Ubuntu 10.04 Release Candidate Available

Ok, first things first. This is a Release Candidate.

Ok, first things first. This is a Release Candidate. It's not the final release, and I'm not encouraging everyone (or anyone, for that matter) to download and install it right away. The final release is only a week away, so unless you have some major need for it right now, just take this as a "status report" and sit tight for one more week.

I downloaded and installed the "desktop" 64-bit release and the "netbook" 32-bit release yesterday. Setting aside the controversy over some of the technical decisions and changes Ubuntu has made, and looking only at installation, cosmetics and simple functionality, Ubuntu has once again done an excellent job. Installation is smooth and easy and most, if not all, of the installation screens have been reworked and significantly improved in terms of both ease of understanding and use. When I think back to just a couple of releases ago, when some of the installation screens were too large to fit on a netbook screen and some of the questions that were asked during installation were baffling even for an experienced user, this is a huge improvement.

One nice thing I noticed when installing the Netbook Remix on my HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez was that the latest X.org release includes vastly improved drivers for ATI graphic adapters. This means that the Netbook Remix desktop works just as well on AMD/ATI systems as it does on Intel systems. From the general discussion about the X.org updates, I gather that this is also true for nVidia graphic adapters because the nouveau driver has been significantly improved as well. I no longer have my ASUS netbook to test this, but I'll see if I can "borrow" it back when the final Lucid release is out.

Here's another quick observation - at risk of "stirring the pot" on the controversy about this change. While working with the RC last night, I realized that I had already pretty much gotten used to the window button location, and it wasn't disturbing me as much as it had been. In addition, I see a small benefit in it because of the way that I normally work with multiple windows, when I Maximize/Restore/Minimize windows, the buttons tend to be more easily accessible, and seem a bit more convenient. That is clearly a question of personal taste and work habits, but my point is simply that this change is not the end of the world as we know it, it's not all that difficult to adjust to, and if Ubuntu has some ideas about what they want to do with the space that is opened on the title bar by doing this, then I'm willing to deal with it and wait to see what comes next.

So, the bottom line is, the Release Candidate is out, and it looks very good.

jw 23.4.2010