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Debian Linux

Ubuntu 9.04 Is As Slick As Win7, Mac OS X 871

Posted by kdawson
from the continuous-improvement dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with an opinion piece from ZDNet Australia. "Here's what the official press release won't tell you about Ubuntu 9.04, which formally hit the streets yesterday: its designers have polished the hell out of its user interface since the last release in October. Just like Microsoft has taken the blowtorch to Vista to produce the lightning-quick Windows 7, which so far runs well even on older hardware, Ubuntu has picked up its own game."
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Ubuntu 9.04 Is As Slick As Win7, Mac OS X

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  • screenshots? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by themacks (1197889) <markmccarthy@gat[ ].edu ['ech' in gap]> on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:24AM (#27701503) Homepage

    its designers have polished the hell out of its user interface

    and the link is to an article without a single screenshot....

    • Re:screenshots? (Score:5, Informative)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:30AM (#27701585)
      I realize reading TFA is frowned upon, but:

      You won't be able to notice the vast improvement in Ubuntu's desktop experience over the past six months by browsing screenshot galleries of 9.04 or looking at new feature lists. What I'm talking about is that elusive slick-and-speedy feel you get from applications launching fast, windows moving around without jerkiness, and everything simply being where it should be in the user interface.

      • by themacks (1197889) <markmccarthy@gat[ ].edu ['ech' in gap]> on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:39AM (#27701711) Homepage
        eh, that's just a pretty way of saying, "I'm lazy"
        • by Threni (635302) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:43AM (#27701787)

          Yeah, why doesn't he just post a screenshot of slick animation?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by themacks (1197889)
            hey, he could have made a really awesome animated gif, but nooooo
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            troll:
            Probably because there are no good tools for making an animation of the user interface in Linux/X.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        and at the same time it have almost no support for touchscreens (yes they work, no you can't do anything useful, as you have not a writing tool) and multitouch is not working at all, while audio support is a total mess
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          you mean like how Windows XP and Vista has almost no support for touchscreens as well?

          I had to go digging for the drivers and apps for my tablet for XP and vista. they did not magicanny install and work without effort.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by foo fighter (151863)

        Yeah, then how about a screencast? It is 2009 you know, you're allowed to put video on your web page. This **is** CNET, you'd think they have the resources to make that work.

      • Re:screenshots? (Score:5, Informative)

        by bwhaley (410361) <spam4ben@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:25PM (#27704011)

        Youtube demos this pretty well, IMHO:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h905pHzkXPw [youtube.com]

    • Re:screenshots? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Boiling_point_ (443831) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:33AM (#27701625) Homepage
      Lifehacker has a well laid-out and illustrated introduction [lifehacker.com] avec screenshots.
  • Way faster than 8.10 (Score:5, Informative)

    by cbuosi (1492959) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:27AM (#27701539)
    Installed Ubuntu 9.04 over my 9.04RC and all i can say that its a lot faster than 8.10 (RC was faster too). And i mean it cause i have a quite old config.
  • Isn't it strange (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:29AM (#27701571) Homepage

    From the article: I particularly noticed the Ubuntu difference when I put the operating system to the test by simultaneously launching and using multiple applications, listening to music and more while using my spare CPU cycles in the background to encode high-definition video with Mencoder. Ubuntu still felt very fast--even with traditionally sluggy pieces of software like OpenOffice.org.
     
    Isn't it strange that people are still surprised that their computers are fast? Computers have gotten ridiculously fast compared during the last 20 years, and still they seem slow to many of us. Is that just the result of crappy programming, or is there more to it?

    • Re:Isn't it strange (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nerdposeur (910128) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:37AM (#27701685) Journal

      Isn't it strange that people are still surprised that their computers are fast? Computers have gotten ridiculously fast compared during the last 20 years, and still they seem slow to many of us. Is that just the result of crappy programming, or is there more to it?

      That's what I want to know, too. If I had known in 1995 what the specs for my 2009 system would be, I would have freaked out and expected it to boot in milliseconds and do everything else instantly.

      • Re:Isn't it strange (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:08AM (#27702931) Homepage Journal

        If you use Coreboot (formerly known as LinuxBIOS), optimized kernel settings, optimized glibc settings, and stick to a lightweight window manager on X, you should get exactly what you're describing.

      • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:08PM (#27703781)

        We are also doing things that are rather unheard of on these old systems.
        So lets compare Windows 95 system with today.

