This upgrade did not go smoothly. Sure, all of my personal data survived, and all the data and configuration files for my applications made a successful transition, but this upgrade should have just worked. In hindsight, it’s bothersome that I was impressed by simple things like mail continuing to work. There should be nothing impressive about an installer simply loading config files from my home directory that were already there. The notion that something like that would not work is rediculous, though in the back of my mind, I would expect it not too.
If an average user upgrades from one LTS release to another, after the system asks the user to do so, the expectation should be a working system. Especially Ubuntu, which is more of an end-user product than just a community effort. If the average user logs into the newly updated system and is presented with nothing but a black screen, the system is just broken and it is unacceptable. Especially within the portrait of stability that Ubuntu tries to frame for potential users. An average user cannot be expected to know how to perform detective work via the command line to even gain clues as to what the heck has happened to their system.
There were some pluses to the install. Even though Unity and Compiz is broken, Unity 2D is a real performer. In the extra space on this hard drive, I’ve tried some previous betas of 12.04 Precise, and even in Unity 2D the performance on the machine was abysmal. This system is perfectly usable with Unity 2d. I like how far Unity has come and how snappy it’s gotten. I’ve seriously considered moving to it completely on my desktop, and I will as soon as Gimp 2.8, if ever, is released.
As for running Precise in 5 year old hardware? Sure, though you might be better served by something a little more lightweight like Lubuntu.
User discretion is advised.