Finally, I managed to get time to experiment with Ubuntu Edgy Eft. I downloaded Ubuntu 6.10 – Edgy Eft from their site. The next thing to do was burn a CD of the ISO image. Once done, we are ready to start. I popped the disc in the drive and rebooted my computer. My test computer has so far remained the same. P3 1.1GHz, 256 MB RAM, on-board sound and video, 80 GB storage and two optical drives. This test system is almost 4 years old. I have set it up for dual boot with Win XP and Ubuntu Dapper.
The computer booted from the CD into a live desktop. Nothing much has changed in this process except for the artwork. I don’t understand why many distros adopt the “Loading” dialog box in windows style when the system starts to initialise. I had seen this on SUSE and now this has affected Ubuntu also.
I decided not to upgrade Dapper to Edgy. Rather I would install from scratch. I backed up all the documents and then started. You might like to backup your bookmarks from Firefox if you plan to take this route.
I configured my network card with the static IP address provided by my ISP. Then I clicked on the install icon. The installation is a six step process. Select the language, set the time, select the keyboard layout, partition, install and reboot. I was struck at the second step. The computer would hang when I changed the time zone. It happened twice. So the next time I started the installation after changing the time manually. Then everything went smoothly.
It took about about 25 minutes for the entire installation to be completed. It was less time when compared to the time taken to install Dapper. No problems whatsoever. I rebooted into my new Ubuntu system. The “init” program was replaced by “upstart” and resulted in a significantly faster boot time. The user is shielded from the text screens by a new progress bar based boot screen
I was taken to the familiar GNOME desktop now in its latest version 2.16. Firefox 2.0 was the default web browser and Evolution was included as the mail client. The distro also included the OpenOffice.org 2.0.4 office suite which takes care of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tasks. GAIM is provided as the default IM client. Of course you can install your favorite software from the Add/Remove Software menu.
Of course, there is still the problem of not playing mp3 files due to legal problems. You can install the easyubuntu script or install xine codecs to solve this problems. Or forget everything, just go ahead and install Amarok. Your mp3 and wma files will be played flawlessly. F-Spot is provided as the photo manager. USB drives are recognized on plugging in.
The GNOME desktop itself has undergone polishing. It now uses the Tango icon set as its default. I was never a fan of the brown Ubuntu Human theme and so I immediately changed it to ClearLooks. I feel there should not be any problems for most people with new hardware. ATI graphics cards are an exception to this rule.
There is a huge online community that supports you just in case you need help. Overall it is a good distro even though it was meant to be an intermediate release. That also means, Canonical is not going to ship free CDs to your home. I was skeptical when I started the installation, but I am entirely satisfied. Canaonical had done a good job once again. This is a distro for everyday use and I can only hope that it gets better. A few screen-shots of my Ubuntu 6.10 desktop