Ubuntu 10.4 is out and it is an LTS, Long Term Support, version giving you a chance to set up a stable environment for a long time. There is very little different from the previous release.
Currently Ubuntu Linux runs about even with Windows 2000 and Windows XP 64 bit on a day to day comparison.
The recent releases of Linux, particularly Ubuntu, claim faster startup time. Your startup time depends on the features you select. Linux has a good startup time until you install Samba then your startup doubles. Exactly the same happens in Windows when you share share files across a network. Ubuntu 10.4 shaves a couple of seconds off the startup time compared to Ubuntu 9 but is not significant, not to the point of bragging the way some Ubuntu advocates brag.
My test Ubuntu 9 takes 33.1 seconds to go from hardware activation to the login screen then 15.9 seconds from login to a working desktop then 9.0 seconds from activating Firefox on the desktop to the browser ready for action. 2 seconds is not a useful saving.
The 33 second operating system startup is almost exactly the same as Windows 2000 and XP when configured with the same options. 15.9 seconds to bring up a working desktop is faster than XP but slower than Windows 2000 and the Ubuntu system has far fewer applications to automatically start during that time. The 9 second Linux activation of Firefox is the slowest across all my desktop systems.
Ubuntu 10.4 is going to cut 2 seconds off the OS startup, something I do one per day, but does nothing for application startup where it already loses seconds and is something I a hundred times a day.
People tell me Linux does not need restarting when you install or update software. Ubuntu 9 requires restarts some of the time and about the same percentage of times as Windows 2000, which requires a restart only some of the time. Windows XP 64 bit requires the fewest restarts out of the three operating systems. 10.4 does not decrease restarts.
Canonical offers long term support on some releases of Ubuntu and 10.4 is the next one. In theory this is an advantage in a corporate environment but in practice I suggest you update more frequently, which means in 6 months you will leave the 10.4 LTS version for the next update. An LTS version is released every 2 years and you should be updating every 1 year, not each 2 years.
I started the update from 9.10 to 10.4. The update report said 28 packages would be dropped, 248 packages added, 1468 packages updated, and the download would be 1,968 megabytes, nearly 2 GB. I do not need anything from the update today so will leave the update until a quieter time.
If you have a limited broadband account then you would not want to download the 2 GB for every desktop you want to update. There is a way to share update downloads. You nominate one Ubuntu machine as the server to store downloaded updates and the other machines read from the server. There are some incredibly old crude online pages describing the way to share update downloads.
The live CD version is a useful quick test of hardware compatibility for machines in good condition. The name is changed but not the function. I prefer a proper diagnostic disk, something not currently setup for the desktop Ubuntu.
There is a change to one of the optional desktops for Ubuntu but not the commonly used Gnome.
Browse the Web
The Ubuntu features page says you can browse the Web. The fine print says it is just Firefox, which was there last time.
Professional documents and presentations
Yeah, this is just OpenOffice.
Get free software
This feature is the same software download application.
Email and chat
The email is Evolution, not Thunderbird, which means you have to delete Evolution then install Thunderbird. The chat is Empathy. From what I remember of Ubuntu 9, deleting Evolution takes out some other useful application. Test everything else after you delete Evolution.
This is only Facebook and Twitter. There is nothing actually new, they just add some menu entries for existing applications.
Given that tweets are just SMSs, you want them on your phone, not your desktop computer. Could be useful if you are a desk bound support person who wants messages on the big screen but then you want proper messages, one email not 27 tweets.
I did not find a mention of a virus/worm/spam checker to delete the junk tweets with hazardous links.
This connects you to a music store but does not say where the profit goes. Apple is considered a pirate because Apple users are locked into something similar. Ubuntu does not prevent you using a different shop through your browser. I would just like to see a statement about the commissions paid on shop sales and the distribution of the profits.
Ubuntu includes file sharing so the downloaded music can be illegally shared.
There is a nice bunch of existing applications grouped under one heading for handling photos but Gimp is excluded. You will have to manually install Gimp then adjust the menu entries.
No, this is not about connecting your mobile to your desktop. Instead you are connected to an online file storage account. You can upload stuff to the account then download to another machine. The 2 GB free storage is enough to hold my application profiles but not enough to store anything useful. I am sure they will let you pay for more space. What are their privacy guarantees? In which country do they store your data? Are they subject to the laws of your country or the laws of a foreign country? All things to research before risking anything of value to the service.
|Operating system start up||33.13|
|Desktop start up||15.91|
|Web browser start up||9.00|
Security is still one area where Windows is easier on the desktop and for small servers. This is a Linux issue, not an Ubuntu issue but Ubuntu and competing distributions can try to reduce the Linux security management problems by building better interfaces. Ubuntu 9 made some things easier. I have not found anything in the Ubuntu 10.4 features list or the updates list to improve the situation.
File sharing between Linux and Windows is made easier by installing Samba in Linux. For a long time Samba had a broken User interface in Ubuntu and similar Linux distributions. You had to resort to the Linux/Unix
DOS box to make Samba work. Ubuntu 9.10 has a working user interface and I am reluctant to update to a later release in case they decide to change the user interface.
My desk contains 1 Ubuntu computer, 1 Windows 2000 computer, 1 XP 64 computer, 1 Unix based NAS, and one spare. Ubuntu 9 was good enough to replace a Windows XP but not enough to replace everything else. Larger disks let me reduce the number of Windows computers by consolidating the data. There are some good steps toward moving NAS devices from Unix to Linux. Ubuntu 10.4 does not have enough enhancements to push the last Windows machine off Windows.
The Ubuntu 10.4 desktop edition has no listed improvements for configuring and managing RAID, another weak sport needing a big change. Debian has more RAID configuration options. CentOS has excellent RAID configuration options. If the Ubuntu desktop edition had a proper RAID configuration user interface, it would be ahead of Windows in an important area.
Ubuntu 10.4 is a nice step forward from 9.10 and there are still some application substitutions you will have to make. There are still some underlying Linux things to fix before it is ready to make everyone jump off Windows.