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Ubuntu 10.10: Maverick Meerkat Benchmarked And Reviewed

Ubuntu 10.10: Maverick Meerkat Benchmarked And Reviewed
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In a perfect storm of timing and marketing, Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) was released on 10/10/10 at 10:10:10 GMT. 101010 is, by the way, binary for 42. And of course, 42 is the answer to the meaning of life, according to the mega-supercomputer in Douglas Adam's classic science-fiction novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Slick coincidence aside, we're somewhat dubious that Canonical's Linux distribution (distro) will bring fulfillment to our mundane existence--especially not one released in October.

We always look forward to Ubuntu's April releases. Over the past few years, we've seen one great .04 version after another. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron) was one of the most hassle-free Linux distributions to launch, and as an LTS, it was supported for three years (it still is). With Hardy, Canonical built a great foundation for its emerging consumer-friendly Linux distro. In April of '09 Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) burst onto the scene with an overall snappy feel and unprecedented boot times. This past April, Canonical unleashed the current LTS, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx). This release was a major hit. It's rock-solid, and the totally-revamped theme is still a league apart from any other Linux distro.

While the April releases have been impressive and stable, October releases have typically been marred by various experience-killing issues: default applications too bleeding-edge, insufficiently tested components, hardware incompatibilities, and just outright bugginess. Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) suffered graphical tearing with proprietary graphics drivers installed, along with crippling sound problems. Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) was possibly the worst Ubuntu build ever. Karmic didn't run properly on most of our test systems due to fatal crashes. And it took nearly a month just to get things stable enough to test. 9.10 also introduced several controversial replacements for default applications that polarized the community.

Ubuntu 10.10 was originally slated to use GNOME 3, with the new GNOME Shell desktop interface. However, the initial release of GNOME 3 was pushed back another six months, and recently Canonical announced it will eschew GNOME Shell altogether in favor of a desktop version of Unity (the new interface for Ubuntu Netbook Edition). With such a big switch off the table for now, Canonical may have received an unexpected opportunity to refine the experience introduced in 10.04 LTS. We've had a week to judge Ubuntu 10.10 and we've come to a verdict. Is this yet another borked October release, or did Canonical get the picture and play it more conservative this time around? Keep reading to find out!

Display all 66 comments.
  • -3 Hide
    stm1185 , October 28, 2010 6:07 AM
    "With the appearance of Windows 7 on slate devices in perpetual limbo"

    http://www.dailytech.com/HP+Slate+Powered+by+Windows+7+Launches+at+799+is+Business+up+Front/article19953.htm

    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06a/321957-321957-64295-3841267-3955550-4332585.html

    How is that Limbo? You can buy one right now.
  • 1 Hide
    adamovera , October 28, 2010 6:34 AM
    I didn't know they were taking pre-orders yet, though HP Slate doesn't ship until the middle of November. Unfortunately, the HP Slate looks like a really half-hearted attempt. Business product? That pretty much means not to get your hopes up. It should have been out much closer to the iPad, but got pushed back repeatedly. Ever since they bought Palm it seems like their Windows efforts in this form factor will take a backseat until they try to make WebOS work - can't blame them really, WebOS is pretty slick and they paid a lot for it. But I still do want to get my hands on the Slate, but look forward to seeing what they do with WebOS more now.
  • -7 Hide
    arkadi , October 28, 2010 7:43 AM
    If we "put all the issues aside", i love allot of things.....Don't get me wrong, i love to play with Linux at home, but at the moment I prefer to use it at work, in the server room ware it belongs (at the moment). Using it at home it just to much of an effort, to many issues, hardware compatibility etc...Hopefully one day...
    Any way Ubuntu came a long way to make it happen....But still few days ago i tried it and few others on a net book, with via chip set and CPU with no luck...
  • 4 Hide
    TomSah , October 28, 2010 7:48 AM
    "Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition is also a mess. As a netbook operating system intended for actual people to use in a production environment, I have to say that UNE 10.10 should be avoided. From our experience on the Dell Mini 10v, UNE Meerkat is in no way ready for general consumption. Its many bugs and poor performance are just not acceptable or at all realistic for the average end-user. Loading almost anything on UNE 10.10 was clearly sluggish"

    Wow. Im running 32-bit Maverick UNE on my Asus eee 1000HA and i have to say that i fell in love as soon as it installed! As soon as i disabled the unity interface to get the desktop interface I was away laughing! I havnt had any of the problems you mention, app startup has been great, no crashes/bugs - And this is my first serious attempt at using a Linux distro. I had a lot of fun tweaking everything to my liking and i now feel like I have the perfect OS for me. Its really strange you had bad experiences like that, must be the dell mini haha.
  • 1 Hide
    adamovera , October 28, 2010 8:03 AM
    TomSah:
    Quote:
    As soon as i disabled the unity interface to get the desktop interface I was away laughing!

