I've been fairly busy the last few weeks and some of it was because Ubuntu 9.1 served up a unexpected & nasty surprise. It will not load properly on a DELL Dimension 2400 desktop. This particular model is somewhat ancient as computers go BUT it still is a Celeron (P4 class) running at 2.6GHz with 2 GB of RAM. I am loathe to replace it because it has been extremely reliable for over 5 years now. It works about as well as anything with a near 3GHz processor currently available save the dual core CPU's.
I have tried installing 9.1 using two methods. One was the on-line in-place upgrade from 9.04 to 9.1. The other was a full install ISO image. Neither method worked, both crashed on the next boot after installation.
At first I thought it is was an issue related to grub but that wasn't the problem. Increasing RAM size also wasn't the issue. The original 512 MB memory was twice as much as required minimum. One GB of RAM didn't help resolve the issue.
The really annoying thing is that a trashed install of 9.1 kills the previous installs like 9.04 on the same disk. Even selecting previous installs or the recovery options crash.
I suspect the Intel 845 chipset is the issue, in that I've installed Ubuntu 9.1 on later model chipsets and not had any problems. I've backed up a few steps, wiped the drive and re-installed 9.04 on it and everything is running again as well as it was 2 or 3 weeks ago. This particular system is my “server”. Lots of backed-up files on large hard drives. It cannot be unreliable.
The primary reason I have invested so much time and energy into Linux, Ubuntu in particular, is to wean myself and my household off Windows. Especially now. The price for Windows 7 shrink-wrap significantly approaches the price of a new hardware platform. The economics get even worse when talking about buying refurbished computers. Putting Windows 7 Home Premium on a salvaged computer system makes even less sense.
What has been damaged more than anything else is my trust in the Ubuntu programmers and test engineers. I had gotten to the point where I believed that installing anything from Ubuntu was not going to be an issue requiring lots of remedial work. It was stable, able to install on practically anything without crashing. That trust has been severely damaged.