There are few things in this very busy world that we live in that I truly look forward to repeating. One of those things is the April and October Releases of a new version of Ubuntu. In less than 1 month the full release of a new Long Term Support version of the Ubuntu Operating System. When I scan through the release information on Distrowatch.com I see that all the usual versions are available Ubuntu (Unity Desktop), Kubuntu (KDE Desktop), Lubuntu (LXFE Desktop), Xubuntu (XFCE Desktop), Ubuntu Studio (retuned version with extra media creation files), Edubuntu (Unity with Education focus) but I noticed something that I had not seen in a while…Ubuntu with Gnome…and this had me raise an eyebrow!
While it is still in Beta, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane and remember back to what had me fall in love with Ubuntu in the first place. When I started with Linux I was in a frenzy of download, install, get frustrated and repeat…but no matter how many OS tries I made…I kept coming back to Ubuntu which when I got started had Gnome as the default. I used it on my desktop but more importantly I used it on an Asus eeePC with a 7″ screen and started getting very familiar with the Netbook Remix which would eventually become Unity…so the transition was not as foreign as it could have been for me.
The 911 MB download was fast…but then again, I have never had any issues downloading any version of Ubuntu…even on release day. The installation was the benchmark that I measure all other installs against, a nice simple and clean process to get right to the set up and running of a Linux Computer but that was when I started to scratch my head.
The initial boot in the Oracle VirtualBox configuration with my standard 4 GB of RAM and a 20 GB HDD took well over 40 seconds to get to a functional desktop? This had to be a fluke so I restarted the Virtual Machine and again it took nearly twice as long as most other Operating Systems that I have installed over the past 6-8 months and took about as long as my Windows 8 Start Up does using the full 16 GB of RAM on my test machine but on the good side of everything…the initial boot seems to be the only place where any form of slowness occurs because the rest of Ubuntu Gnome is smooth and very responsive.
While the version of Gnome is far more advanced than what I was used to (the last Ubuntu that I ran with Gnome was back in 2010 was version 2.3.2 and with Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 comes with Gnome 3.10.4) and the changes have been relatively substantial but at the same time Gnome remains familiar, like a well worn pair of jeans that you slip into on Saturday afternoon to do some running about.
In the 911 MB download though, I would have expected more software to be included and I wonder why Firefox is still the default browser but jumping into the Ubuntu Software Center enables me to download Chrome and basically any other piece of glorious goodness I want to. By far, the inclusion of the Software Center has made Ubuntu far more usable than many other distributions and while this will but Ubuntu Gnome’s first LTS, it is great to see that things just work.
Other Software included:
- Evolution (email)
- Shotwell (photos)
- LibreOffice (version 188.8.131.52)
- Empathy (chat and VoIP)
- Rhythmbox (music)
So while it is really a base system, I was impressed with the layout and the feel of Ubuntu Gnome enough to seriously consider it becoming the Host Operating System for my endeavors for the forseeable future. The real test will be to see if it can handle not only the traffic and standard downloading needs that I have but can it act as an effective media host for the home and push out the content that I want to be shared with the Laptops, Media Players and mobile devices that we have…this will be an interesting test and luckily, beyond just running things in a Virtual Machine…I love to muck with the 15 Hard Drives that I use to build out the future of my Home Network.
With that being said, it is time for me to head off and until next Sunday…may all your days be Open.