Ubuntu Hardy Heron
I'm hearing good things about the latest Ubuntu Linux. Is there anything compelling enough in the latest release to save me from installing Vista on my next machine? Kinda hoping so...
Making the Switch to Ubuntu 8.04 -- Hardy Heron
You're not alone... I am old school enough to know that I'm just not ready to face giving up my XP for Microsoft Vista when it becomes the only game in town this June. So this would be a good time to explore the option of adopting Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron," the successor to 2007's Feisty Fawn and Gutsy Gibbon releases. Let's look into the latest Ubuntu Linux system and see if it makes it a decent replacement for an older XP or a scary future with Vista.
First off, you can't argue on price. Because Ubuntu Linux is open source software, it is free to all who use it. Developed by a community of people who have a passion for Linux, the latest Ubuntu has many of the same applications that can be found on Windows, such as a Web browser, email client, instant messaging, and OpenOffice software for word processing, charts, and spreadsheets. New applications are being added every day, making it simpler, faster, and easier to adopt.
Open Office offers a new and updated application suite that is considered by many to be just as good as MS Office. Tomboy simplifies note taking and will index them with a simple title. Keep your Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail, or use the very capable Evolution Mail client that comes with a calendar, contacts list, and a very classy on-desktop clock.
When it comes to Web browsing, Firefox is making leaps in both functionality and market share. For bookmarking on the 3 Beta 2 version, you only need to click on a star in the location box. There is more security than ever now by not only blocking iffy sites but pointing out those that might contain viruses or spyware. If you're looking for a single browser that you can use on multiple operating systems and even share bookmarks across multiple computers, Firefox fits the bill nicely.
Hardy Heron's F-Spot photo manager now has better camera recognition so that you can upload photos. Then it's a simple matter of managing, displaying, sharing or printing your images. On a related note, the new Vinagre VNC has become the default viewer, replacing xvnc4viewer.
Although it's not included in the Base Ubuntu, due to copyright restrictions, Medibuntu is a single application for both music and video that can be downloaded for free. The Magnatune music store may not be as large as the Apple's iTunes but if you are a fan of new age and jazz, the downloads will certainly be to your liking as well as the minimal price of $5.00 for an entire album. With Ubuntu you also get radio streaming and UPnP for plug-in of other audio/video devices.
With several new applications, video viewing has become simpler. The default player allows you to check out the latest antics of the Happy Tree Friends on YouTube. And with Myth TV, you can record and watch TV on your computer.
Want to burn something on CD or DVD? Brasero (now included in the Nautilus file manager) will help you through the process one step at a time.
Peer-to-peer fans will be happy to see that the orphaned GNOME BitTorrent client has beeen replaced with Transmission, which has won praise for being both fast and lightweight.
The clock applet also got a facelift, and now displays the weather and optionally handles multiple timezones.
System-Level Updates in Hardy Heron
So that's what's new on the Ubuntu desktop, what about under the hood? As is typical with Ubuntu releases, you'll find that there are some nice improvements in performance, security and usability.
Hardy Heron now rides atop the new Linux kernel, version 2.6.24-16.30. This means better performance for interactive apps with the "Completely Fair Scheduler", and support for dynticks, which offers better power savings for 64-bit AMD-based laptops and desktops.
Also new is the addition of PolicyKit for better permission control. PolicyKit is useful for programs that need temporary admin (root) privileges. Unlike gksudo, which was used in previous versions of Ubuntu, PolicyKit makes it possible to grant elevated privileges on an action basis, rather than giving certain programs carte blanche. This should help to eliminate the exploitation of potential security holes in Linux software, and also gives systems administrators more control over what "mere mortal" users can do.
A new Xorg (version7.3), the graphics workhorse for many Linux distributions, is also included in Hardy Heron. The biggest plus there is the new Screen Resolution utility that allows users to more easily control the screen resolution and the orientation of a second monitor.
The Nautilus file manager has been tweaked under the hood for increased performance and stability.
Time To Switch to Ubuntu?
Ubuntu has made it easy to make the switch from Windows to Linux. Now It's just a matter of using Wubi on your Windows desktop. You do not need a CD or a partition on your computer. The only requirements are that you must have 5GB hard disk space, 256 MB of memory and Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista. And again, the download of Wubi is free. Because Ubuntu can now read and write to Windows disks, you won't lose anything that you worked for years to amass.
If you decide to take the plunge, visit the Ubuntu site and poke around. One of their best features is the amazing support that you will receive through free documentation, others in the community who already have it, and professionals who will assist you. And by the way, the word "Ubuntu" is an African word meaning "humanity to others." In a world where large corporations will swallow up your last dollar, it's refreshing to find people who share their expertise for free and embrace collaborative development of great software for everyone.
Have you tried Ubuntu Hardy Heron? Is it a viable replacement for XP or Vista? Tell us your thoughts about this new release by posting a comment below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 27 Apr 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Ubuntu Hardy Heron (Posted: 27 Apr 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved