"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)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Test drive : Ubuntu 13.10 “Saucy Salamander” (Nightly Build)

The upgrade season is coming again. As I do twice a year I downloaded from Ubuntu download page the currently available version (not called beta anymore) of the October Ubuntu release. I prepared my USB disk in order to test the incoming release live on my computers.

On the EEEPC 900

After booting from the USB disk everything proceeded regularly until I arrived to the “Try or Install” screen. The top panel appears oddly expanded down to almost half screen.
Unfortunately the new Ubuntu release is pretty unusable on the EEEPC 900: every action involving a minimal graphic effect, like minimizing a window or showing the dash, is slowed down at unbelievable levels. That's probably due to the EEEPC 900 graphics hardware not being (yet?) properly recognized forcing so the computer to perform effects by software only.
I hope the problem will be solved before the official release (the EEEPC worked fine with 13.04) but it appears to be a recurring problem with Unity. While dealing with old, or virtual, machines it might be better to forget about “plain” Ubuntu and go directly for lighter distributions like Xubuntu.

On the Veriton S661

I repeated the test on my desktop computer. I got the same odd “Try or Install” screen but, apart from this, everything seems to work fine.
the most interesting news about Unity are probably dash plug-ins that extend dash search functionality.
even more important such plug-ins can be easily enabled or disabled from the dash itself.