Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04 Alpha 3 - Installation

I finally broke down and installed Ubuntu (7.04 Alpha 3) over Fedora Core 6 this evening. I decided to do this after reading about Eric Raymond's rant against his installation of FC6. In the end he installed Ubuntu 6.10 over it. So I decided I'd give it a whirl as well.

I've always appreciated Ubuntu's live CDs, considering them to be some of the best, if not the best, I've ever worked with. But I never took that one final step and made a permanent installation, preferring instead to use Suse or Fedora Core. Now that I've finally installed Ubuntu, I have to wonder why I took so long. I mean, considering it's an alpha version, it has got to be the sweetest thing I've ever installed. To be fair to FC6 I've not had the problems that Eric documented. But I have to say that based on my limited exposure so far, Ubuntu 7.04 stands head and shoulders above FC6.

One of Ubuntu's many qualities I've noticed is the clarity of the screen. It is sharp and clean, and the font rendering is superb, better than any distribution I've seen to date, better even than Suse 10.2. In fact, better even than Windows XP. The font rendering equals every Apple display I've seen to date as well. I have bad eyesight, and I notice and appreciate quality text immediately.

Installation

By this time booting into Ubuntu is a no-brainer. Put in the CD, hit the reboot sequence for the computer, and follow the on-screen instructions. It Just Works. Once booted up there are two icons on the desktop, one of them for installing Ubuntu. Double click on that, and then follow seven simple steps to install Unbuntu.

The installer is the best I've worked with. Step six, which fires up the partitioner, is superb. It was clear and simple and did exactly what I wanted and expected. I chose to perform a manual partitioning, which allowed me to save and reformat only those partitions I wanted to. Once I'd made my selections, the installer went to work. In about 10 minutes the installation was finished, and the system rebooted.

First Run

Rhea is no longer considered a power machine. It's an AMD Athlon 2500+ XP (Barton core) with 512MB of DRAM. It's got an ATI 9600 budget video card. The display is an old Sony E400 Trinitron tube. And yet, in spite of those 'limitations', it comes up, looks good, and runs fast.

One feature that gave me a pleasant surprise: the sound system works on this system. The motherboard chip set is an nVidia NForce 2. Sound worked under Windows 2000, but not under FC6. When FC6 was first installed I was twiddling with the speaker volume, and left it turned up full. When Ubuntu fired up the first sounds nearly knocked me out of my chair. So I turned down the volume. And that's the second pleasant surprise. The volume under Ubuntu 7.04 is as loud as under Windows 2000. Other, older distributions were too quiet, or totally silent, with regards to sound. I'm looking forward to playing with the multimedia aspects of this distribution.

The first application I fired up after first boot was Firefox 2. Thanks, Canonical. I really do appreciate standard tools, not substitutions such as IceWeasel. The next thing I noticed was a message on the desktop telling me I had 412 updates available. OK! Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. I let the update system have its way with the machine.

Ah. Update is finished and I have to restart system. Excuse me...

Second Boot

Well, second boot after 412 updates was totally uneventful. The system came back up and I'm back to work. Perfect. Here's some screen shots illustrating what I've experienced so far.

Here is where the updater is busily downloading the 412 updates onto my system. For the first time I have to say I don't want to go screaming off and change the theme to something more contemporary. I may change the desktop theme in the future, but I don't have to. The default theme is fine just the way it is.

After downloading, we're now applying the updates

Once finished, a message appears at the upper right telling me a system restart is required. My only complaint is that the text and the box could be bigger. I did not click on the notification icon, preferring to save and close everything first. That leads to my second minor complaint. The dialog disappears, but leave a mysterious blue circular icon on the upper tool bar.

Fortunately being the monkey that I am, I just had to press that little blue icon, which produced another message, this time a well-formed dialog, telling me a restart was required and did I want to do so now? In this case I did.

Final Thoughts
  • This whole experience has been too cool. My complements to the Ubuntu team for putting 7.04 together. If this is an Alpha release then I can't wait for the betas or the final release.
  • Gnome doesn't suck in this release of this distribution. In fact it's great. I have no desire to change to another desktop manager. I fired up Nautilus, and wonder of wonders, it came up with everything I want on a file browser; I didn't have to hunt down and turn on/turn off one feature. It was configured perfectly.
What I'll be doing next:
  1. Checking out DVD and CD playback.
  2. Checking out the other applications.
  3. Attempting to update OpenOffice from 2.0 to 2.1 with this distribution.
  4. Playing with the repository system to see if it's better and faster than RPM.

17 comments:

  1. Great blog! I hope you like Ubuntu. It's really gotten me back into Linux after I almost lost interest with Red Hat 9. Check out Automatix2 for easy installation of DVD and other needed codecs.

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  2. Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your piece, as I had myself a change of distro : mostly Blag (based on FC) last year, and with Mandriva for 3 months since december. A week with OpenSUSE 10.2 and another week with Ubuntu 6.10.

