First and lasting impressions of Ubuntu 12.04

Posted on April 28, 2012

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Test rig specifications

Toshiba Satellite Pro A120

  • Intel core 2 duo 1.66GHz
  • Intel 945GM graphics
  • 4GB DDR2 ram
  • 60GB sata hard disk
  • Intel wired and wireless networking
  • Intel pretty much everything else!

Installation

The installer is slick and professional. Installation is as simple as it can  be without a single big button marked “GO”. The one thing I don’t like is the in-built twitter feed but then I think Twitter is a pointless waste of  bandwidth so I am biased!

Installation took about twenty minutes. It was no surprise that all the hardware was recognised and worked out of the box as it is a rare Linux distribution (and usually one that tries to be fanatically free) that fails on that front these days.

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin showing resource use

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin showing resource use

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. Showing Dash

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. Showing Dash

Updates

Updates were installed automatically as part of the installation process but  less than 24 hours later, I already have a kernel update coming through. It   doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence to need such a major update so  soon. I suppose it’s better to get the update quickly if it is needed.

Compared to 11.10

In use, it feels a lot snappier than 11.10 did and so far, I haven’t  encountered a single application not opening or disappearing from the launcher so that is a major improvement. I don’t know if the network killer   bug has been fixed as the test laptop doesn’t have an Intel N card in it.

The HUD

I was very much looking forward to trying out the HUD and I must say that it  is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, as it doesn’t work universally, it feels a lot more like a pointless gimmick than a useful tool. I’m sure this will change over time. Maybe it was included one version too soon.

So what do I like about Ubuntu 12.04?

  • It’s visually quite appealing
  • It’s far more responsive than previous versions
  • Dash! I like this way of working so much that I now install a similar program called synapse on all of my computers.
  • The Ubuntu software centre. Despite being a bit heavy and occasionally slow,  this is an awesome piece of software. Other distributions which have their    own software managers should learn from this.

What do I not like about Precise Pangolin?

  • The lack of configuration options. It feels like I have to use my computer  Canonical’s way, which is fine if you’re wooing Apple users but I like the  choice to make and therefore learn from my own mistakes.
  • The buttons on the left. Along with the lack of configuration options, this is another indication that Canonical are targeting Mac users as is the next item. I know it is simple to move them but maximising a window puts them back on the left side.
  • The universal menu bar. This wouldn’t be so bad if all applications used it.
  • The horrible overlay scroll bar.
  • That the 64 bit install only seems to recognise 3.2GB of my memory. Would it  still do the same on my desktop which has 16GB?

Overall then, it is a mixed bag. A vast improvement over 11.10 but it’s not  for me. If I had to use one of the *buntu distributions then it would be Xubuntu but, I’ll stick with LMDE for now.

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Posted in: Linux, Review