Friday, 11 April 2008
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Two weeks from today, the next version of Ubuntu should be available for download; the scheduled release date is April 24. A few significant bugs still remain and it would be interesting to see how one, in particular, is tackled.
This bug is one which was first reported in September 2006
- the high frequency of load/unload cycles on some hard drives which could lead to premature death of the drive
I asked the Ubuntu project about this bug and also four others - keys getting stuck (observed when using Compiz)
, the inability to reactivate wireless when certain systems are booted with the wireless kill switch activated
; when the disk checker fsck fails, the machine tends to reboot and start checking again
; and the clock applet chooses the wrong time zone for many cities.
I asked the Debian project about the first bug - the high frequency of load/unload cycles on some hard drives which could shorten the lifetime of the disk - as I have observed this on my own laptop which runs the testing stream of Debian. I have been using a fix involving hdparm but wanted to know what the project was planning to implement.
Both projects replied promptly but there was some difference in their reactions. From Ubuntu I had a one-liner in reply: "The Launchpad service is the source for the status on the bugs. There is no other source. When/if they are fixed/progressed in time or 8.04 will be published on Launchpad." I had cited the URLs from Launchpad to identify the bugs when I asked the questions.
This bug is still open and there has been quite a volume of email about it right from the month it was submitted. The load/unload cycles are high on some disks due to the aggressive advanced power management which the machine in question uses; the hard disk is parked and then rapidly accessed again. Every drive has a lifetime as far as these cycles go and there have been reports of some disks dying within a year.
There have been various fixes detailed by various people but one wonders whether users will be able to apply these fixes themselves. Indeed, some may still be unaware of the existence of the bug.
This bug was discussed to some extent in October last year when a hysterical post on Slashdot portrayed it as being Ubuntu-specific.