There’s been a lot of upgrading in and around the internet this week. You may have experienced the vacuum of bandwidth – I know that I certainly have! Yesterday, I was on the personal upgrade route and I was so impressed with how easy it was.
No, it wasn’t the upgrade that I’d been anxiously waiting for. I already did that and the lockups continue although out of fairness, I haven’t seen as many of them but they’re still there.
The upgrade that I’m talking about this time around was to Ubuntu. Release 11.10 is out and I’m checking to see what’s new with this release. I had used 11.04 previously. If you’re at all curious, there are many ways that you can get your feet wet with Ubuntu.
- Take the tour – if you don’t want to install anything, see the desktop in action;
- Download Ubuntu and give it a try as a Live CD or USB key;
- Download Ubuntu and install it on your computer via dual boot;
- Run Ubuntu inside Windows using Wubi.
There are lots of options. You should at least give it a shot sometime. Understand what FLOSS is all about.
Upgrades to Ubuntu always amaze me. Maybe it’s because my needs are meager. Maybe it’s because most of what I’m doing these days is in a browser. It’s just so easy. I make a backup of any local documents that I might need and then do a complete clean install from the downloaded package. There are a couple of regular favourites that I install above and beyond that but I’m off and running. It comes with your productivity suite and so much more as part of the install. Any other system and you’re looking for the original CD-ROMs or searching your favourite sites to download the latest.
In my case, I have a Netbook that’s pure Ubuntu and a Windows 7 computer that dual boots. The installation is quite quick and efficient. There were some things about 11.04 that I was hoping would be fixed/enhanced and I wasn’t disappointed.
First, the trackpad on my Netbook has never worked completely well with any operating system. Maybe I’m picking or maybe there was just something just a little screwy with my little Dell. But, no longer. The trackpad now work just as well and as responsively as any that I’ve ever used. I’m amazed at how that Mini 10v flies with Ubuntu. There were no problems installing and getting things up and running there.
So, I turned my attention to the Vaio where it would be a dual-boot system with Windows. Here, backups are a little more crucial because it’s a full desktop replacement unit and, quite frankly, where I do most of my production work. Previously, I had used Wubi just for the ease but this time around, I decided to make a full-time commitment with the dual-boot. Partitioning the hard drive which is always a nervous experience, but I was able to pull that off as well as the installation while watching football. You can’t beat that! Windows complained a bit and wanted to run an integrity check of the drive so I let it have its way. Now that I’m up and running, I have run into a problem. The hardware screen resolution is 1600×900 but that requires proprietary drivers. I ran into this situation with 11.04 and was able to resolve it. Alas, not so lucky in the first 24 hours this time around. I’m stuck at a measly 1280×720. My Netbook is mocking me. But, everything else is humming along just fine so far.
I’m really impressed with the enhancements to the Unity interface. Even the application launcher seems much smoother and easier to work with. I must admit that I wasn’t a fan when it came out but it grows on you and now it’s just the way that you do business in this environment. The Dash is neat. Quick and easy access to anything that’s not in the launcher is the order of the day. And, if you don’t have it on your computer, the Dash will recommend what you need to download! I figured that I’d do a screenshot of the desktop for inclusion in this post…then realized that I need to resize it. It’s time to get The Gimp. And, here’s the image!
So much that I do is on the web. Ubuntu One is right there in the Launcher. This is great – it was cloud storage before cloud storage became cool. The browser that comes with Ubuntu is Firefox. Certainly, this is a great browser and I use it interchangeably with Chrome. Next, it was off to get a copy of Chromium so that I could feel at home! I have my Chrome browser on my other computers nicely decked out with extensions and it’s always like magic when you turn on the sync feature and watch as the browser knows what I need, downloads and puts them in place. All, unattended.
Wow, that was a full evening of work. It’s 14-6 for the Jets and we’re approaching half-time. Time to call it a night and watch Chris Berman! This upgrade went very well. No lockups here. I’m a happy camper, and of course, all of this software happiness comes at no charge.