Lucid Dreaming – A Review of Ubuntu 10.04
The next version of Ubuntu, 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” is only a few weeks away, and it’s looking to be a very impressive release. Ubuntu has always seemed to be the Linux distro with the most sense of polish, and 10.04 seems to be the the most polished version of Ubuntu yet. Even though Lucid is just in beta, it seems to work incredibly well.
To get this out of the way, yes, BloGTK 2.0 appears to run flawlessly on Lucid, at least as far as I can tell. I’ll have to create some packages of 2.0 especially for Lucid, but just a repackage appears to be all that’s required.
I’m currently testing Lucid on my netbook (an older Acer Aspire) — and if Lucid can perform well on a machine with a paltry single-core Atom processor and 1GB of RAM, it should perform quite well on better hardware. And indeed, Lucid is plenty fast even on an older netbook.
And Lucid is fast. The boot sequence is the most rapid I’ve ever seen — it’s just a few seconds between the BIOS going through POST and hitting the login screen. There has been a lot of work involved in optimizing Ubuntu’s boot process, and it shows. The fact that it can boot so quickly on a netbook is a testament to how finely optimized the system is.
I’ve never been a fan of Ubuntu’s previous brown and yellow color scheme — it just didn’t strike me as aesthetically pleasing. Lucid features a much nicer theme by default. The default desktop is a bit plain, but it gets the job done. The default GTK theme is pleasing to the eye and features some nice rounded scrollbars.
But for some reason, the window controls are to the left, Mac-style. Except not quite Mac-style, as the order of the buttons is the same as Windows, with the close button on the far right. While Ubuntu head honcho Mark Shuttleworth thinks this is a grand idea, it just seems odd. It’s not a major thing, but it does throw you until you get the hang of it.
Lucid tries to integrate social networking throughout, using Gwibber. It’s a little rough around the edges as is, but this is still a beta, and there’s time to get it right. Social networking is the killer app for most users now, and having an OS that does it out of the box is nice.
Lucid is already looking to be a great step forward for Ubuntu, especially after 9.10 led to many complaints. Even on less powerful hardware, the improved boot times are nothing short of amazing. There are still a few rough edges in this beta, but that’s to be expected. Some of the changes may not appeal to everyone, but overall Lucid provides a very polished experience.
A polished experience is what Linux has been lacking for a long time. The entire Ubuntu team has been focusing on making Linux more usable from the ground up, and their efforts show. The competition is heating up – Mac OS X still provides an incredibly polished experience and Windows 7 sucks less than Vista did. (Damnation by feint praise indeed!) Lucid is a great advance to an already-great Linux distribution, and well worth the upgrade when it becomes final next month.