Okay, so the new Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is out today. Well almost. Users have been able to upgrade their systems to the latest version from early on, but the Ubuntu home page still does not advertise the download as ready. Desperate to try out the new release I upgraded my system as well. I will review a new install when I have downloaded an ISO and given it a spin.
Note that this review also introduces my new rating system. It is still early days though, so your opinions are welcomed to help me refine my ratings.
Now, on to the review…
Those of you who have been running the Beta releases and the Release Candidate when it became available will not find anything new with this release. Of note is that the default homepage for Ubuntu has been updated and is really pretty.
There are three links on the bottom, for Ubuntu Help, Ubuntu Shop and Ubuntu Community that take you to the relevant pages.
Bootup is a bit slower though, going down from the 25.82 seconds of Beta2 to 35.45 seconds. At least one user on Floss.Pro indicated a boot time of more than fifty seconds. I have installed the RC clean on my wifes computer and there I get 19.74 seconds from Grub to Login, and that on a five-year old AMD sempron with 1GB RAM. I seriously suspect that a clean install will garner even better boot times.
Memory use on my computer has gone up as well, by roughly 50MB to 856MB from the Beta2 amount of 806MB.
Ubuntu has a reputation of being the most desktop ready Linux Operating System currently available. I am sure the guys from PCLinuxOS would beg to differ, but I think it is very ready for the desktop. That said Ubuntu Lucid Lynx sports some changes to the interface which might not really go down well with new and seasoned users alike. Paramount among them is the new placement of Windows Buttons, on the top left as opposed to the top right, where the general default is.
Ubuntu Lucid Lynx has also dropped Gimp from the default install, and uses F-Spot to manage pictures. F-Spot is good enough for the general desktop user, and I can fully understand the reasoning behind dropping Gimp. Lucid Lynx has a full set of Office productivity programs in the form of OpenOffice 3.2 and a Dictionary Application that connects online to help you with language based queries.
For Multimedia Lucid Lynx still sports Rhythmbox for music and Totem for videos and other multimedia. Both have undergone a polishing for this release, in Totem the icons that appear when you pause or play a video file now appear on the top left of the screen, and Rhythmbox sports the Ubuntu One Music Store. I would have liked to see some music available under the creative commons available in the store…
Ubuntu Lucid now also includes Pitivi by default. Pitivi is a video editing application. This past week I have used it to compile a simple video montage of our holiday and it is… adequate. I could not find how to add text or transitions to my video clip, adding a soundtrack was easy though.
Also new to Lucid is the integration with Gwibber for Twitter, Facebook and Digg (among other social networks) and Empathy to give you a wide array of options for your chat accounts including Facebook Chat. A really cool addition that will attract new users.
Overall I believe Ubuntu Lucid Lynx will have 99% of what the average user will need without too much fettling. For you who would point out that there are some serious shortages when it comes to power apps; power users are no longer an Ubuntu target AND the applications are only a click away. I am fine with that.
I give Ubuntu Lucid Lynx a Desktop Readyness Score of 4 out of Five
Ease Of Use
The Gnome interface might be alien to most users coming from a Windows environment. Once you get past the initial differences Ubuntu should be ready to use. In my household I have my wife and my mom using Ubuntu on their computers. I can personally attest that not only is Ubuntu Mommy and Grandma friendly, major problems are limited to a minimum. I have no need to police the computers with firewalls and anti-virus software, and it is only rarely that I need to intervene to get something done. In fact my mom’s biggest gripe with Ubuntu is that she cannot install PopCap games, and that the Spider Solitaire is not the way she likes it.
Other than that both of them browse the web, watch videos online, make and view documents of various kinds and have a general good time of it.
Ubuntu is not foolproof however, and my four-year-old daughter has deleted the odd panel or shortcut that I have needed to get back. That is partly due to me being too lazy to properly administer user privileges on the home machines.
Ubuntu is more housewife friendly than any other operating system out there and thus I give it a score of 4 out of five. The only thing keeping it from getting a perfect 5/5 is lack of support for Windows applications. Yes you can get many to run but generally you will need some help to do it.
General Notes and My Rating
Firefox now has a feature that I really liked in Internet Explorer 7 and 8, when you open a new tab from a web-page the new tab is opened adjacent to the page you are viewing. This is different from the old behavior where new tabs would be opened on the far-right of the browser. Add in colored grouping of tabs (available via an addon I believe) and I would be in browsing nirvana.
The new Ubuntu is really very polished. It offers very quick boot times, a complete package and a great new look to woo new users. It supports a wide array of hardware, and those that do not work out of the box can have the hardware drivers enabled via a quick download.
Although I do not mind the new placement of the window buttons much I can understand how it might confuse new users. I really enjoy the Social Media integration and I like the new look. Kubuntu still has a slight edge as far as looks go, but Ubuntu is rounding out to a very complete Operating System. Soon this will be the Operating System to beat.
A note: My wife has been using the RC since Monday and her main complaint was in fact the placing of the Window Buttons. Given that this is her only major gripe is high praise for Ubuntu indeed. My wife tends to be very fastidious when it comes to “her” computer.
Taking everything into account, including some problems users have had with hardware drivers and lack of native software support from the bigger names like Adobe Photoshop, as well as the limited options when it comes to gaming I give Ubuntu Lucid Lynx an overall Q rating of Three out of Five.
You might think this is a bit harsh but I stand by that rating. I am sure this will improve with releases to come, but I do not see a perfect 5/5 rating within the next two releases unless some really drastic improvements are made in support from third party vendors. I needed to take that into account when I gave this rating, and if you take into account that Windows 7 only barely makes a 3/5 rating Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is highly regarded by me.
So there you have it, 3/5 overall for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx
New to g33q.co.za is SaGeek Recommended Products, and Ubuntu gets the Thumbs up for recommendation by SaGeek.