Those that know me or my work in the Linux community know I always see the good in Linux distributions and open source software. I'm a "glass-is-half-full" kinda gal where Linux is concerned. But I'm having a hard time finding anything good at all to say about Ubuntu. Why the h-e-double_hockey_sticks is it so popular? It's the next thing to running nothing there is.
Okay, with that off my chest I'll defend the rights of anyone to use whatever they wish. If they can make Ubuntu work for them, then more power to 'em. It's better than another Windows machine on the net being taken over by hackers to flood our internet with more garbage. But hard as I try I've come to the conclusion I'll just never understand it. But I try. I continue to try. I'll boot a version of Ubuntu every now and again to see if I can finally see what at least some of the hype is about. That's why I booted Ubuntu 7.10 Release Candidate this morning. This is what I saw:
I still have to boot Ubuntu and its derivatives with "noapic" on my laptop when no other distros require it. It's slow even by liveCD standards. The silent boot splash is attractive with its copper colored busy indicator and rounded font Ubuntu image. The wallpaper is much improved this release with its metallic coppery swoosh abstract imagery. In fact, it's almost pretty. The menus are still highlighted by an ugly orangy color, but it's not too distracting. I wish coloring was all that was wrong with this distro then there'd be some hope.
Where should I start? Let's begin with the lack of applications and software. How can other developers, like those of PCLOS or KateOS, include so much on their one CD live systems and yet Ubuntu by comparison is so limited? This leads to my biggest complaint.
It doesn't even include Ndiswrapper? How much space does that take up for crying out loud? Like 3 MB? So, this began a spiral into a abyss of uselessness. I couldn't connect to the internet, which stops any distro in their tracks on the way to my recommendation and hard drive. What good is it then?
In checking out the menus, there's not much here. I suppose there is one app for the most common computer tasks such as email, instant messaging, voip, image viewing, image manipulation, document creation, and internet browsing. Admittedly OpenOffice.org and GIMP take up quite a bit of space. Let's see, there's Evolution for email, Pidgin for instant messaging, Ekiga for internet telephony, and Firefox for browsing. Besides the GIMP, there's gThumb and F-Spot for photo or image viewing. There are some handy accessories like an online dictionary, search, and calculator. There is a graphical software manager.
And there are some multimedia applications for movies and music, although none could play anything. You say, "well you can download the codecs. It'll install them for you." Yeah, right, if I had an internet connection, but thank you.
So, I wasn't able to test most of their applications. In fact, it seems like Ubuntu is primarily a "I just want to email, instant message, and surf the web" kinda system, which makes not being able to connect all the more ironic.
It was stable in the short time I tested it, what little I could actually test. Most notably, it was slow in operation. Even the menu had an annoying two-second lag in opening and in moving the highlighter. It did get my screen resolution correct out-of-the-box.
So, anyway, for fans, I'm sure they'll be drooling all over this release. At least it does have a prettier wallpaper. But as for me, Ubuntu still sucks in my book.