        1. Real-Time Semi-Transparency. Doing stuff back in 95 would have taken at least a second to render.
        2. Anti-Aliasing fonts. Back in the day we knew what text was done in Photoshop and what was rendered on the fly.
        3. Wobbly Windows. (or similar effect) That would take crazy computing power back then
        4. Disk Indexing, We knew how to index back in 95 it just took to long to be useful
        5. Complex interpreted language programs. If it wasn't in binary format then it was too slow.
        6. Multi-tasking. Windows 95 just barely had working multi-tasking. Burning a CD back then was a crap shoot. because chances are your computer would freeze up and mess up your PC.
        7. Security. Back in 95 a Buffer overflow would mean your program would crash, and if you had a password protection you were considered secure. Viruses only infected .exe or .com file.
        8. PCI was the new kid on the block and plug in play was plug and pray.
        9. Configurability. Go work with windows 95 and even compare it with XP you will realize how much stuff you have taken for granted over the years.

        I bet if you take your old 486 and run 95 you will realize how slow it was.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "... simultaneously launching and using multiple applications, listening to music and more while using my spare CPU cycles in the background to encode high-definition video with Mencoder ..."

      How many of those things would your computer do at the same time 20 years ago? We expect a lot more now than we did then.

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:47AM (#27701831) Homepage

        10 years ago I expected my machine to simulaneously...

                Rip/transcode CDs.
                Play mp3s
                Browse the web with bloated browser.
                Manipulate documents with bloaded office suite.

        The only thing that's reall changed in the last 10 years
        is that the tools have changed in appearance. Some are
        more snazzy, and some are less snazzy but more automated.
        However the basics are pretty much the same as well as
        the expected level of concurrency.

        I expect the computationally interesting stuff to run
        for as long as it needs to without crashing and without
        negatively impacting the "end user experience".

        Unix had that part covered 10 years ago.

        "using spare cycles for something useful" is what Unix does.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:20AM (#27702261)

          10 years ago I expected my machine to simulaneously...

                  Rip/transcode CDs.

                  Play mp3s

                  Browse the web with bloated browser.

                  Manipulate documents with bloaded office suite.

          And yet, in Firefox 3 running on Ubuntu Jaunty, I cannot scroll down this page without pauses because some other website is loading in a background tab...

        • Re:Isn't it strange (Score:5, Interesting)

          by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@NOspam.nexusuk.org> on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:46AM (#27702641) Homepage

          The only thing that's reall changed in the last 10 years
          is that the tools have changed in appearance. Some are
          more snazzy, and some are less snazzy but more automated.
          However the basics are pretty much the same as well as
          the expected level of concurrency.

          Yeah, I've got to say that I find it pretty depressing to find the base OS being more resource hungry every time I upgrade. There is some increase in priddyness, such as Compiz Fusion, but I'm sure a lot of the bloat is behind the scenes stuff such as HAL, UDEV, PulseAudio, etc. To the end user they don't offer a really noticeable advantage and they do add to the bloat.

          A quick look down my process list (Fedora 11) shows top bulky processes are:
            * FireFox with a resident size of 184MB
            * Xorg with a resident size of 125MB
            * Lots of Gnome bits and pieces totalling maybe 100MB
            * Nautilus with a resident size of 33MB

          So you're looking at a fairly significant memory consumption just to surf the web - this is something that my old P166 laptop could do with 64MB of RAM around 1998 (and it was faster at it then than my 2GB Athlon XP 2100+ is now!)

          There are a whole load of processes running and socking up memory that just don't need to be there too - the PC Card daemon (this is a desktop machine with no PC Card slots), the Bluetooth daemons (this machine has no bluetooth interface), gpm, gnome-power-monitor (why do I need this on a desktop machine?), etc. Sure, these processes do useful stuff in certain situations, but there's absolutely no need for them to be running all the time. Take Nautilus, for example - I never actually use it, but Gnome wants it to be running all the time just in case.

          And yes, I know I could spend hours tuning my system, but my point is that I shouldn't have to - there's no need for modern systems to have all this bloat running all the time, it's just there because it is easier to be lazy and tell people to get better hardware than write efficient systems.

          There's also a trend towards using much less efficient languages - for example, a lot of stuff is now written in Python and Java. As far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no sane reason to use a system like Java with the overhead of a VM when you already know what architecture the binaries will be running on when you build them.

