda5″ (or whatever device).

The experience reminded me that Linux is great for people like me, but maybe not so great for others. It isn’t that Windows doesn’t have similar problems (like I said, it was my fault for crashing the system in the middle of a major upgrade), but when it does, a less-savvy user can take the machine to the corner computer shop to get it fixed.

In spite of that, Karmic has lots of great features that make it perfect for any user. I’m still noticing small changes, but so far, so good. I like the new face browser login window and I’m thrilled with the new audio control panel, which is simpler and clearer than before with new features — for example, you can now see which active applications are using the sound server and turn them on and off with a single click.