Friday, October 26, 2007

Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon Review

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Alrighty all, looks like I have had plenty of time with the new release from Canonical systems. Ubuntu has always been a favorite flavor of the Linux desktop OS and continues to peg the leader boards at Distro Watch. In many cases the community sees many steps forward when it comes to the Ubuntu 6 month release schedule. I am glad to anounce that it is mostly all there with the new release of Gutsy Gibbon or Ubuntu 7.10.
Everything is normal when it comes to downloading, burning, and installing the Ubuntu ISO. A nice welcome screen appears during the live cd install and you would seriously have to have done NOTHING with a computer to mess up the relatively brainless install. When you pull the cd out and reboot for the first time you get a clean and even fast (which is different from most Ubuntu installs) load and login screen.
The desktop has always been Ubuntu's hard point. In the past it has been very sterile, clean and brown. I am glad to say that not much has changed in this realm. They have spiced up the desktop with snazzy windows (depending if you have the hardware to run the acceleration), a different default background (which really ties the desktop together), and the same application bar on top / windows bar on bottom. One of the largest changes comes in the "work spaces" function of Linux.
Not many people actually use this feature because it was awkward to change from one to another. This issue was solved with the "cube" that beryl uses but has cleaned up a bit with a simple set of keys that allows the user to jump from one to another. This allows multiple applications running in different spaces and ultimately keep your desktop clean from the clutter of daily computing. Beyond this and the renaming of certain folders under your "home" not much has changed in the distro. However, there are a few problems that exist which may assist the simple user but distract the power user.
The new User switching feature which is pasted to the left side of the top bar does not make sense to have on the desktop after the install. If you have multiple users then there is going to be a lot of logging in and out not really "switching" users. This is really the only beef I see with this new release. Now I am a bit biased because Ubuntu was the first distro that I played with so when it comes to my comfort zone Ubuntu fits right in it. The simplistic desktop style, ease of installing software, and almost all system information at the very fingertips of the user blends itself into a user friendly, OS experience.
From the blue outline showing how big to the resized windows are to the amazing sudoku app, this and Mint OS will be the height of anyones Linux distribution experience. Thank you for the freeness.