After getting back from a business trip, I decided on a whim to upgrade my main Ubuntu machine. Big mistake. I was running Lucid Lynx and I decided to try Precise Pangolin. Yes, I know the risks, don’t fix what isn’t broken etc. but even allowing for that, it’s still not good. I did the upgrade from within 10.04, and yes, it did work and boot afterwords but that’s where any success ended.
First of all, I lost the ability to log in as my original user, or as root from the new greeter screen. The workaround seems to be to add a manual login option to the lightdm config file. After that, vmware workstation no longer worked (not supported on 12.04) but I managed to fix that by upgrading the kernel to 3.4 and applying a patch.
I had the computer set up while I was away so that when my children turned it on, it would automatically log in as root, run vmware workstation and start a VM that they could use. This no longer appears possible, even after solving the vmware workstation problem.
The lightdm config seems to be subservient to the accountsservice package, so changing it’s options has no effect. The accountsservice cannot be removed, it appears core to Ubuntu.
The final straw is that I couldn’t find any documentation on the accountsservice on the Ubuntu website. Other problems I can forgive, but not that.
Overall, I think Ubuntu has evolved to a level where it is just trying to be too “smart”. I can understand making decisions on behalf of users to cater for a wider audience but it has forgotten it’s roots and blocked off customisation options. From this initial (and brief!) experience it no longer seems to meet my needs so it is time to look for a new default distro.