Monday, April 02, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04 - The pace quickens towards final release

The number and frequency of updates for Ubuntu 7.04 has picked up a bit over the last five days. Two updates I've noticed is the final OpenOffice 2.2 release (which coincided with OpenOffice stand-alone release), and updates to Compiz that finally enable the cube (see below).

To make the screen shot I ran the 'Take Screenshot' applet with a five second delay, then grabbed the corner facing you with the mouse while holding before the delay timed out and the screen shot was taken. I've got Google Earth on the left and Firefox (with Help and Support on top) on the right.

Up to this point the cube was disabled, and hitting the arrow keys simply moved from desktop to desktop by fading from one to the next. But I like the way this version under Ubuntu has been tuned. The sides of the cube simply flip without the annoying bounce prevalent in the versions running on SLED 10 and Suse 10.1.

The only problem is that Google Earth runs less smoothly with Compiz enabled than with Compiz disabled. It's still far faster than when I had the ATI 9600 card with the Xorg driver. The nVidia video card makes all the difference in the world. But I can tell I'm pushing this older Athlon XP with 512MB of memory with everything turned on and multiple heavy applications running. I knew I'd run into this when I first installed Ubuntu on this machine. This has been a personal experiment to see just how far I could push this kind of hardware with an up-to-date Linux distribution. And I am impressed. If I want smoother operation I can turn off compositing and live with "plain" desktop effects. Maybe I will. And maybe I won't.

It's my choice. All the features I could ever want are right here with one distribution. Not scattered across seven arbitrary versions. Linux gives me full opportunity to pick what I want when I want it. And for that I'm very grateful.

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