          • Re:Isn't it strange (Score:5, Interesting)

            by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:27AM (#27703219) Journal

            HAL, UDEV, PulseAudio, etc. To the end user they don't offer a really noticeable advantage and they do add to the bloat.

            HAL and UDEV make devices work better and easier. Things like being able to plug a USB hard drive in, and have it autodetected and ready to mount, is directly the result of udev.

            Also, udev isn't slow. I've used it on incredibly weak hardware. Trust me, it's not the bottleneck.

            PulseAudio, you might have a point -- at least in that the user-visible improvement isn't there yet, unless your soundcard is too weak to handle multiple audio streams -- I know I configure everything to just use ALSA.

            But it will come. Like Vista -- having a volume knob per-app would be very useful.

            There are a whole load of processes running and socking up memory that just don't need to be there too - the PC Card daemon (this is a desktop machine with no PC Card slots), the Bluetooth daemons (this machine has no bluetooth interface), gpm, gnome-power-monitor (why do I need this on a desktop machine?), etc.

            That is true -- it would be very nice if these things could be handled by some sort of hotplug script (which you still need HAL and udev for), so that the moment a PC card slot appears, you're ready for it.

            Interestingly, I see absolutely no bluetooth icon on my Kubuntu 8.10 machine (can't risk upgrading yet), until I turn it on (via the hardware switch).

            And yes, I know I could spend hours tuning my system, but my point is that I shouldn't have to - there's no need for modern systems to have all this bloat running all the time, it's just there because it is easier to be lazy and tell people to get better hardware than write efficient systems.

            Well, yes and no. I used to spend hours tuning my system, when I had a 200 mhz machine with 256 megs of RAM. I even carried these same habits to my 1.7 ghz machine with 512 megs of RAM.

            Now I have a 2.5 ghz dual-core with 4 gigs of RAM. The slowest it will run is 800 mhz. And it's a laptop.

            It is simply not worth my time to run around tuning this stuff. It's not a personal itch I feel like scratching. Just let it eat 200 mhz (more than my old machine even had) and a gig or two of RAM -- better than me having to spend hours tweaking it.

            If someone else wants to, that's great! Certainly, I'll tend to use more efficient alternatives when they work -- for example, as I'm in KDE, I'm writing this post in Konqueror, rather than Firefox. But for the most part, it's just not worth it.

            a lot of stuff is now written in Python and Java. As far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no sane reason to use a system like Java with the overhead of a VM when you already know what architecture the binaries will be running on when you build them.

            Firstly, Java can actually do some runtime optimizations that (for example) C can't. There are even circumstances where a garbage collector is faster than manual malloc/free. So purely from a performance aspect, it's not quite as clean as you think.

            Second, there's still Python. And I don't know about you, but I'd much rather most of my system be written in Python than in C. Just by virtue of the respective languages, less code to do the same things means less bugs, garbage collection means fewer memory leaks and fewer segfaults, and really no sane possibility of buffer overruns...

            I don't know about you, but I'll almost always trade a few more cycles for a bit more reliability and security.

            The reason? With apologies to Churchill: My Ruby script may be slow today, but it will get faster as the hardware and interpreters improve. Your C program, however, will still be ugly. (Uglier code, more of it, and buggier...)

            • Re:Isn't it strange (Score:5, Interesting)

              by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:36AM (#27703353) Homepage Journal

              PulseAudio, you might have a point

              The only thing wrong with PulseAudio is the way it is implemented in Ubuntu. The Ubuntu packagers have clearly not understood (or perhaps even read) PerfectSetup [pulseaudio.org]. PulseAudio worked perfectly for me in Intrepid (not making this up) and still works perfectly in Jaunty, but in both cases I had to follow the PerfectSetup guide in order to make it so. This was especially egregious in Intrepid, where pulseaudio was installed by default. I had to install it to get mixing working on my laptop (HP 8730w with snd-hda-intel) and now everything is beautiful.

              • Re:Isn't it strange (Score:4, Informative)

                by stephanruby (542433) on Friday April 24, 2009 @12:53PM (#27704429)
                Or you could have just installed linux mint [linuxmint.com] which is just a repackaged version of Ubuntu and which does the sound perfectly.
              • by mrt_2394871 (1174545) on Friday April 24, 2009 @05:16PM (#27707489)

                The only thing wrong with PulseAudio is the way it is implemented in Ubuntu.[...]

                Er, no.

                Another feature^W bug of PulseAudio is the automagic resampling to $whatever_frequency_it_decides.

