Usually, upgrading Ubuntu is relatively painless. It downloads a zillion packages, installs them, asks a few inane questions to which you accept the default options and voilà, you have the new version. And, on my office desktop (yes, we use Ubuntu on desktops at work) it worked perfectly.
Not so on my home laptop. Well, the downloading worked, the installing, even the inane questions. It went wrong when trying to reboot. There was no “Ubuntu 9.10” option, only the old 9.04 and 8.10. And those didn’t work. For some reason, the default option for installing a new kernel is “keep the current version”.
Which means you’re stuck as the whole PC didn’t boot at all. Except for the Windows Vista that came with it. I used that to burn a Ubuntu 9.10 CD, which sounds easier that it was, because Windows is not very happy if you do not use it for some time (there will be so many updates lying around that it takes an hour before you can actually use the system).
From the Ubuntu LiveCD, I could run grub to install correctly.
~# grub-install --root=/path/to/mounted/root /dev/sda
What is important to know about the grub-install tool is that it uses /boot/grub/menu.lst as its menu settings (though I cannot confirm if it takes the –root option in consideration). What I didn’t quite grasp also is that in hand-booting my laptop, by typing in the grub commands, the Linux partition was at (hd0,6), while in menu.lst it became (hd0,5).
Well, whatever. It works now.
Update (5 minutes after post): Ubuntu 9.10 installs a game “Nexuiz” which crashes on startup, which makes ‘apport’, the crash reporting program suck up 100% CPU usage for 3 minutes. As I like to say, “Linux just sucks in a different way”.