Legacy Hardware: Upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04

I don’t have a dedicated TV at home and use a 10 year old 17″ PC for most of my media consumption. So far, I’ve been running it on Ubuntu 14.04 and I didn’t really see any reason to update it. Well, actually, over the years, software ‘enhancements’ have brought some ‘display shear’ when things in a DRM protected video in Firefox moved fast.  Also, Ubuntu 14.04 didn’t have some codecs to play back some video files with VNC or the bulit-in video player. It has been a bit of a nuisance, but not enough to throw out the PC and to get something new.

However, support of Ubuntu 14.04 is now rapidly coming to an end so I decided to upgrade to the latest long term support version. From 14.04 that would have meant going to 16.04 first and then to 18.04 afterward. A bit too much hassle, so I decided to just wipe the partition and do a clean install to save time.

To my great surprise, the user interface is as smooth as ever despite the PC with a Core 2 Duo processor being 10 years old. And, to my even bigger surprise, the display shear issue has not become worse but has subjectively even decreased a bit when streaming DRM protected (yes, it’s bad, I know) content in Firefox. I would have expected quite the contrary. So if you also have a 10 year old PC at home and are afraid to update Linux on it to something more recent, your worries are probably unfounded!