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.