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




Comments

  1. Carling says

    I most be the oldest Ultimate Edition user in the world @ 69yrs young, I just love it. I have tried the rest and finish up coming back to the best. there ever is, Yes there are bits about it I don't like, lets face it. if you like what you have then you can put up with the bits you don't like.

    My favourite distros are UE, Linux Mint, LMDE Sabayon and Pardus

  2. justin says

    Ultimate Edition 2.8 is awesome i love it. But when i watch videos on you tube or some thing like that when i turn to full screen it stops playing what do i do

  3. says

    Thanks, Jim…

    Giving it a try.

    Prev versions have been the least-hassle distros I've used-

    Everything works.

    (Having to re-engineer the making of tires and fitting steering wheels to new cars before being able to use them isn't what most non-Linux drivers expect.)

  4. gian says

    This will be my first time touse this kind of wow good looking Ubuntu OS…I already downloaded the iso file which is 2.4G of file and try to used it in my Netbeans 6.9 application…Thanks to Linux UBuntu…

  5. chipps61 says

    This is a pretty spot-on review of U.E. in just about every way. Kudos. I've been using U.E. since 2.6, and have found zero need to go back to distro-hopping or my old rock of choice, Mint. I would agree however about the lack of information and general usefulness of the distro's web site itself. This distribution is very worth a look if you're into the whole all-in-one thing and the most tweaked Ubuntu on the planet. Don't like the theme? I had my 2.8 theme tweaked (and yes, toned down) to my liking in about 10 minutes.

  6. Beelzebud says

    Timothy wrote:

    Sorry, no matter how much you try to improve on any version of Linux, Windows 7 Eternity is still better.

    I tried loading your inferior program, it stuffed up my partitions, destroyed W7 and I lost 794GB of data.

    I would not try Linux if it was the only program left.

    Id rather use Windows 95 then use Linux.

    Don't blame Linux because you failed to read the documentation that would have kept you from nuking your entire hard drive. That is no one's fault but your own. Linux is not Windows. You have to be willing to learn about the differences if you plan on successfully running it. Popping in the LiveCD and clicking Next a bunch of times gives you the results you got. Next time, try doing a little research.

  7. Timothy says

    Sorry, no matter how much you try to improve on any version of Linux, Windows 7 Eternity is still better.

    I tried loading your inferior program, it stuffed up my partitions, destroyed W7 and I lost 794GB of data.

    I would not try Linux if it was the only program left.

    Id rather use Windows 95 then use Linux.

  8. MInet says

    Very nice review!

    Thanks for sharing your impressions about UE 2.8.

    I’m using this distro since 2.4 edition and love it!!

    This distro is the most complete from all Linux distros that you can find on Distrowatch.You have a huge choice of every software that you need plus is very stable and well polished.

    Their big plus is the way how they set-up all applications which is very easy to access them.With heavy compiz presents all over the desktop which only helps to switch from one window to another,even my 5 years old daughter can easily use it!

    Also UE can pleased both Gnome and KDE users after installation of Live CD.Really for me is how Linux should looks like and be fun to use it!!

    I wish to UE long and happy way to the Top of Linux distros.

  9. Dylan says

    I must admit I don't like the looks and theming of the distro and if I did install this I would probably spend hours uninstalling software I don't need or want.

    For me even Ubuntu includes a good deal of software I don't need or want but the theming is alot nicer.

    I don't want to be mean or anything, just my opinion is all. Everyone has their own view on it! :)

  10. Scrubby Creek says

    I think this is a good review. I have tried UE last year but did not stick with it for a number of reasons mainly to do with the overwhelming mass of stuff and unsubtle aesthetics (its in your face :devil: ). So in the end I figured the amount of work in getting it right for me was more trouble than altering the normal Ubuntu desktop to what I want.

    I also agree with the website comments. It is not encouraging for new users. But I get the impression that the developers don't give a brass razoo about that anyway. I think they want to just blow all the others distros out of the water! I respect their attitude I must admit.

    Regards, Scrubby.

  11. Josh says

    I find UE to be a bit too much OS. Yes, its cool looking. Yes, it has a lot of stuff with it. Who really needs everything this distro comes with though? No disrespect intended — just an opinion. :)

    I prefer minimal systems that don't get in the way of what I'm trying to do on the computer. Most of my computers are older, and I'm sure that has something to do with my decision. The most powerful machine I have is a 10.2" netbook with a 160GB HDD and 2GB RAM, and regular old Ubuntu seems to run just fine on that (though, sometimes, its too bloated for what I do).

    Humor a less bloated approach: antiX, #!Crunchbang, SliTaz, ArchLinux, or Lubuntu (though Lubuntu is pushing it as its just Ubuntu with LXDE instead of GNOME). Flashy, bloated eye candy doesn't get your work done any faster and doesn't get your Internet browser loaded quicker. It gets in the way more than anything.

    Just a few thoughts. :) Goodnight all!

