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"Today's release of Ubuntu 13.04 on the desktop brings a host of performance and quality improvements making it the fastest and most visually polished Ubuntu experience to date. Performance on lightweight systems was a core focus for this cycle, as a prelude to Ubuntu's release on a range of mobile form factors. As a result 13.04 delivers significantly faster response times in casual use, and a reduced memory footprint that benefits all users. This release also illustrates Ubuntu's ongoing commitment to quality and dependability. 'Our kaizen approach to development as well as community engagement result in a high quality alternative for people worldwide,' commented Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical."
Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 3
A year after it first appeared, Ubuntu still has the bug of not defaulting to a VESA driver if the live session can’t support your video chip. If you get a lockup with a flashing screen, you will need to re-boot, press F6 and Esc, and add ‘xforcevesa’ to the boot command. Why can’t Canonical either remove the bug (simple enough) or document the solution? But if this happens to you, it probably makes more sense to get a different distro, because the Unity desktop with VESA will run like a wounded snail. Can it be configured to improve things? Your guess is as good as mine.
If you have an expensive modern computer which you bought for the taxing tasks of web browsing and tweeting, you’ll probably call Ubuntu ‘cool’. If you keep perfectly good computers in service or use your machines for professional tasks, you’ll think it rubbish.
Incidentally some of us are put off Microsoft by their track record of dishonest business practices. Is Canonical, which ships spyware and uses a tax haven, any better?
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9
Unity, stability, overall polish
Having to switch off the Amazon thing
Context: This is a desktop review. I want my operating system to 'just work'. I do not enjoy wasting hours (or days) of my life chasing down stuff that doesn't work.
I run 9 workspaces and I prefer the way Unity displays them, the tools it provides to switch between them, and to move things from one desktop to another. 12.10 made improvements in this area, and 13.04 has made a few more.
Unity Tweak Tool should be included with the download as it's just so damn handy. Definitely grab this from the software centre.
Ubuntu say 13.04 is faster. I haven't noticed any difference in speed but I'm running a very powerful machine with SSDs and lots and lots and lots of RAM - so even Ubuntu 12.04 was fast for me.
Overall it's the polish of Ubuntu 13.04 that appeals to me. I run several distros (including the much applauded Mint/Cinnamon combo), and none manage to pull off the finish of U13.04. The others feel and look old fashioned in my view.
I've had to reboot a couple of times, when the software updater has made changes that required it. I haven't had to reboot because something crashed. For me, U13.04 has been more stable than 12.10, which in turn was more stable that 12.04 LTS (which shouldn't be the case but that's how I've found it).
Everything just worked after install. I did have to install the compatibility pack to get access to Windows fonts (need `em for work).
I'm running the following software, all of which work very well indeed: Gimp (2.8), Shutter, Darktable, Agave, Inkscape, Krita, Filezilla, Libre Office (4), Virtualbox (4.2.12), Chromium, Opera, Firefox, Thunderbird, various text editors, Dropbox and the HP app thingy that manages my printer and tells me to mortgage my house and sell my children so I can buy more ink cartridges.
I have tethered my iPhone to my PC and currently use it to connect to the web as landline, cable and fibre are currently not available to me :-(. On doing so I discovered I could access my iPhone in much the same way I would any other USB storage device. I was able to drag my music (including music purchased from iTunes) to my PC and play it through Rhythmbox. Unfortunately Rhythmbox doesn't pick up the metadata for iTunes songs/albums. As I generally put it in shuffle mode and let it surprise me :-) this doesn't bother me too much. There is probably some clever way to convert the metadata to something Rhythmbox can use, but it's not important enough for me to bother with.
The search (heads up display?) box seems to have acquired a cut-down version of Google's ability to realise what I'm trying to type instead of what I actually did. It's not in the same league as Google, but it's a start and I hope they develop this further. Even so, it's pretty clever. Type 'tool' and you'll get obvious apps such as the Unity Tweak Tool. But you'll also get HP Device Manager, which is obvious to you and I but less so to a machine.
All things considered, Ubuntu 13.04 is my current favourite among all the ditros I've tried and/or run.