Est. 2007

Ubuntu 10.04

In Tech, ubuntu on May 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm

So if you’re like me and have been away from Linux for a while now, the good news is that Ubuntu 10.04 has been released. This marks a long term service release (LTS). Also of great controversy is the change in the colour scheme from brown/orange to purple/black.

Personally, I’ve installed this on my brother’s notebook. There are a lot of noticeable changes to the whole system. One of the biggest that I have noticed is the installation of restricted drivers for graphics and wireless cards. This has become quite easy as the system will warn you that you need to install them and will do so if you request. Also, the specialized function keys worked straight out of the box and so did suspend. The use of the ext4 file system as default is the second. The system also has started using grub 2.0; however, I am unsure as to when they started doing this. Personally, being quite well versed with legacy grub, it is a bit cumbersome to go to different files to change different things. I much preferred the text file system of changing settings of the old grub. I still find that partitioning the system with gparted is better than waiting for the installer to allow you to do it. The installer still isn’t quite as intuitive and feature rich as gparted in its entirety.

In the more general review, I can safely say that the distro is maturing well. For many new users it can be a far more pleasant experience than previously. I also believe that it can cater for many basic computer user needs with all the in built software that it comes with. The restricted media codecs and flash are also quite easy to install using the medibuntu repository. Sure, I found that flash wasn’t perfect and didn’t perform as expected, but i’m sure they’ll fix that soon enough.

So, let’s recap on linux’s position. You can pretty much install it on a machine and 9/10 times it should all work fine including wifi and graphics even those pesky Broadcom ones. You got all you basic apps all in there, including office productivity software, music, web, email, bit torrent, IM and the list goes on. For all I know my PC can suspend pretty well and this is on a very budget machine, hence I believe that is all good for the most part for all. Linux has got eye-candy in the form of Compiz. It runs very well on net-books with special net-book versions that cater for that market, which includes ubuntu remix and whole bunch of others out there. In terms of peripherals, printers that are compatible with a mac should work since mac and linux use Cups. A range of tuner cards are supported and most other things like webcams should work; obviously with many exceptions. In the more general linux traits side, it still needs no virus protection. It can still manage to kill apps without shutting down. It can still go days without a reboot.

I think Linux in general is at that point where it can succeed as a desktop system. I do believe that many of us out there that use a system mostly for the web and basic things can manage to use linux and especially ubuntu as a distro for everyday use. I do believe that people should give it a try and not be prejudicial towards it. So many people simply dismiss something because they are too afraid of change. That’s what’s got us into this whole Windows monopoly in the first place. We’ve had relative stability with XP, but guess what, the regular cycle for Microsoft is around 3 years and paying the big bucks every time a new version comes out is a really big part of IT costs to big companies and even non-profits and schools despite the volume discounts. Just look at those that bought a Vista PC, they might not want to buy a new computer, but it seems like they should just cause the retail version of the upgrade license for windows 7 runs in the hundreds of dollars. The other issue is of ethics, just think about it, it is ethical for schools to use and force the use of proprietary software. In the end, the answer lies with users, they vote with their choices and so it comes down to them. So, wouldn’t you say, people should know their choices before they make that choice. All the good reason to try Linux, wouldn’t you say?

The Spray Can


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