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.