    I settled with FC6 and I must say it's the very best for my hardware.

    But as we all know, different distros for different hardware : Dapper on my old laptop, Vector on my older desktops, and now FC6 on my main box !!!

    I did miss, however, a tool such as Automatix2 for Fedora... I guess this might be solved by the future avalaibility of CNR for Fedora this summer... It'll make easier and faster install...

    ReplyDelete
  3. a really nice blog. Thanks for those posts with insights... :D

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  4. I'm in the process of installing Ubuntu on my Gateway laptop. The only problem I've got is that I'm having some difficulty getting my wi-fi working properly.

    I'm going to connect the machine to an ethernet port on my router and see download the appropriate drivers and see if that helps.

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  5. Keep watching dude, things are only going to improve on the ubuntu camp. There's no turning back now :)

    BTW, I notice that the fonts on firefox's UI and the webpage are different from Gnome's. Which is which? I Love the ones on firefox.

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  6. http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Edgy
    is a must see howto if you want to get dvd playback, codecs, java etc. You may also find www.getdeb.net usefull.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I bet you will find APT better than YUM and dpkg better than RPM.

    I recommend to you: http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu_Edgy

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  8. I enjoyed reading your blog. I've been using Ubuntu since Feb 2005 and I like it more & more. Please read the included "HELP" documentation in Ubuntu Edgy (in the Panel) about media support.

    You should install the following applications to play most video/audio codecs: GnomeBaker (DVD/CD Burning), VLC Client and its libraries, MPlayer and its codecs, Xine (libxine and libxine-extracodecs), totem-xine (to use xine engine instead of gstreamer engine) to play media files.

    To get these applications, you need to enable the "universe", and "multiverse" repositories. You can do this using the GUI interface to the package management system "Synaptic"

    Regards.

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  9. You know you could have tried just about any distribution out there and come to the same conclusion right? Ubuntu isn't unique in this respect at all...there are at least 20 distros that do things just as well (some even better) than Ubuntu does.

    Now I'm not saying you're silly for posting something like this...hey, more power to you...and if it proliferates Linux...even better. I'm just saying that Ubuntu ISN'T the best there is out there. It's the most popular.

    Popularity does not = best.

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  10. for multimedia, automatix was not a good thing, when last I tried it a year ago... In my experience it is too "messy" I wish I could explain it better... It does strange things like install things without .debs, and add repositories which are kind of doubtful.

    but anyways... much better is

    http://easyubuntu.freecontrib.org/

    Get all your codecs etc... that way and
    it does not mess up your nice clean system.

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  11. If you are using the 2007 series, you don't need Automatix or Easyubuntu.

    Universe and Multiverse repositories are enabled by default and when you click on an MP3 it will ask you if you want to install support to play it. You say 'yes' .. it explains to you that this is not 'completely free' software and you install it..

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  12. Hi,
    I enjoyed your post. I'm a college-age student from China, and using Ubuntu 6.10. I like Linux, and also of you kind people like Linux too.
    By the way, your picture looks cool! The dog is very cute.
    Sorry for my English, if it is not very fluent.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great blog post...I can't wait to install Fiesty Fawn on my new machine!

    Be advised that your article was linked to from an "anti-ubuntu" blog http://www.happyassassin.net/2007/02/24/what-is-it/

    ReplyDelete
  14. I know the article of which you speak. I responded to his post with one of my own (see "What It Is", http://blogbeebe.blogspot.com/2007/02/why-it-is.html), and then we exchanged emails. Overall I found the experience quite positive. I understood what he was trying to say, and his critique of my entry helped me to better focus on what I really needed to say. And besides, it peaked my interest such that I'm looking at Mandriva again. I haven't looked at it since its Mandrake days, many years ago.

    Thank you.

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  15. So Far Ubuntu has been the best all around distro I have found. I know that there are others that some power users my like better. But for me to be able to get a system up and fully running that my family can use easily Ubuntu wins. I have been trying many different distros and so far Ubuntu has done the best when it comes to recognizing my hardware. and this is across 6 computers ranging from a 500mhz system to a dual core 2gig system. FC6 just has not be able to get it done. This weekend I am going to give Suse a run but its going to be hard for it to convince me that its the way to go over Ubuntu. Also Automatix2 has made a lot of changes over Automatix and seems to be doing much better at installing many things your system may need. But if you don't want to go that route... there are how to's all over and the Ubuntu Forums is some of the best help your going to find.

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  16. I installed Ubuntu 6.10 (64-bit)last week on my new Turion-64 laptop. Ubuntu is easy to install, easy to run and it is easy to add programs, I was not too confused as a first-time Linux user. I am thinking of switching to 32-bit as not programs may run on 64-bit. My only problem is that some programs that I use do not have Linux versions, so I have to continue to use Windows too.

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  17. Many people (myself included) do that, keep a 'wintendo' in another partition for the sole purpose of gaming and multimedia.

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