Ultimate Edition 3.5

Does size matter when it comes to Linux distros? Well, it very well might when it comes to Ultimate Edition 3.5. There’s nothing subtle about this distro. Everything about it screams over the top, from the color scheme to the range of software included with it.

Is it worth checking out? Read on to find out.

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop

What’s New In This Release
I was not able to find a full list of new features in this release. I barked about the lack of such details in the review of an earlier version. Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t seem to have changed.

I wish more developers would follow the Linux Mint model and provide a clear and concise list of new features. It makes it easier for reviewers, but also for potential users of their distro.

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop Settings

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop Settings

Here’s what I found on the UE site:

What is Ultimate Edition 3.5?  Ultimate Edition 3.5 was built off Ultimate Edition 3.4 a Ubuntu Precise Pangolin 12.04 release.  All updates fully updated / upgraded old kernels purged, new initrd and vmlinuz rebuilt.  Ultimate Edition 3.5 is what has everyting Ultimate Edition 3.4 has plus multiple operating environments; KDE being the default.   Ultimate Edition 3.5 has a new GTK/3 theme & a comprehensive set of software packages.

System Requirements
I was not able to find a list of system requirements, but Ultimate Edition 3.5 is based on Ubuntu so use that as your baseline for running this distro.

Download
You can download Ultimate Edition 3.5 from SourceForge. The file I downloaded weighed in at 3.39GB. Wow! That’s quite the download for a distro!

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBoxVMWare, or Parallels before running it on real hardware. And if you’re totally  new to Linux, then you might want to check out some of the books about linux available on amazon.

You can get Ultimate Edition 3.5 in 32 bit or 64 bit versions.

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Installation
Since Ultimate Edition 3.5 is based on Ubuntu, the install is easy. It’s a bit longer than most other Ubuntu based distros, but this is understandable given the amount of software that is installed. I’ll have more on that later in the Software section of the review.

Ultimate Edition 3.5 is a live distro, so you can boot it off a DVD and check it out before doing an install.

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Boot Menu

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Boot Menu

Ultimate Edition 3.5  Install 1

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Install 1

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Install 2

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Install 2

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Install 3

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Install 3

The Desktop
Aaaaah, the Ultimate Edition 3.5 desktop. Well, I suspect that it can be classified as “love it or hate it.” It uses KDE so that’s certainly a plus. However, the colors are dark, and there’s more than a bit of red in it.

Personally, I don’t mind it being that way. This distro is a unique entity unto itself, so I’ve tried to accept it as such. Once you accept the idea of it, you can more easily adjust to the color scheme, wallpaper , etc.

Note that in the screenshot right below, I’m showing the classic KDE menu as I hate the modern sliding menus.

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Panel Menu

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Panel Menu

If you hate the default wallpaper, check in Desktop Settings. There are quite a few other Ultimate Edition wallpapers available there from prior releases.

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop Settings

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop Settings

You can, of course, change things if you really don’t like it. But I suggest giving it a try, you might find yourself warming up to it after a while.

Please note that if you don’t like KDE or the default Ultimate Edition 3.5 desktop in general, then you have many options to choose from. Just logout and then click the gear icon on the login screen.

You’ll find the following desktop environments available:

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop Selection Menu

Ultimate Edition 3.5 Desktop Selection Menu

Bundled Software
Here’s a sample of the software included in this release, and there’s a lot of it! Chances are that you won’t need to do much downloading after you install Ultimate Edition 3.5, it comes with so  much software already.

Games
PlayOnLinux
Board Games
Card Games
Logic Games

Graphics
AcquireImages
Blender
DNGConverter
Document Viewer
ExpoBlending
F-Spot
GIMP
gThumb
Gwenview
Hugin Batch Processor
Hugin Calibrate Lens
Hugin Panorama Center
Image Viewer
Inkscape
K-3D
Karbon
KolourPaint
Krita
KSnapShot
LibreOffice
LRF Viewer
mtPaint
Okular
Panorama
Phatch Image Inspector
Photo Layouts
Ristretto Image Viewer
Shotwell
Simple Scan

