Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 - First Impressions

I just downloaded Ubuntu 9.04 and installed it on an old laptop (Mobile Pentium 4, 2.2 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 35 GB disk). The first thing that amazed me was the sheer speed of the install - all of 21 minutes! Of course, the machine wasn't connected to the network, so maybe a couple of extra steps got skipped, but still, this was awesome. I've never seen any distribution (not even previous versions of Ubuntu) install so quickly. This could be a huge selling point.

I can't find much to report on, in terms of the differences between this version and previous ones. It's as good as I've come to expect from Ubuntu.

There was just one minor disappointment, though. I found a new tool under System -> Administration called "Computer Janitor", but when I tried to run it, I got an error message to the effect that "dash" (whatever that may be) was not installed, and the application terminated. If I'd been connected to the Internet, I guess I could have done an 'apt-get install dash' or used Synaptic to install the missing component, but in standalone mode, there wasn't much I could do.

[Update: I've done two more installs since then, both while connected to the Internet, and Computer Janitor works fine on both. Maybe there was a required update that only gets installed when the machine is online.]

Other than that little hiccup, everything seemed fine - a fairly standard Ubuntu system. I'm planning to get a new laptop before I go off to attend JavaOne in June, and it's sure to be nippier than this one which is 5 years old, so Ubuntu 9.04 should be even more impressive. I will be relying on its wireless connectivity, and using it as a workstation-cum-server running lots of heavy-duty Java apps, so stay tuned for further reports next month. I wonder if it will install in less than 21 minutes on a faster machine...

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