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Ubuntu 10.4 “Lucid Lynx” Review

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

This post is been migrated to INITCRON.org

Asthetics

This is a huge improvement over past versions of Ubuntu.  Gone is the dreadful orange/brown theme of yesteryear.  In is the new, super smooth dark look and feel. The new look of Ubuntu is classy.  Elegant. Refined. I would call it far more pleasing to the eye (in an “ahhh, that’s soothing” sort of way) than Windows 7 or MacOS X 10.6.  Of course that is a purely subjective thing, but that’s my take after sitting in front of all of these operating systems every day.  Ubuntu 10.04 is just plain easier on the eye.  Almost… calming. There have, of course, been some controversy around the new look.  Specifically the fact that the window buttons (close, minimize, etc.) have now been moved to the left side of the windows.  This… has made some people cranky. I, myself, was one of those people.  I disliked the change.  But I am now used to it and consider it not a big deal.  It certainly isn’t a deal breaker.  In fact there are already tutorials for how to move those buttons back to the right hand side.

Nixie Pixel\’s Ubuntu 10.4 Review

Performance

But what about beyond the desktop? How does Ubuntu 10.04 actually run? First and foremost, boot time is astounding.  I was surprised to see the winning result  for ubuntu boot time on a poll to be  30-59 seconds. Most Linux distributions are striving for that magical 10 second number and Ubuntu 10.4 is incredibly close. My recent installation of Ubuntu 10.04 was coming in at around 15 seconds. The addition of Samba pushed that number to a whopping 23 seconds. Now that is time from bios post to actually having a usable desktop – not just seeing the desktop and waiting for everything to finish loading so I can use it.

And just how is it once it is up and running? It is  Fast. Stable. In fact, I would be willing to say this is the most stable Ubuntu I have used. I have yet to witness a single glitch, hiccup, or crash. And I have been beating the heck out of this installation. I guess the best thing to say about Ubuntu 10.04 under the hood is that it is about as solid a desktop Linux release you will see. There have been some changes made including the switch from starting daemons from /etc/init.d/ to DAEMON start/stop/restart where DAEMON is the name of the daemon you are wanting to start. But all of those changes were made in the name of making Linux even easier.

Integrated Social Networking and Media

Lets talk for a moment about the new “Me Menu”.By default it sits in the upper right hand side of your screen.  And, from there, you have quick access to your instant messaging accounts (via Empathy, my favorite little IM client). That, by itself, is nice.  Not earth shattering.  But handy enough to be worth while.But you’ll also notice a “Broadcast Account” option there.  From this one spot you can post updates (simultaneously) to Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and more. WOW !!

Once set up you will also receive message alerts from these services in the form of nice looking system notifications.  Plus, with the pre-loaded Gwibber, you can directly interact with all of these services. This takes Ubuntu from being a totally acceptable platform for interacting with social media  to become the platform for interacting with social media.  The other platforms don’t even come close.

It is simple, elegant and very well designed.

Ubuntu Software Center

I’ve often lamented  about the lack of a good, easy to use software store application for modern Linux distributions.  This is, I feel, one of the biggest things that can be done to further Linux as a desktop platform.  And with Ubuntu 10.4   it’s not here yet. But it’s getting closer.  With this release, the ubuntu software center  has become my favorite way to find and install new software.  It’s fast.  The user interface is clean and easy to navigate.  Finding new applications is incredibly easy.  Certainly a huge improvement over solutions such as synaptic and cli based apt.

The public plan was that the ability to purchase commercial (non-Free) software via the Ubuntu Software Center with the Ubuntu 10.10 release later this year.  And, if their progress with 10.04 is any indication, they seem to be right on track.

Revamped Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One,  Canonical’s online file storage service (similar in many ways to services such as DropBox) has been integrated far more tightly in this new release. It now auto-magically syncs your contacts, Tomboy notes and bookmarks across all of your Ubuntu powered machines. And, of course, it still provides 2gb of free storage for every Ubuntu user.  (For $10 per month you can upgrade  to 50gb of storage, syncing with mobile phones and Windows/Mac desktop applications). In my testing (using the free version of Ubuntu One) this worked astoundingly well.  Syncing of data was incredibly fast and getting setup was a snap. Will I be switching away from DropBox (which I have been a loyal customer of for some time)?  It’s looking that way.

The Ubuntu One Music Store

Continuing on the theme of expanded Ubuntu O ne services, Canonical has introduced the Ubuntu One Music Store. The prices are reasonable (typically seeming a little cheaper than iTunes), and the files are all provided in DRM-free MP3 format. In an interesting twist, when you purchase songs from the Ubuntu Music Store, those songs are download directly into your Ubuntu One online storage.  Which makes all of your music available on all of your Ubuntu-powered PC’s without needing to manually re-download or copy over your music. Which is, I must say, fairly awesome.  Plus, the store seems to work great.  Good speed.  Good sound quality.

Long Term Support (LTS)

10.4  is a LTS version, which means Ubuntu will officially support it for 3 years, untill April 2013 and release updates , pataches and security fixes. This is specially useful from the enterprise deployments.

Canonical has done a wonderful job as always with  ubuntu 10.4 LTS aka Lucid Lynx .

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