Friday, April 30, 2010

First Impressions of New Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

The new version of Ubuntu Linux, 10.04 Lucid Lynx, is now available.  I've been running the previous version on my old MacBook and loving it, so upgrading and seeing what's new seemed like a no-brainer.  I upgraded through the update manager, which handled everything automatically and took about three hours to do it.  Lots of folks like doing a clean install when they upgrade the system, but I spent so much time getting the last version of Ubuntu to play nice with the Macbook that I was hoping to avoid going through all that again.  Happy to report that all went well.

The changes seem mostly cosmetic.

They moved the maximise/minimise buttons over to the left side, Macintosh-style.  Not sure why, but this bugged me enough that I quickly found a way to put them back

Now there's a little word balloon next to my name that connects me to all of the social networking services.  Since I don't chat, tweet or flickr or digg, it'll go under-utilised.  This should satisfy a lot of folks who are used to being in constant "social networking" contact with their, um, social networks, though. 

Alas, there's not quick-launch application for any blogging services.  My longing for a dedicated blogging application for Linux continues.

Booting seems to take a bit longer - a full two minutes.  This is disappointing, but I suspect it's an effect of running on a Macbook with its proprietary hardware.  I might be able to fiddle around and speed this up.  Or I could just embrace a couple of minutes every day to stroke my beard and meditate.  (What's the rush anyhow?) 

Once up, though, the system seems to have sped up considerably.   Programs seem to load a lot faster, too, and the latest version of OpenOffice seems to have lost its sluggish edge, that icky sense that I was always typing with a time-delay.  Even editing this blog in Blogger seems smoother, so maybe that lack of blogging software won't really matter.

Lots of new fonts seemed to appear, and there's new icons, a new splash screen for logging in, and a better organised "software center" where I spend way too much time playing with all the available free applications. 

Given that I only use computers for writing and a little light image editing, I'm not really sure how I spend so much time messing around with applications, but we all have to have our hobbies, don't we?

So, yeah, if you're using Ubuntu already, set your PC to update overnight.  You won't be amazed but you might find it works a little better than it did before. 

If you haven't tried free software out yet, download the latest release of Ubuntu and give it a try.  You'll be surprised how much functionality you can get out of your computer without being tied into a monopolistic operating system.

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