Review of Ubuntu 9.10
It’s been nearly two weeks since the release of Ubuntu 9.10, and I am proud to announce that I have performed a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.10. I haven’t used Windows in months, due to lack of designing in Photoshop and the abundance of programming I’ve been doing recently, so I thought it was time to get rid of it entirely. Now that I have, I must say I couldn’t be happier. With 20 GB dedicated to the main install and nearly 40 GB for my home directory, I doubt I will ever run out of room. Of course, if I do, I always have a 120 GB external drive waiting to be filled up.
With my bragging out of the way, it’s time to give my review of Ubuntu 9.10. Firstly, I would like to thank the Ubuntu team for delivering amazing results for this release. Everything runs faster and smoother than ever before, even before my fresh install.
The login screen looks quite a bit different, and some may argue that it was a change in the wrong direction. Although I was a fan of the old login screen, this one delivers the same functionality with an updated look. For the basic users out there, the functionality cared about is probably logging in. With the default settings, all users are displayed in a list (picture, name, etc). Upon selecting the appropriate user and hitting ‘enter’, the other users disappear and a password input appears. Typing in the correct password allows you to play with the computer more.
Ubuntu Software Center
If this is your first time using Ubuntu, you will love the Software Center. Once you open the application (Applications > Ubuntu Software Center), a screen appears with several categories (or departments).
Selecting any department will give you a list of applications available in that department. The Software Center also includes a search function, to help you find what your looking for… if you already know what you’re looking for. Regrettably, there is no organization (unless you call alphabetical order organization) past the departments. So think of the Software Center as a store that places things on the shelf in alphabetical order. Personally, I don’t believe chess and solitaire belong next to a combat simulator or first-person shooter just because the names of the games are similar.
Even though it may be difficult to find a 3D model editor without knowing the name, the Software Center looks promising. A little more organization and more integration into the system (replacing update manager, synaptic, etc) should help a lot.
Although I have yet to use it, the idea is nice. Two GB of free space to store files on. You can use it as extra storage, backup your data there, or just smile over the fact that you have two GB of space (for free!) if you ever need it.
While personal clouds were available prior to Ubuntu One, they were not fully integrated into the operating system. With Ubuntu One, any files or folders placed into ~/Ubuntu One are automatically synchronized across all of your computers. This is great if you’re writing an article (or book) on your computer, and want to be able to edit it on each of your computers without carrying a flash drive with you. It is also safer than a flash drive, because losing a computer is much more difficult than losing a flash drive. And on top of that, even if you lose your computer (or it loses your data), you always have the file on your other computer(s).
There is only one problem I’ve run into with 9.10, and that would be with multiple monitors not being fully supported. Well, to be fair, it’s not a problem for all Ubuntu users. Only those users with Intel Integrated Graphics are affected. The bug prevents using a second monitor, unless it is booted with the second already plugged in. Even then, the second monitor only works as a mirror of the current… it cannot extend your desktop. For most, multiple monitors are completely unnecessary, but it is crucial to my development environment. I typically set an application to auto-refresh in a browser on my second monitor while I edit the code on my main screen. This allows me to see changes without ever leaving my code. It also reduces my coding time because I never get lost in the numerous applications I tend to have open at once.
With the addition of the Ubuntu Software Center and Ubuntu One, Ubuntu has once again proven it has what it takes to survive in the Operating System Wars. In my opinion, Ubuntu will be ready for the general public by its next release in April. Luckily, the April release is also a Long Term Support release, meaning it will be supported for 3 years (18 months for non-LTS releases). This also means the focus will be fixing bugs rather than releasing new features. More information about LTS can be found on Ubuntu’s Wiki.