"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Test drive: Ubuntu 10.10 netbook edition live (beta) on the EEEPC 900

The Ubuntu upgrade season is approaching and, as usual, I decided to give a look at the recently released beta version. I started from the netbook edition because it's the distribution that keep me more interested and, in some way, concerned.

Download, make and boot ...

Preparing a live USB disk has become an almost trivial task: I downloaded Ubuntu's ISO image from Ubuntu download page and prepared a booting SD card with the utility that Ubuntu itself provides. After few minutes (of disk preparing the download took a little longer) I've been able to restart my EEEPC and boot from the just prepared SD card.
The boot process took a little long to complete but this might be accountable to the SD card. At roughly half of the boot process the system asked if I'd liked proceed with installation or evaluating the live edition.


ubuntu-nbr-1

After selecting the live edition evaluation button the system continued the boot process and eventually opened Ubuntu's user interface.

The new User interface …

Ubuntu-10.10-main

I have to admit that I didn't pay a lot of attention to various Ubuntu's pre-release rumours and news so the new has been to me quite of a surprise. The user interface is in some way reversed: applications, both most commonly used and currently running, are placed in a side-bar while some big buttons let you choose among program categories.

ubuntu-10.10-buttons

at the top of the screen a bar is used to show application menus, for searching and further category selection.

Ubuntu-10.10-files

Must be said that this new interface appears to be, at least in the beta version, very unstable: I experienced several cases of error messages, the side-bar seemed to slow down after some minutes of usage and, at last, the whole GUI restarted itself several times. I don't know if at the root of these problems there are unresolved issues in the beta version, the limited resources of the EEEPC 900 or both.

Ubuntu-10.10-Errors

To upgrade or not to upgrade? …

Testing a live edition is not like testing a properly installed one but you can still get some useful indications from it. I must conclude that I'm far from being satisfied from this version of Ubuntu netbook edition. I don't like the new user interface layout, but this would be a minor problem. A new interface needs time to get used to and usually it offers a some degree of configuration. What more concerns me is the stability issue. Should I take the risk of upgrading from a distribution version which is working fine and smooth on my computer to one that seems to have so many problems? I do not exclude I'll upgrade but I'll have to do more tests and a more accurate analysis before doing that.

See you in October dear Ubuntu ...