Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Review

Well, I went through a number of reviews so I had a basic idea what to expect. And after going through the install and an hour's session I did found out most similar things. Although I had some novel experiences as well.

So lets start with the start.
1. Installation:
I put my freshly burned CD into the drive and restarted the Machine. It took quite a while to get to the Try/Install ubuntu screen. And in between the drive slept. By slept I mean really went to sleep. I was at splash screen. The dots were moving on and on. And then they just stopped moving. The drive stopped spinning and even harddisk also became idle. I waited for a while but nothing. So I had to press [space bar] a number of times to get it
started again. Weird. But slowly though, I got to the Try/Install Ubuntu Screen. I wanted to reboot and check for the weird behaviour but I wanted to get to the OS asap. So I moved on to Install Ubuntu.

The installation itself went without any hitch. The installer is modified to be simpler and more efficient by letting you configure settings while copying the files. After the configuration is complete, you get to see a slideshow pointing out the strengths of the system. All this is extremely well done and looks very professional. I installed Ubuntu on a 20GB partition, couple of whom I have kept aside for such purpose.

2.Booting Up:
The bootup process is fast. I got to login screen from grub in just under 20Seconds. Mind you, my system is just a so-so one with a 2.3GHz dual core Pentium and 1GB of RAM. So the performance is very good. This is something that Meercat retains from the Lynx. Good thing. The login controls are tweaked a bit. Nothing to put a finger on but the ever watchful mind did find some pin right in the haystack. And this time the pin was in the right place. Means whatever the change was, the login is better.

People seem to have written oodles on the tweaked Ambience theme and I dont want to repeat the same things. The designers have worked on the theme and it looks better than that with Lucid. (Which wasn't all that bad as I remember.) The couple of things I noticed were the buttons. Their color is nicely tweaked. Though I still wish for normal placement. And yes as someone has said in one of the reviews, they should provide something to change the placement of buttons as per user preferences. Beside the Gnome Panel looks better. Some minute tweaks here too that make the difference. And i'm not
speaking about the windicators etc. They're yet to mature.

4. Applications:
The usual mix hasn't changed much. The major change being Shotwell Photo Manager replacing F-Spot. I didn't use F-Spot any because all I got are wallpeprs. No digicam, no photos to manage. So I used Shotwell on my quite big collection of wallpapers. I noticed that using shotwell is fun and it's an excellent manager. One big problem that I did notice is Resource consumption. I selected almost 6000 of wallpapers and let it import them in the background while I went on ahead with other apps. After some time the system felt lagging. That is indeed a new experience for me. Because even when I'm working on Netbeans, and QtCreator and have about 10tabs open in Firefox, the machine never crawls. I've never gone into Swap except once when I tried VMWare which as I found was a bit too much for my humble Notebook. So I opened a terminal and hit 'top' and man I was blown out
of my head. Shotwell was eating as much as 700MB. Now the OS itself took about 200MB.
I said WTF!!! and opened System Monitor. And I saw foll. Picture:

And top showed this:

 Well, it (Shotwell) also ate 200MB of space to store thumbnails of the imported Images.

And that's not all but it crashed too. No error, no nothing just vanished right in between the process. I started it again and imported the pictures. Thank god it didn't corrupt itself and say 'Booooo'.
See here how the memory consumption dropped when I closed Shotwell.

Although the swap is inefficiently managed. Because the OS should have freed the swap and moved all the swapped stuff to RAM. But even after waiting for 15Mins it didn't do so. Problem!!! Thank god I believe in shutting down the system once in a while rather than leaving it running forever.

Well, this (Shotwell's) might be just virgin behaviour. You encounter something for first time and you dont know what to do. Eh? Anyway leaving aside this small discomfort Shotwell is an excellent Application and it might not end up in my trash any soon. Beside this everything was as most others noted.

5. Shutdown:
Yeah. This ubuntu shuts down even faster. My lucid went cold in about 4 seconds. Maverick goes under in about 2 seconds. Trust me. Right when the second white circle turns orange my system goes down. Obviously that will change after I install apps, servers and stuff. But still this is very fast for a stock OS installation. The Windows 7 I tried was fast but it's stock installation couldn't beat Lucid. As compared to this my old XP seems to take forever for shutdown. About half a minute. And a minute to start up. We've come far
from those days. Yes.

6. Conclusion:
I would say there is hardly any need for anybody using Lucid to go for Meercat. It's better but perhaps not much. But again that depends on the users perception. If you're someone who can't live without all these enhancements then you should go for it. For me though it's just more efforts to get it on par with the functionality that my current Lucid gives me. And
I really don't want to expend all that efforts into again customizing Maverick. And installing the myriad of programs that I have on Lucid is something I dont want to repeat in coming 6 months. But if you're on 9.04 or 9.10 then you must go for Maverick.

Now it's a goodbye till I get that Arch Linux installation done and working.
Till then, Goodbye and Enjoy the Meercat. (Not a perfect 10 though. Sorry Canonical)

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