Friday, October 27, 2006

Kubuntu - Edgy Eft mini review

I have been playing with various Linux distros since 1999. I consider myself intermediate user of Linux, I use Linux for my research work. I was one of those million people who feel unsecure leaving windows environment. But just a few months ago, I decided to be 100% Windows-free and I discovered that open source software is really bliss.

I have been using Kubuntu Dapper Drake as my prime OS for about three months and I was satisfied with it. And yesterday was a big day for Ubuntu fans as the distros new version codenamed "Edgy Eft" was released. I downloaded Kubuntu as soon as it was released on the internet.

My prime machine is my laptop, a "no brand" 1.8 ghz Centrino with Intel 855 chipset, 1gb of RAM and 80 gb of hard disk space. I backed up everything including my Firefox bookmarks, xorg.conf and sources.list. I booted the Kubuntu Edgy cd initially, I was a bit disappointed as it took about 8 mins to logon and show the desktop. While Edgy is booting, I couldn't see any text on the screen except for a big blue "Kubuntu" and a blue bar below it. This is a bit unusual for a open source OS. Kubuntu developers could have let the user be aware what's going on when the system takes time to book, this idea seems to have been copied from Microsoft world. From the long bootup time, I decided that kubuntu is a bad live CD, as Mandriva2007 live cd booted within 3 minutes, and impressively, it could also offer the 3D desktop with wobbly windows and everything inspite of my onboard Intel855 graphics chipset.

As soon as Edgy booted into the graphical environment, I was impressed by the beautiful and elegant desktop. Edgy definitely looks polished and pleasing. I noticed this version of kubuntu has shifted from a highly bluish desktop to a violettish desktop which I liked very much. Without spending much time on the live CD, I headed for the installation. Installation was smooth, Kubuntu asked me some details about my login name and time zone, keyboard etc. Then I came to the partition manager with which I partioned my entire harddisk to my liking. The partition manager in Edgy is much improved than Dapper as I had much problem partitioning with Dapper. Dapper wouldn't mount the / partition in the right place and when I asked it to use the entire hard disk the partitions were not as right as what I got from openSuSE. After that copying all the essential files from the live CD was fast and soon I rebooted into my new Kubuntu desktop.

The startup time was noticeably faster. It took exactly 1 minute to boot into the desktop whereas it used to take 1minute 20 secs when I was using Dapper. This improvement must be due to Upstart instead of init. After install, everything worked fine, including the volume control buttons in my laptop which did not work in Dapper. One bug I noticed after booting was I got a message "laptop lid is closed" on the top right corner though it was not.

I searched for firefox, but it was missing from the fresh install. I updated the sources list by chaning to "edgy" from "dapper" in my old sources list. Then I did apt-get update and installed firefox. Edgy includes the new Firefox 2 and after install, the fabulous browser worked fabulously.

Next I had to fix the screen resolution for my widescreen laptop. OpenSuSE could automagically install the 915resolution patch and setup the right resolution of 1280x800, but no other distro so far could do it. In Kubuntu I had to install "915resolution" and modify the xorg.conf file by changing the available displays to "1280x800". When I restarted X, the resolution was set correctly and I had a basic Kubuntu system installed. I am yet to install the other good stuff like the LaTeX packages, thunderbird, and then the Automatix2 script.

I am very happy with Edgy as I was with Dapper. I did not find any major gripes and I am loving it. Overall I would give a 8 out 10 for Edgy Eft.


Mo said...

I'm still finding my feet on Dapper to attempt Edgy yet, but the advances in it seem good.

And many thanks for the pointer to the Linux is NOT Windows article, it helps rationalise things.

betto said...

I've just tried kubuntu and simply love it! :-)

by the way, you should update your blog more ofter ;-)