Linux

Ubuntu 10.04 lives up to the hype

Ubuntu 10.4 is officially out and Jack Wallen places his stamp of approval on the release. But did it live up to the hype? Find out what Jack has to say.

I realize over the last couple of months I have been just as guilty of hyping up Ubuntu 10.04 as every other person in the media. And I confess there was a small portion of my brain that was concerned that the latest-greatest from Canonical couldn't possibly live up to every fragment of hype surrounding the release. 10.04 was being billed as the golden child of Linux from all corners of the Linux-verse. Well, we all finally got chance to see how the official release stood up to the various PR machines. Did it stand up to what was promised? From my perspective it not only stood up to it, it surpassed the hype.

Understand I have been using 10.4 since the alpha period...so I have had plenty of time to get used to what 10.04 was all about. But when the official release was installed on my machine, there were enough subtle differences to make me take notice. Even some of the applications I installed after the fact weren't the same as they were on the alpha, beta, or the RC. But is it perfect? Of course not. What operating system is? How close to perfection is it? Let's take a look.

The good

With Ubuntu 10.04 there is a lot of good, and it begins with the installer. One of the issues I've had with Live CDs is that a new-to-Linux user has trouble understanding the concept of the live CD. Ubuntu has solved this by not really stressing the "live CD" aspect. Instead they have a bootable CD that, upon boot, right away presents you with two options:

  • Try out Ubuntu
  • Install Ubuntu

It can't get any clearer than this. No more will new users load up a live CD and wonder why there is an Install icon on the desktop. This is just one more step towards that user-friendly Nirvana that all OS developers are searching for.

More good? Well, I shouldn't have to mention the Ubuntu One Music Store (I praised that up and down the wire last week). But I have to admit the MeMenu is quite nice. With the ability to get to your Ubuntu One account, your user account, your broadcast accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as well as instantly post to all of those accounts. Now I have to confess I instantly installed GNOME Shell to replace Metacity and the MeMenu for GNOME Shell does lack access to your broadcast accounts. It does, however,  allow access to System Preferences with a single click.

But what about beyond the desktop? How does Ubuntu 10.04 actually run? First and foremost, boot time is astounding. I saw a poll recently (in fact, it was here on Techrepublic). I was surprised to see the winning result was 30-59 seconds. Most Linux distributions are striving for that magical 10 second number and Ubuntu 10.4 is incredibly close. My recent installation of Ubuntu 10.04 was coming in at around 15 seconds. The addition of Samba pushed that number to a whopping 23 seconds. Now that is time from bios post to actually having a usable desktop - not just seeing the desktop and waiting for everything to finish loading so I can use it.

And just how is it once it is up and running? Fast. Stable. In fact, I would be willing to say this is the most stable Ubuntu I have used. I have yet to witness a single glitch, hiccup, or crash. And I have been beating the heck out of this installation. I guess the best thing to say about Ubuntu 10.04 under the hood is that it is about as solid a desktop Linux release you will see. There have been some changes made including the switch from starting daemons from /etc/init.d/ to DAEMON start/stop/restart where DAEMON is the name of the daemon you are wanting to start. But all of those changes were made in the name of making Linux even easier.

The not so good

I know, I know...I even avoided the word bad. I did so with good reason. The bad here is very relative (in most cases). In one case, the bad is actually close to bad. With the more recent GNOME and KDE desktops you can very easily share out folders to other machines. This process should be an out-of-the-box experience. However, you still have to install Samba. If you are going to include SMB sharing options on a desktop, don't make the users have to install a prime component to that process...install that by default! Now, when those users go to share out those folders, they will be asked if they would like to install the remaining components for this process. This could (and should) be avoided. Just include Samba in the installation process.

Which brings me to my next issue.

The GIMP.

It's not longer included in the installation. Why? I don't really care why...I just care that this is a huge oversight. One of the great things about a Linux installation is that, out-of-the-box, you have just about everything you need to start working. It's not Windows where you have to purchase everything else in order to work. But now the only image tool installed is OpenOffice Draw. And from my perspective that is a fairly lame replacement for The GIMP. If you're going to remove The GIMP from the installation, at least replace it with something equivalent! You could install Inkscape at least! Of course it's not a huge deal. You can just open up the Ubuntu Software Center and install The GIMP yourself.

