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Before 13.10 came out, I tried it, and I frequently had errors, so I'm afraid to upgrade.

I've had to go further into Ubuntu than I thought I would to get it working well with all drivers and sparse errors.

I had to use a mainline kernel with 13.04 to get my audio working. I now upgrade that to the latest mainline whenever it comes out, keeping the older mainline that worked until I can verify the new one works, and so on.

I currently use Catalyst 13.8 BETA for video to work.

In short, my hardware is hanging on by a thin thread (as opposed to an older laptop that works perfectly from a regular 13.04 install and was resurrected from Windows paralysis by Ubuntu).

Is it practical to only upgrade the kernel, or will my computer eventually "stop working" because the supporting software from a later version is not available and unable to be installed? In short, will I be forced to upgrade one day to use the latest kernels?

Downgrading seems extremely difficult, and I'm not able to set aside the time for a backup and reinstall.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

At some point in the distant future, possibly, but practically no, you can track the latest mainline kernel. You might try upgrading again though now that 13.10 is final since 13.04 will only be supported for 3 more months, and after that, you don't want to keep running it without getting security fixes.

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