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Canonical's New Release: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)
 

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Canonical's New Release: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)

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Ubuntu LogoUbuntu 10.04 LTS, codenamed Lucid Lynx, was released a few days ago. This release is different from the regular releases that comes out every six months, this Ubuntu 10.04 Long Term Support (LTS) will be supported for three years for dekstop version, and five years for the server version, which is much longer than 18 months support period for regular releases.

What's new here includes: updates on Firefox browser and OpenOffice.org suite, integrated software update/install called "Ubuntu Software Centre", the new "Me" menu to update Facebook/Twitter directly, a new music player, tighter integration with Ubuntu One storage cloud, and a much faster booting compared to its predecessors.


Driven by my curiosity, I decided to upgrade my Ubuntu 9.04 installation on my Windows partition. Since it took a long time to download the packages needed for the upgrade, I left my Lenovo ThinkPad R60 laptop at the office overnight for the download and automatic upgrade process, only to find that the upgrade failed for some vague reason in the next day. I was not able to revive it. Finally, I downloaded a CD image of the installer, and install Ubuntu 10.04 right from the CD. It was flawless, except that my previous Ubuntu installation and partition is deleted – not a biggie, since I don't have too much important files on that partition.

The installation process from the installation CD was flawless and took no more than 15 minutes on my laptop. Just like my previous Ubuntu installs, this release works right out of the box. Nothing needs to be tweaked too much in order to make it usable. My three personal problems with every fresh Ubuntu installations, as usual, is dealing with Adobe Flash plug-in to Firefox, configuring bluetooth Dial Up to my 3G phone, and configuring the Folding@home client. As a matter of fact, I always try to donate as much CPU power as I can, towards these scientific projects, for the good of humanity.

The desktop looks neat and visually pleasing. One of the changes that I noticed is the new window controls that's located on the left side of the title bar. It's annoying but livable. Dragging the border of the window to adjust its width/shape is a bit difficult, perhaps there's only 1 pixel wide available for the handle. Ubuntu should have made it wider for easy grab.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop


Now I can see a tighter integration with Ubuntu One, a storage cloud associated with each Ubuntu user, in which every user is entitled with 2 GB of free storage space. I like this feature in particular, that enables me to have a virtual disk space which follows me everywhere I go, and sharing my files to others.

Ubuntu One


Otherwise, from productivity perspective, I can't see much difference between this release and the previous one, other than its long term support. As of the speed, honestly, from my perspective, perhaps augmented with my lack of idealistic view on how fast an OS should be, Ubuntu is not much faster than its predecessors (they are already fast!). All I know is that Ubuntu is much faster compared to Windows, at least on my machines, especially for the lightning-fast boot time. Another factor that favors me towards Ubuntu is its decent memory footprint. This is one of the major difference compared to Windows. For instance, Windows XP on my main partition, easily claimed almost more than 500MB of page file after a fresh boot, while Ubuntu 10.04 only uses half of the physical memory, and has not even touched the page file. My 5 year-old laptop performs very well in Ubuntu 10.04 compared to its sluggish performance under Windows XP SP3.

There's an age-old question asked by my friends whenever I tried to be an Ubuntu evangelist: Will Ubuntu be able to run their commercial Windows-only productivity software such as Auto-CAD, SPSS, ArcGIS, Global Mapper, MapINFO, and so on. This is something that in my opinion depends on how widespread Ubuntu is, among corporate users. As long as there is no sufficient demand to run these packages on Linux, those big GIS software companies will not waste their money to port their established products to Linux.

Is there any GIS package for Ubuntu out there? The answer is yes, and there are a lot of them. It's just most of us don't really know how to install them or how to use them. I have to admit that installation of non-standard software package in Ubuntu sometimes poses a tremendous challenge, especially for those who has little background to Linux, just like me. Those challenges, combined with conflicting information in the support forums, is enough to stop newbies from venturing too far into Ubuntu. When faced with various commands that I have to type in the console, I'm always wondering if all typical users has the capacity and has the time to deal with these commands or to learn how to figure out the solution themselves.

Anyway, for general purposes – such as writing this document, preparing simple graphics, calculating and summarizing your daily expenses, sending your emails, and also accessing the web – Ubuntu serves the purpose very well. It's stable, usable, user friendly, and on top of that, it's 100% free! What's more, it detaches us from the grips and domination of those big software companies.

For home/family usage, please pick Ubuntu as your operating system!




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Last Updated on Monday, 03 May 2010 21:46
 

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