Monday, April 29, 2013
My take on Ubuntu 13.04
Ubuntu 13.04 was released last week, supposedly a polishing release that provides the best Unity experience to date. However, the response to this release from the media has been cold, why so? Raring Ringtail comes two years after Unity was first introduced in Ubuntu 11.04. Back then, and for several releases to come, Unity was a bit of a disaster. Ubuntu took something that most people loved and turned it upside down, many times introducing changes that apparently made no sense or that hinted at a total lack of direction. In my case, Ubuntu 10.10 was the last release I used and have only tested subsequent releases briefly, just to realize, time and again, that Unity was still far from being a proper alternative to other options available in Linux. In a sense, I guess I have to be thankful, because I don´t think I would know KDE, Fedora and other things so well had it not been for Ubuntu messing up. That´s probably something the Ubuntu community didn´t want to achieve when they introduced Unity, though. Ubuntu 13.04 is the first release I have actually installed and have been using for a few days, with quite some positive results, I might add. As with any release just days after it has been made available, there are some bugs that need killing, but the overall experience has been great. Performance is much (MUCH!) improved and so is aesthetics. Ubuntu now offers a much more consistent visual experience, from LightDM to the shutdown and logout dialogs, Wallpapers... almost everything looks and feel like a quality product. There are still areas that need work, like the never ending affair of Ubuntu getting its own (actually decently looking) icon set, pieces around the notification area (there is a bug I and others are suffering from related to CryptKeeper) and what not, but the release as a whole is very solid. Now, why the same media that just months ago criticized Ubuntu for adding nonsense features instead of concentrating on the important stuff are now saying that this is a "Meh", boring release because it adds few new features is beyond me. What the Ubuntu community has done with this release is exactly what we need the most in Linux. We have more features and flexibility than the majority of users will ever care for, yet we lack consistency, many times suffer from less than optimal performance due to half-baked products, fragmentation, too many reinvented wheels, etc. Ubuntu and other projects, like KDE and GNOME, are working very hard to offer viable alternatives to the big names in the business. People want good performing, secure and reliable products that are easy to set up and use. It´s not 1995 anymore, Windows and Mac are completely streamlined and consistent across a number of devices, way more robust and easy to use than they have ever been, and our "Linux has no viruses" line just doesn´t cut it any longer. We need top quality stuff, and while Ubuntu 13.04, GNOME 3.8 and KDE 4.10 are not entirely there yet, they are very good steps in the right direction, and they should be applauded for the efforts they are putting to become mature, fully functional pieces of software. That´s the behavior that should be encouraged, not acting like spoiled children when we don´t get a new toy to play with. We in the user community can greatly influence where the projects we love go, but we have to make it clear by giving clear feedback. As far as I am concerned, Ubuntu 13.04 gets a big thumbs up from me, I hope we get more releases like this in the future! PS: Talking of KDE SC 4.10, Kubuntu 13.04 is an AWESOME release, I recommend it to any KDE fan!