                Which is marvellous if you want 44.1kHz system beeps on your VIA-powered mini-ITX lounge jukebox system to blend perfectly with 48kHz audio recorded off a DVB radio stream. Or a DVD.

                So, PulseAudio decides to lock your audio to 44.1 kHz on startup, and then 48kHz audio stutters and skips because the poor (600MHz) processor (which makes a meal of just about everything) really doesn't like realtime re-encoding.

                And the really Homeresque thing about this is that the onboard sound can play 48kHz audio natively. Of course, I'd be only too happy to tell PulseAudio to use 48kHz all the time, but for the ripped CD collection on there too.

                In fact, an ideal solution would be to somehow, magically, on-the-fly, send audio files sampled at frequencies it knows the sound card can handle, directly to the card and not resample them arbitrarily.

                Just like it did in 2007.

                Grrrr.

        • by daybot (911557) * on Friday April 24, 2009 @11:10AM (#27702971)

          The only thing that's reall changed in the last 10 years
          is that the tools have changed in appearance.

          What the average user expects from web browsing is considerably different to what it was 10 years ago. If you showed me Hulu in HD in 1999 I think I'd have passed out - you can do that in a browser? My Mum and Grandfather have both just bought new computers because their old ones couldn't do BBC iPlayer SD in high quality, let alone the new iPlayer HD content.

          The personal computing industry owes a lot to YouTube, Hulu, iPlayer and the like: outside gaming, these are the only mainstream killer apps that actually require 21st century hardware.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Peter Simpson (112887)

      Go back and look at what the GUI was 20 years ago. Lots of that increased speed went to support flashy GUIs and desktops that do more. Lots more processes running, too.

      I'm not running Compiz and Ubuntu runs perfectly fine for me on an old hand-me-down 2.4G P4 single core.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

      Is that just the result of crappy programming, or is there more to it?

      Feature creep?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Moore's Law: Every 18 months, the speed of hardware doubles.
      Gates's Law: Every 18 months, the speed of software halves.

    • by oakgrove (845019) on Friday April 24, 2009 @01:06PM (#27704605)
      Here's my 2 cents as an amateur programmer. I make little utilities for myself all the time to do various things. Like, I coded a python program recently to keep track of my prices on Amazon and adjust them up or down based on the market from time to time. Now this program is relatively simple and does exactly what it is designed to do. It is completely CLI based and since I am intimately familiar with it, I know how not to break it and I don't need or want it to do anything else.

      Now, let's say, I wanted to sell this program. Firstly, I would need to put a pretty interface on it, then I would need to write in all of the error and exception handling required to make sure it didn't crash when the user starts randomly hitting keys on the keyboard. I would need to write in new features that, while I might not necessarily want them, to make the program commercially competitive, have to be there for other users. And on and on. That's how a 300 line script turns into a 10's of thousands of lines bloated nightmare. At least that's how I see it.

  • OT: Debian Squeeze (Score:5, Informative)

    by mpapet (761907) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:34AM (#27701633) Homepage

    I just upgraded from Lenny to Squeeze and it's in decent shape already.

    At the moment there are no show-stopper bugs for your plain-vanilla desktop use. You can pull kde4.2 from sid too.

    I'm having no performance issues with KDE4.2 eye candy on a Thinkpad T42. Way to go!!

    Note, last week's build of the Squeeze net installer didn't work. Do a basic Lenny install then upgrade into Squeeze.

  • Still Brown (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Het Irv (1424087) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:35AM (#27701653)
    Shuttleworth has already announced that the color scheme will be changed for 9.10, Karmic Koala. I havn't seen what color it actually is gonna be, but its not brown.
  • by Patman (32745) <pmgeahan-slashdot&thepatcave,org> on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:36AM (#27701657) Homepage

    I just installed 9.04 on my work machine. The upgrade had one minor hiccup, which was quickly fixed(the PCM setting in the volume control was muted). Compared to the 8.10 upgrade, which was an unmitigated disaster, this was refreshing.

    I haven't really seen a noticeable improvement like the article's author has yet; maybe that will change. I can say that this is the first upgrade yet that hasn't required fiddling with Envy or the Restricted Drivers Manager to get my Nvidia card humming nicely.

  • by JoeytheSquid (1460229) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:37AM (#27701677)
    I have to admit this is the first smooth Ubuntu install I've ever had. It actually detected my wireless adapter right out of the box. No fiddling, no CLI hackery, no sacrifices to the pagan gods of open source (which is good because my lease forbids livestock and the downstairs neighbors frown upon blood dripping through the ceiling.)

