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Just Another Tech Blog

Anything and everything having to do with technology, computers, science, and most of all... Linux! The documentation of my Linux endeavor.

A Look at the Latest Ubuntu (8.04 "Hardy Heron")

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hello all! I start this summer's posting off with a review of the topic that is on everyone's mind... of course... the new Ubuntu release! Or rather, it was on everyone's minds. Seeing as I just didn't have the time to crank out a review during the entire post-release-blog-all-you-can-about-Ubuntu hype fest, I bring you my review now and hope that it reaches just a few of you out there. Let's get started.


What can I say, I love Ubuntu installations! As with most previous releases, Hardy Heron comes on a nice LiveCD through which you can dip your toes into Linux and decide whether or not to take the plunge. As for me, I've done my fair share of dabbling, so I tend to just boot up the CD to see if the preliminaries work (wifi, sound, video(ish), etc). With Ubuntu, there is a great probability that a large percentage of your hardware will be detected (if not, as in many cases, all) and configured properly right off the bat.

On loading the CD, you have the choice to try the "Try Ubuntu Without Making Any Changes to Your System", go straight to the install, boot normally, check the CD for defects, or test memory. Choosing the "Try Ubuntu Without Making Any Changes to Your System" will get you into the nice LiveCD mode. From there, you can test out your internet connectivity and check and see if your basic hardware has been detected. Clicking the installer icon on the desktop will start the installer.

The installer is excellent as usual, and even the unassuming Linux newbie can figure out what to do. Most of the process consists of the standard language/ time/ user/ password setup. The installer also features an assistant to help import your bookmarks and other preferences from older versions of Ubuntu or other operating systems. My favorite part of Ubuntu's installer continues to be the integration of the nice gparted disk partitioner GUI. It really makes a difference seeing how the hard drive is layed out. Other distributions like openSUSE don't have this nice visual aid and can be confusing. Ubuntu really has it figured out.

In its entiretity, the install was amazingly simple. The total install time on my AMD 3700+ system was about half an hour (about 10 min of which were spent messing w/ my partition scheme).

First Impressions and Usability

Usually, this is the time when I grip about how ugly Ubuntu looks... but honestly.. why bother? I can theme it all I like, and quite seriously, Ubuntu has a much more refined look than any other distribution I have ever come across. I'm actually kinda warming up to the whole brown-orange theme. In Hardy Heron especially, I find it to be tastefully done and altogether not all too obtrusive.

Ubuntu scores big again on hardware support in Hardy Heron. All my devices worked and required practically zero configuration. The exceptions to this are my wireless connection (rate set at 1MB/s on startup) and the media keys on my Saitek Eclipse II keyboard. I'll discuss my solutions to these problems in upcoming posts.

Media support is great again too. The helpful codec installer gets you all the plugins and codecs you need to jam to your favorite mp3s and ogle at your beloved DVDs. I immediately installed Amarok, seeing as it is the single best media player in existence and greatest thing since pre-compiled kernels (aka good stuff).

Not sure what else to say... everything just worked :-) Compiz can be simply enabled after installing the nvidia driver through the restricted driver manager and provides several levels of desktop-effects goodness.


Overall, Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron ) is another great release in the Ubuntu line, and surely deserves the prestigious "LTS" (Long Term Support) title that accompanies it.

So, this hasn't been quite as inclusive as some of my other reviews, but I'll be churning out a few other posts to explain my fixes for my keyboard and wireless issues. I'll also update the review as I see fit (hoping that some more inspiration will randomly come to me). Hope you enjoyed what I did have :-) I'm slowly getting back into the blogging world, so give me some time to re-adjust.

Peace out everyone! And remember, have some fun with Linux this summer!
posted by linnerd40, Monday, June 23, 2008


Very useful review

commented by Anonymous CBNXXX, 3:22 AM  

Great post about Ubuntu. I recently did a dual boot (Vista/Ubuntu) install on an older laptop and I must say that it is great to be able to have a choice on both.

Sort of a side note here to newbies who are looking to play around with Linux in general...I am the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid and have found that there are a lot of new Linux (and even Windows users) who are looking for a good place to just "play around" with both OS's. One nice things about GoGrid is that we offer both Linux (Red Hat Enterprise and CentOS with Ubuntu coming soon) and Windows (2003 with 2008 coming soon). What is particularly great for a newbie is that you can create a new clean install within minutes, play around with it, teach yourself some stuff and then delete the server. Basically you can "rent it" for a day or an hour...pretty good option than trying to find a compatible piece of hardware to do your education.
More info is at http://www.gogrid.com and we have $50 off an initial account which means that you can actually create a server and use it for a few days for free!
Hope you find that useful!

commented by Anonymous Michael Sheehan, 1:03 PM  

Thanks for mentioning a non-gripe about the appearance. Honestly, the adjustability is why I'm hooked on it. [tip - use bluetopia as a controls theme, blendedcrystal-2.2 for icons, and moomex for window borders. Obtainable via gnome-look or gnome art websites (download to desktop, install via your appearance preferences). Welcome and enjoy.

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Hi Mate...

This is a very informative and useful article.

Keep it up!!

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