Yesterday evening, I installed the spanking new Hardy Heron on my laptop. This post is not going to be a complete review, but I will just cover the major points. For more information, please refer to my twitter timeline. I just don’t have enough time on my hands for a complete review.
- No installation problems. Installs under 30 minutes for a clean install.
- The laptop is more snappy now. I run a Dell Inspiron 6400 with Intel Core 2 Duo at 1.73 MHz and 1 GB RAM with 1 GB swap space. The system boots up faster, responds well and shuts down much faster compared to Gutsy.
- Firefox 3 Beta is stable, no bugs or crashes until now
- I installed the server apps today. I run Apache, MySQL and PHP – this took me some time to backup and restore the databases and blogs. Nothing to do with those apps though
- The repositories seem to be heavily loaded now. So I advice to select the Best Server from the Synaptic package manager.
- Wireless works. Ethernet works(it should, ain’t it?), Compiz works, OpenOffice.org works, codecs downloaded for the various media types. Pretty much all the standard stuff work.
- Installing additional applications might take some time. For example, AWN is included in the repo but not many applets are available. So I had to add another source and install from it. I had the latest Flash version downloaded, so that was a snap to install. I prefer Amarok to Rhythmbox, so I installed it.
- On the bad side, my laptop froze twice in two days. Yes it froze! Just like windows. Mouse did not respond neither did the keyboard. Ctrl+Backspace did not work either. So it was not X problem.
- Most of the old GNOME GTK Icon themes don’t seem to work. Not sure what the problem is. My favorite Mac OSX Icon theme displays the default GNOME folder icon. This is the case with most other themes too. Has something changed in the way themes have to be created for GNOME 2.22? No idea.
- Suspend works perfectly. Hibernate works, but considering the time taken to wake up, one can shut down and restart.
- Brightness management seems to have gone bad. I am able to use the Fn key and get only two levels of brightness which forces me to add the Brightness management applet on the panel. I used to get ten levels in Gutsy.
- Movie player does not play more than 8 sec of VOB files from DVD. VLC has no issues though. The file is just 1024 MB and had no issues on Gutsy.
- Bluetooth worked after installing the Bluetooth File Sharing from Add/Remove programs. If this is required, why cant it be installed by default? I was able to send and received files to my Nokia phone but was not able to browse the phone on the computer. I was able to do this on Gutsy after installing gnome-vfs-obexftp but no luck here.
- Apart from these minor irritations, the release is pretty good. I would not say solid because and OS freezing a computer cannot be called solid.
The real test for this release will be on the coming weekend when I will install it on my 7 year old P III computer running at 1.1 GHz and having 256 MB RAM with no graphics capability whatsoever. Gutsy is running pretty slow. I want to see how the Heron fares. No, dont suggest me to try Xubuntu. We are talking about Ubuntu here 😉
My conclusion is everyone can use this distribution, but some hand holding might be required for newbies. I should say that this is one of the releases that I had to spend more time on setting up the computer. This is also partly due to the fact that I have a lot of stuff to backup and restore.