Ubuntu Review

Nicks Review of Ubuntu (Dapper Drake)

Ubuntu claims to be "Linux for humans". I read this as if Ubuntu should be easy to use for the general public; you shouldn't need advanced knowledge to install and use applications. Does it meet its goals?

Before you read my review, think about if Windows meets this target. IMHO, it is nowhere near (its far harder to install windows, and 3rd party software under windows than it is Ubuntu).

The Desktop

The desktop is excellent. The styling is very nice, and the gnome menus are very well layed out - so much easier to use than the windows (how the hell did the Windows Start menu get so horrible?). 5 out of 5. PASS

Installing applications is very user friendly. There are two applications to choose from, one for novices, and one for the more advanced user. Both suite their target audiences perfectly. For those who don't want to use a gui to install apps, you can always use apt-get at the command line. Something for everyone, 5 out of 5 (I'd like to give more than 5, but thats just silly). PASS

Browser Plugins

Installing commonly used plugins such as real media, flash and java applets is a very little bit tricky. This is because they rely on non-free software, which is not part of the standard Ubuntu repository. Its about as easy as I can expect for now (until the rest of the world switches to free/open source software). PASS.

The Bad Bits

I've found some nasty suprises since switching to Ubuntu. The worst by far is "lirc". This piece of software allow you to use an infra-red remote control to operate your computer. With Ubuntu, you are forced to compile the program yourself. IMHO, this is not acceptable. FAIL. (not many people will want this facility so its not so bad).

The next offender is the combination of myth and mysql. Myth stops working if you use mysql 5.0, but that is the default version. It would have been better if it told me that I needed mysql 4.1. I didn't and I had to work out what was going wrong, and how to fix it (by trawling the web for clues). Again, this is not acceptable for Ubuntu's claim of "Linux for humans". FAIL.