Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10: Nothing new here, move along please

Last night, I decided to bite the bullet and see what all the fuss around the upcoming release of Ubuntu 10.10 was all about. So I pulled out my external hard drive and installed the software, expecting to see enormously huge leaps and bounds in the progress of the OS. What I got instead was a mildly disappointing waste of my time that will make sure I won't be upgrading my os until the next LTS release in 2011.

Ubuntu 10.10, for all the typical hype Canonical puts behind these new releases, really doesn't add anything that would benefit a typical desktop user and, especially, a power user. In the desktop edition of the software there are six changes:

1. GNOME has been updated to the latest version
2. Evolution Mail has been updated to a new, faster, version
3. Shotwell has replaced F-Spot as the default photo management software
4. The sound indicator now has play, pause, forward, and back buttons
5. The software center has an updated look and feel
6. Gwibber has been updated to work with the new Twitter oAuth system

None of these things are going to matter to the average user and, I believe, the switch to Shotwell from F-Spot is actually a step BACK for the distro. But, with the way Canonical is pimping this release as the greatest thing since sliced bread, many novice users probably won't take the time to find that out. Instead, they will rush to upgrade their systems in a glassy eyed greed for new features that aren't there. Of course, that upgrade will come with tons of new problems that will need to be worked out by updates over the next few weeks and months and some users might be left with an entirely non-functioning system just because they wanted the latest and greatest upgrade which is, at best, a snorefest.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the importance of interface upgrades. I know that one of the things that makes Ubuntu so popular is that it looks so damn good. It can just about go head to head with Windows 7 and compete on look and feel and that's a very good thing. But why do we need an entire release just to implement the six features listed above? Does Microsoft wait to implement new, non-integral, parts of the OS until there's a new version of Windows out? Of course not! Canonical pushes these silly do-nothing upgrades to give users the appearance of movement and cutting edge. In the end, you end up with a slightly disappointing release like 10.10, one which I'm going to skip for the time being.

What I'm more excited about is the next LTS release - 11.10 12.04 I believe. It seems that the LTS releases are where the magic usually happens in Ubuntu and I suspect that 12.04 is going to be no different. I expect a lot of movement on the GNOME desktop, huge improvements to the Software Center, tons of work on Ubuntu One, and a lot of new hardware support. That's been the case with other LTS releases and I hope that continues to be true here.

Overall, I'd suggest skipping the 10.10 release and waiting for either 12.04 or 12.10 before doing an upgrade. Right now, there's just nothing really that exciting to see.


babystrangeloop said...

11.10 will not be an LTS. LTS releases only come out every two years so 8.04 LTS -> 10.04 LTS -> 12.04 LTS.

Anthony Papillion said...

@BabyStrangeLoop: Thanks for the correction! I'll edit the article to reflect that.