So how are you liking Ubuntu Ubuntu's New 'Gutsy Gibbon' ?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by alebar14, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. alebar14 macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2007
    Auckland CBD, New Zealand
    Review: Ubuntu's New 'Gutsy Gibbon' Brings Linux Out of the Jungle

    The familiar old script that Linux is only for geeks has been largely rewritten recently with the arrival of Ubuntu, a version of Linux for the average user. In its three years on the scene, Ubuntu has quickly gained a reputation for being easy to configure and use.

    On Thursday, Canonical, the London-based company which acts as Ubuntu's commercial sponsor, released version 7.10 of the software. This latest release, dubbed "Gutsy Gibbon," proves that Ubuntu Linux can compete with and, in some cases, trump Windows as an everyday desktop system when it comes to pure usability.

    Gamers and hardcore media hounds may still feel left out -- DVDs were a little bit tricky, and the lack of support for popular games, a long-time Linux gripe, is still evident here -- but we found playing music and watching movies in the new Ubuntu to be every bit as pleasant as it is under OS X or Windows.

    Gutsy Gibbon is certainly easier to install and set up than Windows Vista, and it's very close to matching Mac OS X when it comes to making things "just work" out of the box. Wi-Fi, printing, my digital camera and even my iPod all worked immediately after installation -- no drivers or other software required.

    As with previous versions, Gutsy Gibbon ships as a "live CD," which means you can boot from your DVD drive and test Ubuntu without touching your existing system. If you like what you see, committing to Ubuntu is just a matter of clicking "Install." From there, Ubuntu will lead you through the process of installing the OS.

    If you choose to dual boot with Windows, you can tell Ubuntu to import all your settings and files. This is what most new Ubuntu users will be doing, so I tried it. Including the importing, installation took under 20 minutes.

    My testing was done on a Toshiba laptop using the final release candidate for Gutsy Gibbon. Canonical says that, if all goes well, there will be no difference between the candidate and Thursday's final release.

    Once Ubuntu was installed, it rebooted, immediately recognized my laptop's Wi-Fi card and automatically joined my local network using my imported settings. It even defaulted to Wi-Fi Protected Access encryption, something that required additional configuration in previous versions.

    Music management is good enough with the built-in Rhythmbox player, though I did have to install additional codecs to get MP3 and Windows Media Audio support. However, the process has been improved since Feisty Fawn, the 7.04 release. Rhythmbox imported all my music from a Windows XP partition without issues, and had no trouble uploading music to my iPod Shuffle.

    DVD playback was a slightly different story. The Totem media player, Ubuntu's default DVD player, lacked the necessary codecs out of the box, but helpfully offered to fetch them. Unfortunately, even after the codecs were installed, I was unable to get any of my Netflix DVDs to play.

    This isn't a new experience, as I was never able to get DVDs to play under either of the previous two versions of Ubuntu using Totem. Luckily, finding and installing the more robust MPlayer DVD player through the Add/Remove programs panel is easy, and DVD playback in MPlayer worked without a hitch.

    When it comes to finding and installing applications, the Add/Remove Programs feature in Ubuntu surpasses both Windows and Mac OS X.

    Whereas Windows and Mac users usually need to comb the web for popular applications for their newly installed systems, Linux users simply turn to the package management program, which makes it easy to browse and install software without scouring Google. Open up Install/Remove Applications and you'll see all the available software listed in one easy-to-browse panel. Ubuntu will also inform you any time there are updates available -- something that just isn't possible on Windows or a Mac without a third-party utility. There's also a similar component for installing add-ons in Firefox, Ubuntu's default web browser.

    Other notable changes in Ubuntu 7.10 are the latest GNOME Desktop, which provides much improved drag-and-drop support to the user interface, and Compiz, the whiz-bang 3-D desktop effects package, which is enabled by default.

    Ubuntu and the GNOME Desktop team have put considerable effort into improving the user experience for accessing many of Linux's under-the-hood options. A new graphical interface makes it much easier to make adjustments to monitor settings and set up a dual-monitor workstation -- both of which previously required using the command line.

    Beyond these key enhancements, Gutsy Gibbon incorporates some of Mac OS X's most useful desktop traits to improve the user experience. New to this release is fast user-switching, a mimic of the same feature in OS X for switching between user accounts without logging out. Another nod to Apple is the improved Spotlight-like applet designed to search the hard drive and act as an application launcher. Printing has also been overhauled, and each print dialog now features a default virtual "PDF printer" which allows any application to output PDF files, something Mac OS X users will recognize.

    If you've been considering making the switch from Windows or Mac, Ubuntu makes the process painless. It's ability to seamlessly import your settings, music and data from a Windows partition erases one of the most pressing barriers for new users. And once you're in, the learning curve is minimal. In fact, besides requiring a little futzing to get multimedia playback set up, Gutsy Gibbon is about as easy as Linux gets.


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  2. D1G1T4L macrumors 68000


    Jun 26, 2007
    Savannah, GA
  3. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    If they could get out-of-the-box multimedia codecs, or ONE thing to put into Terminal to download and install them, Ubuntu could really take off. Its great how they've got the FF plugin thing now, but they need more. One thing missing from Linux is a decent music app, and hopefully Songbird will fill that hole, but its really slow in development. Another is lack of support for multi-button mice and this needs to get sorted.
  4. someone28624 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    Wow, Ubuntu with automatic wifi support- that's cool. Thoughts on how hard it would be to try-boot?
  5. seanneko macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2007
    You can install VLC (don't know if you can apt-get it, but I don't see why not) which includes virtually every codec there is.

