3 Days

Until the latest version of Ubuntu Linux comes out.
I’m already using the release candidate on both my desktop and laptop and everything seems to be going well. The betas were, as expected, buggy, but the RC seems to do well. There’s usually a dozen or so updates released daily, but that’s hardly a problem, and normal for pre-release versions as they iron out the kinks.
First impressions:

  • New default theme sucks. It’s like they took all the good parts of Mac OS X’s interface and make them worse. Horrible black-and-purple theme. I immediately switched back to the blue-tinted Human theme that’s served me well for some time. Honestly, I don’t know why they’d do this — most of the people who’d switch to Ubuntu come from a Windows background, so having the Mac-style, top-left location for close/min/max buttons makes little sense.
  • The one major bug that’s been stopping me from using Ubuntu as my primary system for a few years has been resolved. When using the distro-supplied version of Firefox (but never the same version for Mac, Windows, or other versions of Linux), the backspace key in the WordPress admin interface (and only there) was slow and laggy. This has been fixed.
  • I miss the colored “circle of friend” logo next to the Applicatiosn menu. The new gray one is a bit weird. Same thing with the lack of color in the Weather applet next to the system clock. Clearly more tinkering with the themes is needed, though I wish they made this a selectable option.
  • One can now easily toggle the drumroll login sound. Excellent. I’m a fan of silent startups.
  • Not supported with the scan-your-check-for-deposit service with USAA Bank. Strange, as the service uses Java, which Ubuntu has. Go figure. Emails have been sent.

All in all, it looks pretty nice. Many of the interface and usability quirks have been worked out, though I’m still not a fan of the default theme. So far, no major issues to report, but I’ve only been using it for a few days.
While it’s unlikely that Linux will displace Windows in the desktop market in the foreseeable future due to Windows’ huge network effect, Ubuntu is maturing quite quickly, and I suspect it will soon be the de facto standard for desktop Linux (something which is really important to many developers). It’s very nearly to the point where I’d have no problems recommending it to my mom.

3 thoughts on “3 Days”

  1. I’ve been using Ubuntu for a year or so now as my primary OS. There are still a couple things I have to fire up the windows box for but Ubuntu just ticks away the hours. I like it because it is easy to a) try before you install, b) install along side windows, c) install for real.

  2. I did recommend Ubuntu to my father after he had massive virus issues with WinXP. He’s been happily running 8.04 LTS since it came out despite, no doubt, continuing to open every email and run every attachment he gets.
    I’m not sure about the upgrade for him though. Might wait a bit longer. I just went to 10 from 9.10 and, yes, the theming is bad. I got the buttons moved and colors mostly fixed, but I can’t theme the login anymore? Purple? *sigh*
    Oh, and Thunderbird 3 just doesn’t fit into my brain yet. My engineering pathways like discrete boundaries and TB3 feels like a big squishy choose your own adventure that always leads to one of three end points… Eventually…

  3. aczarnowski: Awesome. Glad to hear the old LTS worked out well for him. Fortunately, it’s supported for another year, so there’s no problem there. The lack of ability to change the login screen is a bit annoying, and will no doubt be fixed soon, but little issue to me, as I’m always logged in. 🙂
    I have a weird hybrid blue theme for GNOME combining elements of Human and Clearlooks that I rather look. Orange or dark colors (or at least non-glassy dark colors) really don’t sit well with me for a GUI. The blue is much less offensive.
    As for TB3, I’ve been using it for a while, so I have no complaints. Gmail’s webmail is entirely too awesome, so I just use that all the time. 😛

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