Yet Another Feisty Review

[ Tuesday, 19 June 2007, adz ]


I’d like to share with you my views on latest Ubuntu 7.04 version commonly known under the name of Feisty Fawn. Once I tested unstable version for several weeks but this time I’ve run a stable release.

Author: Adam Zieliński

The Spring of 2007 can be safely named Linux Spring in my humble opinion. We have been witnessing several important releases in a last few weeks. There was Debian Etch, PLD 2.0 and Mandriva 2007 Spring. Soon afterwards fifth version of Red Hat flagship product called Red Hat Enterprise Linux had its debut on commercial markets and Fedora developers released a stable version of their own system denote with number 7. Ubuntu release came as no shock to community. Its publication was the most awaited of all releases what can be attested by numerous reviews. And this is just another one :)

Installation

Little has changed since the previous release in terms of installation. LiveCD installer is still being used for hard disk installation (alternate Ubuntu version provides text installer). Such solution has advantages. It’ll be quite enough to download installation CD instead of whole set of CDs. Fedora 7 will make use of similar solution. A very judicious selection of applications which were put on the CD can be added to Ubuntu’s advantage. For comparison — such important applications like OpenOffice.org or gconf didn’t find a route to the Fedora CD.

Feisty installer has been enriched with new option — exporting config files from Windows partitions. Unfortunately in my case NTFS partition wasn’t discovered. So I have to believe the function works properly. Another bad news is still wrong detection of Linux partitions which goes on and on release after release. The installer has also another disadvantage of not having possibility to select additional packages. As it is able to download additional language packages, it should have been able to access other applications singled out by users!

To cheer you up I will add that probably Gutsy Gibbon will have a completely new installer.

What’s inside?

If we successfully pass the installation process, we’ll be invited to the known Ubuntu Desktop. But before I say something about it, let me say few words on something which is not visible but extremely important. Feisty Fawn’s heart comprise of kernel 2.6.20. It contains a few novelties like paravirtualization and KVM among others. Those technologies are mainly part of server type of operating systems. With regard to the market for some time past Canonical do not hide the fact it wants to cut out a good part of the pie, which up to now was exclusively reserved for Red Hat and Novell. Of course, apart from virtualization, new kernel was upgraded with a lot of new minor and major functionalities. Regrettably, as far as my hardware was concerned a lot of petty but irritating errors had emerged. They are bound to energy management which is an Achilles heel of all distributions. On the other hand part of the guilt belong to hardware manufacturers which willfully do now want to accept the Linux existence.

Let my Desktop shine!

Feisty Fawn is the first Ubuntu distribution with Compiz desktop as part of default settings. If only the computer is equipped with graphics card supporting AIGLX, setting the fancy desktop could be done by ticking off one option only. For what I know ATI users may have problems with starting this type of desktop. I do not have such card so I can be wrong. Unfortunately the cause of the status quo of the things is ATI’s policy in relation to drivers for open source community.

Scale is probably the most practical compiz plug-in
Pic.1 Scale is probably
the most practical compiz plug-in

Compiz basic drawback is lack of GUI program for plug-ins management and configuration options responsible for desktop special effects. Basic option window opened from menu System -> GNOME Preferences enables only turning on/off 3D Desktop, working areas arrangements on cube facets (famous cube) and “gel” windows. A small program for plug-in control can be installed but de/activation of selected plug-ins are not possible. All configuration options can be accessed with gconf only but that solution can cause beginners many problems. Unequaled example in that matter is Beryl Setting Manager.

I dare to say those of you who use Beryl think from time to time how Compiz can be compared to Beryl in terms of working speed and stability. To be honest I don’t see much difference between these two managers when the plug-ins are activated. I must add that the users have of course a choice to take advantage of the Beryl Desktop but they have to turn a special repository on for that.

We eagerly await the first results from the works being done by joined Compiz-Beryl team. It may happen the new Desktop will appear in Gusty Gibbon yet.

Restricted extras — patents, licenses

One of the most important goals which was set by developers of this Ubuntu distribution was to facilitate access to applications, and drivers published with non-free licenses. The result is a meta-package called ubuntu-restricted-extras which makes installations of Java, Flash, Windows fonts, and multimedia codecs just a piece of cake.

