Posts Tagged ‘news’
Apologies for the lack of updates – work taking up a lot of my time and I’m also in the process of moving house. Once this is done, I expect The Node to be down for a couple of weeks as I get my broadband transferred.
However, I’ve been playing around with Gentoo Linux recently and it’s a real education. Although it has a package manager (a good one too), everything is configured manually and compiled…including the kernel. I imagine I’ll move Joshua-14 over to Gentoo eventually but that could be a long time as it’s almost studying Linux rather than installing it. Nice :D
Also just picked up a Samsung Galaxy S3 Quad Core with ICS. So far, it good although it was a bit of a shock to move from stock Android to TouchWiz. It’s plenty powerful anyway and looked much more exciting than Google’s Galaxy Nexus (also made by Samsung). Although of course The Galaxy Nexus will get Android 4.1 “Jellybean” before anyone else.
Anyway, just retired my Nexus S. If I can get it to work with “smstools” under Ubuntu, I’ll post a tutorial.
Ubuntu 10.10 “Mavrick Meerkat” was released on Sunday (10/10, natch) and I’ve installed it on two laptops to take it for a spin. There were no problems installing it on a netbook or a regular laptop – all hardware was recognised correctly, including the integrated webcams. The most obvious difference is the new theme which has shades of orange and purple and the new font which makes the whole thing look lovely – more so that 10.04 which could probably be viewed as a transitional release, regardless of the Long Term Support designation. The interface definitely feels cleaner and more professional. To put it another way, this is a slight tweaking of Lucid (10.04). That’s no bad thing of course and you do get some marginal benefits such as better 3D and wireless driver support and the latest kernel.
Probably the biggest improvement is the Software Centre which now includes an iTunes-style “paid” apps section. It’s very poor at the moment as it has exactly one title to choose from – Fluendo DVD Player. However, I’m sure this will change with time. There are other minor tweaks such as improved battery life for laptops, faster boot time (apparently – I couldn’t see any difference) and Gnome 2.32.0. There’s also Shotwell photo manager instead of F-Spot (meh) and new versions of Evolution and Gwibber. Evolution certainly seems like a major improvement to the version shipped with 10.04, as it seems quite a bit faster.
The installer has been revamped, although frankly the improvements are mostly cosmetic. I do wish that the default partition layout would put the /home directory on a separate partition by default. It’s easy enough to set this up yourself if you are reasonably skilled with Linux, but new users won’t know how to set this up nor the need for things like swap partitions. For a distribution aimed at Linux newbies and desktop users, this is a glaring oversight.
The last major introduction for netbooks is the Unity interface which supposedly replaces the “Netbook Launcher”. While it looks quite pretty, I didn’t actually take to it and switched my netbook to use the desktop edition after about an hour. I couldn’t get the default install of Chrome to add itself to Unity, nor could I figure out how to add apps to it. It’s not very usable, not very fast and generally just isn’t a very good idea. While the old netbook launcher wouldn’t win any Apple-style design innovation awards, it was usable and customisable which Unity at the moment certainly is not. It’s at very early stages, so I guess we’ll see what Canonical does with it. I won’t be using it in the near future though.
There are still some things that I don’t like about Ubuntu in general, but this could be because I started out on Red Hat distributions. Things like not having the Services GUI tool, the incessant use of sudo to do root tasks as default and the fact that many things I consider to be needed as part of a pro-user are not installed by default like Apache, PHP and “chkconfig”. However, this is probably more a disparity between distribution philosophies that anything inherently “bad” about Ubuntu. The user interface is certainly streets ahead of Fedora in terms of looks – but that really depends on what you’re using it for, either desktop or server roles.
Overall 10.10 is a solid, albeit minor release – certainly nothing as earth-shattering as 10.04 was to 9.10. I definitely prefer it to 10.04 and you probably will too unless you definitely need long term support. The themes have been touched up and the whole thing feels professional and responsive. Top job and I’ll definitely be keeping this version on my netbook.