Internet
Akregator
BlueDevil
CheckGmail
Chromium
ELinks Browser
Empathy
Firefox
Frostwire
gFTP
Gwibber
KMail
Konqueror
Kopete
KPPP
KTorrent
KVIRC
Lanshark
Pidgin IM
Quassel IRC
rekonq
Remmina Remote Desktop Client
Remote Desktop Viewer
Sylpheed
Thunderbird Mail Client
Transmission
Vuze
WiFi Radar
Wireshark
XChat IRC
Yarssr

Multimedia
2ManDVD
Amarok
Audacious
Audacity
Audio Tag Tool
Avidemux
Banshee
Brasero
Cheese
Cinelerra
DeVeDe
Dragon Player
dvd:rip
DVD Styler
EasyTAG
Entagged
Exaile
gmusicbrowser
GNOME MPlayer
gtkpod
guvcview
gxine
HandBrake
Hydrogen
Imagination
ISO Master
Istanbul Desktop Session Recorder
K3b
k9copy assistant
k9copy
Kdenlive
Kino
KMix
LIVES
Miro
Mixer
Moovida Media Center
Movie Player
Parole
PulseAudio Volume Control
Radio Tray
RecordMyDesktop
Rhythmbox
RipOff
Songbird
Sound Juicer
soundKonverter
Sound Recorder
tovid GUI
TVtime Television Viewer
Ultimate Player
VLC
XBMC
X-CD-Roast
Xfburn
xine

Office
Abiword
Braindump
calibre
Calligra
Dictionary Client
Document Viewer
Gnumeric
KAddressBook
Karbon
Kexi
Kontact
KOrganizer
KTimeTracker
LibreOffice
Okular
Orage
Osmo
Plan

Other
Wine

Problems & Headaches
I didn’t notice any overt problems while running Ultimate Edition 3.5. Your mileage may vary, however. So please share your problems in the comments if you came across any while using it.

Where To Get Help
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to check out Ultimate Edition forum to connect with other UE users.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
It’s clear that minimalists should stay far, far away from Ultimate Edition 3.5. This distro is basically their worst nightmare come true.

However, those who consider themselves maximalists will love Ultimate Edition 3.5. I don’t know how many of you there are out there, but this distro was designed totally for you.

And this is one of the things I really like about Linux. There’s a distro for everybody, including those want everything and the kitchen sink thrown into their desktop operating system.

Even if you’re not a maximalist, it might be fun to give Ultimate Edition 3.5 a try, just to see what it’s like.

Beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users can use Ultimate Edition 3.5. Beginners might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of applications, however. So bear that in mind if you are new to Linux, and aren’t familiar with some of the apps you see in Ultimate Edition 3.5.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux commentary; visit JimLynch.com for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Ultimate Edition 3.5
Web Site: http://ultimateedition.info 
Price: Free
Pros: Comes with an enormous range of software, uses the KDE desktop environment. There are other desktop environments included as well.
Cons: It’s a very large download, and the amount of software might be overkill for some users.
Rating: 3.5/5


Ultimate Edition 2.8

Earlier this week I wrote a quick look over on EOL about Super OS 10.10. Super OS…well…it didn’t exactly live up to its name, though it does have its place among the many Ubuntu remasters out there. I ran into another distro though that does a more credible job of living up to its name. Ultimate Edition 2.8 is the latest release of yet another Ubuntu-based distro.

As you can tell by the name, there’s very little about Ultimate Edition that’s subtle. It could rightfully be described as Ubuntu on steroids, lots and lots and lots of steroids. This distro is on so many steroids that this is the first time I’ve actually been scared to write a review of a distro, roid rage and all that. Heh.

The Live DVD Desktop

The Live DVD Desktop

Before I get into the review, let me do a little housekeeping. I’ve shrunk the screenshots a tad bit so they aren’t quite as overwhelming to the text, and I’ve added a breadcrumb trail to the images on the gallery page. So you can easily find your way back to the first page of the review if you happen to be browsing screenshots. Each screenshot now has a caption displayed within the review. So if you’re somebody that likes to hop to the image gallery page and browse around, you’ll be in good shape.

Okay, now on with the review.

What’s New In This Release
In the last review I wrote about Ultimate Edition, I decried the lack of a real What’s New page on the UE site. Well, I’m sorry to say that there still isn’t anything really helpful available to list all of the changes in this release. Here’s what I was able to dig up though, for whatever it’s worth.

