If It Ain’t Broke…

I made the mistake of upgrading my Ubuntu installation to the newest version last week, despite the fact that I was quite happy with my existing installation.  In fact, I had a fairly complex setup fine-tuned to my needs.  For example, I had two copies of Firefox: one with all my fancy-shmancy extensions, and one “clean” version with Flash disabled and no extensions installed (I don’t trust FF extensions entirely – some of them may be spyware). Upgrading consolidated them into one version (not to mention that I had two sets of bookmarks – one in each version).

Also, there were some serious problems with my video card, and my resolution dropped from 1900 pixels wide to 640.  That means I lost about two thirds of my screen space.  By now I’ve come to a, ahem, resolution to the problem (sorry), but it took several hours and many reboots.  I have a fairly generic video card, so I was surprised it was such an ordeal.

The main thing I’m missing right now is The Daily Show’s website.  Something broke, and I simply can’t watch the content anymore.  I can watch the ads, which run several times in a row, but not the actual show. They’re in beta, so it might be something they changed that happens to coincide with my upgrade, but I doubt it.  Ubuntu installed Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 5, which is weird because Ubuntu is usually very conservative about stability.  Anyway, it stinks because that’s the one show I try to watch on a regular basis.

Anyway, besides venting, the point of this post is to revisit a good rule of thumb – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  That “get the latest version” button is nice and shiny and tempting, but before you press it, ask if it’s really necessary.  Read about what the changes are.  Ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.  And yes, there is risk.  Even the super-user-friendly iTunes exposed users to growing pains, without giving them much in return for their pain.  If there’s a security issue, it probably is worth the risk, but otherwise, give it some thought before you press that “Update Now” button.

–DT

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