    Not bad, not bad at all.
  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:38AM (#27701697) Homepage

    ... about the state of KDE [slashdot.org], I upgraded to Kubuntu 9.04 yesterday and have so far found it to be exactly what was promised: it's faster, more compatible, and... well, I don't know about stable because I've never had an issue with stability with Kubuntu.

    I am, however, still at odds with a few of KDE 4.2.2's features (namely KPackageKit, Amarok, and the way removable media is handled), but I think I can at last live with it. If you've been pondering whether to upgrade from Hardy (which I know some people have been), I'm sure you'll find 9.04 acceptable.

    (in future though, I must remember not to upgrade on the day of the release. A presumed 45 minute upgrade turned into a 3.5 hour slog)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Inf0phreak (627499)
      3.5 hours? Consider yourself damn lucky. I've been downloading stuff for 24 hours straight and the installer still insists there's 14 hours remaining. 20k/s speeds for the loss.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:40AM (#27701723) Homepage

    These comparisons don't help Linux.

    The phenomena of giving someone a third choice often drives them to choose from the first two is well known.

    They should have used a summary with the new features in this version instead of more comparisons that don't matter.

    I'll take the kernel with *no* Digital Restrictions Management.

  • I love Ubuntu... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenguy (162630) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .odidnabetse.> on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:41AM (#27701747) Homepage Journal

    I have it on both my laptops, and even installed it on a virtual machine on my work Mac.

    BUT... I won't be recommending it to friends and family until they get the damn sound working immediately upon installation. If people can't use Flash and watch Youtube on it, it might as well be green letters on a black background.

  • Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by molarmass192 (608071) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:42AM (#27701755) Homepage Journal
    from Lifehacker [lifehacker.com]

    As for being as slick as OS X, well, spoken like somebody who obviously doesn't own a Mac. It's nice, but there's no way it's even in the same neighborhood that the ballpark for OS X is in. I'm gonna light a small fire here, but I wish a super talented artist would redesign the widget set for Gnome, it's very very dated as it stands now. KDE is far better looking but even it is getting long in the tooth.
    • doesn't own a Mac (Score:5, Insightful)

      by viralMeme (1461143) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:51AM (#27701877)
      "As for being as slick as OS X, well, spoken like somebody who obviously doesn't own a Mac"

      "I am starting to prefer using my Ubuntu "Jaunty Jackalope" desktop over the similarly slick Windows 7 beta (which I am currently running full-time on one desktop) and Mac OS X Leopard operating systems, which I also use regularly" [cnet.com]
    • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:59AM (#27701997)

      It's nice, but there's no way it's even in the same neighborhood that the ballpark for OS X is in. I'm gonna light a small fire here, but I wish a super talented artist would redesign the widget set for Gnome...

      This is an interesting quote because it illustrates how much many users consider "eye candy" to be a critical component of "usability". If only the widget icons were more up-to-date with current styles, Gnome would be more usable?

    • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

      by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:01AM (#27702025)
      As a daily mac user, I can say that the author does point out some of the well-known gripes about leopard: 1) the stacks feature of the dock is just weird, and somewhat impractical to use with a folder with a larger number of items (although it has gotten better with one of the updates). 2) Spaces is not well implemented. A standard pager would have been a better choice, so you can see what windows are where. 3) Perhaps the biggest issue, a lot of people suspect (and this is supported by benchmarks) that Leopard is streamlined for intel macs, anybody with a G4 or G5 PPC can run it, but it doesn't run well. This is the first point release of OS X that hasn't been faster than its predecessors and that should say something. I nearly installed it myself on my dual G5, but after looking at the benchmarks, decided that 10.4 ran just fine, and I have a real pager [berlios.de] already.

      As for Ubuntu, the real thing keeping me back from using it is the gnome interface. There are basically two problems I have with it, the first is right what you point out, to be blunt, I find gnome and to a lesser extent, gtk, to be ugly. I really don't like it. It works, but QT is much nicer looking. That said, my other major problem with gnome is the minimalist design paradigm. Whenever I use gnome apps, I often find myself getting irritated at the lack of options. It wouldn't kill them to have a few more clicky things on their preferences windows. For the record: I use e17 as my desktop manager and run a mix of gtk, qt and kde 3.5 apps (won't use kde 4 because they nuked the konqueror, which is my favorite file manager of all time).
    • Re:Screenshots (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:30AM (#27702411)

      Speaking of Macs, the Gnome widgets have always reminded me strongly of Mac OS 9. In fact, remind might be too weak a word- they look outright copied. That is probably why many commenters here think they look dated.

