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.
“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.”
Hardware Requirements & Installation
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
700 MHz x86 processor
384 MB of system memory (RAM)
8 GB of disk space
Graphics card capable of 1024×768 resolution
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.
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.
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
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.
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.