Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/accessd/jesse.kline.ca/plugins/content/easyimagecaption.php on line 89
Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/accessd/jesse.kline.ca/plugins/content/easyimagecaption.php on line 92
Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/accessd/jesse.kline.ca/plugins/content/easyimagecaption.php on line 95
Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/accessd/jesse.kline.ca/plugins/content/easyimagecaption.php on line 101
Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/accessd/jesse.kline.ca/plugins/content/easyimagecaption.php on line 104
Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in /home/accessd/jesse.kline.ca/plugins/content/easyimagecaption.php on line 121
been released. The latest adaptation of this Linux-based operating system has some exciting new features and a sleek new look. This is also a Long Term Support (LTS) release—meaning that desktop installations will be supported for three years and server installs will be supported for five—which should be welcome news to anyone thinking of deploying Linux in a business environment.Ubuntu 10.04 (codenamed "Lucid Lynx") has
For those who don't know, Ubuntu is a version of the open source Linux operating system. Open source is a method of developing computer software, whereby an application’s source code is made freely available and software is developed collaboratively by programmers from around the world. Ubuntu incorporates a variety of open source applications in order to create a system that combines enterprise-class stability with an easy to use interface that makes it simple for new and experienced computer users to start working with Linux. Read on for the full review.
Ubuntu offers a variety of installation choices, including CD images tailored for desktops or servers running on either 32-bit or 64-bit machines. There is also a version designed specifically for Netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC) that can be loaded onto a CD or a USB key. People who are currently running an older version of Ubuntu also have the option of upgrading directly using apt or the Update Manager utility.
The CD images can be downloaded from the Ubuntu website or by using a Bittorrent client. Booting from the disk will allow you to test drive a live Ubuntu system before you decide to install it. This is useful for testing your hardware to ensure it is compatible with Ubuntu and to see what the system is like without having to go through the trouble of installing it first.
As with other recent versions of Ubuntu, the installation process is dead simple. The installer guides the user through a series of seven steps, which ask basic questions like where you are located and what your name is. Although I didn't call my grandmother to see if she could install the system herself, getting a basic system up and running is simple enough that even novice computer users should be able to do it with little difficulty.
I tested Lucid on a ZaReason Alto 2550 laptop. At first, I tried installing Kubuntu, the variant of Ubuntu that runs the KDE desktop. Although I had been running Kubuntu 9.10 on the machine without any issues, I experienced a myriad of problems, from the display settings not being saved to Amarok freezing while importing my music collection. Needless to say, I did not have high hopes when I decided to wipe the drive and give Ubuntu a try.
I was, however, pleasantly surprised with the Ubuntu install. The system correctly detected and auto-magically configured all my hardware including my printer and USB headset. Setting up my external monitor to extend the desktop across the two displays was also extremely simple using the Monitor Preferences utility.
One of the first things I noticed was the new design, which includes a purple background and the dark Ambiance theme. The controls for minimizing, maximizing, and closing windows have also been moved to the left-hand side of the windows, which may take a little getting used to for Windows users, but should make OS X users feel right at home. I think the new artwork looks clean and professional, but people who prefer a different theme can always change it using the Appearance Preferences control panel.
Software and Features
Nautilus, the default file manager, has a number of new features. The most notable change is the ability to split the window into two panes so that two directories can be worked in at the same time.
Vinagre is the new remote desktop viewer, which allows users to connect to other machines over the network. It uses the VNC protocol and is able to setup SSH tunnels for secure connections. It also has options to optimize its performance on low bandwidth connections and it makes it easy to allow other machines to connect to your computer.
Social Networking and Communication
One of the first things I noticed was the tightly integrated social networking functionality. Clicking the envelope icon on the toolbar will allow you to setup your instant messaging, e-mail, and microblogging accounts.
Instant messaging (IM) is handled by the Empathy IM client, which replaces the Pidgin IM client found in some previous versions of Ubuntu. The latest version of Empathy makes it easier to share files, has improved support for chatting over IRC, and includes support for Facebook chat as well. Although Empathy claims to include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) support, it would not allow me to make or receive calls. Ekiga, which was the VoIP client that shipped with previous versions of Ubuntu, is noticeably absent in this release, but can be easily installed using the Ubuntu Software Centre.
