Ubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbon” Review
First a rundown on the system. It’s a 1.0 Ghz AMD Duron with a 32 meg Nvidia video card. It’s the same as system #2 from my Ubuntu 6 review. During the load she was connected to my lan, but has a Broadcom based wifi card installed.
I did not attempt to load over a previous version of Ubuntu as in my earlier review.
Following the GUI, loading was smooth and straight forward. I reformatted the entire hard drive for the Linux OS, went through the typical prompts with really no significant differences from Ubuntu 6.
Again the install went smoothly with a status bar ticking off progress. All the same prompts occurred with little change from previous versions. It’s nice to see they aren’t messing with this success.
Of course, you’re prompted to define a userid and password like every other linux build I’ve tried.
Log in and there you have it. The dulcet tones of the system start up with the earth toned backdrop.
No differences yet.
Whoa! What’s this? There is a new tool that pop’s up prompting ‘proprietary’ drivers needed. Fantastic! It spots both my Nvidia video card and my Broadcom based Wifi card. With my active lan connection the drivers were automatically downloaded and installed.
The video card driver allowed different resolutions but the defaults were fine.
The wifi driver loaded with no problems and showed as an option with the network connections. Wifi manager was already a part of my Ubuntu install under network connections. These few features made a huge difference in my install experience. Big kudos to Ubuntu developers on this.
Past: I would have found and downloaded WiFi Manager and the Broadcom drivers manually or via Synaptic.
Of course, I strongly recommend you update your entire configuration with Update Manager before disconnecting from the Lan. Since I was late in the 7.10 cycle (8 was to be announced within a week of this load) the updates were very long.
After completing all the updates, I configured the wifi and disco’d the lan. Everything “Just worked”, which is a far cry from recent Vista experiences.
The WiFi signal indicators never seemed to indicate more than 60% when other devices [Blackberry phone and Vista laptop] indicated minimum 80%. Signal throughput does seem to be slower with equivalent page refreshes between comparable systems using different OS. Whether it’s the nature of Wifi Manager on Linux or added overhead with the proprietary driver or some other bandwidth hog I can’t say.
Pros: Ubuntu is sticking with what works and contnues to refine things for improvement. It’s a perfectly viable alternative to MS. Huge improvement with the proprietary driver detection and downloads and integrated Wifi Manager into the network connections.
Cons: The same con as for all Linux OS. 1) A Quicken financial management program equivalent. Something that will allow for daily downloads of financials (banking, trading, etc.). Taxation software would also be nice, but I understand they are moving to web portals that may be OS independent. 2) Other platform game compatibility whether Apple or PC. Available in limited fashion and not 100%. 3) Wifi manager seems to be slower than equivalent MS wifi configurations.
Final Word: Ubuntu is a definite contender and in my mind the strongest Linux contender to date. I love Ubuntu. But for the cons, it would be my primary platform.