    • Re:Screenshots (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:36AM (#27702501) Homepage Journal

      As for being as slick as OS X, well, spoken like somebody who obviously doesn't own a Mac.

      I'm typing this on my home Mac. It's nice and all, but I look forward to being back on my Kubuntu machine at the office where everything works the way I think it should.

      Personal preference? Certainly! But no more so then claiming that OS X is inherently more polished than Ubuntu.

  • It's damned fast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dave420 (699308) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:43AM (#27701771)
    And the effects are mostly great (on their own), but it still lacks coherency in its design. The UI elements still look ratty, old-fashioned, and ugly, and the visual effects (while fluid) are all over the place. Don't hate me for this, but at least Windows 7's design is much more coherent, from the UI controls to the visual effects - they look like they work together. What I've seen of 9.04 is quite the opposite - it looks like everything is engaged in a mortal struggle against everything else. A fluid, nifty effect generates a window that's full of 90s-esque design elements. It's rather jarring. Like taking a swanky elevator to a penthouse, and the doors open to reveal a highly-functional chicken coop.
  • I would hope so (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:45AM (#27701801)

    Because Microsoft had been woken up with Windows 7. For a long time, Windows had a huge loophole that allowed competition - rampant security and stability holes while it's huge benefit was that most software ran on it. Exploiting this weekness allowed Apple to get back into the game.

    We all joke about the BSOD, but tability, except for the odd driver, has been mostly a non-issue to the vast majority of users since XP. Security, otoh, seems to have been mostly fixed to the point of being good enough (hardly perfect) in Vista, especially if you don't run as admin all the time. In the days of XP, I had to reinstall my OS once a year just to keep it running at a tolerable rate, 2 years of Vista and the computer is still running fine without running antivirus or antispyware.

    Still, this is behind a firewall and I'm not sure I would trust it out in the wireless world or on the road.

    I'm glad Ubuntu is upping it's game. Coming out as it did in 2004 probably was probably close to the last point in time that a new linux distro could have been launched, aimed at joe user, that would have gained a significant following. Perhaps if came out in 1998, we'd be seeing Quickbooks for Linux on Walmart shelves by now. But that's making a lot of assumptions about the underlying packages at the time that no single distro could do anything about.

  • by plasmidmap (1435389) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:50AM (#27701861)

    An upgrade from 8.10 to 9.04 hosed my polished UI yesterday because there were no nvidia glx drivers available for download. That was a bit of a shock and annoyance, but it's my own fault for not checking its availability before hitting upgrade.

    Seems like there is one now in the repos but I think there's a lot of traffic because I can't seem to update.

    Patiently waiting... still love Ubuntu.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:50AM (#27701869)

    At work, the boss gave the developers extra monitors and a video card with dual DVI output. One guy got it working under Ubuntu 8.04 after some hackery. Another guy's Windows XP picked it up without much trouble. My Ubuntu 8.04 workstation wasn't so cooperative, even with the other guy's config options.

    Last week, I installed 9.04 beta and it picked up the dual monitors without breaking a sweat. It even put the size/manufacturer in the upper-left corner of each monitor as the display options were being adjusted.

    All it needs now is a "Launch World of Warcraft from my Windows partition" menu entry, and it'll take the world by storm.

  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:57AM (#27701975) Homepage Journal

    I like the speed and the new interface. Both are very nice. I was really excited when I read there were improvements to handling multiple monitors and the evolution-mapi plugin that would finally let me use the office's exchange server. Sadly both have missed the mark.

    I use the Nvidia driver which means the fancy new monitor settings are not available to me (it pops an alert that tells me I have to open the Nvidia utility). The good thing is I don't have to hunt for the utility, it opens it for me, the bad is the utility is mostly useless. X sees my two screens as one huge screen, which is fine when I have two screens but sucks when I undock the laptop. No way to switch to one screen without hand-editing xorg.conf

    I've always had high-hopes for evolution and I don't know why because its always been buggy and slow. This time is no different: "We have REAL exchange support this time! I promise". Sadly while I was able to install the mapi plugin and it shows in my settings, evolution helpfully crashes when I try to login. There are bugs filed against it ...maybe it will get fixed ... someday

    And no, I have no love for exchange but I'm forced to use it. I have used the evolution-exchange package that connects through OWA ... its slow and buggy. Often refusing to download my mail, losing the connection to "the backend process" requiring me to delete a certain file. All in all, not worth the hassle.

