I have had a show-stopper bug in Fedora Core 16 that is preventing the distribution from loading. I have tried everything to fix this, to no avail. I am installing a CD of Ubuntu 10.10 which I will then upgrade to 12.04 Precise Pangolin. That will work better than Fedora, hopefully installing updates on that distribution will not leave the operating system in an unbootable state. And I will be able to install and try out the very latest Ubuntu software. Fedora Core 16 is a good distribution, but the bugs in the updated packages that leave the system in a useless state are not something I am in a mood for when I need my computer to be functioning, all of the time. I have finished installing the Ubuntu 10.10 and I have run an upgrade to 12.04 in a chroot which was successful and now after loading up my new Ubuntu 12.04 desktop I am quite pleased with the look and feel of the newest Unity release. this distribution comes with Linux kernel 3.2.0 and Openoffice 3.4.4 and a host of other upgrades and enhancements. After trying to fix Fedora Core Linux and getting frustrated with the failures of that process, it was a good thing to upgrade to a sleek and fast new distribution with all new software.
The Unity interface in Ubuntu 11.04 & 11.10 copped a bit of flak for being hard to use and a copy of the Macintosh OSX interface, and I have been giving it a bit of flack in the past, but now it is actually fine to use, you click the topmost icon on the sidebar to bring up the activities menu which allows you to run applications and the close menu on the right end of the top toolbar has many cool features, with system settings as well as suspend and shutdown available. The Gnome Shell desktop required you to press the Alt key whilst accessing the shutdown menu to access the shutdown option. I use suspend to disk instead though as the system comes back almost instantly that way. And the wallpapers that Precise Pangolin ships with are awesome, the new theme for the Unity desktop is nicer than the theme first seen with 11.04, that was a bit meh, but this version is much more presentable with the whole look of the desktop much improved and the lightdm login manager a nice change from the older GDM alternative, that on Fedora 16 was very slow to load up. That is annoying, but Ubuntu was the choice for me, I was considering, Linux Mint 12, but Ubuntu was the best choice after all, as I wanted to see how far this distribution has come.
Previous Unity versions had the activities menu on the top panel like Gnome Shell, but this is okay although having an icon on the sidebar taken up with the menu is strange, I still like this, being able to have the icon bar on the bottom of the screen and the option to scale the icon bar would be a good addition, if you are on a 16:10 widescreen monitor like I am, the iconbar is silly when your screen is wider than it is tall. But the speed and sleekness of the Ubuntu Pangolin desktop makes up for this in a huge way, and if you do not like the Unity desktop interface, you may install the KDE or XFCE desktops instead, just type sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop or sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop and this will install the appropriate desktop environment. I wish they would put together a nice Enlightenment E17 alternative, that would be very popular and it could be installed like this: sudo apt-get install ebuntu-desktop. Surely that would be a a good move for the Ubuntu development team. Put together a nice Enlightenment distribution like Elive for Ubuntu and it would get plenty of downloads that is for sure. This is a call to Canonical to add an Enlightenment option to Ubuntu and add even more choice to their distribution.
Ubuntu is not the be all and end all of Linux, but even though I have not liked the Unity interface in the past, it finally seems to be worth using with a nice default theme and also the option added to change the Unity theme which is a welcome option, this implies that new themes can be created and shared for the Unity interface which is something that it needed, users love to theme and configure their desktop and this is a feature that as I stated above, the Linux desktop must always have. I have used Linux since Red Hat 6.2 and I have watched the Linux desktop change over the years into something quite amazing. In my last long posting I said that Linux was derived from UNIX when this is not the case, I forgot that it is a free operating system and kernel that was created as a free alternative to the costly UNIX operating systems that were in use at the time that a young graduate student by the name of Linus Torvalds was looking for a suitable operating system for his own use. UNIX was developed by Bell Labs and is a proprietary operating system, although their are UNIX operating systems like FreeBSD and Dragonfly BSD that are versions of the BSD operating system developed by the Regents of the University of California.
BSD is a very nice operating system to program on, and on FreeBSD is very easy to compile and install software as it has the ports system allows you to download and install packages by navigating to the folder under /usr/ports and typing make install as root. This was copied by the Gentoo Linux distribution which uses the emerge command to download and install software from source. This works very well on Gentoo, but building the entirety of the operating system from source including the GNU Libc, kernel, Openoffice and a Gnome desktop takes way too much time. Why the hell does Google Chrome require a much longer time period than the Linux kernel to compile? That package runs fast when you use it but the compile time is absurd. I prefer to use Mozilla Firefox instead, you can get addons for Firefox that allow Chrome like features like the inspect element feature. The FreeBSD operating system is good on the desktop, but without support for KMS it will not work on modern machines with integrated graphics that use the GPU integrated into the CPU like the Intel Core i3 that I use. And that means you are far behind Linux using that operating system.
And you do not get a framebuffer console that automatically uses the native resolution of your flat screen monitor like any modern Linux operating system can manage. FreeBSD needs more developers working on the KMS code to get it up to scratch. Last I heard there was only one person working on the graphics code to get KMS working, this needs to change if FreeBSD wants to compete with Linux on the desktop front. I have not used FreeBSD for a while, I tried it on my desktop machine and I got a 1280*1024 pixel resolution console after recompiling my kernel so that is not too bad, but I will stick with Linux for now, with KMS, Linux can use the aforementioned high resolution framebuffer console and does not require the kernel be rebuilt to enable this at all. There is some work being done on adding video for Linux support to Linux as well, this will be a great help for FreeBSD, finally the cheese program supplied for Gnome will actually be useful for something after all. With usable V4l code in FreeBSD, the users would finally be able to use Chatroulette and maybe even Skype. That is a hopeful sign that this UNIX distribution can start to catch up with Linux in terms of performance on the desktop and hardware support.
http://www.bell-labs.com/history/unix/ a very nice and well written article about the UNIX operating system, well worth a read or two.