The Ubuntu 11.10 distribution does support a wide range of hardware, I just bought a Logitech wireless mouse with a nano receiver and it worked instantly once I plugged it in. The mouse would work with Windows as well, my experiences with Windows show that it is slower to load a driver for a USB mouse you have plugged in than Linux. That is very annoying, will they fix this with the Windows 8 release? At least the Linux kernel will load the required drivers with less fuss. Upgrading to a new release of Linux is easier than upgrading to a new Windows release. Firstly you need to edit the /etc/apt/sources.lst and change the apt entries to the next release. I am running Ubuntu 11.10 and I wanted to upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, therefore I typed sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.lst and then used the Search->Replace option in the menu to change all the “onieric” entries to “precise”. Then save the file and type sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. This will take a significant amount of time, but after the packages are downloaded and they are installed, type sudo init 6 to re-boot your machine and enjoy your all new Ubuntu installation.
I am upgrading to the newest Ubuntu release, as I wish to try out the latest Unity HUD and see what I think about the new features. of course I would rather be using my Linux Mint 13 installation, but I have to try out Ubuntu as well, as it is quite popular and it deserves some attention. The new Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha distribution is now available, download from this URL: http://swtsrv.informatik.uni-mannheim.de/pub/linux/distributions/ubuntu-dvd-release/12.10/alpha-1/. This web server needs some attention as the .htaccess file in the folder is visible, I was able to click on it and download that file to read it. But the new Quantal Quetzal distribution should be interesting, I can install that and then get regular updates to eventually run the new 12.10 release when it comes out. The myunity app that is available for Unity that allows more customization is a good thing, but the Unity desktop needs more capabilities out of the box so to speak that allows the user to move the launcher if they wish, some users wish to do this.
There is a minimal installation ISO available from here: http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/quantal/main/installer-i386/current/images/netboot/, this is only 28 Megabytes and supplies a text based environment that allows you to install the minimal distribution and then after booting into a command-line environment where you may type sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop or sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop to then retrieve the rest of the packages from the Internet. This is just like the Gentoo minimal installation CD ISO. I ended up downloading the aforementioned minimal installation ISO and installing it using the simple text-based installer. I chose not to install any more packages using tasksel and elected to re-boot and I was presented with a lovely bootsplash screen with small text in the centre “Ubuntu 12.10” and the standard progress indicator. Then you are placed at a login screen on a framebuffer console and you may log in and run sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade to install the updates; then sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop to install a usable Xorg configuration and a nice fast desktop.
On the framebuffer console, you may hold the Alt key and use the left & right arrow keys to switch between the consoles. It is good, the Google Android x86 installation I have on a netbook also has a text console accessible with Ctrl-Alt-F1. Below is the kernel release the standard Ubuntu 12.10 release uses, this is fairly recent at time of writing.
Linux version 3.4.0-5-generic ([email protected]) (gcc version 4.7.0 (Ubuntu/Linaro 4.7.0-11ubuntu2) ) #11-Ubuntu SMP Tue Jun 5 17:35:46 UTC 2012
And the BASH version.
GNU bash, version 4.2.24(1)-release (i686-pc-linux-gnu) Copyright (C) 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later This is free software; you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
This release also comes with Gnu Coreutils that are a very recent version:
ls (GNU coreutils) 8.13
Copyright (C) 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later .
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
Written by Richard M. Stallman and David MacKenzie.
The GNU Coreutils were written by Richard Stallman, an ardent advocate of software freedom. He believes that we should all be able to run free and open operating systems and not be restricted to proprietary software; that is an ideal that all people should hold dear. Linux is a free and open source kernel that coupled with the free GNU software such as the Coreutils and the GNU C Library Glibc and the many other components that go together to create a stable and free operating system that anyone may download and use. I am installing the rest of the Ubuntu system as I type this in vim.tiny in tty2 and it is just downloading the Firefox 14.0 package, so that is the version of Firefox that is included with the Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha. It is supposed to include KDE 4.8.3, but that is the same version that Linux Mint 13 supplies and that is based on Ubuntu 12.04. As you can see above, gcc 4.7.0 is included, and Leafpad 0.8.18.1 with my Xfce 4.10 desktop. The installation of all of the packages was extremely fast on the Xfs file-system and the new Lightdm theme is awesome as well.
Gimp 2.8 is also the default photo editing application for Ubuntu Quantal, this includes the single-window mode and many other enhancements. unfortunately, the spare hard drive I installed to seems to have failed after installing all of that software and I could not boot it, it resulted in a kernel panic. I should be able to copy the installation across to another hard drive and that will fix that problem. But with a whole swag of new software available, give the Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha a go if you want a cutting edge distribution to try out.