Which brings me to my final not so good. There are (hopefully) a lot of new users who will be trying Linux out for the first time with 10.4. But upon installation there is no "Welcome to Ubuntu - Let's get started!" screen. That would have been a nice addition. So many pieces of the Linux puzzle could be explained in one nice, flashy introduction. And for those non-new users, just dismiss it and make sure it doesn't start at boot. As it stands, upon first boot, the new user is greeted with a desktop. Where do you go now? What do you do? When you are a new-to-Linux user, some hand holding would be appreciated.

The overall - and a plea

Canonical has released one amazing candidate. And since this is an LTS (long term support) candidate, it will be in use for a good long time. Now, I have a request. I have so much faith that Ubuntu 10.04 is one of the finest operating systems out there I want all of you to try it. And I want you to give CDs to your friends and family and have them try it. I believe the masses will agree with me that Ubuntu 10.04 is an amazing feat. Once you have an opinion, and your friends and family have an opinion, report back here and let us know how the experiment went. Ubuntu 10.04 is not perfect, but it is a heck of a lot closer than other operating systems available. Do you agree? Does 10.04 live up to the hype?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

41 comments
LeonBA
LeonBA

I'm using Xubuntu 10.04 and am very happy with it. No down sides--it didn't mess with anything I use--and it fixed an audio problem I had in 8.10-9.10 (it used to turn the volume all the way down on bootup).

PCNetSpec
PCNetSpec

Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Is a damn fine "distro" (not OS) as long as it loads without issue, but it was definitely released too early to fit in with Canonicals self imposed release date... I help run a linux forum, and we have been inundated with issues from people, particularly (but not limited to) people with intel graphics chips only getting a black screen with kernel mode switching... Canonical knew about this problem: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Bugs/Lucidi8xxFreezes but released anyway... Come on, how many people have intel gfx chips... also the problems with Plymouth, and the last minute iso respin to fix a bug where grub was erasing/not flagging other OS's... you would think a critical oversight... which must be fairly untested. I am a long standing Linux user, but Canonical jumped the gun with this release, and as a first impression for new users, it may end up giving Linux a bad name. Our advice... (at least to new users who wouldn't know how to disable/renable KMS) Stick with 9.10 until the intel graphics issue is solved and the grub fix is proven

tnkback
tnkback

Ubuntu 10.4 is still has the wireless problem. Mandriva, however lets you connect to your wireless network out of the box. Going to stick with Mandriva.

Rodo1
Rodo1

I've been using Windows for 20 years and never had the urge to change. I installed Ubuntu 10.4 yesterday as a dual boot with my current XP pro. Seems like a good alternative if you are just starting out, but I'm pretty much locked into Windows after all this time. (Not a good thing!) I'm going to continue to play with the Ubuntu and see what it can do. Other than a few rough edges I like it! I am waiting for the EU to require a start-up screen as to what OS you want as they did with the browsers. Watch out Microsoft, this is a real contender!

dennisfurr
dennisfurr

If you really want speed try Xubuntu 10.4. I choose Xubuntu because I'm developing against Intel Atom based platforms and I need to get the most bang per watt. Xubuntu is also an excellent candidate OS for those older laptops that are looking for a new lease on life. There are a few little things in Xubuntu that I hoped would be sorted like a GUI menu editor but it's certainly not a show stopper.

olddogv
olddogv

I started w/Jaunty Jackalope, no training or aid/advice. With every new release, I'm more pleased, 9.10 was even, in my opinion, with win 7 RC. 10.04 is now beyond Windows, any vr. It would be nice to have an intro tour as part of install, but they did an amazing job getting it all on 1 cd. so maybe at least a page of text for newbys? Better than Win, AND FREE!!

DEVCPP
DEVCPP

Installed the 64-bit versions on two of my four PCs: it runs great alongside Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10! No problems thus far. It's crisp and responsive, has a nice layout, and, for the novice user, no manual is really needed. Flash is not there in the 64-bit versions: there's a workaround for this using an alternative player...I forget the name (I don't think it is Movie Player). I hate the quality of Adobe products anyhow, so it's not a big issue for me. This is an excellent choice for smart folks who don't want to pay the Microsoft tax or the Apple tax. Ubuntu on a moderately-old system runs very fast: my two-year-old low-end (slowish Pentium dual-core, not Core 2) laptop with 2 GB RAM runs it as well as Windows 7 on my Core 2 quad desktop with 4GB DDR3 RAM.