What is Ultimate Edition 2.8?  Ultimate Edition was built off Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.  All updates fully updated / upgraded.  The software you have came to love with previous editions of Ultimate Edition have been also pre-installed along with 12 new ones.  I must apologise at time of build Cinelerra & wine doors were currently broken and did not make the cut.

I also want to apologise for the delay and at the same time thank my admin for the delay of Ultimate Edition 2.8?s release.  Many issues have been squashed in 2.8 because of the delay.  I do want to give a shout out to JohnnyG. Many were cosmetic, he has a real eye for detail and breaking things down to a programmers level.  Thanks again JohnnyG.  Cowboy’s handiwork at the theme has won the poll and will be deemed “Cowboy Blue”.  This is not the end of the thanks that need to be dropped simply the tip of the iceberg.  I would be chatter boxing all day to give the kudos where they lie.  No, I do not do everything.  Don’t like the blue theme?  There are 107 themes to choose from, it does not have to be dark.

I have included a now enhanced, color and font selectable Conky script I wrote that will generate as per computer. The results of running the Conky script can be seen at the right. This script will be in your home folder when installed (your choice to run it or not). The script is commented if you wish to learn.

I urge the UE developers to take the time and do a page similar to the What’s New that Linux Mint puts out each time they do a release. It’s a big help to reviewers and users alike, since it makes it easy to know what has been changed or added since the last release.

If you aren’t familiar with the changes made to generic Ubuntu in 10.10, please see the Ubuntu 10.10 review. I don’t want to rehash all of that in this review.

Hardware Requirements & Installation

Hardware Requirements
I was unable to find a list of hardware requirements on the UE site, so I’ll sub the generic Ubuntu ones:

700 MHz x86 processor
256 MB RAM
3 GB disk space
Graphics card capable of 1024 x 768 resolution
Sound card
Network or Internet connection

It would probably be better if you could beat these requirements since UE has a lot of software and eye-candy in it. These minimums might not cut it, you’ll have to give it a shot and see if it works. I’d recommend 512 MB of RAM and at least a 10 – 12 GB hard disk.

System requirements are another thing that UE developers should add to their site. The download page had no useful information other than suggesting that users have a 4GB USB device. So the hard disk requirement for generic Ubuntu is probably way off.

Installation
The Ultimate Edition 2.8 uses the same installer as generic Ubuntu, so it’s quite easy and fast. The installer has been customized to match the UE 2.8 desktop theme though, so it looks a bit different. It still functions the same though, and it even has a nicely customized slideshow you can watch that will let you know some of what UE 2.8 has to offer. I definitely recommend checking out the slideshow if you haven’t used UE before, it has some interesting information.

In order to do my install, I downloaded the 2.58 GB ISO file. Yes, it’s that large. Ultimate Edition 2.8 is also a Live DVD (there ain’t no way you are going to fit this sombitch onto a CD, don’t even think about it) so you can boot into it to check it out without doing an install.

The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.

Install

Install

Install 2

Install 2

Install 3

Install 3

Install 4

Install 4

Install 5

Install 5

Install 6

Install 6

Install 7

Install 7

Install 8

Install 8

Install 9

Install 9

Booting & Login
There’s no boot menu after you install Ultimate Edition 2.8, it goes right to the login screen. As you can tell, the login screen has been heavily customized with the Ultra Edition 2.8 theme and colors.

Login

Login

The Desktop
Subtlety is definitely not UE 2.8’s strong point and you’ll understand what I mean when you boot into your desktop for the first time. The theme, branding and colors are all over the top. This is not the Mac-like experience you get with generic Ubuntu. Everything from the wallpaper to the spinning 3D-ish cursor screams loudly for your attention. That’s fine though, it’s part of what this distro is all about.

Desktop

Desktop

The desktop, strangely enough, isn’t cluttered up with icons. In fact, there aren’t any icons. This sort of surprised given this distro’s image, but it works well and saves the user from having to clean them up.

The application menus contain the usual categories, including one for programmers and Wine.

Application Menus

Application Menus

Themes
I found the default theme relatively attractive, but I’m a guy so that’s not surprising. The ladies out there might think it’s a bit too masculine, with its dark blue colors. No worries, there’s a whole bunch of other themes available. Right click your desktop and choose Change Desktop Background, then pull up the theme menu. The other themes include older Ultimate Edition themes, as well as non-UE themes. Chances are that you’ll be able to find something that you like in there.