    Well there you go, you got rid of Unity. I don't doubt it works fine now, LOL. I'm using the 10v with 10.10 32-bit Desktop Edition right now and it's absolutely fantastic, one of the best OSes on this thing by far. The track pad is a nightmare, and there's no fixing that, but in 10.10 it's much better than earlier versions. Tap to click is the best in Windows 7, but drag and drop in Ubuntu is much less maddening than Win7.
  • 1 Hide
    pinkfloydminnesota , October 28, 2010 8:32 AM
    How come you don't compare the benchmarks to Windows?
  • 9 Hide
    randomizer , October 28, 2010 8:35 AM
    Just moving the cursor up and down the launcher shows how slow Unity is. The delay between when the cursor moves over an application to when the application's name pops up gives the impression of playing a game at very low framerates.

    The Ubuntu font looks ok but it's really only usable in menus and window titles (which I think is all it is used for, fortunately). There's no way such a stylised font could be readable for long periods in a document.

    Adam, you should see if any updates fixed the consistently inconsistent HDD to HDD file copy performance.

    Quote:
    How come you don't compare the benchmarks to Windows?


    Because Windows is not a Linux distro, and this review is for a Linux distro?
  • 4 Hide
    adamovera , October 28, 2010 8:59 AM
    randomizer:
    Quote:
    Adam, you should see if any updates fixed the consistently inconsistent HDD to HDD file copy performance.

    As of 10/22/10, when I re-tested the HDD to USB times, they had not.

    pinkfloydminnesotaHow come you don't compare the benchmarks to Windows?

    Workin' on it, stayed tuned. But randomizer is right, this is a review of the new Ubuntu release. As a review of the new version of a software product, this type of article isn't the appropriate forum for that comparison.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 28, 2010 10:33 AM
    64 bit vs. 32 bit? 32 seems much better all round, stability, compatibility etc.. Is there that much speed difference to be worth using 64 bit?
    gvnmcknz
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , October 28, 2010 10:37 AM
    I guess there are lots of things to do to make it good.
  • 0 Hide
    Nesto1000 , October 28, 2010 12:18 PM
    I installed 10.10 on my laptop... but the dang mouse pad didn't want to work the right way...
    On 10.04 I had no problems what so ever...
  • 0 Hide
    loftie , October 28, 2010 12:25 PM
    I installed maverick yesterday on an old laptop . I found it slow and unresponsive in all honesty, but looking online, it looks like I'm not the only one. A number of users are having problems, even those with i7 desktops. Hopefully it'll get sorted out soon. You can switch the window commands to the righthand side by the way.
  • -6 Hide
    Wheat_Thins , October 28, 2010 12:32 PM
    Why does Tom's always use 'old' hardware when it comes to linux reviews but when it comes to anything else they always have the latest and greatest CPU / GPU combo? A Radeon 4870? Really?
  • 3 Hide
    Yuka , October 28, 2010 1:10 PM
    I just installed Lucid on an old Celeron M 1.4Ghz and 1GB RAM wich had XP before... Darn it, for productivity is kickin' alive and well. I had to install MSO2007 over WINE and it was flawless on the first try.

    I'm glad the route Canonical is taking Ubuntu is the right one for all of us. Improved experience all the way. It's a very responsive OS from every angle, even with all the bling bling you want.

    On my main rig I'm still stuck with Win7 because of my gaming needs, but that's all that's actually giving me the no-go for Ubuntu in a full time basis.

    Also, try installing XBMC for your HTPCs. One hell of a Media Center software.

    Cheers!
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , October 28, 2010 1:27 PM
    loftieI installed maverick yesterday on an old laptop . I found it slow and unresponsive in all honesty, but looking online, it looks like I'm not the only one. A number of users are having problems, even those with i7 desktops. Hopefully it'll get sorted out soon. You can switch the window commands to the righthand side by the way.

    How old is the laptop, specs? Did Lucid work well on that system, does Windows? Is this the Desktop Edition you're using?
  • 0 Hide
    LLJones , October 28, 2010 1:33 PM
    I'll have to give this some deep thought before I try it.
  • 2 Hide
    adamovera , October 28, 2010 1:40 PM
    Yuka:
    Yeah, gaming is an issue, but then again it is on Mac as well. I game so infrequently these days that I just install Windows on one of the test HDDs when I play one (2-3 times per year). Have you considered a dual boot, maybe with a separate hard disk? If Windows is for gaming only, using Linux for everything else will help keep Windows pristine and running smooth for games. Although right now I think Netflix is an even bigger problem that needs to be addressed. It's what keeps my HTPC unhappily with XP, and from my experience it's a deal-breaker for many more everyday users than games.
  • 1 Hide
    coldmast , October 28, 2010 1:42 PM
    I wish AMD would support my older computers' Radeon 9550; I miss having those better compiz effects and the ability to play youtube without chops. Maybe I'll downgrade...
  • 0 Hide
    adamovera , October 28, 2010 1:46 PM
    Wheat_ThinsWhy does Tom's always use 'old' hardware when it comes to linux reviews but when it comes to anything else they always have the latest and greatest CPU / GPU combo? A Radeon 4870? Really?

    Well, ET:QW is the latest native commercial FPS, so...
    There's actually two 4870's, but I can currently only use one for another project, so it's not in right now.
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