It works, but it’s not what I use

I have spent a little time with Ubuntu 10.10 over the past few days. I never bother “reviewing” Ubuntu any more, mostly because it’s veered far wide of what I want from a distro.

Nonetheless it’s interesting to see the directions it has taken. I’ve been through the installer a couple of times now and made a point of avoiding certain default options (like ext4), but otherwise all looks the same.

And I’ve poked around the default desktop a bit, making a point of immediately — no, not just immediately but immediately ditching that desktop theme. (Shudder. 😯 )

There will always be little things that irritate, like sand in your mouth. I always thought Add-Remove Programs was superior to the Ubuntu Software Center, if only because you could add more than one thing at a time.

And the long list of social doodads integrated into the desktop only suggests to me that this isn’t so much an operating system as an interface to Facebookendsterwitterspace, which are things I avoid like the plague.

On the other hand, whatever memory issue was tormenting Lucid seems to be curtailed in Maverick: My system no longer requires 300Mb just to get started. It’s coasting along at a comfortable 150Mb, plus or minus.

Overall, I can only describe my reaction as … nonplussed. I feel a little guilty because I can’t rouse any more enthusiasm than that, when even as recently as three years ago, I was more than just a little bit of a fan.

If it works for you and you like it, then by all means please enjoy. I count myself as a supporter of the Ubuntu machine in general, even if the flagship isn’t to my liking.

But like I said, Ubuntu’s directions and my own diverted long ago. I make no demands of it, but make no apologies for it. It works for me, but it’s not what I use … and that’s about it.

Fortunately it does give you enough playing pieces to come up with something much more useful. And I suppose, like I said a long time ago, the beauty of it is in its potential to do something — anything — vastly different. Have fun experimenting. 😈


14 thoughts on “It works, but it’s not what I use

  1. road

    the social-network integration features are really irritating. not just that they’re there, but that they’re so difficult to remove. the fact that you can’t disconnect the chat thingee from the power-button in the Indicator Applet Session and that you can’t separate the e-mail thingee from the volume control is really dumb. i thought the whole point of linux was customization so i don’t understand why they’d integrate these features so tightly….

    1. Andy C.

      You can just remove the session indicator applet altogether and add separate applets for shutdown, logoff and lock. Although I agree the e-mail thing is useless and takes extra screen space (oh, the irony).

  2. mtc

    What distribution do you favor these days, for commputers that are more modern than your 150mhz projects? Is there a personal favorite that somewhat easy for winblows refugees (like ubuntu strives to be) and has 32bit and 64bit repositories?

  3. Pingback: Links 13/10/2010: Australian Taxation Office Accepts Desktop GNU/Linux, Linux Foundation-Funded Survey Debated | Techrights

  4. Bernmeister

    I’ve found ext4 to be a solid filesystem and has more than once “just worked” after many times an older computer suddenly bites the dust and then comes back up without missing a beat!

    Are those screenshots of desktops top-right indicative of your desktop? Ubuntu has come a long way – I didn’t mind the brown human theme (at least it was not a reminder of Microsoft Windows). Surely you can concede that since Ubuntu 10.04 the look and feel is much more polished?

    I am able to install (and uninstall) applications simultaneously, so not quite sure what you’re doing wrong…

    I’ve not found Ubuntu to use much RAM while upon boot up, say around 150 MB (which is very little for a modern and comprehensive OS). If you’re that concerned about memory usage, give Lubuntu a crack – I tried the 10.04 version and it used around 80 MB on boot.

    I installed Ubuntu 10.10 on my main box yesterday – took under 2 hours, including installing all my apps, etc, etc – and be fully up and running again. I too was non-plussed as I then thought “now what?”. I realised that there was no more to do (which is great) and got back to my real work. Thank you Ubuntu (and Debian and all the rest)!

  5. Tim Lovejoy

    Im using Kubuntu 9.04 and while my dad was upgraded to 10.04, I never bothered because I was happy with how things are.
    Now its 10.10 and feel no urge again.

    I will eventually but im extremely happy with my desktop nowadays that I dont feel the need.

  6. MK

    It has become boring, predictable and a bit irritating, kind of like a stuck record. Best of luck with that.

  7. michael

    It takes so long to ‘fix’ a modern distribution for normal use it takes a lot of the drive out of constant upgrades. And the need for constant change for the sake of it (e.g. desktop stuff) is more of a pain if all you want is a stable system for using, rather than a flashy desktop to play with.

    I think it’s good that Ubuntu exists, but it isn’t for many of us.

  8. demo

    “an interface to Facebookendsterwitterspace, which are things I avoid like the plague. ”

    Yup. The main reason i completely ditched ubuntu. I found 9.10 pretty irritating to start with, 9.04 however, was awesome. Sort of found what i like since running sabayon and arch for the past year of so. Love the rolling-release style distributions also.

    I think Ubuntu’s main problem is they rush releases, while tyring to stick to their schedules.. and in the process they don’t think things through as much as they should, some things look very rushed, or break certain things.

    But the thing that irritates me the most is “Facebookendsterwitterspace”, why can’t it be optional?

    1. demo

      OH and to add to that:
      I like to choose what to PUT on my computer, rather than having to choose what i want to REMOVE from my computer. Wayyyy too much bloat.

      1. poss

        thats a good reason to download the alternate iso, and build it up from the commandline install option instead. do they still offer it i wonder? i keep an 8.10 alternate for safe keeping comes in handy sometimes.

        1. Conkeh

          I don’t know if they offer it still but with the phony jobsian control freakish approach (that appears to be art for art’s sake) I fear they’ll ditch it soon if they haven’t already.

          Also I hear even the minimal install pulls in a load of unwanted stuff, compared to Debian built the same way. But I haven’t really tried it so I can’t claim that’s true.

          1. poss

            yeah debian net install is really good option too. I just put antiX on my t40 thinkpad, thats built on debian testing it has a good selection of apps and very fast and easy install process, but it keep crashing for some reason. I might go a crux setup next since I’ve done a few arch setups and they have turned out ok. take the plunge…

  9. xrad

    Sir, let me tell you, your blog is full of awesome.

    Yet I find your about section a bit outdated after reading this entry. None that matters but there’s people who read those sections as well.

    Anyway, Ubuntu was the first Linux distribution I ever used. Back in.. 2005 I think, it was a really hassle for a complete novice at Linux like me at that time to get a mp3 to work, today I use arch on my home computer and lmde (amazing distro btw) at work.

    However I do believe Ubuntu, along with Fedora, Mint, openSuse and most user-friendly distributions, are the tool to offer the common user a solid front-end OS experience.

    Ubuntu has been long striven for the power user like most readers of this blog, and as posted on a previous entry, if you have a car you just want it to take you wherever you need, I think the same may apply for the common user, they just want something to chat, work and surf safely, add a game or two for entertainment and that’s it.

    Yes, Ubuntu is bloated, but that’s sadly needed. I do not support Ubuntu, but I do appreciate the effort from the the people who tries to make Linux a solid, easy and desirable alternative for the end-user.


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