Themes

Themes

Wallpaper
The same goes for the wallpaper, with its UE logo floating over the ocean with lots of big rocks sticking up. Some might consider it a bit over the top, in a phallic sort of way. There are some nice wallpaper alternatives in the Appearance Preferences menu, so feel free to explore it if the default wallpaper doesn’t do it for you. There’s a lot of UE alternate wallpapers available, as well as non-UE stuff.

Admin Tools

System Management
There are a lot of system management tools included, and also a lot of options in system preferences. Rather than list them out, here’s a couple of screenshots that will give you an idea of what’s available.

System Preferences

System Preferences

System Administration

System Administration

Bundled Software

Here’s a sample of the software included in this release. Ultimate Edition 2.8 comes with a lot of software installed by default, and it’s not just limited to GNOME software either. You’ll find many KDE applications installed by default as well.

There’s also a menu in this distro that includes a lot of programming tools, I’ve listed those below.

Games
AisleRiot Solitaire
gbrainy
Mahjongg
Mines
PlayOnLinux
Quadrapassel
Sudoku

Graphics
AquireImages
Blender
DNGConverter
ExpoBlending
F-Spot
GIMP
Inkscape
Karbon14
kFlickr
KolourPaint
Krita
KSnapshot
Phatch
Shotwell
Simple Scan

Internet
aMSN
CheckGMail
Chromium
ELinks
Empathy
Firefox
Firestarter
Frostwire
gFTP
Giver
Google Gadgets
Gwibber
kasablanca
kFlickr
Konqueror
Kopete
KTorrent
KVlrc 4
Lanshark
Pidgin
Transmission
Tucan Manager
Vuze
WiFi Radar
Wireshark
Yarssr

Multimedia
Amarok
Audacious
Audacity
Banshee
Brasero
Cheese Webcam
DeVeDe DVD/CD Video Creator
Dragon Player
dvd:rip
DVD Styler
EasyTAG
Entagged
gtkpod iPod Manager
Hydrogen Drum Machine
Imagination
ISO Master
Istanbul Desktop Session Recorder
K3b
k9copy
Kdenlive
Kino
Lemon Rip
LiVES
ManDVD
Movie Player
Pitivi Video Editor
QDVDAuthor
Rhythmbox
RipOff
soundKonverter
tovid GUI
TVtime Television Viewer
VLC
X-CD-Roast
xine

Office
Abiword
Evolution
Gnumeric
Karbon14
Kexi
KMyMoney
KPlato
KPresenter
Krita
KSpread
KThesaurus
KWord
OpenOffice.org
xCHM

Programming
Anjuta IDE
Bluefish
Vervisia
Devhelp
Gambas2
Glade
Google Gadget Designer
gPHPEdit
KImageMapEditor
Kompare
Meld Diff Viewer
Qt 4 (Assistant, Designer, Linguist, Creator)
Quanta Plus

As you can tell, I’m not kidding when I say there’s a LOT of software installed by default in UE 2.8.

Software Management
There are two main ways to manage software in Ultimate Edition 2.8. You can use the regular Ubuntu Software Center or you can use Ultamatix.

Ultamatix comes with loads of software, some of it quite illegal if you are in the United States or other countries (DVD codecs, etc.). When you first start Ultamatix, a menu pops up and tells you how naughty you are if you install any of that stuff (it also absolves the UE developers from any legal liability for your naughtiness).

Ultamatix Warning

Ultamatix Warning

Ultamatix starts with all of the software selected, you just have to hit Start to get the install started. You can, however, deselect all and then install just the ones you want on your system. But this is a distro called Ultimate Edition, so it’s not like minimalists will be using it. My guess is that most people will just install everything and bask in the glow of all that extra software.

Ultamatix

Ultamatix

Here’s a sample of the extras you’ll find in Ultamatix. This is not a complete list but it will give you an idea of the extra stuff you can get:

Enlightenment
KDE
Ubuntu Studio
XFCE
Compiz Fusion
livdvdcss2 (naughty!)
Man DVD
W32/64 DVD Codecs (naughty!)
Ubuntu Restricted Extras & Codecs
Abiword
Blender, Yafray and Inkscape
KTorrent
Vuze
Google Earth
Google Picasa

As I said above, that’s just a bit of the extra stuff in Ultamatix. Software gluttons will have a field day playing with all the goodies in it.

