Thursday 21 October 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 First Impressions

Tried out clean installs of Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) on two Dell Latitude D620 systems yesterday.

The 10.10 Desktop Edition installed without a hitch (downloading updates at install time, which is handy) and looks very nice.   The new Ubuntu font is elegant and easy to read.  There have been subtle updates to the style of the desktop icons, which make the overall visual effect rather nicer.  Early days, but it all looks good so far.  The installer found all my hardware as usual (wifi, ethernet, GSM, sound, video, Dell sound buttons, etc).

The 10.10 Netbook Edition had a little whinge about video driver support, then worked identically to the Desktop version.  So those nice simple menus seen in 10.04 Netbook Edition did not appear - just the default full-blown Linux desktop.  Sadly it seems that the Netbook user interface no longer runs on hardware without accelerated 3D video support.   This seems like a big step backwards, as the simple newbie-friendly Netbook user interface offered a chance for non-techies to switch from Windows to Ubuntu, now that Windows XP is getting long in the tooth (takes too long to patch from a clean install), given that Windows Vista and Windows 7 are just too horrible and slow for any sane person to contemplate.

For a simple user-friendly desktop on older laptops, you can install Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition.  But would be nice if the 10.10 Netbook Edition ran in a simple 2D style on machines without 3D accelerated graphics hardware.   It sounds as though Ubuntu has missed a trick there.

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