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.

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.

AisleRiot Solitaire
Potato Guy

Anjuta IDE
Bluefish Editor
Google Gadget Designer
Meld Diff Viewer
Qt3 Assistant
Qt4 Assistant
Qt 4 Designer
Qt 4 Linguist
Qt Creator
Screem HTML/XML Editor

GNU Paint
OpenOffice.org Drawing

Elinks Browser
Gobby Editor
Mozilla Thunderbird
Pidgin IM
Quassel IRC
Ubuntu One

Banshee Media Player
Dragon Player
ISO Master
Lemon RIP
Miro Internet TV
Movie Player
VLC Media Player
XBMC Media Center
X-CD Roast

Gnumeric Spreadsheet
KOffice Workspace

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:

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



19 thoughts on “Ultimate Edition Linux 2.5

  1. Pingback: [Publicacion Distribucion] Ultimate Edition 2.7 « Gustavo Pimentel's GNU/Linux Blog
  2. Pingback: Lanzamiento de distribución: Ultimate Edition 2.6 “Gamers” « Gustavo Pimentel's GNU/Linux Blog
  3. I'm tired of all this, my brain is pulling in 20 different directions over having a desktop I feel comfortable with.. I really thought Mint was the one but then it ended up like all the rest… Something I didn't feel comfortable with.. CPU usage always ends up being too high or the entire system just ends up too slow.. You right about there ebing too many distros, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.. Only one left to try before I smash something and that's Mandriva.. I've always had a good feeling about this one :biggrin:

  4. Its called an Operation System,actually & as based off Lucid,will be the fastest distro to date. 😎

    Ultimate Edition, first released in December 2006, is a fork of Ubuntu. The goal of the project is to create a complete, seamlessly integrated, visually stimulating, and easy-to-install operating system. Single-button upgrade is one of several special characteristics of this distribution. Other main features include custom desktop and theme with 3D effects, support for a wide range of networking options, including WiFi and Bluetooth, and integration of many extra applications and package repositories.

  5. It is an amazing bit of O/S. 😎

    Ultimate Edition started off as Ubuntu Christmas Edition, and was made as a Christmas present for the Ubuntu community. The creator, TheeMahn, then created Ubuntu Ultimate 1.1. Ultimate Edition has more software pre-installed and ready for use even in the live CD/DVD environment than Ubuntu. Ubuntu Ultimate 1.2 was released shortly after 1.1 with even more new software. To answer the call of gamers[citation needed], TheeMahn then built Ubuntu Ultimate Gamers Edition. On October 18, 2007, TheeMahn received an e-mail from Canonical asking that the use of the Ubuntu logo and name stop. The reason was that Ubuntu Ultimate had become too different from Ubuntu and that continued use of the name and logo may damage the Ubuntu Project[1]. Ubuntu Ultimate then became Ultimate Edition.

    Ultimate Edition is based on Ubuntu but should not be confused with or be considered Ubuntu. The major difference between the two is that Ultimate Edition has its own repository that contains restricted multimedia drivers as well as packages that require license acceptance to install

  6. Hi LP,

    The reviews are broken up into multiple pages for two main reasons:

    1. It annoys those who try to copy and paste the content in its entirety onto their own sites. These folks have, unfortunately, stolen some of the content in the past. Multiple pages at least makes it more aggravating for them.

    2. It lends itself to a basic business model. I rely on this blog to help pay for rent, food, electricity, heat and other necessities. Each time a page loads, I get credited for the image ads that load with it. That ad money (along with the Google ads that have to be clicked on) is the only business model the site has, so I need to generate as many page views as possible per visit.

    I know that some folks hate having to click so I made sure to at least allow people to skip the parts of the review they weren't interested in. The drop down menus let you easily navigate to the page(s) that you are interested in reading.

    Sorry that having to click bothers you but I do need to get some compensation for spending time writing, editing and producing these reviews and screenshots. I think it's fair to expect that so thank you for understanding.


  7. Seven pages? Ug. Is there any way to have all this stuff on just one page? What's so bad about pages that are long & that require scrolling? I'm done with sites that I have to click & click & click & click & click & click to see all the content.

  8. I did not test this software, and chances are I will not test this software. I base my comments based on the years of software testing that I have done and the thousands of times that I have installed at least a couple of hundred distinct Linux distributions.

    This is a mega distribution. Benefits: access to a lot of alternatives. Useful when you are trying to decide what you want to use and also useful when you want to evaluate and test a lot of desktops and a lot of applications.

    The cost of such a mega distribution is level of complexity: arguably too much stuff. This makes it a confusing choice for beginners – too many choices to understand, and it also makes the software heavy and cumbersome, leading to slower than average installation and the likelihood of many unnecessary services being automatically turned on, so unless you manage it carefully and pare it down, it will be slow.

    Nothing wrong with it; probably a GREAT distro for evaluations. I've done plenty of evaluations, so this time I will pass.

  9. UE is an awesome distro. I have an overbuilt win7 machine and the bigger the better. Someday I'll be in that mode where Im trying to make the distro as small as possible, but that day is not today. Viva la 3GB+ distro!

  10. Nice review. What I'd like to see is a direct comparison with UE and other "DVD size" distros like Sabayon and Super OS. These tend to be way overkill for me, but I would be interested in seeing how they compare to one another.

  11. Thanks for the review. I think this one is about what one would expect; a lot of software, pretty good collection of stuff that works, but little attention to value added documentation above and beyond the bzse system, relying instead on Ubuntu documentstion, not all of it relevant to this particular system.

    To compare, Linux Mint is quite easy to install and use and a pretty full featured implementation of the GNOME desktop. Mint probably has more complete documentation of what it offers. Ultimate offers more desktop environments, but no additional documentation.

    Worthwhile for a distro and desktop junkie; probably not much incremental value for anyone else and probably not a good idea for a first time user.

  12. really really thanks for reviewing ultimate 2.5. really really thanks for listing the moajor apps. i wish you had reviewed it a bit early.

    i would have appreciated a bit more detail review though.

    but keep up the good work.

  13. "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."

    Sorry, but we are programmers. Documentation is a different department. 😆

    In all seriousness, Ultimate system requirements are bit steeper than standard Ubuntu. At least if you turn all the included eye candy on which is one of the main points of this distro. I noted this when trying to run it on my Sempron desktop with integrated Nvidia video. Plain Ubuntu ran fine, but Ultimate slowed to a crawl. Still, if you have the hardware, it is way slicker than straight Ubuntu for those into such things.

    The large selection of software is a good deal for those wanting to experiment, yet do not want to download everything separately.

  14. Prokokok, I'll try to give Gnome-Do a second chance. I think it just irritated me more than anything else. However, I appreciate the feedback and I'll give it another look.

  15. The reviewer apparently hasn't read up what Gnome-Do can do. It is IMHO one of the most useful utilities ever made. And if you don't want it, you can set it not to start on boot-up. If you don't know how, then you have no business doing a review.

  16. Another week, another ubuntu review.

    My first linux is with ultimate 1.7. Ultimate teach me what is basero, kde, gnome, k3b many linux app with strange name. So no need download and try one-by-one.

    Mr TheeMan have a lot time to make ultimate distro. I wish he will make ultimate 3 base on Debian itself.

Leave a Reply