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Ubuntu 10.10: Maverick Meerkat Benchmarked And Reviewed

Installation And Applications

Installation

In Ubuntu 10.10, the installation process has undergone yet another overhaul--and not just for cosmetic reasons this time. Speed is also dramatically improved. We clocked ten and a half minutes from the time the 64-bit test system began to boot from the Ubuntu 10.10 USB install drive to the time we were up and running in a usable desktop installed onto the hard disk. This included downloading and installing updates and the restricted extras packages...during launch day traffic! Extra time is shaved off of the procedure by having the user choose system and account settings while the OS installs, as opposed to before. Installation begins immediately after choosing the partitioning scheme. The user is prompted to select their time zone, keyboard layout, user name, password, and login options as files are being copied to the hard drive.

While the options are mostly the same, we did notice one very welcome change on the user account setup screen. In Maverick Meerkat, the suggested computer name is now set to username-motherboard model, instead of username-desktop. This is a great way to eliminate confusion for users who own multiple PCs in the same network. This change was probably brought about to let Ubuntu One differentiate between different machines. In previous versions, users of multiple PCs would often end up with several systems named username-desktop in Ubuntu One, as well as their home network.

After setup options are chosen, the 'slides' that showcase Ubuntu's features, first introduced in Ubuntu 9.10, can be controlled by the user. In previous versions, one would have to sit patiently and watch the entire installation so as to not miss any of the slides. In 10.10, back and forward buttons on the left and right side (respectively) of the installation window allow you to take in these slides at your own pace.

Shotwell

Taking a cue from Fedora, Ubuntu now includes Shotwell as the default photo manager. Replacing F-Spot with Shotwell is a good call. F-Spot is a slow-loading application on older hardware, and its editing function totally lacks an undo tool, which in our opinion is unforgivable. Shotwell, on the other hand, springs to life almost instantly, even on netbooks. This application also sticks to its main purpose: photo management. If you're not replacing the GIMP, don't try to.

Rhythmbox

Besides getting a spiffy new icon, the seamless integration of Rhythmbox into the OS continues.

In Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Rhythmbox received the Ubuntu One Music Store, melding the playback and purchase of music into one application, like iTunes. In Ubuntu 10.10 Rhythmbox playback can be controlled via the sound menu in the upper panel.

Along with the volume slider, back, forward, pause, and play are also accessible right from Maverick's sound menu. Even album art is shown in this revamped tool.

We plugged a fourth-generation iPod Nano into the 64-bit test system. The portable music player was instantly detected and a prompt to open Rhythmbox appeared on-screen. Accessing the music stored on the iPod, syncing, and all other functions 'just worked,' right out-of-the-box.

  • "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.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    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.
    Reply
  • arkadi
    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...
    Reply
  • TomSah
    "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.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    TomSah:
    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.
    Reply
  • pinkfloydminnesota
    How come you don't compare the benchmarks to Windows?
    Reply
  • randomizer
    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.

    9503393 said:
    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?
    Reply
  • adamovera
    randomizer:
    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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • dEAne
    I guess there are lots of things to do to make it good.
    Reply