It has been a little over two weeks since the final code for Ubuntu 10.04, codenamed Lucid Lynx hit the Internet. Last time, I had to wait a month before getting into 9.10, due to heinous errors, crippling bugs, and excruciatingly slow software repositories. Thankfully, none of this occurred with 10.04.
And it shouldn't. You see, Ubuntu 10.04 carries the LTS acronym, which stands for Long Term Support. Every six months, a new version of Ubuntu is released into the wild, but it's only once every two years that we get to see an LTS. The last LTS release was in April of 2008, when Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron made its debut. These releases are especially important because this can make or break Ubuntu for OEM sales. Hardware partners, who could potentially sell systems with the OS pre-installed, will be looking to the LTS release as a benchmark for both quality and stability. Developers, too, will be paying close attention. Creating compatible software for Ubuntu should be much easier, and more likely to happen on the longer release cycle.
This review is more personal for me because it was 8.04 that made me an Ubuntu convert and a full-time Linux user. Before that, I was only a visitor, tinkering with various RPM distributions like Mandriva and Red Hat. I used Ubuntu 7.04 and 7.10 briefly, but I always came back to the familiarity of a KDE/RPM distro.
This all changed with the rock-solid release of Hardy Heron. So, with this in mind, I decided to take a look at how far Ubuntu has come since the last LTS release. Along with the standard review of Ubuntu 10.04, in requisite Tom's Hardware fashion, we've put the Lucid Lynx in a no holds barred cage match against the Hardy Heron. We'll determine whether the OS has become bloated over the past two years, or if performance has streamlined. Does Canonical have another 'Karmic Katastrophe' on its hands, or is Lucid Lynx a runaway hit? Read on to find out.