Apr 22, 2012

Ubuntu 12.04 - first impressions

So I've been using Ubuntu 12.04 for a few months now. Mostly on my netbook but also for about three weeks on my new XT3 Laptop and a few days on my main machine at home. There is a lot to like about this release. It's well polished and refined. The Unity interface really starts to shine now. So like with the last release here are my first impressions on Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin":
  • Unity is fast. It feels very snappy to use even on my aging netbook. It's great to use like this.
  • Finally, the most important aspects of Unity can be easily customized. And even more using MyUnity from the Software Center.
  • The Unity multi-monitor improvements are very welcome. As a developer I usually use at least two monitors. With this release of Unity it is fairly usable, at least on pair with Windows.
  • Love the changed Unity Dash front page. The old one was never of use to me. This might have (after some time) the applications right there that I actually want to launch.
  • Overall the "attention-to-details" changes made are all really nice and all over the place. Everything behaves better, simpler, faster.
  • Linux hardware support is getting to a point where you can expect it to work better than windows (just like with my netbook as well as my brand new laptop). Microsoft really needs Windows 8 and it needs it soon or they gonna loose the edge they had for so long.
  • The newest XBMC Media Center is very easy to install and very nice to use. With all the Android and iOS apps out there acting as great remotes this is awesome! And it's as simple as logout and login to get to it and have a great media center experience.
  • Improvements to the Software Center are great. I'm starting to use it more often.
  • Desura is also awesome and has a lot more Linux games now. It went from 48 games about 6 months ago to 130+ now. Also I should mention that you can play a lot of GoG.com games easily on Linux (DOSBox/Wine). Just if the Desura games arn't enough for you.
  • Wine has improved a lot. It works well with a lot more games and it integrates much better into the system.
  • My Wacom Tablet, Webcam and Android Phone seem to work as expected. No configuration or modifications needed.
  • Startup speed is great. With an SSD Ubuntu tend to use half the time Windows 7 takes to the login screen. At least on my Desktop and Notebook this is the case. I have no need to hibernate my computers. The difference isn't big with the short start times already there.
  • Most of the first impressions for Ubuntu 11.10 still apply here.
I like this release, it's a good improvement over the last releases (as usual). But as with any LTS release software packages are not as up-to-date as I'd like. So I already can't wait for an other "normal" release that isn't as conservative. Ubuntu 12.10 will be more to my taste. And I already can't wait for it.

As usual a list of things I didn't like will follow shortly after the final release. As some things I already found might be fixed by then. I think the dislike list is going to be shorter than for any other release I've written one, but we'll see ...