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64bit Ubuntu Feisty has some issues

There's been a load of Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn reviews lately so we don't need a yet another one to repeat the rundown of all features, goodies, baddies and whatnot. So this will be just a quick, more or less personal, review focusing on problems that I found with Ubuntu, because it indeed does have some rather disappointing issues.

I have to say, however, that there appears to be a slight difference between 32bit and 64bit versions. It's not a difference in features, but difference in stability. To be frank, it seems as if the 64bit version was given less attention than the 32bit version.

However, before I go on with the problems I had with the 64bit version I must say that one disappointing thing about Ubuntu is still that it cannot properly recognize monitor settings, even though it recognizes the graphics card. You do have to manually edit the xorg.conf file to enter new vertical and horizontal screen frequency ranges and resolutions in order to use them.

My LCD monitor has a native resolution at 1280x1024 at 60 or 70Hz, but Ubuntu booted in with 1024x768 at 60Hz without giving the option of changing to the better (in GUI preferences) without editing the xorg.conf. Of course, rest assured grandma wont be fiddling with the xorg.conf. She has better things to do, like baking cookies or making a sweater for her grandchildren.. unless of course she is a computer geek.

That said, as some sort of a computer geek I don't really mind editing xorg.conf so this is much less big of a deal than I make of it above, but that applies only to me and others of my kind, not to the cookie baking grandma. Eye

Now, regarding the 64bit version, it can't even boot properly. Feisty livecd seems to be setting the default boot resolution at 1600x1280 or something, and my monitor reacts by going to sleep. I don't even see what's going on beneath the surface. The boot simply hangs. This is solved by hitting F4 and selecting the native resolution. Only then can we proceed to boot the CD.

Then comes the mighty migration assistant. It really is a darn good idea and I was kinda excited to see it offer to move my Firefox and gaim data from my sidux (Debian Sid) install on to my Ubuntu install. However, the excitement turned into frustration when, just at the end of the install, it pops up a message saying that the migration assistant needs to mount a partition, but can't mount it because it can't unmount /dev/sda5 (a partition on which my sidux installation resides). The reason it can't unmount it is because it is busy, but my guess is that what actually makes it busy is ubiquity or the migration assistant itself! Silly indeed! And to make it worse, if you cancel the whole migration thing you cancel the install process along with it.

I would have thought this kind of issue would be fixed before the final release. So either I'm the lucky first one to experience it or it was simply neglected.

The migration assistant can, however, be turned on by adding the --no-migration-assistant option to the ubiquity command (which is, of course, not what the cookie baking grandma would do). This makes the installation go through as it should, smooth.

BUT, once the install is finished we're back to the booting problem: monitor goes to sleep again. This time there is no F4 option and editing grub lines immediately doesn't seem to be helping. I had to add vga=794 option to the kernel line to force it to boot with a normal resolution. But I could only do this once I, again, booted off the livecd and edited and updated the grub file from there. Finally, it worked and I was in my new shiny Ubuntu install.

Pity though that even after the obligatory fixing up of the xorg.conf to support my resolution I am still left with a largely unattractive installation. There's no internet access. And why? Well, because good guys and gals from Ubuntu have apparently rearranged some low level stuff in the system. Where the heck is /dev/ttyUSB0 which is where my USB modem used to reside? Why doesn't dvbnet for my satellite connection work all of a sudden?

Because hackers sometimes don't like following standards, yes, even hackers who supposedly work on a project that is supposed to take over the world of kids and grandmas. Smiling

Oh well, back to my good old sidux install. Farewell Ubuntu.

Disclaimer: No I don't think Ubuntu is doing an overall bad job at creating a really polished GNU/Linux distro for the masses. When all things are considered it's well on its way. This dump review simply focused on the negative experiences. The only reason why I am attracted to trying new versions of Ubuntu is polish, the "just works" feeling. I am impressed by that kind of stuff. However, when an alternative distro I'm using already works well enough, and Ubuntu proves not to be *that* polished yet.. I kinda just cool off.




ubuntu's focus is on

ubuntu's focus is on getting a usable OS out by a certain date; most testing is done on x86. They do a good job at it too, but this is the kind of situation where one might see the benifits of a project focussing on creating a working system, releasing when it's ready

Yes indeed. Although I

Yes indeed. Although I mentioned mostly bad things above (not because there are no good things), after re-evaluating my choices Ubuntu is still darn close to the perfect distro.

I've upgraded my sidux yesterday, but didn't dist-upgrade again through h2's special d-u-fixes script because they advise not to because it is too unstable. I learned also that sidux doesn't officialy support nor recommend GNOME and beryl because they're too unstable in sid. Sid's gone wild now I guess and I'm not sure I can take that. I like GNOME and I like beryl. I like being able to use anything I want to without fearing that it may be that unsupported thing that could break.

And at the moment I can't even install some packages because they have deliberately unresolved dependancies. For the last few days I wanted to give nexuiz a quick try on the new machine and graphics card, but the darn thing segfaults few seconds in the game.

My preferences and requirements for a "perfect distro" for me are changing a bit. I'm now less concerned about having all the latest and greatest, as long as it's not *too* old. This also means that despite some issues I named above Ubuntu again comes darn too close to being my perfect distro. When I start to think about it like this I'm not really surprised Ubuntu is so popular. It kind of fits the soft spot for everyone. It isn't bleeding edge and hence too unstable, yet it's packages are failry recent (never older than 6 months or so anyway). It is easy to use, polished and beautiful. It is based on debian which is a great plus.. And that's really all I'm looking for lately.. something that will work well and that uses apt-get, since I'm kind of addicted to it now. Smiling

But Debian is another good candidate.. Gosh I wish Debian had a one official livecd to install from, which is not net install. I would then get that and start running testing to see how that goes.. Otherwise I'm really seriously starting to look into Ubuntu again. :S

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