Thoughts on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS update

Well, after using it 3 weeks on my laptop, I am underwhelmed. 7.10 was much better. Everything just worked and there were no crashes. From Firefox 3.0-beta5 which broke about 50% of my plugins, through the sudden hard locks with the Verizon cell card (the other system did not do this), to the still completely borked video driver bit.
Just try to install a Cuda graphics driver. You have to edit /sbin/lrm-video and comment out its “intelligence” as the other published methods simply do not work.

Wireless works. But then it worked before when I gave up on Network Manager and replaced it with wicd, as it did under 7.10. Network Manager is still completely borked. It has a “roaming mode” with no way to list the access points. It should be removed from Gnome/Linux completely. Wicd is much better.
The other thing that really annoys me, is as of 7.04/7.10 Ubuntu, is the loss of the little CLI window in the Gnome tool bar. I like Gnome, though the developers seem to want to try to re-create the Mac. I don’t want a Mac. The problem is that they are seeking to hide the really useful tools from me, the useful features I need. And dictate how I should work. I don’t want this. I want the mini CLI. I want to be able to type in the path on my dialog boxes.
Oh… and they got rid of xmms. Which I have been using to listen to my mp3s. Don’t mess with my xmms. I pulled it down and rebuilt it myself.
The only real pluses are that audio now works “out of the box” without me recompiling the alsa bit, that suspend actually mostly works (just don’t try to wake up the wireless).
What I am thinking is that I will need to rebuild the kernel (they are using the 2.6.24 🙁 ), and replace firefox-3 with the Mozilla compiled version. The problem is that 32 bit firefox is needed for java plugins (remember that fiction of running everywhere? what about a 64 bit browser? Hey, why are they blinking rapidly as if they don’t grasp why anyone would want to do this?). So I have firefox32 installed. Annoying to be honest. It works with Java, but its installation has nuked all of the plugins … I can no longer view some quicktime media.
Well, that last one could be just apple on the ascendence, attempting to become the new Microsoft.
The other issue is that the flash plugins, which are 32 bit plugins, sometimes crash. Yielding large grey boxen on the web pages.
I am starting to think that the who concept of a “plugin” is broken. At least I haven’t seen an implementation that actually works on a consistent basis. We see the same failures in windows.
Overall, I would have difficulty recommending Ubuntu 8.04 LTS as it stands now. It needs *lots* of work to get it to the stability and utility that 7.10 was at. The problem is that the alternatives aren’t better, they are actually somewhat worse. OpenSuSE has gone downhill IMO since 9.3. Redhat is trying hard to convince people to use ancient kernels with backports and specific design changes (4k stacks … JUST SAY NO ).

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS update”

  1. I somewhat agree with you. Ubuntu 8.04 is full of bad stuff. Network-manager is utterly crap.
    Just to point out: XMMS is long-time dead, so I guess that is why they took it out.

  2. @Rafael
    Yeah, xmms is “dead” 1.2.11 released 16-Nov-2007. Yeah, 3 years after .10, but who’s counting 🙂
    At least its not xv
    Seriously, I like the really simple interface. It just works, and doesn’t try to be a juke box. I don’t want a juke box. I want something really simple (like that).

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