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Is there a way to update things on an no-longer supported version of Ubuntu?
January 6, 2013 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm stuck using an old no longer supported version of ubuntu (11.04) on my primary laptop because the video card is not supported by the newer distros. Is there anyway I can get updates for it or is there an alternate OS that will still support old Intel video? I've already run into snafus with ruby and firefox is no longer updating ( I can probably just switch to chrome). I don't want to spend to much time yak shaving because I would rather be getting stuff done.
posted by srboisvert to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What is the video card? Can you post the output of "lspci"?
posted by samworm at 1:09 PM on January 6, 2013

This is why I always install ONLY the LTS (Long Term Support) versions of Ubuntu. I'm currently on 10.04, I think, and I have another few months of support before I need to upgrade to 12.04. LTS, LTS, always only LTS. I don't have time to f*rt around with OS updates every freaking 12 months.

Constructive advice ... Post this question in , specifically the Video subforum and of course say what kind of video card it is. Include the lspci output that samworm mentioned above, in particular the video/VGA line.

The fix may be easy! So don't be daunted by having to take the time to engage in the forum over there; just posting may be half the work.
posted by intermod at 1:24 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Try Knoppix or plain old Debian?
posted by trig at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2013

assuming the laptop isn't crazy-old, the problem is likely video card firmware that's been removed from the kernel for licensing reasons. if that's the case, there's almost certainly a firmware package that will get you running on the current (or current LTS) release. check at the Ubuntu forums like intermod suggested.
posted by russm at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2013

I too have a laptop with a card that's not supported by unity; but you can still use other dekstop/window managers. You can try xubuntu or kubuntu...
posted by 3mendo at 2:35 PM on January 6, 2013

What 3mendo said. Do you mean the video card is no longer supported by more recent Linux kernels (huh?) or do you mean the video card is not fancy enough to be forced into Ubuntu's Unity desktop crap? If the latter, just make the change to a better desktop/window manager.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:20 PM on January 6, 2013

I am running an even older version of Ubuntu on my work desktop primarily because I hate Unity and don't want to upgrade. My advice would be to switch to Chrome, install rvm and be done with it for now.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:06 PM on January 6, 2013

Another alternative is to leave the existing OS on there as is, but install a virtualization program (e.g. VirtualBox or VMWare) on it so you can run a newer OS to do your actual work in.

To be clear, the guest OS won't know (or care) about whatever real video card you have in this case, it'll only see the virtual adapter which should work fine in any distribution you'll use. This wouldn't do if you need low-level access to the underlying hardware (e.g. because you write device drivers or play a lot of games), but ought to work fine for just about everything else.
posted by tomwheeler at 8:25 PM on January 6, 2013

You're going to need to give us some information. Post the output of lspci -v, as asked above.

It doesn't really happen that Linux "stops supporting" old video cards, so I'm not sure where you got that idea. Maybe you mean the binary driver is no longer supported? Then use the open source once, or a generic driver.

If I were you I'd boot from the latest Ubuntu live dvd and see what happens.
posted by devnull at 12:35 AM on January 7, 2013

Firstly, as others have said, you will get better help (both here and on Ubuntu-specific forums) if you post abundant detail about your problem, including video card specifications and exactly what happens when you try to run Ubuntu 12.04.

I agree that first steps should be:

1. Make sure the problem is kernel support rather than Unity; if Unity is the problem, use 12.04 or 12.10 with a non-Unity desktop (e.g. xfce). Try booting from a xubuntu live CD.

2. If kernel support is the problem, post to the Ubuntu forums as intermod suggested.

If these fail:

3. Try Live CDs for other distros -- I'd start with Debian, SUSE, and Fedora, in that order.
posted by pont at 12:44 AM on January 7, 2013

nthing that we need information. If the problem is Unity, look into Linux Mint (MATÉ edition), it's a lot like older versions of Ubuntu.
posted by vasi at 1:46 AM on January 7, 2013

Turned out I was just spooked by my failed upgrade of yesteryear which was due to a bug that has long since been fixed. The subsequent upgrade warnings were due to my card not being to support all unity features rather than my card not being supported at all and I guess I was just too spooked from the initial attempts failure to read it properly.

I'm all up to date now and should be able to manage for a few more months until I get my next laptop. Thanks all.
posted by srboisvert at 11:28 AM on January 8, 2013

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