Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Review

ubuntu

Two weeks ago, I subscribed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS from here, and got it last weekend. The package includes 3 liveCD: for PC, for 64-bit PC and for Mac. Here is the review from “Apprentice” Gentoo user.

Booting

It really takes a little while from boot option to the GNOME desktop showes up, 2m 45s. It is tolerable considering the GNOME is a full-fledged desktop environment.

First impression

Although I am not a big fan of GNOME, I must admit, the default theme rocks. The English font is crispy; the Chinese font in the file browser also looks nice, while in the console, it is as ugly as it appears in my Gentoo’s rxvt-unicode. I am not so picky about the font by all means.

Hardware support

The kernel is relative new ( ubuntu 2.6.15-23-386 ), and the hardware probe really does a good job.

• CPU is recognized, and speedstep is enabled by powernowd
• Chipset works
• Video adapter works flawlessly in 1024x768@60Hz, Direct rendering is enabled via Mesa DRI R200 20041207 AGP 1x TCL. I bet Ubuntu uses the OSS ATI driver, come on, this is Debian-based distribution.
• Sound Card ALSA works
• Ethernet is supposed to work out of box, not tested.
• Wireless I have no idea whether Dell TruMobile 1345 is supported by the native driver. I always use ndiswrapper. The liveCD loads the bcm43xx module, but fails to update the firmware. Ironically, the ndiswrapper module is also built for use, but the ndiswrapper application itself s missing. Not working.
• Harddisk DMA support is enabled, the performance is as good as Gentoo.

Software support

This distribution is based upon GNOME 2.14.1, the file browser supports auto mount and file preview. The package management looks like synaptic.

This distribution is targeted to small bussiness, OpenOffice, Mozilla Firefox, Evolution, and Ekiga (succeeder of GNOMEMeeting) are bundled for the office productivity. There also Gaim, Gimp and a few desktop games.

It also take the multimedia into account, but I am quite disappointed to Rhythmbox and Totem. The iTune-like Rhythmbox is too complicated for me; I just want to play music, I would take care of the organization of library by myself, but I have to import music to Rhythmbox before I play them, after several failures, I lost my interest. And Totem can not handle my DivX-encoded AVI file, complains that the plugin is missing. Ok, just forget them.

The non-English input is supported by SCIM, but no input methods are installed in the default configuration, so why bother put SCIM there?

From the developer’s perspective, we have Perl-5.8.7, Python-2.4.3, but some essential components are missing: gcc, gmake, gvim, emacs, flex, bison, autotools, latex…

Summary

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS liveCD still rocks as the playground for the newbies, and it also a descent rescue liveCD with all kinds of FS support, various utilities. But it is still lacks some features I am looking for:

• Full ndiswrapper support
• cisco-vpn
• SCIM with scim-pinyin
• Media player( mplayer/xine/whatever) with evil win32-codecs
• Development toolchain