The open source world has been eagerly anticipating the final release of Ubuntu Linux 10.04, and now it’s finally here. Canonical has been working extremely hard and it shows in the quality of this release.
To put it bluntly, Lucid Lynx rocks!
What’s New In This Release
There’s quite a lot of new stuff and changes in this release. Here’s a list of some of what you’ll find:
F-Spot replaces the GIMP
PiTiVi video editor added
New themes: Ambiance and Radiance
Linux kernel 2.6.32
New nVidia hardware driver
Gwibber social media application
Faster boot time, with a different look and feel on the bootsplash screen
Ubuntu One adds contacts and bookmark sharing
Ubuntu One music store integrated into Rhythmbox
Ubuntu Software Center 2.0
This release marks the first time that the GIMP has not been installed by default. F-Spot Photo Manager replaces it. Some people will love this and some will hate it. The thinking at Canonical is that the GIMP was too complicated an application for most ordinary desktop users. If you’re a fan of GIMP, no need to worry though. It’s still available in the Ubuntu Software Center.
Another new addition is the PiTiVi video editor. I don’t do much in the way of video editing, but I’m very glad to see this included. It’s one of the basic kinds of application functionality that users expect to find in a desktop operating system. Will it suffice for hard-core, high-end video editing? Probably not, but it should work just fine for your average desktop user.
I’ll cover the new themes and wallpaper in the desktop section. I’ll also cover the bootsplash and time changes in that section of the review. And I’ll talk about the Ubuntu Software Center in the software section.
Access to various social media networks is now built into the Ubuntu desktop interface via Gwibber. You can access this by clicking on the envelope in the panel at the top of your screen. Or simply click Applications then Internet then Gwibber Social Client.
Gwibber lets you have all of a number of different social networks all in one application. You can connect to Facebook, Digg, Twitter, Flicker, StatusNet, FriendFeed, Qaiku and Identi.ca from the Me Menu. You can also chat with friends on Google Talk, MSN, IRC and other networks.
It doesn’t take long at all to set up your social networking accounts and updates appear in one, unified interface. This is tremendously convenient and helps eliminate the need to run these services in different browser windows. You can also easily post updates from Gwibber.
I loved having it available on my desktop. It let me read Twitter and Facebook updates at a glance and made it quick for me to post my own updates.
Ubuntu One: Music and More
The Ubuntu One service has been enhanced to make it easier to share files and folders. And you can now share bookmarks and contacts too. Each user gets 2GB of free storage from Ubuntu One so it’s a good deal if you want to use the cloud to store files and information.
The Ubuntu One Music Store has been integrated into Rhythmbox music player. You can buy DRM-free music tracks and store or share them on the Ubuntu One service.
To access the music store, click Applications then Sound and Video then Rhythmbox Music Player. When you first launch Rhythmbox, you’ll see a message letting you know that you need to install some MP3 plugins to listen to purchased songs. Just click the Install Plugins button and your plugins will be installed for you. You can then browse the Ubuntu One music store and begin purchasing music.
The prices in the Ubuntu One Music Store seem comparable to the ones in iTunes. Individual songs go for $.99 to $1.29 and albums seem to be about $9.99 to $16.99. I only checked a few albums though so it’s possible that pricing on them could vary more. Still, it all seems very similar to what you’d pay in iTunes or other online music store.
The Ubuntu One Music Store could still use the ability for users to post their own reviews and ratings of music though. But it is definitely off to a good start and I’m sure we’ll be seeing improvements in it as time goes by.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here is the official list of system requirements for Ubuntu 10.04, from the Ubuntu Manual:
700 MHz x86 processor
256 MB RAM
3 GB disk space
Graphics card capable of 1024 x 768 resolution
Network or Internet connection
Ubuntu Linux 10.04 is a Live CD distro. You don’t have to install it to use it. Just pop the CD into your computer and boot off of it. Choose the Try Ubuntu Without Installing option and you can use Ubuntu without installing it.
If you’re a Windows user with no Linux experience, don’t worry. Installing Ubuntu is about as easy as it gets. The screenshots below take you through the install, step by step.
While Ubuntu is installing, the install menu displays information about applications such as Firefox, OpenOffice.org and some of Ubuntu’s features. This is a nice touch for newbies to Ubuntu Linux who might not be familiar with Ubuntu’s new features or some of the bundled applications. Old salts probably won’t care too much about this though.
Booting & Login
The boot time for this release has been sped up significantly. It took just a few seconds for my Ubuntu system to take me to the login screen and then just a few more for the desktop to load up.
Ubuntu boots way faster than Mac OS X, that’s for sure. While it’s nice that Canonical is learning how to do a desktop properly from Apple, it might be nice if Apple learns how to speed up Mac OS X’s boot time from Canonical. Turnabout is certainly fair play when it comes to boot time and desktop design.
The bootsplash screen lets you boot into the Live CD version so you can try Ubuntu without installing it. Or you can opt to start the install right away. You can also check your disc for defects, test memory or boot from the hard disk.
Other options such as language, keymap, accessibility, etc. are available via the F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, and F6 keys.
The bootsplash screen has the new Ubuntu logo and coloring, and it looks great. It’s simple yet beautiful to look at and is a harbinger of good things to come for those booting into Ubuntu for the first time.
The login screen has the new, Mac-like purplish background on it.
The new desktop theme is called Ambiance and it’s quite attractive. Gone is the icky orange and brown of previous releases and who among us will miss it? Not I.
The Ubuntu Linux desktop has finally come of age as far as design goes. It is – dare I say it – very Mac-like in some respects. The default wallpaper is purplish and the maximize/minimize/close buttons are now on the left.