Installation of Java, Flash, codecs, and Windows font amounts to installation of one package which process all dependencies.
Pic.2 Installation of Java, Flash,
codecs, and Windows font amounts to
installation of one package which
process all dependencies.

If it is not enough, in case of lack of a given codec, the program will ask for permission to search thru distro repositories and then for installation of the codec, just like Windows Media Player. With one exception, I was never able to identify and find a proper codec in Windows, whereas the same mechanism in Ubuntu worked flawlessly. When it comes to closed kernel modules, Ubuntu offers proprietary drivers manager which facilitates non-free kernel modules attachments/detachments.

Recap

Feisty Fawn isn’t a revolutionary release. We should rather talk about evolution but with well defined direction. Ubuntu developers have surely a certain vision they adhere to and some positive results are shown to us in Feisty Fawn. Most of the errors I wrote about stem in general from the lack of desirable support from hardware manufacturers. None the less all found errors are worth to be registered. I know from my own experience that every report is met with vivid reactions from Ubuntu programmers’ community.

Thanks to Ubuntu, famous slogan “Linux for Desktops” takes real shape and ceases to be a vision of a few computer freaks.

Proof-read: t_ziel, michuk
Translation: P2O2

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15 Comments

fold this thread simplyjat  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 o godz. 6:38 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  --2

“Feisty Fawn is the first Ubuntu distribution with Compiz desktop as part of default settings.”

If you know about Fedora and been tracking its releases how can you make a statement like this? Fedora Core 6 was released last September and included compiz….

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fold this thread Andi Suwito  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 o godz. 6:48 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I have got that my login screen was can’t be shown after the boot. And if i use the “Desktop Effect” in Preference menu, the screen turn into a white blank form. I’m the new commer in linux world… so what problem that i’ve got ? Thank you…

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fold this thread Eudoxus  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 o godz. 7:31 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

implyjat Says:
June 19th, 2007 at 6:38 am

“Feisty Fawn is the first Ubuntu distribution with Compiz desktop as part of default settings.”

If you know about Fedora and been tracking its releases how can you make a statement like this? Fedora Core 6 was released last September and included compiz…
=================================
You should adapt more careful reading habits. It was said only about Ubuntu, not about Linux distributions in general.

Overall, nice review. I just want to let you know that openSuSE 10.2 has quite nice GUI for managing compiz plugins. Why somebody cannot port that to other distros?

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fold this thread bal0  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 o godz. 8:17 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

To Ubuntu: I’m still no friend of the migrating tool (never found a single thing on a windows or a linux partition) and the auto-codec installation (only works if you double click a mp3 (who does that tbh?)). If you want to play a mp3 file the regular way with rhythmbox, users get error message in their face. Other than that, for videos it worked quite good here!
To you review: Nice small reading, but some mistakes got into tbh ;-/ There IS a difference (in speed) concerning beryl and compiz, and last time i used Feisty i didn’t have to activate any repository, because all of them (or most) are activated now by default. Fedora with no ‘gconf’? :D That would hurt! :)
Have you got any link or so for the news of “ne gutsy installer & 3d-desktop” ?

Regards,
bal0

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fold this thread trashcat  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 o godz. 9:28 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Masz zły zwyczaj opuszczania rodzajników w j. angielskim.

Little has changed since the previous release in terms of installation. LiveCD installer is still being used for hard disk installation

Coś mi tu brakuje paru a i the.

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fold this thread P2O2  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 o godz. 1:07 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Assuming the “paru” means “a few” we’ll get a minimum number of those lacking “a”s and “the”s greater then or equal to 6.
Be more specific, please.
Regards

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fold this thread zeronero  Wednesday, 20 June 2007 o godz. 12:06 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Nice review.

Forgot to mention Ubuntu’s allergy to dialup post B Badger – Intel’s PCI has be compiled – not user friendly while Trendnet’s external modem also have problems (see pp 2-3): http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=391956 http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=301220
The developers are broadband centric being urbanites. Us rural dwellers are up the creek without a paddle.

