Monday, 7 March 2011

Ubuntu Natty Alpha 3 - First Impressions

This will be a short post since I haven't played with Ubuntu Natty for long. But first impressions are mixed if I'm to be kind. On the upside Ubuntu is still usable. On the down side, it's not what I'm looking for in a desktop OS.

The new interface just sucks for desktop users. It might make sense on a tablet where only one application is being used at any given time. But it just doesn't work as a desktop GUI. I don't like it. It's not what I'm used to and I don't want to be "converted". Imagine my eation then when I discovered the "Ubuntu Classic Desktop" option at the log-in screen. Then imagine my disappointment when I realised it didn't actually do anything yet.

Mono is once again a sore point. I just don't see the point. Mono doesn't bring anything to the mix that isn't already there. Other than possible legal troubles of course and a ridiculously bloated install foot print. So as you might expect I tried removing it. And guess what? Ubuntu didn't seem to lose any functionality that couldn't be replaced by installing alternatives. The applications I lost included Gbrainy, Tomboy Notes and Banshee. All of which I can live quite happily without. has been replaced with Libre Office. Again I'm not really sure what the advantage is other than Libre Office has been contaminated with OOXML support. Canonicals leanings towards Microsoft technologies is beginning to annoy. I moved to Linux to get away from Microsoft. Please for the love of all that's still pure in the world don't drive me on to a Mac.

The Gimp was notable by it's absence. Which means I'll have to install it since I was planning on doing a clean installation for 11.04. It's not a hard thing to do. But the Gimp has been a standard application on the Linux desktop for so long. It just doesn't seem right it's not there any longer. I'm a Gimp user. So I need it.

The one thing that did really impress me with this installation was the new Ubiquity installer. Hopefully I'll have a video posted to YouTube soon. This is the one part of Ubuntu that has gotten better with every version of Ubuntu. This time around basic information is collected as the system is being set up. So it's no longer a case of collecting data and then copying files. Files are copied while basic user data is collected. Which does speed up the whole process by a few minutes. And lets face it. Anything that helps cut down installation time has to be good.