Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Better late than never—the Ubuntu 11.04 upgrade

I recently upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal which now features the Unity desktop. The 11.10 version is already on its beta-testing phase. For now, my machine looks more like a Mac than a PC, but it's not quite the same as the other two.

What strikes me most is the sheer beauty of the desktop. There's a dock in the left side that disappears when the mouse isn't hovering over it. The notification icons in the upper right corner also look sleek. The windows open smoothly.

Unfortunately, 11.04 requires a much faster desktop. I noticed that my computer—which has fairly average specs—has significantly slowed down, especially with three or more memory-requiring programs running in the background. I also mourn the loss on the Gnome desktop, which I've grown rather fond of throughout all these years because of its accessibility and functionality. The Dash (analogous to Mac's Finder) doesn't quite cut it, but give it a couple more months, and it's going to be just as well. That's the joy of being in Linux: geeks all over the world are collaborating to make your life easier—for free.

This is the release that has made me do the most personal adjustments, and so far, I'm enjoying the novelty of the experience.

I'm surprised that the Open Office Suite has been replaced by Libre Office. I still don't know the entire difference between the two, but it looks like Libre works faster, giving better support to embedded Microsoft Word graphics and tables. Microsoft Word, of course, remains unbeatable in this word processing world.

The LibreOffice Impress (analogous to the Powerpoint) is far better than its Open Office counterpart. It works faster and has better support of .pptx files, which I dread with all my heart, and which, sadly, 99% of my colleagues use.

I'm also glad because I can finally sync my iPod to my computer, thanks to Banshee. In terms of user-friendliness, Rhythmbox is superior, but I made the switch because of the prospect of finally getting the chance to listen to podcasts and music and audiobooks. Exporting music and other files was very easy, so I had no problem in that department.

I have yet to see the practicality of having four desktops because I've had no use for them—at least, not yet.

My problem is that after my computer is restarted, no sound comes out. The problem isn't so much the failure of the system to detect my sound card, but that the settings I've laid out are set to default, every single time. I have to go to Terminal and type alsamixer, then adjust the speaker volume accordingly. I don't think it's much of a hassle, but wouldn't it be great if I didn't have to do that anymore?

Given a few problems to fix, I'm amazed at how far Ubuntu has gone, especially when I realize how absolutely free—free in the truest, not in the pirated kind of sense—and follows the philosophy that software must be freely available and must be modifiable according the user's own needs. I made the Windows-to-Ubuntu switch in 2008 because I was so sick of viruses, and I've never gone back to the old ways of doing things.

I plan to upgrade to 11.10 two weeks from now, just before I leave for Bukidnon in the summer. For now, this is how Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot feels like. (I'm fascinated with the names of the releases.)

Ubuntu is clearly the Linux distro for human beings.



Blogger Schubert said...

read the article from top to bottom! yeah coz im a geek like that. a couple of things: OpenOffice v LibreOffice: yeah I agree LibreOffice is better, coz it works a tad bit faster. the ubuntu names: ugh, the names are weird, with all the animals that are not seen in the philippines. ugh, headache. the four desktop screens: why i find it so useful if, for example, my desktop is cluttered, and i want some extra legroom for even more tabs! hah! i switch to the next desktop screen. or if i want to open a movie, i switch to another screen. it's so fun :} enjoy sa summer lance! good luck din sa exams

Wed Mar 28, 09:40:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Rafael King Ramos said...

So we're still both hardcore linux users. Hehe. Been using 11.10 for a month now. Mas konti ang bash na kailangan mong gawin since marami na silang updates regarding compatibility (i.e. wifi connection). But am still using virtual box, for word processing and design purposes. Banshee is good, but nothing can beat VLC. :)

Fri Mar 30, 06:55:00 AM GMT+8  

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