This is my review of Ubuntu 5.10 the “Breezy Badger”.
The platform I used was an old Compaq Presario 5360 with a 480 mhz cpu, 180 meg of ram, and 40 Gb hard drive. My network connection was a Realtek PCI 10/100 NIC card through my home network. It also includes a TV PCI card.
I performed the OS download from one of the http://www.ubuntulinux.org mirror site. Make sure you validate the download with appropriate error checking (like MD5 Sums) prior to burning a CD. It took three attempts before I received a clean download.
Ubuntu has both a live CD version and a full install version. I’m a great believer in giving users an opportunity to preview what they are getting. This gave me the opportunity to at see what it would look like after loaded and what applications I would find and I was pleased with the variety of applications, since most of them are favorites I’ve used before. The live CD was a clear representation of the look and feel of the OS and I was quickly sold and began to install.
The full load for i386 is all on a single CD. (Unlike fedora which had 4 full CD’s at my last count).The install process provides a means for reformatting the hard drive in a proper supporting configuration. The install proces went smooth without a hitch. The NIC card was detected with no issues. The install process didn’t paint out details, but the option does exist if you want it.
Install defaults made sense with minimal interaction. After the install was complete and the desktop comes up, you’re greeted by some very mellow low range noted tones and a muted background combination of brown, orange and other shades making a very peaceful desktop. The desktop is clean and the application drop down menus are clearly organized and make sense.
The total suite of applications were some of my favorites. Evolution e-mail, Firefox browser, Open Office suite, GAIM, Bittorrent, and the Gimp photo image editor to name a few.
The system update and upgrade process flags any out of date elements and prompts you for the upgrades you may need. Again, this feature worked without a hitch. The upgrade and Apt functions needed no special configuration information to start with. There are multiple libraries that can be added to the location sources for a bigger and broader range of application sources. Once that was completed I downloaded and ran several new applications not already packaged without a hitch. Examples of those I downloaded have been Streamtuner, Bluefish editor, acidrip, TVTime, and Mplayer.
Following the WIKI for Ubuntu Linux, I was easily able to get this completed. Upgrades and downloads with the system updates and with the Synaptic functions were very smooth, fast for the machine type used and without error.
I could go on and on with analyzing the entire composition of features and applications, but we don’t have that kind of time. Key points I hope you take away from this 1) The install process was one of the simplest from an end user stand point. 2) The desktop is installed clean so you can add all you want or operate with a clear view of whatever background you choose. 3) OS Update functions and Synaptic package managers are the key systems for getting what you want. Following the Ubuntu wiki’s everything worked smoothly for me. 4) Ubuntu’s on line documentation is some of the most complete I’ve seen. This may be a result of how new they are as much as their quality of work. It may be a challenge for them to maintain the clear library of documentation as they go forward. It certainly seems they have a strong backing from it’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth. 5) and there is the intangible factor of ‘it just plain works’.
To sum it up, this OS is everything you need and nothing you don’t. (I believe that’s a line from Nissan Xterra commercials). It’s been one of the easiest and more enjoyable Linux experiences I’ve had for a full desktop OS. I would recommend this to a first time Linux user any day. In fact, I liked it so much its now my primary OS.
Here’s to the future with Ubuntu.