Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux

Since Ubuntu Linux has just had a public preview released (ISOs here if the download page still has broken links when you read this) I thought I’d comment on, well, whether or not you’d want to use it.

Point of view: I’m a professional software developer (computer science oriented) with enough sysadmin capabilities to run a home or small office non-critical network. So I’m not your mother or father or whoever it is in your life you use to gauge “is Linux ready for the masses yet?” by. On the other hand I’m notoriously unlucky with hardware and I hate low-level system configuration (like PPP config files) and every time Linux makes me learn a new gotcha these days I get cranky. I have my little tools (mutt, vim, Firefox) that I configure endlessly, but everything else just needs to work.

So with that in mind, here’s why you might like Ubuntu if you’re someone like me (obviously, if none of this applies to you you’ll need to rationalise it yourself):

It’s Debian-like. It has apt, aptitude, dpkg. Its universe Archive even has Debian main in it, pretty much. (Technically you aren’t meant to Debian sources too, but I’ve been sneaking contrib and non-free in.)

Except it’s going to be released every six months. You will have noticed that that is not how Debian works by now.

It has GNOME 2.8. It is apparently going to track GNOME releases fairly closely in following releases too.

The installer is not yet pretty, but it is simpler. Mind you, Debian’s will be soon too. But this installer is pretty step-by-step.

X will be configured for you. Well, most likely it will be. It was for me. And wasn’t that lovely after endless years of being asked for my horizontal sync ranges or whatever they are, and never once, during that time, having anyone ever give me a monitor manual.

Some other nice things for me personally were: having the ipw2200 firmware in the kernel distribution; having the first user given sudo access and being put in all the right groups automatically; and… actually I think the rest of it is GNOME 2.8 stuff, like having sftp:// URLs work.

In summary, if you’re a desktop Debian user, particularly a GNOME user, Ubuntu is worth looking at.