Well ok, they’re not my first impressions as I’ve been using and abusing Ubuntu (indeed, many Linuxen variations) for more years than I care to count, and last week put the Release Candidate through its paces too. I pretty much knew what to expect. This is a completely clean install though – I ditched the RC, ran the Windows-based installer from scratch. And…..
I’m impressed. Very, very impressed. This in one Linux release which is smooth, pretty, ass-quick and everything they said it would be. All the hardware in my little Packard-Bell dotS (hey, I didn’t pick the name) netbook works out the box including the key-combos for volume, brightness, etc, and the wifi is flawless. Good stuff.
The shiny new purple styling is gorgeous, but I wish they’d defaulted to the lighter Radiance theme than the darker Ambiance one. It’s an easy enough thing to switch (right-click on the desktop => Themes), but it does dour-down the overall bright-and-clean look of the interface. Switch it over, and the desktop is a Happy Place again.
Looks aren’t everything though. The standard application setup (Firefox, Open Office, GNOME stuff) are all there with Gwibber doing sterling work as a do-it-all social messaging/email/chat client sitting in the top bar. This goes a long way toward this being the most Socially Aware operating system there is, right out the box. If, of course, Ubuntu came in a box. Which is doesn’t. It’s a free download.
While the app setup is good, there’s a few things I added from the start. Adding Flash and Google Chrome is easy enough, and with the Adblock for Chrome Extension it’s an even faster and netbook-friendlier option than Firefox. I also added Gnome DO and the all-essential vim, though those are down to personal taste.
It’s not all perfect – no operating system is. The one and only fault I’ve found so far is that enabling Compiz Desktop Effects seems to disable alt-tab switching; I think there’s a conflict over whether GNOME or Compiz is supposed to handle that keyboard shortcut, so neither do. I’m sure there’s an easy fix to that one.
(UPDATE: Fixed! Install CompizConfig Settings Manager, enable Application Switcher – it was off for some reason. Easy.)
First impressions: this is one excellent release, and highly recommended for experienced Linux’ers and newcomers alike who want to make their computers their own once again.
Till next time!