Ubuntu Hardy Heron

Category: Linux

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...

Ubuntu Hardy Heron

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.

Ubuntu Apps 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...

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Most recent comments on "Ubuntu Hardy Heron"

Posted by:

Dotan Cohen
27 Apr 2008

I've been using Ubuntu for about a year now, and I've switched a few friends computers to Ubuntu in that time. Although very easy to use, especially for those used to windows, Ubuntu had some problems installing on a lot of hardware, and OOo made a good MS Office replacement only if you don't need to read others people's documents, or send them docs that you made. Now, after only 2 days with the newest Ubuntu Hardy, I am as close as ever to saying that it can replace windows. On four computers, two of which have very problematic hardware, Ubuntu installed just fine with everything working. Even things that are a pain to configure in windows (printer, webcam) just work in Ubuntu Hardy. And it comes with open office 2.4, which reads word files almost perfectly! This is it, other than games, there is absolutely no reason to still be using windows anymore. The only thing that gave me trouble was Firefox 3 which is still beta and did not work with my extensions (so I replaced it with firefox 2).

Posted by:

28 Apr 2008

If you can live without a printer or scanner, then Linux is fine. Third party drivers is the main weakness for any version of Linux.

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's a little harsh. I've had pretty good success with most commercial printers I've tried. I'm going to install Hardy and see if it'll play nice with my HP L7780 All-In-One...

Posted by:

28 Apr 2008

I've been an Ubuntu user for about 4 years now. Until recently, Ubuntu served me well, but I recently switched to Windows Vista. I found myself wanting to do things on my computer, such as watch and record tv, and the hardware support for many things in Linux is nonexistent. Flash support for web surfing has been a problem too, but it looks like the bugs may be finally solved there, which is a good thing.

I spent a long time being a "fanboy" of Ubuntu and even converted a few of my friends to using Ubuntu instead of Windows. I like the stability, security, and freedom Linux provides, but I had to ask myself, "What do I want my OS to do for me?" That is why I currently use Vista now instead of my former favorite OS.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I mentioned MythTV in the article, which acts as a PVR so you can record and watch TV shows.

Posted by:

28 Apr 2008

A thought from a former Ubuntu User. Before you decide to completely commit to Ubuntu or Linux in general, you should test drive it.

Posted by:

28 Apr 2008

Thanks for the good writeup on Ubuntu 8.04. I have been using linux for two years w/two computers running xp-ubuntu8.04 and debian-etch/Mepis7.0. I have very few occassions to use xp anymore, when ms pulls support I will not use it on the internet at all. I will never load another ms operating system.

Posted by:

Peter Fitzsimons
29 Apr 2008

Hi Bob,

I have tried Ubuntu distros on and off for about two years now, Gutsy Gibbon in my opinion being the best yet. I found Hardy Heron a little disappointing in that you still have to hunt around for codecs to be able to play DVD's, and with the sad demise of Automatix2 this can be a pain. It also might put "newbies" off from trying it.

The best distro in my opinion, which I have tried and now use permanently as a replacement for Micrososft XP and their activation/licence nonsense, is Linux Mint Daryna. It is very stylish, and everything really does work "out of the box". All the codecs are installed etc. The only thing one has to do is install extras for the XSane Scanner from the Synaptic Package Manager, but that is no problem as everything is explained in a very good manual which you can download. The latest version named "Elysaa" comes out some time in May. Can't wait!

Posted by:

Bob Elliott jr
30 Apr 2008

this OS is great!! but I have a problem install my HP Photosmart printer. the OS Ubuntu 8.04 has the printer listed but to select a connection I am lost appsocket/hp jetdirect,internet print protocal (pp),lpd/lpr host or printer,win printer via SAMBA. WHICH to choose from??

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'd try the first one, and see if it works.

Posted by:

01 May 2008

This is a great OS. I started using Ubuntu with Gutsy Gibbon, and have used the development versions of Hardy Heron right up to the final release. It has quirks, but what OS doesn't? Really, to complain about Linux in general for hardware compatibility is silly. Windows has issues there too. I am a Windows and Ubuntu user at the moment. I paid for Windows (I expect perfection - and don't get it), and Ubuntu was free (I don't expect perfection - don't get it, but it works as good as Windows for my usage). I think Ubuntu is a perfect OS for a general user who is doing email, writing the odd document, surfing the web, and messaging friends.

Posted by:

Al Harris
13 May 2008

Anyone considering Ubuntu should be aware that there is another (in my opinion, better) version of it called Kubuntu. The only difference is the interface: Kubuntu uses KDE, while Ubuntu uses Gnome which offers far fewer configuration options. If you don't like Ubuntu, give Kubuntu a try! You may prefer it, I know that I do.

Posted by:

16 May 2008

I've used Ubuntu since Breezy Badger, I have Vista Dual booted on my computer and I boot into about every two weeks to update everything in it. By then I have had about all of the waiting around for apps to work and boot back into Ubuntu. One error in your article, Medibuntu is a Repository not an Application. It does have the Codecs and such that Ubuntu can't package because of copyright restrictions, however you kind of need to know what to look for. Most issues can be solved quite easily with a little patience and a search of the Ubuntu Forums. Oh and I have hardly used the command line for a couple of years now, But I can if I need it. I compare it to driving a a new Ferrari instead of a 1957 Desoto!

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's funny... I consider the command line to be the hotrod. :-)

Posted by:

F. Phillips
19 May 2008

Not being a windows officianado I had to accept Windows as M$ decided I should, NO Defraging, all your basic needs require a payment!

I have used Ubuntu for eighteen months now, and not that I have learnt any-more, but I can use Ubuntu just as well as Windows XP, it has cost nothing and as far as I am concerned it works better.

I have been saying that I would turn to Linux, I tried several OS's, Suse, Redhat, read about Ubuntu on the net, in for a penny and all that downloaded it, and ran it to see what it was like, and killed windows!

finding out how to turn on a computer at retirement, I am not the brightest light in the street, saw the end of 95 and 98, used XP, ubuntu does every thing that they did for me, if not gave me more!

Posted by:

20 May 2008

Ubuntu's latest release is awesome and the drivers provided are pretty good.

Posted by:

Bruce Knox
30 Jul 2008

I have just upgrade to Hardy Heron on my Acer Aspire 4315 laptop [from Gusty 7.02]sadly Evolution Mail is no longer active. It will not Send and Receive. Can you advise what I should do?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Are you sure the in/out mail servers are set correctly? Does Thunderbird work?

Posted by:

13 Aug 2008

I felt the same way: when MS released Vista, I decided it was time to jump ship. I dual-booted Ubuntu and XP for a few months, but the constant improvements to Ubuntu and Linux in general have made Windows, at least for me, unnecessary. Even in my office. We're slowly transitioning from running XP on each machine to running Ubuntu thin clients. It's great!

Posted by:

Horacio L.
27 Nov 2008

Hello, I just want to say that ubuntu its great as a desktop, only drawback its it cant run some software I use on a daily basis, then I have a dual boot box :)

Posted by:

03 Feb 2009

Now using Ubuntu 8.04 and I have been Windows free for almost a year. I'll NEVER pay for an operating system again.

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