The Ubuntu Software Center, of course, also comes with tons of software. Between Ultamatix and the USC, you have an ENORMOUS amount of software at your fingertips. It’s very easy to add or remove software in both programs. By now the USC is old hat to most Ubuntu users, and Ultamatix takes just a few minutes to get used to.

Wine is also included for you poor souls still desperately trying to run Windows software.

Wine

Wine

Sound and Multimedia
Sound, YouTube & Flash
I had no problems with sound in Ultimate Edition 2.8. As soon as I booted into the desktop, I knew the sound was working fine. There’s a neat (and loud) sound effect that plays when your desktop loads up. Don’t worry, it’s not death metal or anything like that.

Strangely enough, flash isn’t installed by default. But it is available easily enough in Ultamatix. It was kind of odd to find it not installed by default though. I had assumed, given its name, that something as basic as flash would be already installed for me. Go figure.

YouTube

YouTube

Multimedia Applications
I listed pretty much all of the multimedia applications that come with this distro in the software section, so I won’t list them all again here. Suffice to say, there’s a LOT of them! I can’t imagine anybody needing to download a whole lot else, given what comes with this distro by default.

I suspect that most multimedia mavens will really enjoy the hell out of Ultimate Edition 2.8. If you are into multimedia, this distro delivers!

Here’s a few screenshots of some of the included multimedia applications.

 

VLC

Banshee

Audacity

Man DVD

Problems & Headaches
Ultimate Edition 2.8 was not the speediest distro I’ve used. I noticed a tiny bit of lag sometimes when moving through the desktop menus, and also when applications would load. It wasn’t particularly bad or anything like that, but I did notice it. Your mileage may vary, depending on your hardware.

UE’s strength in software is also its weakness. As you may have noticed from the software page, Ultimate Edition 2.8 is sometimes redundant with the software it includes. Multiple programs for tag editing, word processing, etc. aren’t really necessary. So that may turn off some users.

However, it’s important to remember that the main selling point of this distro is that you get it all in one package pretty much. So having multiple applications that essentially accomplish the same tasks shouldn’t be held against it.

I did not notice any overt system instability or applications crashes while using Ultimate Edition 2.8. It seemed to perform reasonably well for me.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum (registration takes less than a minute and you can login with your Facebook account if you want); everybody is welcome. You are welcome to post a message in the Linux Help section and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, but also many other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the UE FAQ and discussion forum for additional assistance.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Ultimate Edition 2.8 is absolutely perfect for people who want tons of bells and whistles, along with gobs and gobs of software. Minimalists will want to avoid UE 2.8 at all costs, however. For them this distro is over the top, way over the top! Software gluttons will absolutely love it, however. More specifically, anybody who is into multimedia or programming will surely find that UE 2.8 has a lot to offer.

I had a fun time with UE 2.8. Sure, it’s bombastic and probably overkill for a lot of people; but it definitely has its place in the pantheon of Linux distributions. I’m glad it’s available and I definitely think it’s worth a download if you are an Ubuntu user who wants to have it all in one distro, or if you are somebody considering Ubuntu that wants more (much more) than what generic Ubuntu offers.

Ultimate Edition can be used by beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit the DLR forum for more discussions. Visit JimLynch.com for opinion columns.

Summary Table:

Product: Ultimate Edition 2.8
Web Site: http://ultimateedition.info/
Price: Free
Pros: Lots of bells and whistles; an absolutely enormous amount of bundled software; lots of extra goodies available via Ultamatix; unique desktop theme and branding.
Cons: The sheer amount of software might be overwhelming to some users; large download size; multimedia codecs available in Ultamatix are illegal in some countries.
Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users.
Summary: Ultimate Edition 2.8 is Ubuntu on steroids; lots and lots of steroids. You pretty much get it all with this badboy of a distro.
Rating: 4/5

Ultimate Edition Linux 2.5

Some Linux distros sell themselves by being minimalistic. They only come with a limited range of apps and everything is geared toward keeping the file size and hardware requirements absolutely minimal. Then there’s Ultimate Edition 2.5. Ultimate Edition leans the other way and throws in everything including the kitchen sink.

