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Ubuntu is finally working on my computer! Ubuntu 10.10 Review October 13, 2010

Posted by NAyK in Linux, Linux Mint, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Ubuntu, WINE.
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It is with absolute delight that I report that for the first time ever, on my desktop, an Ubuntu distro is finally working.

I’ve always struggled with Linux distros on my via-(integrated graphics)-chipset. Hardly any distro, apart from PCLinux and Mandriva detected my VIA hardware. Previously, all the Ubuntu distros I tested would have a few positives, but also a boat-load of negatives. Usually, Ubuntu would recognise my internet, but at the same time the graphics drivers wouldn’t allow me to go for more than 800/600 resolution. Therefore I would only rely on Linux Mint or on PCLinux etc for my Linux needs.

However, this time, Ubuntu 10.10 (Meerkat) was (and is) working!

The basic installation process:

1. The installation process was relatively smooth, except it took a long time. Longer than usual. (I’m not sure why).

2. The live CD took a long time to load, plus I was suprised by how “primitive” the Ubuntu logo looked during install. (There was a Ubuntu text, plus four dots. What’s what that?)

3. The options of installation were much better than before, especially giving more control over the partition process.

3b. It was great to see that a VIA driver for my chipset and audio was installed automatically. (ie. it detected my hardware and installed something appropriate).

3c. Also, after installation, it was nice to see that there were only a few updates in the update manager. Suggested that it was a fresh/stable release.

Getting started

4. The bootloader, as usual, recognised my Windows partition, though the default boot screen was boring as usual. (primarily text). somehow, with openSUSE and PClinux, even Mint, I have come to expect a more attractive boot loader by default. (ie. I know I can do some tweeking and install one for Ubuntu. Maybe I will do that one day).

5. The default look/feel was functional (as I have come to expect from GNOME), but somehow it didn’t feel so bad as before. Maybe I have become used to GNOME afterall. It certainly looked better than before.

Functionality:

6.  the internet was working, without needing any configuration. An amazing feature!

7. Also, as soon as I tried out an avi file, Ubuntu asked me if I wanted to install the drivers. I said yes, and most of the codecs were automatically installed. Easy-peasy. (I was concerned that there was no audio, but it turned out that audio was in mute, I wonder how.)

8. I had to manually install chrome, flash and a few other software, like K3B. For some I used Ubuntu’s Software Centre, and for others I used Synaptic.

9. I was concerned that there was no file viewer. ie. I wasn’t able to open a file manager. So I installed Dolphin, and even that problem was solved.

9b. I was also able to install Photoshop 7, using WINE (after installing WINE). The only problem I had was that I had to copy the contents of the CD onto the computer and then make the setup.exe file executable for WINE.

10. there were a couple of times when Ubuntu suddenly hung. I think it was during the time I wanted to change the screensaver.

11. I wish there was an option to change GRUB options through GNOME. However, with some google-found guidance, I realised that Ubuntu 10.10 has changed it’s grub editing options, and it was simple enough. Sadly (still) my Windows XP is my default OS. But I am really enjoying fiddling with Ubuntu (spending more time with it than with Windows).

12. Also, I am concerned that the booting time is not that fast, as some were predicting. When I choose Ubuntu, it waits for a few seconds and only then starts loading Ubuntu. I wonder if there is a configuration issue there.

13. I was also unimpressed with the broadcast option (the one that connects Ubuntu with Facebook and Twitter). It took a long time to set up, and the options to view were too limited to be helpful. I much preferred going to the original Facebook/Twitter pages for updates. Perhaps in the future it will be better.

14. On the whole, I have been quite happy with the general functionality and even look/feel of Ubuntu. It has worked pretty well and easily, and for an Ubuntu distro, that is saying much. I don’t think I’ll be needing Linux Mint after all.

Ubuntu Screenshot

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