I got round to trying an installation of Ubuntu 10.04 today from my trusty USB stick. The install went smoothly and quickly (except for a problem with having two HDDs in this machine, with the OS on the second drive – remember to customise the boot options to boot from the right hard disk in this case, d’oh!).
On first boot, the most noticeable thing was the updated loading screens and reduced boot time. It wasn’t a slouch before, maybe taking 45ish seconds, but now taking 25 seconds between finishing the POST and giving me a login screen (I’ll time the laptop before and after when I upgrade that and produce a better comparison). It feels nice and fast.
Next, the wireless – works a treat, as usual. Then the proprietary graphics drivers, and the only essential reboot (having only today had a VPN client upgrade on a Windows system I have the misfortune of using with a total of five reboots necessary in the process).
Next, upgrade everything when prompted – only took a couple or minutes. Then, added in most of the packages I use that I can get out of the standard repo – that took a while, but it is 180 packages (incl. dependencies).
Finally, the other standout feature is the social network integration. The usual user identity graphic in the menu bar is replaced with a widget that looks identical but connects to my Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Yahoo Messenger accounts. So far, I’ve posted up a couple of updates from there, but I’m not sure what else it can do just yet. The other option under this widget, ‘Ubuntu One’, provides the ability to synchronise some of your user settings to the cloud. Nice idea – but as an Android user, I wonder whether I can sync my phone info with my desktops?
A bum note though – the default theme is a little dark, and moves the window maximise/minimise/close buttons to the left hand side of the window, also known as the wrong side! Quick fix – System > Preferences > Appearance: Choose the New Wave theme to brighten things up slightly and put the controls back where they belong.
Anyway, all done in no time at all – it’s hard to see how they could make it any easier!