Upgrading my Eee PC to Ubuntu 12.04

Last weekend I did the most stupid thing you can do when a new version of Ubuntu is released: upgrade. At least until things have calmed down a bit. Anyway, I didn't have much to lose, as things have been on a steady decline since the last LTS release.

My Asus Eee PC 1000HE used to work great with older Ubuntu versions, roughly up to (and including) 10.04 LTS. The Atheros AR928X Wifi chip was barely supported when I bought the netbook, but the situation improved over time. Hibernate and suspend worked great right from the start; the only time I shut down the system was for kernel upgrades.

Unfortunately, the situation went downhill from there. For example, with 11.10, suspend worked exactly once, the second suspend left the system in an unusable state. Hibernate hasn't worked for ages, allegedly due to a lack of swap space (3 GB of swap space for 2 GB of RAM). The 3 GB was my choice, the installer suggested 2 GB (and yes, I know what a swap file is).

After the last upgrade, my system even lost the ability to shut down (I'm not kidding, a colleague reports the same problem). About half of the time I had to force shutdown via the power button.

This being the situation, I decided to give 12.04 a try. What could go wrong? (Now, after the upgrade I remember how my trusty Acer Travelmate didn't have a working X for about three years when they stopped supporting the then popular Intel i855 graphics chip. Now that I don't need it anymore, it works again. Right out of the box, without having to try all those workarounds that failed previously. Anyway, I digress.)

I upgraded the system using the graphical update manager. Including package downloads it took about three hours without any noticeable problems. I wasn't even locked out of X. Great!

Looking for improvements on the hibernate/suspend front, however, I found none. They even disabled hibernation support by default for all devices. Running pm-hibernate from the console wasn't successful, so no progress there. Suspend is broken, exactly like before. At least shutdown worked three times in a row, which is a good sign.

On the plus side I now have an up to date system with five years of support, which is pretty cool. I don't think I'll upgrade this system ever again. Unity works well for me, GUI freezes are down to about once per month. For small screens I actually like it, for larger screens not so much, but that's a different story.