Plots and Thoughts

Ubuntu 9.10 Brief Review

Posted in Reviews by Captain Optimistic on March 3, 2010

I’ve been running an ancient version of Kubuntu (grudingly updated to the more recent 9.04, but with the electronic bones of the past still sticking up past the new ground floor).  Quicktime didn’t work, neither did fullscreen flash.  That’s right, no fullscreen hulu!  Rather than do a normal upgrade, I decided to install Ubuntu 9.10 – Karmic Koala – from scratch.  (I’ve partitioned my hard drive so all my personal files are separated from the operating system and software installed.  This makes a new operating system a relatively painless thing to have).

The install was especially smooth and remarkably fast.  Notably because Ubuntu gives you all of no options with regards to what software you want.  Which suits me fine – since I can just apt-get install my own way after everything is good to go.  I did change my root filesystem from ext3 to ext4, which is ostensibly faster.

First orders of business.  Install Chrome Beta, Swiftfox, ubuntu-restricted-extras, vim-gtk, pyroom, amarok, gnumeric, xbindkeys, xbindkeys-config, yakuake, rxvt, and of course mplayer.  The results?

The Good:

  • Full screen flash works again!
  • I can watch trailers on trailers.apple.com (full screen!)
  • My system boots and runs noticeably faster.
  • The Gnome UI is fantastic.

The Bad:

  • Amarok is apparently unusable.  Yay!
  • Gnome is apparently unable to be customized without exploring random blogs and going through major motions.

The customization thing is quite a headache.  Want to change whether the login screen lists users, or what it looks like?  Want to decide which desktop effects are enabled beyond “none, some, all”?  Want to mess with the volume through the Gnome Sound Preferences UI?  This is one part of Gnome that’s broken.  It should be quite easy to do all of these things.  As for why Amarok isn’t functional, perhaps I need to downgrade that (its clearly a version issue, not a packaging issue).

All in all it was a great install.  Well done Ubuntu!  Overall an easy to install, easy to use system that performs well and does everything I want a computer to do.  Best of all, its free!

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