Smoothwall Firewall project

Friday 30 October 2009

Well Ubuntu 9.10 has officially arrived and it is good

I know this release is getting a lot of very favourable press, and quite rightly. It has delivered on all the promises that we could see taking shape in the early alphas. It boots incredible quickly, and is a real surprise to all those who see it and are used to 2 minutes to a usable desktop. The use of the latest 2.6.31 kernel has enhanced hardware support , and has move Intel graphics support to a new level with kernel mode setting.

As I have documented on this blog I took the opportunity to upgrade with this release to the 64bit version, and I'm really glad I have made the switch on the desktop. The system is unquestionable faster, but then it should be, it was built for a 64bit OS. I have only found one application that is 32bit only currently - the Amazon mp3 downloader - but that is easily fixed by using a great utility called getlibs. I think with the Mac already being 64bit, and Windows slowly moving down that road, that all the barriers to using this will melt away within the next few years.

The new application store just works, and installing software can't get any easier than this without the computer being able to read your mind. The selection of pre-installed applications is first class and are all first class. Installing additional browsers like Google chrome is now very straigt forward, and it will only be a matter of time before that is in the software store.

The introduction of the new cloud based storage option - Ubuntu one - is an extremely useful addition for those users who never get around to backing anything up. Just make sure you pop things you want to keep into that folder, and it is backed up for you. If you are worried about security, encrypt the file first, but it depends on what is in that file.

Network connections and management are just so simple with this version, and once you have told it the passwords for your various WIFI networks it just seemlessly connects. I remember a good friend of mine lent me a Macbook to try and get me to switch to Apple, and I was very impressed with it's seemless WIFI support, but Ubuntu is just as seemless now. The polish on this release just appears from every little corner.

Another point that has constantly been made about Ubuntu was the initial choice of colour schemes and the desktop themes, well this has all been addressed, and with the community themes, you can customise your machine in many different ways. The background pictures are all exceptional and are fun to play with.

Multiple screen management has in the passed been problematic, but this Dell laptop I'm using has an external monitor attached, running at a completely different resolution - 1280x1024 - to the laptop screen - 1280 x 800, and it is completely seemless as I drag applications between my monitor real estate.

I think you would be silly at this point in the software industry to now ignore Linux as a credible alternative in the majority of desktop applications. It is definitely worth your time and effort to download and play with it for a few weeks to see what all the fuss is about.

Get it while it's hot Ubuntu 9.10

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