Gutsy beta: What have you done for me lately?

I have to admit my enthusiasm for the Gutsy release is lukewarm. Looking over the list of features, very few of them seem useful to me. Naturally, that’s going to differ from person to person and machine to machine, but from my perspective, not much is appealing.

GNOME 2.20? Gnome is an aberration to me. Telling me you’re using the newest version is actually a turnoff.

And considering the hardware I use, I’ll probably only rarely see the destkop 3D effects enabled in their default form. If Gutsy is really smart enough to turn it on if your card can handle it, then it probably will leave it off for me.

Desktop searches, deskbar applets and tracker indexers are annoyances to me. I don’t have the least bit of interest in another daemon running in the background, trying to keep me from losing things. I don’t lose things. I’m one of Pirsig’s intuitive mechanics, if you know what I mean.

Fast user switching won’t interest me, because I’m the only user other than root. And I’m him too.

Dynamic screen configuration and a graphical configuration tool for X will be useful to a degree. I imagine they will be a godsend for some folks with unusual setups, but on 8- and 10-year-old laptops, there’s probably not much call for it. (On the other hand, if Gutsy is smart enough to knock down the default color depth for decade-old video cards, I’ll happily worship it as the golden child.)

I don’t have a printer any more, and my old one was a snap to configure in the old printer system. Maybe it would have been even more of a snap under the new system, but I’ll never know.

Non-free device driver handling is a bonus, and I’m glad to see those things improved upon. But again, on 8- and 10-year-old hardware, manual configuration is probably faster than waiting for a desktop application to poll, search and offer installation options.

NTFS? I stopped using NTFS when I stopped using Windows. Way back in late 2005.

Power consumption at the kernel level. … I’ve been using the newest kernels in Arch, and if there’s something that is supposed to be improved for my Dell Inspiron 8000, I’m not noticing it. A newer kernel is usually a good thing though.

AppArmor sounds like another something I’ll be uninstalling. I will check it out, though.

The remainder — server installation profiles, authentication configuration and thin client support — will probably be helpful to admins here and there, but I’m a desktop home networker, so they don’t really do anything for me.

So while the improvements are probably enticing for high-end machines, I’m at a low enough level that there’s very little that will trickle down to me in Gutsy.

I’m still going to play with it though. Most of the appeal to me is in what software is installable from the repos — things like Qingy, Kazehakase 0.4.3, and some other improvements are good news, even if they are still months behind current. Ubuntu is still a favorite, even if this release won’t be anything spectacular for my machines.


7 thoughts on “Gutsy beta: What have you done for me lately?

  1. Danny

    From what I’ve been told by a Canonical person, they’re really trying to put together a system that will WOW power users for the desktop, and work towards 8.04 for a really good business desktop. They’re also working no a small business server addition. My understanding is that it will have a minimal GUI install, but I haven’t heard anymore about that.

    It seems Canonical is trying to position itself to compete against Novell and Red Hat for the business market, and against Vista for the home/consumer market.

    I agree in that I have little use for some of the more ‘fancy’ stuff, but our Free Geek recipients will appreciate the automatic printer detection and setup. I’m almost paperless myself. I don’t even show up to class with a pencil or pen anymore, but many students can’t do that just yet.

    New kernels are not always best for old hardware. That’s where DSL and Puppy shine. But if the new kernel in Ubuntu can get my machine to hibernate/suspend, I’ll do a little jig for it.

  2. deadcabbit

    I’m not a fanboy, but hey, all I see in your post is “I don’t need this”, “I don’t need that” – try a broader perspective please. Vista has “treagle” enabled, MacOSX has it, plain old endusers like it (I don’t), so it is cool. NTFS? Good for the masses. Eyecandy? Good for the masses too + good propaganda… etc. Linux is about choice, you can always tinker an Arch, build a Gentoo or do whatever you want with LFS 😉

  3. K.Mandla Post author

    You’re very right on all counts. I should make it clear that I’m not standing in opposition to any of the improvements, I’m just a little sad because so many of them are intended for higher-end machines.

    As far as I’m concerned, wowing the power user is the right track. It’ll draw more people, many of them capable of improving the entire Ubuntu base.

    My only fear is that the wow factor will increase but the bug count will go up, and if the scale becomes unbalanced, Ubuntu will become the flashy-but-buggy distro. Unlikely, but one never knows.

  4. voislav

    Well, it’s a bit of a biased view. How many people use 8 to 10 year old laptops these days? What you really forgot to mention is that it is amazing that you can consider running the latest Ubuntu on 10-year old hardware, something that cannot be said for either Windows or MacOS.

  5. Luke

    Well, as with most distros that do not have necormancy (the arcane magic of resurrecting very old computers using linux) in their mission statement support for old hardware is usually an afterthought rather than a driving focus. That’s just how it is.

    I’m still on Dapper and it is rock solid. I haven’t had any issues with it since I upgraded from Hoary (knock on wood). The only annoyance is getting newest releases of software. If I want to keep up with the newest releases of Firefox for example, I have to use the generic Linux binaries or roll my own debs. But it’s not that bad.

    My hardware can’t really take the eye candy compiz-fusion stuff so I’m not really driven to upgrade just yet.

  6. tactus

    I’ve had trouble enough getting a stripped down Debian stable to run on a 9 year old Aptiva desktop, don’t understand why anyeone would bother with Ubuntu of all things on 10 year old laptops.

  7. Neostar

    I know that Ubuntu is made for high end users but the great thing about Gutsy is the Fluxbuntu release. It’s made for those with old hardware, i’m hoping that it will become part of the main Ubuntu like Xbuntu is as that will mean more support for older hardware. I have an old laptop that’s similar to kmandla’s, so I will be giving this release a test.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s