The update process in Ubuntu has …. well it has gotten out of control. There is no doubt that updates are a necessity for security patches and bug fixes…no argument there. However, Ubuntu seems to want to build the operating system as they go… having you download huge numbers of updates, often daily. Many users have complained bitterly about this as they do not have the bandwidth to justify the updates and they do not enjoy the experience being forced to update almost daily.
I believe this whole issue is forced on the developers because of the release schedule which is rigid. Now Canonical may be proud that they release on time but they should be ashamed in releasing too soon.
Take a look at the LTS version of the server. When it released it did not have LVM2, it did not have all of the updated software raid tools, it did not have acls installed either. Each of these is a standard option that any administrator would want available, especially in the LTS version. They could be installed manually once you installed 8.04 but they were later installed via the update process. The point is, Ubuntu should have released a solid up to date server version in 8.04, not build it as you go with updates. Administrators depend on their servers being up to speed when they install. In addition, adding LVM2, raid tools and acls at a later date after the installation are problematic.
The LTS version of the Desktop was even worse. In fact, there were so many updates that the 8.04.1 version had to be released. Canonical created many angry users over the fact that since 8.04.1 many users thought it was a whole new version so they wiped out there system and installed new. The process was confusing to users and unpleasant. In fact, if users kept up with the updates they had 8.04.1 already installed.
The 8.04 or now 8.04.1 version was supposed to be the long term support version that was more stable and would be a solid foundation for a long time. Unfortunately the constant updates has put that in question.