kjrider
kjrider

It certainly does. I had all the versions since the 'Boozy Badger' and its the best one yet. Be afraid Microsoft. KJR

shanepatrickfagan
shanepatrickfagan

I was one of the people who was at the UDS session about the apps included. The image editor/viewer situation is very very bad. We had EOG, F-Spot, OO Draw and the GIMP in the default. When a lot of their functions overlap. The GIMP has a lot of features but its not user friendly. F-Spot has what most users what everyday simple cropping, red eye reduction, colour control and photo management. Its also after getting an image viewer mode. OO Draw and EOG are on the chopping block for 10.10 in my book. F-Spot is what the majority of users need, the GIMP is way too complicated.

jnelson1000
jnelson1000

Installed both regular 10.4 and Netbook Edition, but only used the Netbook edition really so far. It is FABULOUS and I'm giving this netbook to my wife, who is net savvy but not anywhere near the techie I am so I'll let you know how she likes it. My only complaint is file sharing with folders in Windows 7 machine, but we'll manage.

SKDTech
SKDTech

I installed 10.04 over the weekend and have only run into one issue so far. I use a Logitech DiNovo Edge keyboard on my desktop and once more I have to go through the pain of making it work. 9.10 and IIRC 9.04 both allowed it to just work with no additional setup. Now I have to go through the hassle of pairing it once again.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I haven't tried it but, the review seems very fair (for a change :D ). And those negatives have been there for awhile. They are one of the reasons I dislike Ubuntu. The Samba sharing is particularly bad, what if you have no internet access, your SOL? IMO, one of the biggest failings of Linux OS's is they require the cloud to run, no commercial software, no CD's, always requiring the internet to get your software. Considering a large chunk of the world is either offline or on dial up, this is unacceptable. Sadly, I see no way to improve this other than with time. Waiting for the day when highspeed internet access is available to everyone around the globe for free... I just hope that Linux can survive that long.

cpcarl
cpcarl

After playing around with Ubuntu 10.04 for a couple of days, I really wanted to say "near the top". But until it "just works", alas I can't. For instance, one shouldn't have to install the restricted extras in order to have working flash and java. If I hadn't come across something about that a few weeks ago (quite by accident), I'd have been lost and frustrated. Then there was playing a DVD movie. Seems like I shouldn't have to Google in order to find out I have to run something at the command line before I can watch a movie. Ouch! On a computer knowledge scale of 1 - 10, with the average computer user being a 3, I'd consider myself a 6 or 7, and while I'm able to eventually get Ubuntu working like I want, it still takes many frustrating hours of web searching and tweaking to get everything to work. What chance does the average user have? They'll try it for an hour or so, see they can't do what they want to do, and go straight back to Windows. As Mr. Wallen says, there definately needs to be a "Welcome to Ubuntu" at start up, that will tell the new user what and how to install the stuff you need to get up and running at full speed, as well as how to navigate the differences between Ubuntu and Windows.

D T Schmitz
D T Schmitz

What else would I say? ;) Dietrich T. Schmitz Linux Advocate

Jitse Klomp
Jitse Klomp

I have been using Ubuntu, Linux Mint and a lot of other OSs for quite some time now, and I think it is safe to say that Ubuntu 10.04 is the best release in the whole Ubuntu 'series', if not the best non-enterprise Linux distro. Canonical, congratulations!

PCNetSpec
PCNetSpec

You are right that the major problems are to do with the intel 8xx chipsets, although other ploblems have been showing up with 9xx chipsets too https://lists.launchpad.net/ubuntu-x-swat/msg70291.html I'm not knocking Ubuntu as a whole, Karmic is a 'solid' distro and I have no doubt Lucid will be fixed and be a great distro too, just Canonicals decision to release with known bugs... although at the last minute they did disable KMS for detected 8xx chipsets leaving people with crippled graphics... better than none at all, they only seem to have done this on the ISO... a lot of people upgrading (with a sudo apt-get upgrade) still run into the problem, I would have thought a slight delay to fix the problem would have been a better idea. With any new release there will be problems... this is to be expected, but if the problems are "known" before release, the release should be delayed to fix them... even more important if it is liable to leave users at a blank screen. Just my opinion, others will say not releasing 'on time' would have damaged its reputation more... it's certainly made our forum more "popular" :) It 'smacks' a bit of the 'Vista' release (with driver issues), and we all know what people ended up thinking of Vista ;)

roaming
roaming

I checked the desktop effects before I installed it on a PC and a laptop, both with Intel graphics chips (GM950 I think) and it worked fine on both.

