Ubuntu Experiences

I have been using Ubuntu for quite a long time and seen lots of its releases. Some of them were really groundbreaking in features. Many of them showed a new route for other distro developers. Indeed Ubuntu enjoys a strong community ahead of Fedora. Apart from Ubuntu, other most famous distros are Fedora and OpenSuse, but none of them have such a strong, dedicated and friendly community. The community factor is the place where Ubuntu is miles ahead of any other Operating System.

I first saw Ubuntu in Nov, 2006 when one of my friend Swaroop Hegde, installed it on his system. It was really amazing to see an OS running Live without even touching the Hard Disk. Most of the features like Graphics, Wireless, Wired Network worked out of the box without any additional drivers. Firefox was the default browser which made me especially happy.

Even though all these advancements, each Ubuntu release has a habit of breaking down the installation except one release – Feisty Fawn 7.04. The first one which I tried was Dapper Drake 6.06, which ran very smoothly on my system and had great hardware support for all the devices I used. The next release Edgy Eft 6.10 broke my PPPoE internet connection which I have at home provided by BSNL. Edgy was one of the worst release I ever tried out till now. Next came out Feisty Fawn 7.04 which gave a new direction to the Ubuntu community. It had exceptionally good user experiences, didnt crash all of a sudden or any hardware glicthes we expected due to last release. Its the best release I consider till now.

Next in the line was Gutsy Gibbon which did a daring move to incorporate a lot of new features like Compiz Fusion and NTFS-3g. People started facing problems especially due to the fact that their graphics card didn’t have proper drivers for Desktop Effects to be enabled. For many the LiveCD didnt even boot up. Hundred people, hundred problems. The ubuntu devs slowly fixed up all such problems with automatic updates. The problem didn’t stop till this line. Another ghastly problem which was knocking at the doorsteps was Flash Problem Update which gave nightmares to all YouTube users. I was still shocked how the devs took such a long time fixing up this problem. The Forums were flooded with help requests on Flash on Gutsy.

Next in the series was Hardy Heron 8.04 which did live up to its expectations to break some of the left out features. As opposed to Gutsy, this was an LTS which is supposed to be a Long Term Release being supported upto three years. The initial problem which was out there in wild was the fsync problem concerning Firefox, which made this excellent browser freeze for around 20-30 seconds occasionally. Apart from that, I faced some problems with gdm which was not starting after 4-5 restarts. The major update 8.04.1 fixed many many of the problems and at this stage am not even facing a single problem, everything is working fine. SWEET!

The next release Interpid Ibex used 2.6.27 kernel, due to which people reported a lot of problems. For many systems the LiveCD booting is as slow as sloth. The problems lies somewhere in ACPI being turned on , even on unsupported motherboards. I didnt upgrade fearing some problems which affected the Intel 3945ABG Wireless Drivers which suffered from some weird bugs, and half of the bug report was completely greek to me.

After using Ubuntu for around two years, the only thing which comes to my mind is that it rocks. APT fares better than YUM, dependency resolution is better in any case when compared to RPM based distros. Leaving everything, the best thing which comes to my mind is SHIP IT!

Choosing a Linux distro

As all of you might be knowing that distro is a short name for Linux Distributions, here I list many distros which have gained a lot ground of late and can be truly called desktop OS. Some information are also appended along with them so that you can make a nice decision. All comments,suggestion and feedback are welcome.

Ubuntu: This is the best and the most usable Linux distro when it comes to general use. A Linux distribution should not just work properly, it should have a strong community, nice documentation, large number of HOWTOs and TIPS/TRICKS. This is the place where ubuntu beats all distros hands down. If you have problems downloading from the site or have slow connection, you can order its CD for free! Order Now

UbuntuForums: This is one of the most busiest forums and too exhaustive for any one to follow. In light mood its so vast that one needs to be unemployed to keep track of all the threads 😀 Its claims over 6,00,000 users on the community. Even if you post a n00b question, you should expect to get multiple instant replies. One thing special is the patience in community members. The same n00b question is asked again and again by different members and all of them are answered by the people in polite tone. Its a non-geek hangout

Ubuntu Wiki: This is one of the best documentation I have ever seen, one stop destination for all problems and tweaks. The wiki consists of two parts official and community. Official one is a bid narrow thing and to the point explanation whereas community section is highly exhaustive.

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