Ultimate Edition 2.5 is based on Ubuntu 9.10 and it weighs in at a chunky 3.1GB. Clearly this is a distro you won’t be able to fit onto a CD. But that’s fine as long as you have a DVD and DVD burner available. This larger size is due to the fact that it comes with a lot of software (more on that in the software section).

Ultimate Edition 2.5 includes GNOME, KDE 4.3.2 and XFCE. You can choose which desktop environment you want to work in when you login.

What’s New In This Release
One of the things I hate about reviewing certain distros is when the folks who make the distro don’t have a “What’s New” page on their site or a file in the distro itself. It makes it hard for reviewers to know which new features are included in the distribution. I have to go running around trying to figure out what the significant new features are so I can include them in the review.

Despite checking the Ultimate Edition site and also looking in the forum, I was not able to find a complete list of what’s new in this release. Since it’s based on Ubuntu 9.10, Ultimate Edition 2.5 should have all of the new features of the generic Ubuntu release.

Nor was I able to find an email address to contact the developer to ask for more information and the forum link posted on the front page of the UE site led to a “topic does not exist” message.

I encourage the Ultimate Edition developers to include a brief summary of new features in future releases. It makes it a heck of a lot easier for reviewers to note them in the review.

After googling around, I finally tracked down what appears to be a list of some new features but it’s on the Softpedia site and not on the actual Ultimate Edition 2.5 site. Hmmm. Not exactly a good way of announcing what’s new to reviewers and users.

Here’s what I found:

“Ultimate Edition 2.5 was built off Ultimate Edition 2.4 (Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 based) all upgrades pre-installed as of current. It has KDE, XFCE, and GNOME user selectable at login, 3 new themes and tons of apps. This release is huge obviously bigger then UE 2.4 😉 I am not going to spend my time writing a webpage, but just a post. Even though it is a very worthy release and deserves a webpage. I have alot on my plate in programming and other activities & I do mean alot. It has been out about a week, forum users have been grabbing it left and right.”

 

The Ultimate Edition 2.5 desktop using the UE 2.5 Gold theme.

The Ultimate Edition 2.5 desktop using the UE 2.5 Gold theme.

Hardware Requirements & Installation
Hardware Requirements

As with the “What’s New” information, I could not locate any Ultimate Edition 2.5 hardware requirements. So I’ll defer to the generic Ubuntu 9.10 hardware requirements:

Minimum System Requirements:
300 MHz x86 processor
64 MB of system memory (RAM)
At least 4 GB of disk space (for full installation and swap space)
VGA graphics card capable of 640×480 resolution
CD-ROM drive or network card

Recommended Requirements:
700 MHz x86 processor
384 MB of system memory (RAM)
8 GB of disk space
Graphics card capable of 1024×768 resolution
Sound card
A network or Internet connection

Note that according to the Ubuntu 9.10 release notes you actually need 256MB to run it not 64MB:

The minimum memory requirement for Ubuntu 9.10 is 256 MB of memory.

Perhaps it’s time for the Ubuntu developers to update their site to incorporate more accurate system requirements? I don’t know what it is with Linux developers and poor documentation about basic information such as What’s New and Hardware Requirements. Ugh.

Installation
Ultimate Edition 2.5 is a Live CD distro (not surprising since it’s based on Ubuntu 9.10.  After you boot into the Live CD desktop you’ll notice a “Install Ubuntu 9.10” icon on the desktop. Click that to get started.

The installer has been customized to reflect the overall color scheme of the Ultimate Edition 2.5 desktop (more on that in the desktop section).  But color aside, it’s essentially the same as installing any other version of Ubuntu. The install isn’t difficult at all.

As the install proceeds, you will see blurbs pop up about various applications included with Ultimate Edition 2.5. The installation took about 35 minutes. The longest part seemed to be the copying of files. Again, not surprising given the large amount of software that is bundled into Ultimate Edition 2.5.

Installation Steps

Step 1: Welcome

Step 2: Setting Up the Clock & Location

Step 3: Keyboard Layout

Step 4: Prepare Disk Space

Step 5: Who Are You?

