zen.org Communal Weblog

June 4, 2006

Coolness of Ubuntu

Filed under: — brendan @ 18:13 IST

Inspired by Sven’s recent post and some messages on ILUG, I replaced SuSE 10.0 on my Sony Vaio VGN-TX1XP laptop with the Desktop copy of the new Ubuntu 6.06 “Dapper” release. (I tried to install an earlier version of Ubuntu in the past, and hoped this would go more smoothly. Bingo, it was great.)

After doing a full backup of my system (aka rsync -vaRx / brendan@otherbox:/backup/kaylee-20060604/), It took maybe 5 minutes from booting off the CD to having the installation process get underway; you start by just double-clicking the “Install” image on the desktop.

The whole install took about 20 minutes. A reboot at the end and it came back up as a fully functional system.

So far, so good, tho I’m a KDE user normally so its GNOME default will take some getting used to. Of particular interest so far:

  • Ubuntu uses apt-get instead of rpm for packages;
  • the GNOME Network Manager makes it really easy to switch between Ethernet and wireless;
  • X automatically goes to 1366×768, the not-so-normal size of the screen on the TX series of laptops;
  • hibernation is quite fast—the same under SuSE took much more time;
  • even more amazing: suspending (aka standby and its glowing orange power button) works (well, almost)! I right-clicked on the Power Manager battery icon at the top, and in its preferences I selected it to use suspend when the lid closes. Down goes the lid, wait til it’s orange, open it up, and in about 10 seconds at most the screen saver is prompting for my password, and everything is still there and working (including the network interfaces). Awesome awesome awesome—for about a day.  But then it fails to properly bring up X when it’s woken up; this is apparently a known bug, still not fully fixed.
  • Fn-F5 and Fn-F6 darken and brighten the screen (I knew there were tricks I could play under SuSE with lots of manual editing to try to make this happen; here it just works);
  • Just by doing a rsync of ~/.gaim* from the backup, I was able to bring up Gaim (installed by default) with no trouble at all;
  • everything, including bringing up Firefox to edit this post, goes really fast;
  • the original install of XP wasn’t messed up (in part cuz of my selection of partition from the previous install of SuSE), but even better, the Ubuntu install of Grub automatically put it in the list of choices at boot-up;
  • I have to do Ctrl-Alt-Left and Ctrl-Alt-Right to switch workspaces, instead of the Ctrl-Tab used by KDE to cycle thru them;
  • Applications -> Add/Remove is so amazingly easy to install other stuff I want (like Thunderbird, Kaffeine, emacs, and Gnumeric).

I’m really impressed at how easy and seemingly effortless it was to install this.

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