Today I had the opportunity to install Intrepid Ibex on two machines. A high end monster with a 47″ HD monitor and our mid-to-bottom range pc in the bedroom

This is not an in depth review – these are my impressions after configuring and fooling around for a bit.

Installation

Intrepid installation takes long. Booting the live CD takes long, and error messages scroll across the screen while the Live disk chugg’s along before the login page finally appears. 340 lines worth of error code to be more or less exact.

The installer is smooth, I could see that attention has been given to the installer and the process surrounding it.

Did I mention that the actual installation seems to take forever?

First Boot

After installing Intrepid boots very quickly. Loading the desktop environment is noticeably slow though – could it be that Ubuntu now employs some of the known Windows trickery to appear to boot fast? Let’s hope not.

The new wallpaper is stunning, but again the new theme has been canned for the familiar “Human” theme. It is available as an option – but it is high time that Ubuntu get’s a proper visual makeover.

The interface is familiar, I felt immediately at home.

Tooling around

Intrepid certainly feels nippy, but less so than the Alpha and Beta versions I played around with before. New features are not immediately apparent, but a little playing around highlights them. A highlight is the new network manager.

Where previously configuring 3g USB modems was a real challenge I got my friends modem connected in literally five minutes. Remember to turn off Pin authentication, there seems to be a bug there.

Bugs

Intrepid certainly feels more “finished” than Hardy felt on first release, but there are a few minor issues.

Network manager refuses to connect 3g modems with Pin authentication enabled.

Restricted drivers manager inexplicably crashed severral times on both machines before I got it running. On our PC at home I actually needed to re-install and try again, on my friends PC I needed to download the driver for his Nvidia card via “Add-Remove Programs”

Once installed though the improvement over hardy was readily apparent.

On our Nvidia card the borders of some windows would white-out and become unresponsive.

One colleague had issues with his wireless setup, so much so that he decided to try another avenue, and his Evolution was buggy.

I am certain that these glitches will soon be fixed though.

Eye Candy

Do yourself a favor and install the CompisConfig Settings Manager. Play around. Yep, desktop cubes are old hat – now you can have a nifty desktop cilinder! You need to enable Cube Distortion to get this effect. And it is easy to do as well.

A circular desktop somehow makes more sense to my mind as opposed to a cube.

Very nice!

Summary

Some complained over Intrepid being only an incrimental upgrade over Hardy. I say it was a smart move. Intrepid is more polished, better performing and less buggy than it’s predecessor, and should become the new distro benchmark.

That said, theme wise Ubuntu is yet again a disappointment. A theme makeover is promised with every new release, and then it is dropped for some reason. The wallpapers are very impressive from an artistic view though, but I for one am growing tired of the human theme. How about going Ape for a change?

I run Linux Mint on my laptop, and the Ubuntu artists (talented as they are!) can definitely have a browse of the Linux Mint website to get a few pointers. I do think though that Ubuntu has become a victim of it’s own look – people tend to remember ugly, and to make a major switch to a new colorscheme might mean a loss on the recognizability front.

So.

All in all a positive step for Ubuntu as a desktop release – some wrinkles to iron out for sure, but this is all that the current long-term release was supposed to be.

Right, so how long before the next release…?

Related posts:

  1. Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex – A first Look, With Screenshots
  2. Comparative Test Problems – Hardware, Windows7 and Linux
  3. Some Time Spent With Karmic Koala – Ubuntu 9.10
  4. Linux Mint Felicia – First Impressions