Thursday, April 20, 2006

Booting Ubuntu 6.06 Beta 1

As soon as Ubuntu 6.06 beta 1 hit the servers I downloaded and burned my own copy, then booted my Gateway with it. There's definitely been a change and for the most part the change has been for the better.

Good things that happened:
  • It found all the SATA partitions. I was able to mount everything on the SATA drive.
  • Sound started working. I was treated to the latest audio bootup sequence. It sounded pretty nice.
  • Screen came up in 1680 x 1050 resolution automatically, without tweaking. That happened with alpha 6 as well.
  • The new icons look really good. They're the best Gnome icons I've ever seen.
  • Ubuntu uses kernel 2.6.15 built with gcc 4.0.3. I don't know if this is good or bad, but contrast it with Suse 10.1 RC-1's 2.6.16 kernel built with gcc 4.1.0. The kernel and compiler are more advanced on Suse, but more hardware works out-of-the-box on Ubuntu.
  • Wired networking works. Wireless does not on either Suse or Ubuntu. That's an issue with the Intel drivers, not the distributions.
  • This blog entry was made from within beta 1 shortly after it booted.
The only odd thing that happened was it only booted with one of the cores enabled. I thought Alpha 6 booted with both. I'll need to investigate a little further. This is the best Ubuntu version I've ever booted. My only concern is that Ubuntu saw but one of the cores in the T2500. If it had come up seeing both cores I would have installed it over Suse 10.1, regardless of the 'beta code' warning.

I grabbed some quick screen shots which you can see below.

Nautilus, showing off some of the new Ubuntu icons. It popped up immediately when I plugged in my SanDisk thumb drive. And all the controls are present.

A desktop full of applications. As you can see Ubuntu only sees one of the T2500's cores. I also like Beagle. It was easy to use and quite fast.

More typical applications (latest and nearly greatest, such as Firefox I deliberately set the font to Bitstream Vera Sans to see if there was any change with the default of Sans. There was none, which makes me wonder if Sans is generic name for the Bitstream font. The desktop fonts looked good with Sans or Bitstream.

Playing around with the themes. I definitely like the default window border and icons, and I can't remember the last time I ever said that about Gnome defaults. The performance of Gnome 2.14 is still quite fast. Overall it's become a top-notch desktop, especially as tweaked by the Ubuntu developers.

Ubuntu is quite good and quite the competitor to Suse. In my opinion they're the two best distributions out there. It would be very hard for me to pick the better of the two.

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