Ubuntu 9.04 released!

The newest version of our beloved Linux distro Ubuntu was released on April 21st. Code named Jaunty Jackalope, Ubuntu 9.04 desktop edition brings some nice features:

  • finally OpenOffice 3.0.1 installed;
  • Gnome 2.26 with some improvements for multiple monitors setups, Empathy (multi-protocol instant messenger), Evolution (email client now with MS Exchange support), Volume manager (now integrated with PulseAudio);
  • X.Org server 1.6 to improve support for some 3D video cards;
  • new notification alert system specially designed for Ubuntu;
  • Linux kernel 2.6.28 with ext4 file system support;

I’ve been using Ubuntu almost exclusively for about 2 years now. The improvements made since that time have been enormous and this release although not ground breaking has brought some very nice improvements.

On my desktop (the computer I’m using now to write this post) I just did a distro upgrade and with one click of a button the entire system took care of the entire procedure by itself. I left the computer on overnight but the reason it took so long was that most likely the Ubuntu servers and mirrors are extremely busy.

Now I’m already looking forward to Ubuntu 9.10 in October 🙂

Switching to Linux which distro to use, Ubuntu?

This is the third of a sequence of posts where we’ll take a look at a few of the main Linux distros to find out which are the most welcoming to Linux newbies. In our first article of this series we took a look at Fedora 9 Beta, the second article we spoke about openSUSE, and the third in the series was about Mandriva.

We’ll do this test with the live (Gnome) CD to analyze: parts of the hardware that are recognized, software package installed, general usability (setup adjustments, software installation). Computer tested specs: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600, 2GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 6100.

Ubuntu 8.04

Like the other main distros, Ubuntu’s live CD is extremely simple to use and quite fast to load the full Gnome desktop. But… once the desktop loaded I had the same screen problems I had with the other distros I tried (except Mandriva), the configuration was all wierd. Blame nVidia, blame Microsoft’s importance for hardware compliance, … all I know is that it wasn’t working. After the full installation and finding the correct drivers to install these problems do go away though. Also, embedded web videos aren’t displayed.

 

Ubuntu desktop

The desktop visual has the familiar Ubuntu style of orange. Ubuntu 8.04 (aka Hardy Heron) also packs all of the goodies of Gnome 2.22.

 

Hardware?

Monitor didn’t work too well. All of the rest worked like a charm: keyboard, bluetooth (I just got a bluetooth dongle), audio, webcam, and reading/writing to NTFS partitions of my HD. But, I’m aware that the video issue is corrected after the installation and that it isn’t working through the live CD because of issues with proprietary drivers.

 

Software:

The basic all-you-need package is present: Firefox, Transmission, Brasero, Pidgin, VNC, OpenOffice, GIMP, and quite a few others.

 

The huge “double thumbs-up” Ubuntu gets from me is their Add/Remove programs application. First, it packs hundreds and hundreds of options of programs you can install with just 2 clicks. Second, and most important is the stars placed beside the name for each application. A complete Linux newbie (like I was) wouldn’t know the majority of these programs and to see a ranking system based on feedback and usage is incredibly helpful. I was able to quickly find some very nice programs just by checking the options with five stars. It couldn’t be easier.

 

Ubuntu add remove programs

Ubuntu is a Debian based platform, so the options for programs that can be installed is huge and the installation process also can be very easy.

 

First impressions results?

Three pinguinsI was quite pleased with this test. Ubuntu makes sure things are quite simple for the user, fast, and very resourceful. But, Ubuntu’s lack of proprietary drivers distribution gives a few first impression glitches that can scare users away. In my opinion, I would give Ubuntu 2 pinguins because of the issues with drivers, but the speed and very nice ease of use made me give Ubuntu three pinguins.

 

Just an idea, why not make a release by Canonical loaded with these proprietary drivers? Then, it would make the perfect distro.

 

Overall Mandriva is my favorite distro from these tests. I do have Ubuntu installed on my main computer but if I were to do a fresh install I would surely change. At least that is my personal opinion with the current releases tested so far.

Ubuntu 8.04 update without any issues

Over the weekend I updated my Ubuntu machine from 7.10 to the brand new 8.04 release. I waited a few days after the official release to see if I heard any reports of upgrade problems.

I searched and searched and really didn’t find that many written reports of people that had updated their machines, most prefered to install from scratch. So, I took the risk and pressed the update distribution release button.

Ubuntu Hardy Heron update

It took about 3 hours for my computer with a 600kpbs connection to download all of the data needed. After 30 more minutes and a couple of error messages, the machine was updated. I rebooted to see whether everything was working and I was happy to say that it was.

Maybe the error messages it gave me were false alarms… So far, my machine is running very well and stable. I removed Transmission since I’m using Deluge BitTorrent client. One small  thing I didn’t like was the switch to Firefox beta. Now, many of the plug-ins I use are not functional. I wish I had the option to stick with my old Firefox, specially since this one isn’t on final release yet.

Here is what my desktop looks like now (the wallpaper and icon theme I had set previously):

ubuntu hardy heron desktop

What about you dear readers, share with us your experiences upgrading or installing Ubuntu 8.04.

New Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu 8.04 is in da house!

new Ubuntu 8.04

The ever so popular and handy Long Term support 8.04 versions of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu are out. The star of the show, Ubuntu has quite a nice set of new features, including:

  • A windows based Ubuntu installer, so you don’t have to go through creating and managing partitions;
  • New out-of-the-box programs such as Transmission (for BitTorrents), Brasero (CD and DVD burning), Firefox 3 beta;
  • new Gnome 2.22;
  • plus lots and lots more.

Get it now through download, purchase liveCDs, or even ask them to be shipped to you for free! For torrents, try here.