Lucid Lynx Review: Sweet! Get Ready for LTS



lucid-lynx-ubuntu-logo

Having had a play, here are some initial thoughts about Ubuntu's latest Linux distro, Lucid Lynx, an important Long Term Support edition.

First, the key pros and cons …

  • Pros: Wireless works out of the box
  • Cons: Installer hangs *
  • Verdict: Impressive, promising

* right at the end, contained problem, see below.

I tested the release candidate beta a few days ago on an HP Pavillion DV2 laptop. Here's the spiel ..

Setup Unmanaged VPS (4 Noobs!) ... with vpsBible
Secure WordPress. Properly. ... with wpCop, the platform's dedicated security website
Olly 'the_guv' Connelly's vpsBible.com site and 'WordPress 3 Ultimate Security' book.

Installing Lucid Lynx 10.04: First Impression

The installer is basically the same as it was for Karmic Koala 9.10, even down to it hanging at the end which I recall was the case with the Karmic release candidate too.

.. that's probably a beta thing and, in any case, made no difference to the operation of the system, once hard-rebooted, so no big deal. The big question would be how Ubuntu handled my graphics and wireless drivers, if it could, once installed .. and the HP Pavillion DV series did not like Karmic at all, so a big test indeed.

Lucid Lynx Desktop

I guess in accordance with a major new release the most noticeable difference is the new look of the operating system, from installer to desktop.

For one thing, they've spent a few quid on a new font for the logo, so that's nice.

They've moved the minimize, maximize and close buttons at the top of each dialogue box window chrome from the right to the left hand side, which I guess is another good reason to use the keyboard instead to organize my panels. Dunno why they bothered with that, maybe it's a shout-out to MacFolks.

Less subtle, someone important's deigned to choose a regal purple theme which, unfortunately perhaps, reminds me of the uppety colors chosen by the “New Labour” party when Blair took the helm for the first time at their annual conference. (As long as this shiny new OS doesn't end up declaring war on my data I can put up with that.)

And they've employed a clever graphics chap to produce some nice new status icons.

.. But never mind the floss, pretty (and changeable) as it may be. More useful are the newly thinner top and bottom bar panels that make for a better use of real estate, and under the hood ..

Benchmarking Lucid Lynx

.. well, not exactly a scientific measure, but I will say this:-

Lucid feels noticeably faster, at least at first – I've installed nothing but updates yet. Then again, as this is installed to the far end of my hard drive where it takes longer to process data, that's a good sign.

Maybe this is my mind playing tricks but, having installed Karmic at least a dozen times, I'd say there's been quite a bit of tightening up of the core files as would make sense for a Long Term Support edition.

What is Ubuntu's Long Term Support?

Ubuntu release a new edition every 6 months, generally updating the kernel a few times in the meantime too. Those key bi-annuals are provided with security updates for 18 months meaning that, after that, you should upgrade.

Every couple of years the Ubuntans release a special edition, a LTS or Long Term Support version. The difference is that it's supported for considerably longer: 3 years for the desktop editions and 5 for the server edition.

.. then again, sometimes individual editions are not LTS so, if you like a non-standard flavor like Kubuntu, check. For 10.04, AFAIK, all editions are LTS except the Netbook Edition.

Lucid: Updates & Upgrades

Having installed, after updating the basic repositories:-

.. I upgrade:-

.. and the OS proposes to upgrade a substantive 517 packages. Even downloading those via my 6Mb connection, as one would expect, the upgrades took about as long to retrieve and execute as the OS itself takes to install, so there's a tea break.

Crucially, this finished without a hiccup. The only suggestion I would make to Ubuntu developers here: it's not obvious that a restart is required at this stage (before configuring the graphics and wireless) and many people will waste time by not restarting. (OK, hands up, I buggered about, couldn't sort the wifi driver, eventually realized a reboot may help, clicked on the menu to restart and only there did it say “Restart required”.)

.. Anyway, I reinstalled afresh to ensure that, had I been more alert to the logical need of a reboot, after doing so, everything would work as expected and this ‘ere review would be accurate 😛

Configuring Lucid: After Upgrade & Reboot

So, having updated, upgraded and restarted it was time to sort the graphics and wireless drivers. I popped into the Hardware Drivers dialogue box:-

There were three drivers listed, 2 for wireless and 1 for graphics. Activating the lot in turn, after a short while, not only did I have more visual effects preferences in System > Preferences > Appearance but, more importantly, clicking on the Network Manager applet on the top panel gave me a handsome choice of routers to sniff.

Indeed, I was offered more wireless connections than I'd care to throw a cat at or, certainly, than I'd ever seen before. Either all my neighbors had bought themselves routers over Easter, else this driver was new-improved .. or maybe both.

I chose my network, entered my password and had wifi doing its thing.

Installing Lucid: Compared to Karmic, Jaunty, Intrepid etc

Past Ubuntu installs have had their headaches. Mainly to do with wireless and often with graphics. That's what I was expecting here too. None of it. This really is an uncomplicated, seamless install (other than that beta-style installation hang).

The only issue I had here – and that I would expect others to have to, even with the alpha release – was not realizing I should reboot after the updates, messing about instead with my wireless drivers. Eventually I rebooted and got the drivers working but this was not a smooth process.

To be sure this had been my fault for not rebooting after the upgrade, I re-installed from scratch.

This time, upgrading and rebooting, the drivers were accepted without a hitch and my machine was ready to roll. Sweet.

To make this process clear (which is more than Ubuntu does, must be said .. although if you use Synaptic rather than the command line I suspect it will be spelled out to reboot):-

Lucid Things I've Read About But Not Tested

There are some very nice features with 10.04, although I haven't played with any of these yet:-

  • iTunes-style music store
  • iPhone & iPod Touch Support (possibly just the more recent models are supported)
  • improved sound control (allowing Skype control within, f'rinstance)
  • desktop chat/updates – easy access to Twitter/Facebook/more as well as Empathy for chat
  • Simple Scan – simplifies scanning documents
  • boot time – well, it's supposed to be down to 10 seconds and I have tried it and it isn't, but maybe that's ‘cos I'm using a beta candidate still. Damn, 10 or 20 seconds, people need to chill!

Bottom line .. Ubuntu has rolled out a distro that connects up damn easily. No more searching all the wireless docs at ubuntuforums, getting high on coffee and sick of cigarettes. The thing just works (so at last the slogan is true).

A big cheers to the Ubuntu dev lot. Nice cat.

3


About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at guvnr.com, polices WordPress security at wpCop.com and helps noobs build web servers at vpsBible.com, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.

Discussion

  1. the_guv  April 20, 2010

    big cheers Tomas .. appreciated.

  2. Tomas  April 19, 2010

    Hey Olly… Impressive… What a load of great load you’re loading… so big Cheers for the_Guv

Add a Comment