Microblogging is handled by Gwibber version 126.96.36.199, which has come a long way since the buggy beta version that shipped with Ubuntu 9.10. Gwibber supports numerous social networking sites, including identi.ca, twitter, and Facebook. It supports sending status updates to multiple service and viewing your friends updates in either an integrated timeline or in separate timelines for each service. This version also has a multi-column mode, which can be used to view multiple services at once. While Gwibber is a great client and has come a long way since its last release, it still has the annoying "feature" of jumping to the top of the list whenever the timeline is updated or the user sends a message. This can become extremely aggravating when trying to read messages in sequence. If this becomes too annoying, it is easy to install other clients, such as Chokqok, via the Ubuntu Software Centre. Other clients, however, will not integrate into the Gnome desktop as well as Gwibber does.
Once the instant messaging and microblogging accounts have been setup using the wizards, the Me Menu (the one with the user's name on it) can be used to set your IM status and to send tweets. Clicking the icon that looks like an envelope will allow you to open your messaging clients and quickly view information, such as whether there are unread e-mail messages or replies waiting to be seen. The Me Menu also allows you to configure the ubuntu one service, which gives users access to 2 GB of cloud storage space so that you can synchronize your files, contacts, and bookmarks in order to access them remotely.
Music and Multimedia
Ubuntu comes pre-installed with the Rhythmbox music player, which automatically indexed my music collection as soon as I copied it to the Music directory. Although Ubuntu does not come with the codecs necessary to play some media files, such as mp3s, opening Rhythmbox for the first time will prompt the user to install the necessary software. A similar process occurs when trying to play unsupported videos, making it really easy to use Ubuntu as a media center. People may also want to enable the Medibuntu repository to add support for even more formats that are not enabled by default.
The latest version of Rhythmbox also includes much better support for synchronizing iPods and other portable mp3 players and allows people to download songs through jamendo, Magnatune, and the new ubuntu one music store.
People migrating from proprietary operating systems will be happy to know that Ubuntu comes pre-installed with a full suite of software applications, including: F-Spot, a photo manager; Evolution, an e-mail, calendar, and contact management program; Transmission, a BitTorrent client; OpenOffice.org, a full featured office suite; Firefox, a standards compliant web browser; Brasero, a CD/DVD burning utility; Totem, a movie player; and PiTiVi, a video editor. Noticeably absent from this release is The GIMP, a photo editor similar to Photoshop. Luckily, this and thousands of other applications can be easily installed free of charge through the Ubuntu Software Centre.
Although I have experienced some issues with this system (such as the X server occasionally failing to start on boot), I would recommend that anyone running an older version of Ubuntu upgrade to 10.04. Besides getting updated versions of all the software packages, this is a LTS release, meaning that the system will be supported for some time to come.
Of course, we will inevitably hear the age old "is it ready for the desktop" question. I switched to Linux circa 2001 and have successfully used it in home, school, and office environments. For me, there is no question. Linux is ready for the desktop and has been for a long time. The key, however, is that it takes patience. People should expect to run into problems. The good news is that solutions to most problems can be found by typing an error message or symptom into Google. There are also a lot of great people in the open source community who are more than willing to help people out. If you can't find a solution to your problem, try posting it on Ubuntu Forums or get in contact with one of the many Linux users groups that exist around the world.
The thing that new users should remember is that Linux is not Windows. It can be frustrating for people who are new to Linux when things don't work the way they expect them to. Comparing Linux to Windows can be like comparing riding a bicycle to riding a horse. They can both be used to get you where you need to go, but you have to use different techniques in order to get there. The nice thing about Ubuntu is that it makes it easy to get a basic system up and running and it comes installed with many great software application.
Although in my initial testing, Lucid did not seem quite as stable as I would expect from an LTS release, it does offer a lot of great features. The system is easy to setup and the social networking integration is great for twitterholics like myself. The fact that this is an LTS release makes it a good candidate for server and corporate desktop installs as well.