Ubuntu 8.04, code name Hardy Heron was released 2 days ago and since my internet machine has nothing better to do while I finish up the game, I went for a full system upgrade right away. Ubuntu does go from strength to strength with each release of the OS and the story with Hardy is no different. I have been using Gutsy for the past 6 months now and with the release of Hardy, I think XP is in serious danger of losing it’s number one spot in my list of preferred OSes. I just don’t boot into XP these days on my internet PC and my reservations on Vista are well known. Ubuntu at the moment is all you could want from an OS, though some nagging issues clearly remain. I however do use XP for all my programming stuff, unfortunately that’s where the bulk of the gaming market is. I however do plan to release the Doofus game for Linux once I release a Windows version.
I have praised Ubuntu before on this blog, but it is funny how Canonical has consistently managed to do a good job and stick to it’s motto of providing a simple and yet promising Linux distribution that even a common, or should I say a non tech savvy person could use. They have successfully managed to change the “Linux is for Geeks” attitude into something people can look and use in their everyday lives. Lets be fair, there are others that are fast catching up and can be considered equally impressive, yet Ubuntu has managed to stay ahead of the curve, just that little bit. It’s just those small things and annoyances that Ubuntu has managed to address successfully that has led to it’s popularity. Some people would argue that Ubuntu could not have stood so tall if it weren’t standing on shoulders of teams like Fedora SUSE and of course Debian, and without whose support and work Ubuntu could not have been possible. Yes, thats indeed true. However, Ubuntu has made a difference by actually using and in some cases integrating the great work done by all these teams and putting together a strong stable distro which could easily be considered as the best of the Linux distros out there.
Little things go a long way. Many people have heard about Linux, probably more than you might think. However, very few have actually used it. Why? It’s a headache to partition your disks and actually have a Linux partition. A average-joe user dreads things like that. Walk in Wubi! Now some might say having Linux on an NTFS partition is not something new. It could be done with several other distros long before Ubuntu was around, but how many of the other distros allow this to be done with a simple few clicks? I threw in the Ubuntu CD in the drive under XP and the first thing that popped up was the Wubi installer. I could install an entire Linux distro in about 4-5 clicks and a couple of restarts of the machine. I am a long time Linux user, but even I was surprised how trivial it was to install Linux with Wubi. Now I wouldn’t recommend using Wubi for the experienced user, however this option is rather cool for a person who has never seen or used Linux before..
However, not every aspect of the distro is flawless. There are some issues that still need work. It may not be all the distro’s fault either. Somethings are still a miss with the community as a whole. Technical issues like sound and WiFi are the ones that comes to mind. There are some issues there that need to be sorted out. Needless to say such issues are no doubt small and Ubuntu has address a lot of them with Hardy. The only real complaint I have is, I still can’t seem to get my front headphone jack to work, not with Gutsy and not with Hardy. But I guess this is some weired ALSA problem. Fortunately the NVIDIA driver is doing a fine job. I remember there was a time when h/w vendors didn’t seem too interested with Linux but I must say things are changing for the better. It wasn’t that long ago, when you couldn’t find a decent driver for your graphics card, now most leading distros come bundled with one.
As a parting note, a few suggestions on download and upgrade. I would recommend using bittorrent since found it far faster than using the overloaded Ubuntu servers. The CD ISOs can be found on all mirrors. Try this link if you want DVD ISO torrents. Also remember if you are upgrading from a CD use the “alternate” version of the install ISO. It is best to use the Update manager to do an upgrade of the OS, it’s the safest method. If you have downloaded the alternate version of the ISO, you can update without having to actually burn a CD ROM. Linux can directly mount ISOs and you don’t need any special software to do that. Make a directory under /mnt called “isocdrom” and use the command
sudo mount -o loop -t iso9660 ubuntu-8.04-alternate-i386.iso /mnt/isocdrom/
to mount the ISO directly. Then use the command
to start the upgrade and follow the instructions. Remember to use the full path “/mnt/isocdrom/cdromupgrade” while starting the upgrade.