    I've found Gutsy's hardware support to be good, but still not perfect. I had to buy a new wireless network card since the RT61 drivers are broken, and also had to uninstall the bluetooth drivers which would cause my keyboard and mouse to stop working. Otherwise, everything worked out of the box.
  6. psychofreak Retired


    May 16, 2006
    Yes, but you need media codecs for other apps (music apps etc) to use...
  7. someone28624 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    VLC for the win. If I install it on my macbook, I can say I've used it on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
  8. Eluzion macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    Legal reasons. They make it so easy to get though, so it's no trouble imo. No different than installing Perian for Quicktime in OS X. ;)

    Linux Mint is a repacked Ubuntu linux flavor that has everything though.
  9. Veri macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2007
    Not while it's called "gutsy gibbon" it doesn't. To be taken seriously, you must learn to brand, or find someone who knows how. Even the word "ubuntu" has wild political overtones. "Excuse me, do you have a copy of Humanism in stock?"

    I'm not quite sure what's being got at here. Since OS X is designed for a very limited range of hardware, it's not really a plus point for OS X that it happens to recognise all the hardware on a typical install platform - indeed, it's not a design goal of OS X to work on random hardware. As for Windows/Linux, been running both on and off since 1995ish; never found a distribution that had every device working from initial install, given some custom build PC I threw at it. Didn't expect it to, either.

    Linux has always had the advantage that if particular hardware has been supported, it will always be supported, whereas Windows driver models change and support for old equipment dies out. Windows has had the advantage that if hardware has ever existed, it's likely to have had a driver written for it at some point, and the install process is easier: for Linux, if you're lucky, the kernel module/support tools are a downloadable package for your distro; otherwise, you may need to learn how to compile your own kernel. For Windows, if a driver exists, it's always of the four-clicks-to-install variety.

    Live CDs are overrated for testing (they're certainly useful for system recovery etc.). Before I make the decision to move to an OS, I want to play about with a filesystem I can actually write to.

    I've never trusted an automated migration assistant, but I guess availability of this kind of software for OS X, and now on Linux, attests to its usefulness.

    I wanted to shout "no password?", but I guess that could be transferred too..

    That is fairly good news - out-of-the-box WPA support on Linux seemed to have lagged behind Windows for years. I remember having to mess about with wpa_supplicant, then moving to a tablet with built-in wireless that I could only get working on WEP, etc.

    MP3? Also, "good enough" is my worst enemy ;-), akin to phrases like "it works" - ok, how well? What will I miss? What will I gain? What is performance like? Will my experience be uniform and intuitive? One reason to like OS X is that I rarely have to think to get something to work; there are a few surprises (the well-known 10 Criticisms of the Dock must have been written with me in mind!) but by and large, if I ask myself "hm, will this work?" and try it, it does.

    Yes, but now we're getting back to more typical Linux experience: "it didn't work as it should, but all I had to do was replace it with something that I knew in advance would work, and that was easy because I already knew what to do". A genuine newbie has the problem that he has no idea what alternative should work.

    Apple Guide/Software Downloads (it's even the third item on the Apple menu!), Versiontracker, MacUpdate.

    No, it makes it easy to install the usual cascade of open source software without scouring Google, for which Fink, Macports exist on OS X. Indeed, Ubuntu and Fink are just two examples of systems build on Debian's package management system. Or maybe I can now install Mathematica for Linux directly from the Ubuntu package management system?

    Agreed, it'd be nice if Apple incorporated one of Versiontracker or MacUpdate. But the Ubuntu package management system is more relevant to the traditional Linux billion-small-free-tools paradigm where the end user wants fine-grained install control: the update of 100 command line packages becomes part of a 0.0.1 increment of OS X. Linux package management systems also usually requires you to know what you're looking for - consider above mplayer problem - so its real profit is reduced to its update facility.

    Yes, Firefox beats Safari outright for its plugins system.

    Hmm, I'll have to test this one :). Unpredictable drag-and-drop behaviour always seemed to be the ultimate indicator of Fail when it comes to uniformity of an X-Window-based system.

    As long as I don't have to see windows catch fire when I close them. I know disabling the reflective dock, semi-transparent menu bar, and dark grey window backgrounds will be my first three tweaks on Leopard: I like my desktops plain and clear, with swanky effects used to enhance usability (e.g. movements for Expose to see where windows are going).

    This is another "finally!", and that it's taken this long hints toward attitude/priority. For OS X, "no common task whatsoever should require the command line" seems to have been a maxim, whereas for Linux, it is still assumed that people can use the command line as a fallback.

    More "finally"s. On the desktop, Linux's main hobby is playing catchup ;-).

    It's an important improvement, but I've rarely heard people in the Windows world say, "Well, I want a new PC, but one of my most pressing barriers is that I'm concerned as to how easy it'll be to seamlessly import my settings." The article - and the Linux world in general - still thinks like a sysadmin: "how easy is it to set stuff up?" vs "how easy is it to use day-to-day?"

  10. bplein macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2007
    Austin, TX USA
    As noted earlier, this thread is off topic. I hope a moderator shows up soon and moves it.
  11. someone28624 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    It's comparing Linux to OS X, so therefore it's about OS X, no?
  12. CavemanUK macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2006
    Rhyl, North Wales
    Ive never tried Ubuntu properly.. I was wondering if anyone runs this as a Virtual Machine using something like Parallels? What sort of performance (specifically graphic) are you getting?

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