Ubuntu 9.04 Tested

Well Mark (Shuttleworth that is).. I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news.
What Ubuntu tries to do is, according to the tagline, make Linux for Humans. That means that this baby needs to be almost as plug in and go ready as Windows 7. Server side Ubuntu – well that’s a different kettle of fish – let’s just talk desktop here. After all, that’s where Canonical are pitching IMHO.

Ok.. so the Good News is that Jaunty goes a long way to being a plug and play desktop system. Bear in mind that this does not cost you a cent to download and install. I loaded it on my Lenovo T60 which has 3gb RAM. It picks up everything except the fingerprint reader (Windows 7 does the same) and runs all my devices – even my plug in PCMCIA card Creative Audigy 2 sound card. Just like that, out of the box. If you want to load some software, you just have to browse the available programs and download the ones you want. And there are a ton of them. So from the point of view of making “Linux for Humans” I’m going to give MS (Mark Shuttleworth not MicroSoft) a very good 8/10.

Other plus points are an extremely easy install (although Partition Manager did kill my Windows boot sector when re-sizing the partition)
and very easy to run. Boot time is very quick (20 seconds) and the memory footprint really is tiny. The appearance is great and I love the extra features (Wobbly Windows when you grab and move) and the clean design and fonts. I must say that I am very impressed and I could have quite easily have never gone back to Windows 7.

OK, but I will and this is why. The Bad News .

I work in IT, all day, every day. The last thing I want to do when I get home is become a Linux admin. I really just want things to work. Full stop. I want my games to work, I want my personal development to work (Eclipse runs fine on Jaunty) and I want email, etc to just work. I needed to dowload the latest firmware for my Garmin which doesn’t really have a linux version, so I loaded it up using Wine (Windows emulator) – it hung – there is software around I suppose, but like I said I don’t have the time or the inclination in the evening to go looking for it, dowload it, try it, trash it, try another.

I can’t buy iTunes apps – not earth shattering I suppose, but inconvenient – they even have a petition going to Apple to re-write iTunes for Linux.

Games are crap. No really – I haven’t found any games on the Linux platform that come up to commercial standard. Open Arena keeps going to a window instead of fullscreen, which then requires you to minimize and then maximize again. A little irritating when someone is about to frag you! Other games that run in full screen do the same. Open Arena on Windows runs fine. But really compared to Crysis this game is not in the same league.

So..to conclude. Ubuntu 9.04 – Jaunty Jackelope has real potential to give the commercial platforms a run for their money. For the first time in a very long time I actually strongly considered keeping it loaded on my test laptop. If it wasn’t for the fact that I want to test Windows 7 Release Candidate  – there is a wee chance I would keep it loaded.  Well done Canonical – I think that MS (Microsoft this time) should be worried, very worried. Let’s see what the next release or two of Ubuntu bring. I will be watching in anticipation.

I’ll give you a run down of Windows 7 RC soon. Have a great weekend.


The Oracle / Sun thing

Well it’s very interesting that this buy-out has generated a lot of discussion around an IBM/SAP merger or a Microsoft/SAP merger.  Of course because of the relative sizes of the companies concerned it would be SAP that would be bought out. Not a cheap purchase though at 45 billion market cap. I don’t think it’s likely – both Microsoft and IBM have explored this before and backed away, but it’s fun to speculate.

IBM buys SAP scenario

Well IBM would almost undoubtably form tighter alliances between WebSphere and NetWeaver. Few people realise that we already collaborate on products and we have a center in Germany staffed by IBM people and SAP people for this reason. This almost brings me to my point, but lets leave that until the end. IBM uses SAP itself and shares many customers with SAP already, so this wouldn’t be an “Oracle buys Peoplesoft”  type of situation – we already are very well “meshed” together. Let’s look at the next scenario.

Microsoft buys SAP scenario

What would Microsoft do? I think they would leave the core but redesign the GUI for SAP. We’ve already separated the front-end quite substantially on SAP, so this will be very easy to do. Oh! and we’ve already collaborated with Microsoft on “Duet”. This is a Microsoft Office / SAP mash-up that gives very tight integration at the front-end.

So to look at the likelyhood of a buy-out in this light – I would have to say why? We (at SAP) are already aligned strongly with IBM and Microsoft and we convert clients from Oracle on an almost daily basis. I might be wrong here but I think it’s an expensive aquisition to accomplish very little. Market share yes – but neither Big Blue or Microsoft want to play in the Enterprise Application arena.

Fun to speculate though and time will tell.