Frothing Ubuntu Oneiric
What do you expect from your Operating System?
Many Ubuntu 11.10 reviews i see out there are all about the new wicked cool features, spanning from Unity to the Ubuntu Software Center. But I have to find one that states all the *useful* features, whether in new or old reviews. i.e What can Ubuntu 11.10 do you for you?
Well, I’d be lying if I were going to say that this review wasn’t about how I personally find Oneiric useful or lacking, cause thats generally what FrothingTheFrap is about. So lets take you through what I find important.
* Please note that all screenshots were taken while I was using the Ambient Blue theme and Faenza Dark icon theme.
32 Bit Support
Whats the point of having a triple core AMD CPU when you can’t use it at its potential. Okay, so if I were on 32 Bit and wanted to use all my 8GB of RAM all I’d have to do is whip open Ubuntu Software Center type “linux-generic-pae” install and booya, all my RAM works in 32 Bit. But generally 64 Bit is the way into the future, so how far in the future is Oneiric at present?
Well I’d have to say, far! In this release Oneiric has introduced better support for 32 bit packages running in 64bit in the case that a 64 bit version of your favourite programme doesn’t exist. A perfect example of this is the skype package which is only available in 32 bit. In the screenie to the right you’ll see the “:i386″ identifying the archetecture
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say there is one issue left before this is fully resolved. Out of all the 32 bit packages that work out the box in Oneiric, the only one that seems to be giving this issue is Guitar Pro 6.
[Edit: At the end of my Guitar Pro 6 article I provide a way to run Guitar Pro 6 under 64 bit]
Quickly Run or Find Your Program
Since the last version of Ubuntu we’ve had the pleasure to use Unity. Unity seems to be canonicals answer to finding everything quickly under one unified interface. Using unity allows you to search for a programme you want to run quickly on with a few buttons presses, or as the screenshot shows allows you to see related applications that you might want to install via Ubuntu Software Center.
The Unity Dash has extensible functionality meaning that you can download plugins called “Lenses” that allow you to search for different things. The out-of-the-box lenses include General, Application, Document and Music search. You’ll notice in my screenshot I have installed the gwibber lens which allows me to search through my social network contacts. Lenses don’t have to only search your computer but can also search through different sources using “Scopes”. These sources can include your Ubuntu One Cloud for all your music, or Ubuntu One Music etc etc. (Note: just because I used these Ubuntu One examples doesn’t mean its limited to that. The Lens and Scope feature is relatively new and its just a matter of time before developers can plugin other features like “Google Docs” document searching. #crossfingers)
Personally, this has increased my productivity so much its unbelievable. Other than that the only complaint I have is that the “Application” search seems to work like a woman on menopause. It works sometimes so well, but other times it just decides not to find an obvious phrase. Like “pdf”, which should technically bring up “PDF Viewer” and similar applications.
What is cloud storage? Cloud storage is the ability to store your files online and access them locally. Ubuntu presents out-of-the-box cloud storage via its own Ubuntu One service. What this means is that you can synchronise a folder on all your computers, laptops, Android and / or iPhone devices to one on the cloud and all will share the files. This has served as my replacement to DropBox for a number of reasons.
A few issues that Ubuntu One incomplete at this stage is:
- Lacks Cross-Desktop support
The windows version provides basic file syncing (I have yet to properly test it, but if you watch this space I’ll provide a review in future for Ubuntu One), but the Mac OS X version is non-existant. I don’t have Mac OS X so this isn’t an issue for me, but I’m sure for people wanting to sync all their devices would have this issue.
- No file sharing with other Ubuntu One users
This is a feature win in DropBox, you get to share your folders with other users based on their emails, allowing multiple people have shared folders.
- Slow Syncing
Granted this is a worse issue in DropBox, but I’d generally appreciate a Cloud sync to be at least half as fast as a FTP upload.