[nSLUG] Thoughts on Ubuntu....

Artson artson at hotpop.com
Tue May 3 12:06:48 ADT 2005

On 2 May 2005 at 13:40, Scott Walker wrote:

> What are peoples thoughts on Ubuntu?
> Stability?
> Upgrade procuedure from 1 version of Ubuntu to the next.
> How Debian like is it?
> Short comings?
> I'm interesting in trying it out, but I would like to gather some
> thoughts on it before I potentially waste my time.

Hi Scott.

I gave Ubuntu a trial and generally, I liked it quite a bit. The install dialogue is pretty 
simple and straight-forward and it comes up nicely in a Gnome desktop that is fairly 
nicely configured right out of the box. It did a pretty good job of recognizing my 
hardware including an old sound card. (I've listed my hardware at the bottom.) It tries 
very hard to be simple, straight-forward and easy to use for novice to experienced 
users in a desktop environment.

There is a lot of positive comment about Ubuntu and it's because people are having 
a good experience with it. There is a potential difficulty with Ubuntu and distributions 
like it such as Mepis. Their software repositories are potentially in conflict with the 
main Debian repository and there is a good chance of version problems, especially if 
the user dips into the main Debian repository for that latest program they just have to 

I don't run it for three reasons:

a. I don't much like Gnome - it's slow on my hardware, the configuration options don't 
suit me and I'm unimpressed with the attitudes of the developers.  Your mileage may 

b. I didn't like the pseudo super user setup. I found it very awkward to get things 
done that needed root priviliges, and

c. Ubuntu didn't configure my internet access properly. The setup program could see 
that I had a modem (two actually) and that I didn't have a network card, yet it insisted 
on using its standard settings, assuming I would have a broadband network hookup 
instead of dialup. The software required for setting up ppp was not loaded and 
installed, nor was it available on the CD - I had to go get it from the Debian 
repository. In this area, Ubuntu failed miserably and the reason it failed is because 
the developers all access the internet through a network. D'uh.

That being said, I would still recommend Ubuntu or Mepis. I run Mepis and like it a 
lot. I've paid the developer his license fee ($14.00 -??) with pleasure. The developer 
has been absolutely brilliant at polishing all the setup scripts to make sure everything 
"just works" and it works quickly. Ubuntu is not slow, but there is a definite snap, 
crackle and pop with Mepis. Mepis uses KDE as the desktop and I prefer its speed 
and configurability. I find it easy to hide the clutter and simplify the menus so they 
are tailored to me. I couldn't do this with Gnome - especially changing software 
menus (I know it's possible but what an absolute pain in the ass!!).

Mepis setup inferred I would connect to the internet using dialup and the ppp dialer 
was available for me. It was almost as good about modems as Mandrake was. I've 
forgotten if Ubuntu will allow the Reiser file system, but Mepis does. Both Ubuntu 
and Mepis are working very hard to be the desktop for the common man, and I think 
they're succeeding. When the users speak, the developers listen, adjust and 
improve things. That responsiveness is what will make them a success.

If you don't like the Gnome desktop, Ubuntu now comes as Kubuntu, using KDE and 
the Kppp dialer (hooray!)

My hardware is:

AMD K-6 cpu at 300 mhz
Very old motherboard by Tekram 
256 megs of ram
ATI 3D Rage Pro graphics card with little memory
USB mouse
ISA 33.6 modem by SupraExpress
External GVC V90 modem on the serial port
Epson printer
Umax scanner
Creative Soundblaster 16 sound card

You haven't said what hardware you will be using....


DMOZ Editor Artson.
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comprehensive directory of the web. 


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