Posted on Sunday 22nd of April 2007 at 12:52 in Linux

Review of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04 - final release

I pondered whether it was worth my time reviewing a distro as popular as Ubuntu considering how much it has been dominating Linux news this week. However it would be stupid to continue my documentation of the battle for "most usable Linux" without delving into one of this years biggest releases.

While I'm looking into how I review distros again (to be documented later) I'll continue reviewing to the old standards that I defined in mid-March.


Brief background
Ubuntu is the main contender for my "most usable Linux 2007" title so it's not difficult to understand that while I don't "love" it, I respect it. Ubuntu has always impressed me through how much it's doing to reform the image surrounding the community and how usable it's developers are making it become.

What I'm looking for<;/strong>
All I'm doing is evaluating how easy the distro performs a few basic tasks that I consider fundamental for "normal" use (I'm looking into how I review distros again so this is subject to become more in-depth later). The distro needs to network to my current setup, obtain a media file (normally an episode of Family Guy), play it without issue, allow for full web browsing, offer easy access to common applications. The review must also be written, formatted and published from within the review environment.

Reviewing Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

Network to my current setup
While installation was a fairly slow but simple affair it was the networking that made me sit back, put my hands behind my head and say to my partner "this is VERY impressive". The NTFS R/W driver has been available for some time but I've not seen such a slick and effortless integration than in Feisty. I loaded up the "Places" menu, selected "Connect to server" and from that list I selected "Windows Share".

"Surely they can't have this fully working" I questioned as Ubuntu scoured my network for something to hook onto. Sure enough it located my Windows network "badger" and continued to allow me to browse through all the shared folders. I could even interact with it as you would expect from a Windows machine - executing files directly from their shared location.

ubuntu ntfs

Play a video file
I pulled across an episode of Family Guy and selected to play it. What I was presented with was indicative of the Herd 5 release I reviewed at the end of March. A screen explaining that I didn't have the required codec and whether to authorise searching for a download of the required one.

ubuntu codecs

I was presented with a list of packages (ranked by popularity) and the decision whether to download them or not. After a moment of downloading my selected package the video played without issue. So while 7.04 doesn't manage anything more than was offered in the Herd5 release; it still manages to impress by making video playback about as easy as possible (short of automatically downloading required codecs).

ubuntu codec install

Brief conclusions
I'm not going to go into the depths of reviewing Ubuntu because it doesn't need it. It comes with standard applications such as OpenOffice to allow you to immediately continue your Microsoft Office exploits. Add in the familiar face of Synaptic and the world is your oyster. If you're unfamiliar with what Synaptic is, have a read through my article "Synaptic Package Manager - the best kind of evil". Basically what I'm saying is that it's easy to see where the time has been spent in the development; but if you've played with Edgy then you'll know what to expect for the most part.

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn is a very good release, confidently flying the flag for usable Linux

While Ubuntu isn't my favourite distro around at the moment it's difficult not to respect the amount of thought and hard work that goes into it. It's also not hard to see why it has such a supportive and thriving community behind it.

I think it'd be foolish for new-users to not consider Ubuntu as their first distro because of how comprehensive it's functionality seems to be. I recon Kubuntu is a better place to start but I think the whole KDE/Gnome decision is one best left to personal preference.

So all in all, a good distro but there's superficially little here that wasn't in the Herd5 release I reviewed a while ago. Good work though, this one will be popular.


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