Rodo1
Rodo1

I've been playing with 10.04 for a week or so now and I love it! I even have installed the KDE desktop so I can go back and forth between it and GNOME. I can't decide which I like better, but I'm tending toward the KDE. Sadly, I won't be able to get off Windows altogether, but Ubuntu will be getting most of my usage from now on!

tr
tr

Ubuntu and most linux distros can install software from CD or local network locations. There are two options. First, get the CD with the individual package, insert the CD, navigate to the location, install the package. This is similar to the standard Windows method, but without the risky autorun "feature" that can install malware. Second, get a CD with the package(s) in the format of the package manager's repository, update the package manager configuration files to use the new source, use the package manager to install the software you want. In the case of Debian based distros, simply add a line in the /etc/apt/sources.list file or add a new file to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ directory that contains the source information. Adding the separate file allows you to back it up and easily set it up on other systems if you have to manage multiple system. By the way, you can also have this setup as a central repository on your network.

DesertJim
DesertJim

I've been an Ubuntu convert since 8.04 and have to say that 10.4 is the best yet. I (partially) agree that a welcome home screen is needed on start up if the target audience are windows users who want to try out something new. It took me a long time to get from my initial toe in the water to a more confident user as I am today, the help from other linux friends is not intuitive to windows users, and the subtle differences cam be daunting to the experimenter. Like all changes, humans are resistant and need help.

Kasuko
Kasuko

This is all due to proprietary licensing and restrictions to freedoms. Everything you asked for requres you to agree to a EULA and may not be legal in certain countries. If Ubuntu were to include it 'out of the box' then that would infringe upon their beliefs of an 'open' operating system, and Ubuntu's a lot more lenient then debian. I agree that they should main stream the installation of flash and java but never (unless some big corporations have a change of heart and opensource their code) will they be included with the distribution. You can always use Mint, I hear they include everything.

Iforgotmydisplayname
Iforgotmydisplayname

I have SATA RAID 0 hard drives which I had installed 9.10 with nothing more than booting the CD. Now in 10.04 I can't install. DMRAID I believe is messing up access to the hard drives. Ended up reinstalling 9.10, doing a Distribution Upgrade after an hour of searching for a solution. All in all, I am not happy with 10.04. Why can't I install it like the previous version? Why do I need to go to a Terminal and/or disable certain features to install an OS? All in all, very poor. Of course, I am going to keep using Ubuntu. I have in, some flavor, since version 6.04. Just mad that it doesn't work out of the box on my hardware when it did in the last version!

Slayer_
Slayer_

Sticking in my Office disk and having it start the install and only requiring me to click next and type a CD key...

johnj.964
johnj.964

I was running 9.10 on a Dell 700m and had "extra Visual Effects" enabled with no problems. For some reason the "upgrade to 10.04 would not work and I had to do a fresh install. After the install and the usual loading of other needed apps (sun Java6-rje, Skype, weatherbug...etc) I had a working system the same as with 9.10. Then I tried to enable the "Extra Visual Effects, NO GO so I tried the "normal Visual Effects". NO GO there either, so I don't know why they worked in 9.10 but they don't in 10.04 which makes me rate my current experience as a 5 on a 1(awful) to 10(God's gift to IT)scale. Anyone else had problems with visual effects?? PS I've been involved in It since mainframe days of the late 60's thru to today so I would consider myself somewhat adept at configuring equipment.

heres_johnny
heres_johnny

A welcome screen should not be too difficult to implement, and would help new users feel more comfortable. It should definitely be done. But the person who started this thread said something interesting about the restricted codecs. As I remember, if you try to play an mp3, it says 'missing codec; would you like to download?' or something to that effect. That's not too hard, but he may be referring to DVD playback especially, and I don't remember if there is a message for that.

Kasuko
Kasuko

Neither does it work 'out of the box' everything you mentioned is also excluded from Windows installations and you have to jump through just as many if not more hoops to install them. sudo apt-get install sun6-jre or whatever is not the same as trying to naviagate Sun's horrible site to find the .exe then run through the installation.

Gerry V
Gerry V

If stuff is not included out of the box, then it should at least be easy to install (read: with a GUI that automatically pops up upon first attempted use of a feature that needs a closed-source component). Similarly, I don't know if this has been solved in 10.4, but in Ubuntu 9 wireless networking does not always work out of the box because the network manager doesn't seem to be able to manage (some) wireless network cards (you have to find that out first and then disable network manager so old-school ifup is used; fortunately that can be done in the system menu), and to change the loading order of grub on a dual-boot system you have to edit a config file you have to find first. Stuff most of us will have no problem with, but most of my friends won't even bother. As long as basic functionality needs custom actions that are hard to find out and/or need command line interaction, Linux will never beat Windows on the desktop.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Until it will run my games from PopCap or the app I used to manage a fantasy league, (or until those vendors port their app to Linux), it doesn't matter how good Ubuntu is. It won't run the apps I want. Theory as to why Gimp was dropped from the default installation: maybe Canonical found most users weren't using it? Maybe the number of non-geek people who edit their photos is smaller than thought?