    For now I'm stuck using Outlook in an XP virtual

  • by Sun.Jedi (1280674) on Friday April 24, 2009 @09:59AM (#27702001) Journal

    I am grateful that Ubuntu and Fedora have world class support, improvements, and update frequently. Ditto for OOO, and many other open source projects (cluster ssh, firefox, openssh, apache, etc...) As long as the support for exchange mail is an OWA connector, I can't leave windows behind. OWA sucks, OWA sucks from IE on Windows, it double sucks with evolution-exchange.

    No, I won't virtualize WIN/Outlook. No, I won't run 2 desktops. No, the Exchange server is not going to be replaced with insight or kroupware or any other open source replacement.

    While I am happy for the 9.04 release, I can't help but not being too excited because in spite of all the goodness that Linux is, if it can't meet my needs, it's simply not a viable option.

    If I can't run it, how the hell am I supposed to get my wife, kids, or parents on it? Yeah, thats a loaded question, and in actuality my kids PC is Fedora 10. I still have to continually answer the "why do you use Windows" style questions from them.

  • Terrible Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:07AM (#27702087) Homepage

    From the summary I expected at least a snapshot gallery, maybe even video and benchmarks since it was a CNET address, of this latest release.

    But this article is complete shit. It's a crappy fanboy blog post with no numbers, no pictures, and just breathless "it works for me, and I'm emotionally committed to this platform, so it's the best thing ever" anecdotes.

    Here's a counter-anecdote to the OS X Leopard (10.5) bashing: I'm running 10.5.6 on my 12" PowerBook G4 and it is great. The machine only runs at 1.33GHz with 768MB RAM. The only time it feels slow is when more than one Flash animation tries to run at once (Fuck you, Adobe). Otherwise I can have more than a dozen apps open, a video podcast playing in iTunes in the corner, promiscuous network monitors saturating the resources, and the only time I wish I had a newer machine is when I'm stuck with audio-only chats with my wife while on the road because this box doesn't have the built-in iSight and I don't want to pack an external one.

    Stacks have been great since the 10.5.2 update (which came out in Feb 2008, BTW) added several options to how they work. I use them all the time. Folders that have lots of files and subfolders are set to display as a menu very similar to Windows's classic Start Menu. Folders that have few items, like certain subfolders that hold a category of applications or my Downloads folder, display in a grid for quick access. Stacks are awesome, and they are the reason I have stopped hating the Dock and wishing I could turn it off.

    Spaces was updated in 10.5.3 (which came out in May 2008) and addressed many of the criticisms the initial feature faced when 10.5 launched several months earlier. I admit it isn't as good as some virtual desktops in Nixland. But it is very, very solid and waaay better than anything available for Windows.

    To avoid "your just an OS X fanboy! Nyaah!" flames, let me say that I do love OS X. But I am also running the last LTS of Ubuntu at home and find it a very nice environment. At work I actually prefer OpenBSD, but Windows is currently on my main workstation at the office following some pointy-haired unpleasantness (OpenBSD is still usually the active window, running in a VM; Its main mailing list is also a source of entertainment all day long). I admin several servers running CentOS. I also have to touch Windows Server frequently, which is more often than not a pleasant experience.

    Slavish OS fanboyism and an inability to admit to the faults as well as the strengths of an OS is a symptom of a weak mind.

  • font rendering (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sexybomber (740588) <boccilino@COUGARgmail.com minus cat> on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:07AM (#27702091)

    I don't know what it was due to, but for some reason, when I was running the previous version (Ibex?), various bits of text wouldn't render properly. They looked "fuzzy". Actually, Facebook (of all sites) had it the worst. Capital Rs were indistinguishable from capital Ps, for example.

    Not so now. Cleaner and crisper text across the board. I was delighted to see that the upgrade cleared that particular issue up. So 9.04 is starting off on a good foot!

    (One continuing gripe, though: the Mahjongg tiles still look like they're straight outta 1990.)

