Preliminary Review: Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Alpha 2
The most popular Linux distro at the moment has another release due before too long and this is the Alpha 2 release of it - so whatever judgement I pass here has very little weight over the final release; it should be read as more of a brief investigation into how the project is shaping up. Why is it worth looking at an unfinished release? Because so many people are going to use it when it DOES get release, also the Ubuntu development team are integrating so much cool stuff upon each release that it's worth poking our noses in at every given opportunity.
What new things can we expect?
Well the most exciting news for me is that we should be seeing Compiz Fusion (the window manager that merges both Compiz and Beryl). This should offer quite the torrent of visual delights given the background of it's componants. Xorg 7.3 is looking to support monitors on a plug-and-play basis to greatly simplify the manipulation and setup of mutliple monitor setups. This should mean no more gedit'ing of the Xorg.conf file to get that pesky second monitor to work - this is a big step in the right direction.
The new monitor configuration stuff looks excellent and is a great addition to an already great release - truly good stuff.
What 7.10 Alpha 2 is like
Without going too in depth (which might be foolish given how early the release is) I'm going to evaluate how the system copes with "average" functionality.
Installation and Connecting
Installation was smooth and sexy as I've come to expect from the latest Ubuntu releases - anyone with limbs could manage a textbook Ubuntu install. Connectivity was excellent, allowing me to see my Internet connection without issue as well as access my Samba shares. This allows me to grab any number of media files from my current Windows network to toy with.
Opting to play the episode of "Father Ted" that I'd chosen gives the familiar "find me a codec" screen:
Once you've spent a minute or two downloading the right codecs then the video plays with ease - good stuff.
That's about all I have at this moment in time, to go into it in any further detail might be a bit pointless. Basically we're getting another Ubuntu release which will be good. Version 2.6.22 of the kernel, Gnome 2.20 and KDE 3.5.7 (with the ability to have a few packages from KDE4 RC2). It will be a belter but it goes without saying that Gutsy Gibbon will be a quality release.
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