Ubuntu 4.10 Linux
is another Linux distro that I tried over the past few weeks, but I didn't have time to post about it before. Its main difference from other distros is that it's intended to be a desktop Linux. In a word, I think it's fantastic
. I downloaded it as a single ISO image and burned it to a CD. I popped it in my old 1.4 GHz Athlon machine, and it booted without a hitch.
The Ubuntu installer offered to setup two partitions on my blank 40GB hard drive, and I simply went with the defaults. After a quick format of the partitions, it copied over the basic setup files, autodetected my network card and obtained an IP (via DHCP) from my router. The install finished copying over the rest of the files to the hard drive, and my base install was done in ~20 minutes. Then it offered to pull off all security updates off the Debian website (Ubuntu is built on the Debian distro), and this extended the install time to 40 minutes in all (including one reboot). I was impressed, but it got better.
When my system rebooted, I had a 2.6 kernel and the latest GNOME desktop. I logged in and began exploring. Ubuntu comes with a complete install of OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird. (Unfortunately, Firefox and Thunderbird are not at their 1.0 releases, but a quick search on the Ubuntu newsgroup confirms that it's not hard to install these.) I really like OpenOffice -- especially the equation editor which just beats Microsoft Word's editor hands-down.
There's also a sophisticated groupware/email program called Evolution that I haven't really had a chance to look at. I also found a DVD player and other media players, which might have been impressive if I'd had a sound card installed on my Athlon. As it was, they just crapped out.
The cons that I found were that Ubuntu is really not set up for a developer. For instance, there's no Java development environment like Eclipse installed. Since Eclipse is notoriously hard to install on Debian, this would be nice to have. (A little reading of the newsgroup confirmed that this is planned for the next release.) Mono (the Linux version of .NET) would also be good as a default install too.
Another downside is that there doesn't appear to be a full install of Samba on the system (there's no smbmount
), so it's difficult to share information between Linux and Windows. It would also be a very good idea if there was some wizard to set up shared directories with a Windows machine, so you didn't have to edit fstab
Still, I was very impressed. I think if I had to ... not saying I want to ... but if I had to, I could run run Ubuntu as my only environment. Shocking to say, I think desktop Linux is almost here, and in a year or less, it could be a better (and safer) experience than Windows.