  • by Vorpix (60341) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:09AM (#27702103)

    i do agree that Ubuntu 9.04 looks slick. i installed a few of my favorite fonts (Futura, Droid) and adjusted the theme. (it's really simple... anybody who complains about the default really needs to learn how to click System -> Preferences -> Appearance and choose one of the alternatives, including *gasp* blue/gray themes! That's right, THEY'RE INCLUDED! YOUR MAIN GRIPE AGAINST UBUNTU IS SOLVED! :-P ) I must say though, those Gnome folks have really improved the font situation in Linux over the years, to the point where fonts look just as nice in Linux as they do on a Mac, IMHO.

    but what isn't slick is support for some webcams (mine "works" but in an unusable state), media codecs that must be installed separately and then don't always work (in my personal experience, even VLC has run poorly)... which may be caused by still inferior (to Windows') video card drivers (even when using 1st party drivers from ATI/nVidia). The sad truth is that a hacked together osx86 install gives better media performance and capabilities than a legit Ubuntu install.

    I would love for a release of Ubuntu to focus primarily on multimedia and drivers. this is where Ubuntu must concentrate in order to convince users to switch from Windows (if that is in fact a goal). i understand the licensing issues that prevent some codecs from being included. but is there really a need for my Dell's onboard sound card to be listed as a Pulseaudio device AND an ALSA device AND an OSS device? Why not unify this? I plugged in a webcam which had it's own mic, and suddenly i have a dozen possible devices to choose from as an input device in every application that can use a mic. how about just two?

    medibuntu repositories should be available by default. people DO want codecs and 3rd party software like Skype, despite what people like RMS might think. they don't need to be installed by default, but at least have the capability there by default. (Totem does go out and search for codecs now at least, which is a good thing.)

    in my experience, it's still not there as a desktop OS yet, but Ubuntu is progressing. with each release, we get closer.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:14AM (#27702149) Homepage

    To most people the GUI is synonymous with the OS, but they're two separate things. By far the bulk of the review seems to be talking about how he likes this version of Gnome better. Well, that's fine, but Ubuntu isn't the same thing as Gnome. I run Ubuntu, but I don't use Gnome.

    He also seems favorably impressed with the performance of the GUI, but again this mixes together a lot of stuff in a pretty uninformative way. He's got a particular nvidia card. I don't have that card, so his perception of "windows moving around without jerkiness" probably means nothing to me, even if I were to use Gnome.

    Want Adobe Flash or other proprietary software like multimedia codecs on Ubuntu? Just search for them in the one location, under their own names. No downloading anything from any Web sites. No package management or dependencies. No apt-get. Point and click.

    This part baffles me. "No package management or dependencies." Since when have you ever had to worry about package management or dependencies on an ubuntu machine? Dependencies are taken care of automatically by apt. "No apt-get. Point and click." Huh? For years and years now, you've been able to install packages on a debian/ubuntu box by clicking around on a gui, if that's what floats your boat. (Personally I prefer to use apt from the console, since, e.g., it lets me install fifty apps at once just by cutting and pasting a string of package names.) Why is he using apt-get in contradistinction to point and click, as if it was a new thing to be able to access apt via a gui?

    • by cabjf (710106) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:40AM (#27702543)

      To most people the GUI is synonymous with the OS, but they're two separate things.

      This is what is holding Linux back on the desktop though. The public wants a consistent, intuitive, and responsive interface with their computer. The major aim of Canonical is to simplify Linux for the common user. That means working on configuring Gnome (as that is their GUI of choice) to meet those requirements. So a review meant for the public of the latest Ubuntu is going to focus on how it will look and act to a general user. While the bulk of it may be Gnome, the underlying system has to get everything right as well.

  • by PeeShootr (949875) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:33AM (#27702455)
    2009 will be the year of Desktop Linux.
  • by cabjf (710106) on Friday April 24, 2009 @10:35AM (#27702473)

    As we've noted in earlier articles, Microsoft has also brought its best to the table with Windows 7. However, it's a pity that Apple didn't seem to do so with Leopard.

    Ubuntu comments aside (I use and enjoy it myself), this hardly seems like a well written piece. The author talks up Windows 7 and complains about the current version of Mac OS X. It seems a bit biased to ignore the Vista debacle, talk up Windows 7 before its release, then complain about Leopard without doing more than mentioning Snow Leopard. It's not like Apple is being secretive about what they have in store for Snow Leopard [wikipedia.org]. Apple seems to be addressing just about every complaint the author made about the current version of Mac OS X. Both Windows 7 and Mac OS X v10.6 are most likely due out sometime this year, so comparing them would be much fairer than comparing a future version of Windows to the current version of Mac OS X.

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