Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" released

The end of April is now less than forty eight hours away, which means that it's once again release day for the world's most popular GNU/Linux distribution.

Ubuntu Version 10.04, codenamed "Lucid Lynx" was made available for download earlier today. It contains a number of new and nifty features, like desktop support for social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter (as well as Flickr, Status.Net, Qaiku, plus several others) and simplified font installation (a user can now open a font file on his or her desktop and simply click an Install button to activate it, obviating the need to use the command line).

Lucid also ships with a new default theme, called Ambiance, and a new alternate default theme, called Radiance, which Canonical's design team says were inspired by light. I'm personally not a fan of Ambiance (it's too dark for my taste) and I'm reserving judgment on Radiance for the time being.

What perplexes me is that the prior look and feel hasn't been included among the Appearance options (though it can be downloaded from the repositories).

One of the most annoying changes in Ambiance and Radiance is that the window buttons have been moved from the right edge of the top bar to the left edge. This change is easy for a knowledgeable user to reverse, but I have a feeling many new users won't appreciate it. It seems like design tinkering for tinkering's sake.

And that's usually not a good idea.

In my testing of Lucid to date, I've stumbled across several bugs... several annoying and too trivial to mention here, but one particularly problematic and worthy of commenting on. The problematic bug in question is a glitch that frequently (but not always) results in a cryptic error when attempting to connect to a server (like a Windows share). This is apparently a problem with a GNOME component which will hopefully be fixed very soon.

On a more positive note, Lucid incorporates new versions of several important desktop applications: like Firefox 3.6, Thunderbird 3, and 3.2.

Additionally, the Ubuntu Software Center, a graphical frontend for easy installation of free software packages, has been significantly retouched. And Lucid boots much faster on solid state drives than previous versions of Ubuntu.

Flaws and drawbacks aside, Lucid Lynx is a strong release, and certainly a worthwhile upgrade for any current Ubuntu user. Lack of bloatware alone makes it an incredibly attractive alternate to Windows for users who are not technologically savvy. Lucid can be downloaded free of charge at Ubuntu's website.


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