Friday, April 20, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04 over-hyped

I've used Linux under some form or another for some time (I think 7 years or so). Started with some SUSE then found out RedHat and switched to Ubuntu when Fedora turned out to be a mess.

Since I'm a little stuck on Windows for the programming part I use nowadays mostly Windows (2000/XP) and OSX.

Ok, so I saw all the hype about Ubuntu 7.04 and downloaded the torrent. Let's say I wasn't impressed.

I used a lot at my previous job Ubuntu on a T60 Thinkpad so I knew how it should feel. This new release was about the same plus a fancy-er splash screen.

Even more, the Live-CD detected my NVidia Quadro NVS graphics card and installed the driver for it. Thus I could enable "Desktop Effects" and look at the wobbly window (then disable it immediately).

Ok, so I've installed 7.04. The first surprise: it didn't boot-up ! I mean, it did, but in text mode.

You know why ? The XOrg configuration still had the reference to the nvidia driver but the installer didn't actually install the driver on the hard-drive. Since this is something common (to me), I just went to xorg.conf, and replaced the driver with the default nv. I only assume a normal user would have given up at this point with no GUI.

Ok, with nv I'm able to startx and install the nvidia driver (plus some update manager ... update). I need to restart the system (why ?) because of the new driver.

Again, it doesn't boot ! Why ? I have some wacom input devices in my xorg.conf and it fails while looking for the device (/dev/wacom or something).

Again, I edit xorg.conf, comment those things and -- finally ! -- I'm able to boot normally.

The nice thing is that I'm able to install Sun's JDK immediately. When I get to Netbeans in Synaptic I notice a warning that that package doesn't actually contain Netbeans, I have to manually download the tar. The package Netbeans from Synaptic just provides "integration" with Gnome. Huh ?

So, this is the first Ubuntu that crashes on me at install time and basically forces me to go inside config files. If anything, I would say it's a regression and not an evolution.

One could say that it's my graphics's card fault, but since Ubuntu does provide the users nice point-n-click ways to install those drivers, anyone would expect for those things to work.

Thus, I'm still waiting on my Windows/OSX setup with the intention of buying another Mac as soon as Leopard comes out.