Is Linux ready for the desktop?
Thus far, my conclusion stands. Ubuntu is Debian with a lot of the sharp edges rounded off. And it just gets better with each release, really. The new “Add Applications” menu is quite enjoyable. While I’m personally a fan of the more traditional “apt-get install “, simply because I can write scripts around it. This new interface is far more convenient than Synaptic is. Now, I love Synaptic… but the sheer depth of available software can intimidate new users, and Synaptic presents that list in a very direct way. New users want to know what to install, and have someone tell them that. This new package management interface does just that, which is ever so convenient.
On top of all this, Ubuntu 5.10 finally comes with something I’ve been adding to most converted systems anyways: a graphical bootsplash. A common misconception about modern Linux distributions (or anything different from the established norm, really) is that these systems are “complicated” in some way. Try as you may to allay these concerns, if the first time they turn on their computer they see a wall of unfamiliar text scrolling by, the instinct is “I don’t understand this”. Converting from Windows to Linux the first time is a bit intimidating. Make the process as smooth as possible: painless at worst, and downright comfortable at best. Regardless of how amazing the system is, if fear takes hold before a new user can experience that awesome, you have a barrier to acceptance, and the first steps to rolling back. As simple as it is, a graphical bootsplash really helps.
The option to do OEM installations is something I know a lot of us have wanted. Everything gets configured at installation, aside from things like Usernames and Networking. The first time a user boots it up, it asks them to select a username, and configure their network. No more installing on-site at a client’s house!
Gnome 2.12 doesn’t really feel all that different from 2.10, honestly. Nothing about it really impressed me more than 2.10 already had. Still getting used to the menu repositioning from 2.8…
GCC 4.0.1 is a welcome addition, since I keep installing it ANYWAYS. glibc 2.3.5 is also appreciated.
Overall, I think this release marks another solid step forward for Ubuntu, and with a bit of luck (and teamwork), for the Debian-based community too.
Ubuntu 5.10 is ready for the desktop. No issues installing it out-of-the-box, and the OEM install option only sweetens the deal, along with the graphical bootsplash. New users, this is a great place to start. Veterans of other distributions, give it a spin. Maybe you’ll see something you like. Overall, solid release.
Rolling the additions from the HardenedUbuntu project into this, and adding Reiser4 support added to the installer… I’d be tempted to give this a higher score.
Note: This writing was originally featured here at the Open Source Institute, and I heard Red Library, Ready Response and CyberArmy featured the article at one point as well. These reports have not been confirmed, and no permalinks are available at this time.