Step 6: Ready To Install

Step 7: Installation

Step 8. Confirmation & Finish

Partitioning a hard disk during the install.

Partitioning a hard disk during the install.

Booting & Login
Bootsplash: The bootsplash simply features the Ultimate Edition 2.5 logo as it loads.

Login Screen: The login screen is where you can choose to boot into GNOME, KDE or XFCE. You can also change your keyboard and your language.

I opted to boot into the GNOME desktop environment for this review. I also briefly checked out the KDE and XFCE desktops but I mainly used the GNOME desktop to write this review. I had no problems running or using the KDE or XFCE desktops.

You can choose from several options on the bootsplash screen.

You can choose from several options on the bootsplash screen.

You can choose GNOME, KDE or XFCE as your desktop environment.

You can choose GNOME, KDE or XFCE as your desktop environment.

The Desktop
After you boot into the desktop the first thing you’ll notice is the Ultimate Edition 2.5 customized wallpaper and also GNOME Do (a small application that tells you to type to start searching.) The wallpaper features the UE logo and gold coloring gold that matches the color of the letters in the desktop menus. The desktop itself is clean and uncluttered, with just one icon on it “Install Ubuntu 9.10.”

The other thing I noticed after the desktop loaded was the Update Manager running minimized on the desktop panel. I clicked it and it had a bunch of updates ready to be downloaded and installed. I ran the updates and installed everything with no problems.

Themes & Wallpaper: After the update finished, I rebooted and lo and behold! A new theme! This one was in black; all the gold lettering was gone. The new theme reminded me of Sabayon Linux, for some reason. There was even a new version of the Ultimate Edition logo on the desktop wallpaper.

And then I noticed the “Ultimate Edition 2.4” at the bottom of the wallpaper. Yes, for some strange reason the update I ran changed the default theme to Ultimate Edition 2.4! Irritated, I opened the control to change the theme and found two relevant options:

Ultimate Edition 2.5

Ultimate Edition 2.5 Gold

Since the lettering I saw when I first installed it was gold, I decided to go with the gold option. A second later the gold wallpaper and lettering was back. Whew!

Don’t worry if black or gold isn’t your thing, there are a lot of themes included with Ultimate Edition 2.5.

Oops! Running a software update accidentally changed my theme to the old 2.4 theme.

Oops! Running a software update accidentally changed my theme to the old 2.4 theme.

Bundled Software
Here’s some of the software included in this release.

Games
AisleRiot Solitaire
Atomix
Blackjack
Chess
Klotski
Mines
Nibbles
Potato Guy
PlayOnLinux
Tetravex

Development
Anjuta IDE
Bluefish Editor
Cervisia
Gambas2
Google Gadget Designer
gPHPEdit
GvRng
KImageMapEditor
KLinkStatus
Kompare
KompoZer
Meld Diff Viewer
Qt3 Assistant
Qt4 Assistant
Qt 4 Designer
Qt 4 Linguist
Qt Creator
Screem HTML/XML Editor

Graphics
Blender
F-Spot
GIMP
Gwenview
GNU Paint
Inkscape
KSnapshot
Krita
Okular
OpenOffice.org Drawing
Ristretto
Scribus

Internet
Akregator
aMSN
CheckGMail
Elinks Browser
Empathy
Firefox
Firestarter
FrostWire
gFTP
Giver
Gobby Editor
kasablanca
kbluetooth
kFlickr
KMail
KompoZer
Konqueror
Konversation
Kopete
KPPP
KTorrent
Mozilla Thunderbird
Pidgin IM
Quassel IRC
Transmission
Ubuntu One
Vuze
Wireshark
XChat IRC
Yarssr

Multimedia
Amarok
Audacity
Banshee Media Player
Brasero
DeVeDe
Dragon Player
EasyTAG
Entagged
ISO Master
K3b
k9copy
Kino
Lemon RIP
LiVES
ManDVD
Miro Internet TV
Mixer
Movie Player
MPlayer
VLC Media Player
XBMC Media Center
X-CD Roast
xine

Office
AbiWord
calibre
Evolution
KAddressBook
KChart
Kexi
Gnumeric Spreadsheet
Kivio
KMyMoney
KOffice Workspace
Kontact
KOrganizer
KPlato
KWord
KPresenter
KSpread
OpenOffice.org

Note that this is not an exhaustive list, there are more apps included with Ultimate Edition 2.5. If you’re a software junkie, this is the distro for you. You’ll have tons of applications available to play with and use. Probably far more than you’ll actually ever need.