PCNetSpec
PCNetSpec

There is nothing forcing you to install the updates as soon as they are released, but at least you have the option to make your system secure, before someone takes advantage of a known vulnerability... what kind of stupid system is it that knows about a vulnerability, and has a fix, but doesn't release it for the sake of a schedule.

Slayer_
Slayer_

That is where update schedules are an advantage. If your clients know your update schedules, they are less likely to complain about frequent or infrequent updates. Unless of course your scheduled updates are on the extreme of either side.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Updates put vendors in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation. Offer them too frequently and some people will complain about having to patch all the time. Offer them too rarely and others will gripe about the product not being maintained in a timely manner.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Your open source stuff tends to get update every few minutes it seems.

terry
terry

I have installed MS Office on a few computers which will never see the net. A short free phone call is all that is required. Updates? Those people do not seem troubled by no updates. They take the major updates (service packs) while they occur & all is well. Perhaps a few less apps that want to access the net every time you open the computer or the app would be a big bonus on our bandwidth.

JohnWarfin
JohnWarfin

If you want to pretend Office will 'just install', you're ignoring the required net-based activation/registration and mandatory search for updates, all of which are just a prelude for what has become an endless series of net-required Tuesday security patches. Off ice is decidedly NOT free of the net to get or keep running.

efs710920mex
efs710920mex

I have the same laptop and I suffered from the same bug. I know this shouldn't happen and Canonical should have fixed this problem before releasing 10.4, or at very least send some warning in advance. That said, I followed the alternatives from https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Bugs/Lucidi8xxFreezes (as mentioned by PCNetSpec in the previous post) to fix it and eventualy a combination of them worked. It took me around one hour to solve it since I'm no linux expert, but afterall I think it wasn't that hard.

PCNetSpec
PCNetSpec

Your laptop has an intel 845GM chipset, I'll bet installing it as an upgrade left you at a blank screen? See here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Bugs/Lucidi8xxFreezes Canonical should never have released 10.04 with this issue, which they obviously knew about, hanging over it... In the final ISO they disabled KMS which is why you have no effects and no doubt slow graphics, but installing as an upgrade still kills PC's with an intel graphics chip... recoverable if you know how, but how many new users are going to know how.

PCNetSpec
PCNetSpec

So you've never had to download extra codecs for windows?... or wireless adapter drivers?... and the windows bootloader is "easier" to configure for non-M$ OS's? Ubuntu tries to make things as easy as possible... Windows needs proprietary drivers installed as well... take graphics cards for example, Windows will load reduced functionality drivers, but you still need to install the "proper" drivers from ATI/nVidia etc... a bit like Ubuntu really... except Ubuntu will offer to do this for you immediately after installation. I see little difference between the two in this respect. There will always be things some users find difficult... find someone who "knows how", or learn... exactly the way you do with Windows issues. If you want "guaranteed" hardware/OS compatibility, get a Mac/OS(X) and never upgrade the hardware... and pay over the odds for the privileged.

roaming
roaming

"If stuff is not included out of the box, then it should at least be easy to install (read: with a GUI that automatically pops up upon first attempted use of a feature that needs a closed-source component)." It did for me. You do have to click "OK" or "Continue" a couple of times but both the codecs and flash installed when I tried to play a video file and went to a flash website.

heres_johnny
heres_johnny

"Wake up the GIMP." Sorry, had to go with the Pulp Fiction reference. Two reasons why I think they dropped the GIMP: 1. They only have the space for a CD, and 700MB is an unforgiving master for an OS installation disk. They added a bunch of things to this release and had to drop ballast to get the CD done. 2. For a lot of people, FSpot is good enough to get the job done. It's not pretty, and functionality is limited, but if all you're trying to do is get rid of some red-eye and upload to FB or Flickr, it'll do. Hasn't this discussion made it obvious that people who want/need GIMP will download it out of the gate? Palmetto, you're not a troll- you're pointing out a limitation that a lot of others have voiced, that a specific app isn't available for what you want. Perfectly understandable.