Last week, the latest version of the Ubuntu Linux Operating System was released- version 9.04 (meaning it was released in April 09) aka Jaunty Jackalope.
I duly downloaded the files and installed it. I think at one stage we had 4 computers in the house going at once on the upgrade!
My desktop computer upgraded without too many issues. The biggest problem is that there seems to be a mistake in the Open Office derivative bundled with Ubuntu which does not allow you to open databases. I ditched that and installed the original version from the Open Office web-site and it works like a charm.
The other, lesser, issue is that I have not been able to get sound to work on Flash videos (such as Youtube). I've tried all the recommended fixes but there is still something not quite right. It's a minor issue that I will get around to looking at when I get some space in my head.
Last night I decided it was time to resurrect my beloved Eee. For the uninitiated, the Eee is the original "netbook" or super tiny lap top. The Eee comes with a version of Linux (Xandros) pre-installed, but it's a bit clunky. People have produced several different operating systems for the Eee, including the earlier versions of Ubuntu. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the wireless card to work in any of those that I tried, so I stuck with the native OS.
Why did the Eee need resurrecting? Well, last week while I was in Newcastle, I decided to use Opera on the netbook to import my RSS newsfeeds. Within a couple of days, I had filled up the flash drive to capacity and it was no longer able to boot, because it needs to write to the drive when starting up. This is exacerbated by the fact that the Eee OS keeps a copy of itself in a separate partition, so that if your file system is corrupted you can, in theory, tell it to reset to the original factory condition by copying all the files back to the main partition.
Ubuntu 9.04 comes with a special version called the "netbook remix" which can be loaded onto a USB memory stick and then used to boot the netbook. The problem is that you need to run a special program that makes the USB drive able to boot the netbook. I wasn't able to get that program to run properly on my desktop system- other people may have more success.
But, I do have an external USB CD drive which the Eee can boot from. So I got the full desktop version of Ubuntu which comes as a CD image, I burnt that to a CD and very quickly was able to install Ubuntu onto the Eee from that. I was surprised to find that not only did the wireless card work straight away, without configuring drivers or settings, it actually found the network and asked me for the password. I didn't think it would be that easy! In fact the next time I booted, it connected me without asking.
It all seems to be working fine. I've tweaked a few desktop settings and replaced firefox with opera and evolution with claws-mail (my preferred browser and email programs). I've played with Open Office, which is the other main application I use on the Eee and it seems to be working fine.
If you want to give Linux a go on either a desktop system or a lap top or even a netbook, I really recommend Ubuntu 9.04 It is excellent. About 12 months ago I installed a fresh version of Ubuntu on a friend's computer. It was just a matter of creating the CD and inserting the CD. The CD ran as a "live" version to give potential users a taste. On the desktop was an icon labelled "Install Ubuntu". After I clicked the icon it was just a matter of minutes before it was up and running- brilliant.