Software Management
Adding & Removing Software: There are two ways you can manage your software. The first way is the easiest, particularly if you are new to Linux. Simply click the System menu at the top of your screen then choose Administration then Add/Remove Applications.

A tool will load that will let you easily add or remove software on your system. The Add/Remove Applications tool is broken down into the following convenient categories:

Accessories
Education
Games
Graphics
Internet
Office
Other
Programming
Science
Sound & Video
System Tools
Universal Access

Note that you can view a screenshot of an application by clicking the Get Screenshot button in the description.

The other way to manage software is to use the Synaptic Package Manager. I don’t recommend this for newbies to Linux as it may be a bit confusing if you haven’t used it before. Stick with the Add/Remove Applications tool instead.

To update your system, look for the Update Manager link in the Administration menu. It’s a very good idea to do an update right away after installing Ultimate Edition 2.5. There might be bug fixes and other helpful updates waiting to be downloaded.

Use the add/remove tool to manage your software.

Use the add/remove tool to manage your software.

Sound and Multimedia
YouTube & Flash: I tested Ultimate Edition 2.5 by playing the Spartacus: Blood and Sand trailer on Youtube and it worked flawlessly. Sound and video were both great. I can’t wait to see that show when it’s on; Lucy Lawless from Xena is on it and apparently plays a bit of a nymphomaniac.

DVDs: Speaking of Xena, I decided to use one of my Xena Season 1 DVDs as a test DVD. Unfortunately, I was not able to play it in Ultimate Edition 2.5 using Movie Player. Movie Player kept getting hung and I had to terminate it.

I was able to play the DVD using VLC though but I ran into some problems. The video was a bit grainy at times and the sound stuttered.

Problems & Headaches
One thing I noticed about Ultimate Edition 2.5 is that it has a very slow boot time. I actually thought the install had gotten stuck. I had to be patient and simply wait for it to finish starting up and booting into the Live CD desktop. It seemed to take about 3 or 4 minutes to boot fully and for the desktop to load up.

I noted the lack of a “What’s New” page or file earlier but I’ll reiterate it here. The UE developers need to fix this in future releases so that reviewers and users know exactly what goodies they are going to get in each new release.

Another thing I disliked was having GNOME Do open by default on my desktop.  And what made it worse was that it seemed to be buggy. I couldn’t get it to close down when I checked the About Gnome Do menu. It was stuck open on my desktop, I could move it around but I couldn’t get rid of it.

The new TV show looked great on Youtube.

The new TV show looked great on Youtube.

Where To Get Help
You are always welcome to post a note in the Desktop Linux Reviews forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. For additional information be sure to check out the Ultimate Edition forum.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Ultimate Edition 2.5 is probably best geared for desktop users that really want a lot of software bundled into their distribution.

In terms of ease of use, Ultimate Edition 2.5 can be used by pretty much anybody. However, the sheer amount of software might be overwhelming to complete newbies to desktop Linux. Those folks might want to opt for Linux Mint instead since it is also based on Ubuntu and will probably meet the computing needs of most newbies.

Intermediate and advanced Linux users can also certainly get a lot of value from Ultimate Edition 2.5, and will probably appreciate the software selection and desktop environment choices more than most newbies.

I’m glad Ultimate Edition 2.5 is available for the folks that want it all in one large desktop distribution. It’s a convenient way to enjoy a lot of the software that desktop Linux has to offer.

Summary Table:

Product: Ultimate Edition Linux 2.5
Web Site: http://ultimateedition.info/
Price: Free
Pros: Excellent collection of software and desktop themes; easy install and good software management tools.
Cons: Slow boot; large collection of software may be overkill for novice Linux users; download size weighs in at more than 3GB.
Suitable For: Intermediate and advanced Linux users. Newbies can try it but may not need everything that Ultimate Edition has to offer in terms of software.
Summary: Ultimate Edition offers a one-stop-shopping experience for Ubuntu users that want lots of software bundled into their favorite distribution. It offers everything generic Ubuntu offers plus a whole lot more.
Rating: 3.5/5