Regards, ZN

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fold this thread mark  Wednesday, 20 June 2007 o godz. 3:15 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

i’ve never found a ubuntu release that really created that “dude, i can’t get enough of this” excitement. maybe it’s the shape of my head or my mouth, or the fact i wear glasses. but, man oh man, linux mint cassandra really turns me on.

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fold this thread linuxamp  Wednesday, 20 June 2007 o godz. 6:36 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

To bal0: Feisty Fawn found Windows accounts on my NTFS partition during installation though I didn’t import the accounts.

My personal gripe with desktop Linuxs in general is that using official packages/repos, while stable, doesn’t provide sufficient functionality. Installing contributed packages or compiling from source usually takes more knowhow than the average end-user is capable of and often introduces instability.

Ubuntu probably has the best balance of usability and functionality of the desktop distros I’ve tried but it’s still far from being able to replace Windows for average end users.

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fold this thread Rhonald  Wednesday, 20 June 2007 o godz. 3:46 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

For Ubuntu with no borders on enabling Desktop effects, try out

http://linuxevangelist.blogspot.com/2007/06/ubuntu-7-no-window-borders-on-desktop.html

Adios

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fold this thread John  Wednesday, 20 June 2007 o godz. 5:39 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I have liked Ubuntu since the Dapper Drake distribution. Only complaint with Feisty Fawn is that the 2.6.20 kernel introduces “freezing” as in everything locks up especially when performing resource intensive tasks such as using Firefox and Thunderbird; watching movies, etc.

When is Linux going to do something with ATI cards. I have an ATI 8500 Radeon graphics card and I have to use a “shim” with Xine to be able to watch movies. Otherwise, I just get sound. That problem has never been fixed as far as I know.

Hope the online update from Feisty Fawn to Gutsy Gibbon goes a whole lot better than the update from Edgy to Feisty. Whew.

What I would love to see from Ubuntu is a recommendation — especially for graphics cards and external hard drives — for hardware that works GREAT with Ubuntu. Hey, make it a “feather in the cap” for a vendor to release compatible stuff. As in “optimized for Ubuntu”…would THAT be great!!

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fold this thread elbeto  Wednesday, 20 June 2007 o godz. 8:52 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

There is a Compiz Setting Manager that can be accesed from the Gnome Control center or you can install it form Synaptic.

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fold this thread sin  Monday, 25 June 2007 o godz. 10:01 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

i don’t think hardware manufacturers are intentionally trying to screw with ppl. It would be just bad business. But up until now windows has really been the only mass os. the Linux world is divided up in to too many different distros for a manufacturer to deal with. Ubuntu has made Linux usable to compu-dummy’s like my self. Cant Ubuntu develop some type of code it can offer to manufacturers, so the manufacturers can make there cards as easily fit Ubuntu as well as windows?
I’m sure that I’m not the only person to pick up Ubuntu because of the problems with Vista. If the Linux community could get behind Ubuntu, and say to the world at large make your stuff fit that and we’ll take it from there; the manufacturing sector would gladly include Linux users as part of their consumer base.
After that the Mandriva, Fedora, Suse, etc. people could continue there bickering as to who tweaks it better and has the nicest logo.

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fold this thread perspectoff  Monday, 2 July 2007 o godz. 9:32 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I was using Dapper LTS and Dapper Desktop.

I did a full re-install of Feisty.

Those who say there are small changes are way wrong.

Samba was much more reliable in Feisty than in Dapper. I was able to get a mixed Windows/Linux networking in about a tenth of the time I did in Dapper.

Feisty has a lot of the little things streamlined.

Adding a LAMP server after the fact was a snap (a one-click process in Synaptic Manager), since somehow I didn’t click on the LAMP button at installation.

Editing menus was easier.

Upgrading from Dapper LTS to Feisty is a non-brainer, but I could not do it stepwise. I had to do a clean install.

The most annoying thing is that I haven’t figured out how to turn off notifications (Balloon pop-ups, ala Windows XP). They’re driving me nuts!

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fold this thread manmath sahu  Thursday, 6 September 2007 o godz. 8:15 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Liked the review. But I would go for PCLinuxOS, simply because it is KDE based (though I am excited to see its gnome version) and better multimedia capacity and hardware detection.

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Adam Zielinski

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