    –J :devil:

  12. MInet says

    Very nice review !http://desktoplinuxreviews.com/wp-content/plugins/smilies-themer/Nomicons%20v2.0/tongue.png
    Thanks for sharing your impressions about UE 2.8.

    I'm using this distro since 2.4 edition and love it!!

    This distro is the most complete from all Linux distros that you can find on Distrowatch.You have a huge choice of every software that you need plus is very stable and well polished.

    Their big plus is the way how they set-up all applications which is very easy to access them.With heavy compiz presents all over the desktop which only helps to switch from one window to another,even my 5 years old daughter can easily use it!

    Also UE can pleased both Gnome and KDE users after installation of Live CD.Really for me is how Linux should looks like and be fun to use it!!

    I wish to UE long and happy way to the Top of Linux distros. :tongue:

  13. distro dad says

    I started using Thee Mahn's Ultimate Editions with version 1.9 and have loved everyone of them as he has advanced with his work to now. I am not a contradictor as I realize we all have different uses and hardware. I am running with a dual core amd, 8 gigs ram, and decent nvidia card. I have a virtual box set up with 13 different OS's and can run two at a time use

    compiz with multiple apps open and the response is fantastic! (64 bit)

    I started with a modem and dial up so the installed software was a godsend and even though I am now blessed with satellite, everything seems to work out of the box and this distro exposes new users to all the available

    software on Linux so they can pick and choose what meets their needs or likes. Thee really puts it together and while I don't like the harsh blue

    myself, it was easy enough to set up like I like! the artwork and graphics are always outstanding and the choices are many! Try this distro!

  14. benQ says

    Nice review.

    However, SuperOS is not Ubuntu on steroids. It's Ubuntu with far too much luggage and a very very ugly theme. That said, it's a perfect spin for testing out every relevant piece of multimedia software that you may want to use. It's a showcase-distro. And it's good at this.

    And, oh my god is this theme UGLY. They deserve a price for it, because I had tears in my eyes due to lack of contrast, color-swapping and gradients that bleed into other gradients. You know, if you work a lot in front of a screen, your eyes generally get to dry because you blink to seldomly. NOT with this theme !

    P.S.: Yes the theme is ugly and I do know that it's only a few clicks to change it.

  15. says

    An excellent and honest review. Good work.

    I've been running on Ultimate Edition 2.7 since it came out and highly recommend it. This is a very robust distro for power users. New users, however, may find it a bit overwhelming, but a great way to experience much of what the open source community has to offer in one neat, clean package.

    Thanks again for the review.

    — The Doctor

    Administrator

    Amarillo Linux Users Group

  16. hotidiggettydog says

    I agree with prokokok.

    Installing a 700 mb distro involves a lot of downloads to get it setup with needed extras. Not all of us have available bandwidth for this.

    Not that I can download Ultimate at home but I can download it at a hotel or buy a dvd online.

    I wished there were more of these mega-distros.

  17. prokokok says

    This distro is perfect for pc's with slow internet connection where it's easier to remove unwanted applications than to install them. This is the reason why Ultimate Edition is my distro of choice at home where internet is painfully slow.

  18. Brian Masinick says

    Wow, what a MONSTER! If I had more room, or if I decide to make room, maybe I will give it a try. I tend to like one or two distributions available on opposite ends of the spectrum. I have Tiny Core, SliTAZ, antiX core, and Puppy (with both antiX and Puppy in a couple of flavors), so I have the minimalist end well covered. I have a lot more ISO images on CDs and DVDs for any time that I want or need something small.

    I've installed pretty full featured Mandrake and SUSE distributions in years past, and I've installed pretty much the entire distributions, so I've had full systems, but right now, probably the two fullest distributions that I have at the moment are aptosid and the Mandriva Cooker. Neither one of them, at least the way I've set them up, have as many applications as you've described here, though they both probably have more window managers, desktop environments, text editors, and Web browsers than the Ultimate Edition does because that is where I tend to focus most of my testing attention.

    I like blue, and I often use it in some of my themes and wallpapers. The login display looks OK, and maybe it is just the thumbnail images, but the dark blue on some of the installation and configuration screens, at least to me, looks much LESS attractive than the job that Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu (and also a derivative, Easy Peasy) have done in their efforts. The Linux Mint that you like (and I don't care for), also does, at least based on your images, a much better artistic job. But I suppose that this is a Macho kind of system, so perhaps strong, bordering on overpowering, is the desired effect. It wouldn't be for me; I'd probably change that art work at the earliest convenience to something a bit milder and less intrusive. The desktop, while I may want to look at it for five or ten seconds, is not where I do things; the applications are what interest me, and if I didn't change that desktop background, I would almost certainly maximize each application!

    You touched on one of the drawbacks of overloading a system with software – and that is responsiveness or the lack of it. Just installing software alone won't necessarily slow down the overall system, but it may slow down the task bar menu selection, sometimes significantly, if the menus are huge.

    I haven't decided yet on whether or not to give this one a whirl. I was about to take a quick peek at Vector Linux 7.0 CORE, Alpha Build 3 in a virtualbox. Maybe later on.

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