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Review: Ubuntu 10.04

Edit May 17: I have encountered a few bugs. The indicated applet often shows the same item multiple times and does not show other items. (see the picture)

Ubuntu often turns off networking at boot for some reason. It also has some problems with recovering from sleep mode (on my computer anyway)

Another thing that has been annoying me is that it seems that ubuntu turns the audio on at boot by default (and won’t let you mute it during boot). This is annoying because sometimes I am in public places where I don’t want my computer screaming annoying noises. I haven’t really looked into this much. So, take this with whatever size grain of salt you want.

Unfortunately Fedora 13 was delayed again so it will be a few more days before I can give that a shot.

Edit May 5: I just realized I forgot to mention the new social crap thing. All I have to say about it is that I found it completely pointless and useless. Maybe if I used twitter I would care.

As some of you may know I have no great love for Ubuntu. I don’t really hate Ubuntu itself I just like to poke fun at many of its users Some of you may also be aware that I have done a few reviews of a couple of different distros in the past. However, I’m sure all of you know that Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was released on April 29th, 2010.

I have been using Fedora for the past few years(since september, 2007) and have been very happy with it, until the release of Fedora 12. I stuck with Fedora 11 because 12 was unstable. Fedora 13 is on its way and I hope it is an improvement, but in case it isn’t I decided to give Ubuntu another try since I haven’t used it since 2007. I have to say I am impressed so far. Here is a synopsis of what I thought of it in the first 3 days of using it. Keep in mind that I have been using a year old version of linux and may be unfamiliar with changes to software (gnome) that have occurred in the past year (so I might complain about something that isn’t Ubuntu’s fault)

Day 0: (April 30th)
Install:
This is about as I expected. It has changed a bit. I think it might be a little bit more userfriendly than before because you get just the installer and it is certainly more professional looking. The install was pretty quick but that is what you would expect from an minimalist installer like ubuntu’s. I would have prefered the user stuff to be set up after the first reboot rather than before.

Ubuntu Software center:
This is really nice. This is what/wanted I expected apple to do years ago. it is really well polished and easy to use. Not everything a geek will want is in this list (no big deal apt-get is still there), but 90% of things are. Ubuntu has much larger repositories than fedora so a lot of things that I use (chrome/flash) were already in the list, but not installed of course)

first impression: Ubuntu 10.04 looks very nice and is much more professional looking than the past versions. Canonical seems to have put a lot of work into this (which is what one might expect from an Long Term Support release). I like the new dark theme (much better than the shit colored them). The window buttons being on the left is a bit odd and pointless but that is a pretty minor detail. I really think Ubuntu is trying to compete with mac os and not just windows.

Day 1: (may 1st)
I didn’t use the system a whole lot today. What time I did spend using it was mostly used to fix the problem from moving stuff and installing programs that I need. It would have been nice if the installer had offered to install programs during the instillation. I don’t remember there even being network support (or updates of course) during the install.

I know Canonical wants ubuntu to fit on a cd to make it more accessible I would rather have had it on a dvd and had more stuff installed by default. This isn’t in anyway important since there are repositories and it is only for the first few days that I will need to install stuff every 5 minutes.

Though I like dark themes they have 1 major flaw in my opinion. They contrast way to much with the bright white all programs use. Also it is hard to get the contrasts you sometimes need with a dark them for instance a dark gray on light gray progress bar can be annoying.

I don’t like apt that much. yum is much nicer. apt annoys me because apt-get only installs stuff (or is only really useful to install stuff but you still have to tell it to install (apt-get install). apt-cache only is useful to find package but you still have to tell it to search (apt-cache search). this is a lot of typing. I would rather just be able to type apt search or apt install (like yum). I’m sure this is somethingt I could get used to I would just rather not have to. yum is one of the reason I switched to fedora.

Day 2:
I got most of my major thoughts on 10.04 in the first two days, but I do have a few complains and observations for today. First is that the location of the power controls in the right corner of the top panel really annoys me. There is nothing bad or wrong about this, and in fact it could be a good thing, but I’m not used to it being there so I tend to look for it under the system menu. Also the power controls dialog box seems to be less extensive than Fedora’s.

Ubuntu’s pre-configuredness (sudo and what not) is nice for the average user who doesn’t know anything about computer but annoying for geeks. As a geek I want to have root access to my computer and to know how and what it is doing. I like being able to set and change things myself without the system fighting me.

When a program is not responding it fades to indicate that it is not responding. This is a nice touch and is more than I have seen in other distros, but I would really like to see a lot more. I think this is probably enough for a program that has frozen, but it would be nice if a full crash is reported to the users. I don’t remember ever having a program fully crash while using Ubuntu 10.04 (maybe if I had used Firefox more) so I can’t say for sure that they are not reported. Reporting is of course often annoying to users, but I would rather have a dialog box that tells me that the program died (and ask if I want to report it to the developers) then just have the program disappear (sometimes without me noticing). For a freeze (not responding) reporting to the user may not be such a good idea because programs which freeze often will start working again in a few minutes. However, if the program continues frozen for a long enough time the user should probably be told about it and asked what to do. Ubuntu does warn the user by fading the window (which as I said I like), but it doesn’t go the extra step to report crashes or extended freezes (as far as I know). Programs should crash gracefully (of course this is really something the programmer should take care of and the os should only have to deal with in an extreme condition). Good start Ubuntu, but I want to see more in the future.

and lastly a note to all the programmers out there. Ubuntu comes with python 2.6 only by default. if you wish to use python 3 you will have to install it yourself. Also perhaps of more interest g++ is not installed by default (though gcc and make are). To be fair I don’t think Fedora comes with any developer tools installed by default.

(back to today)
Overall I have to say Canonical has done a very good job and I do like Ubuntu 10.04 and I will probably continue to use it if Fedora 13 is as bad as 12, but if Fedora 13 turns out well I will probably use that. Fedora 13 will be out in 14 days (May 18th) so I will see what happens then and I’ll be sure to write about it.

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Posted by on May 5, 2010 in review, ubuntu, Uncategorized

 

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