Trying out Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala beta: dual boot Thinkpad T400

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In my post of yesterday, I tried installing the latest Ubuntu 9.10 beta on a netbook and under VMWare Fusion on an Apple MacBook Pro. The first pretty much worked, while the second did not. Yesterday evening (what do you do on Saturday nights?) I attempted to install the beta in dual boot mode on a Thinkpad T400 laptop that already had a working copy of Ubuntu 9.04. Here are some comments from that experiment:

  • It worked extremely well. I now have a machine with Ubuntus 9.04 and 9.10 beta running side by side.
  • I booted the machine from the USB key on which I had put Ubuntu for my previous installations. I needed to press F12 as the Thinkpad was booting to tell it to start up from the USB key.
  • It asked the usual questions about language and the really first interesting choice came up when I needed to partition the disk. The T400 has a 140Gb hard disk and I was using all of it for Ubuntu 9.04. Well, that’s not quite accurate: while 9.04 had access to the entire disk, only 13.2Gb was used for files. This was for a fully operational configuration with all my work files and a lot of applications installed.
  • I wanted to give each operating system half the disk, so I chose to do the side-by-side installation (dual boot) and moved the slider on the bottom partition widget to be right in the middle.
  • I answered a few more questions, and away it went.
  • When it rebooted, the GRUB 2.0 boot menu was there with the new Ubuntu as the default choice. The various flavors of the previously installed 9.04 were lower in the list. You can change the default boot image, and there are several guides on the webb about how to do this.
  • Once it started, everything looked fine and the new design was very attractive. That said, I changed it to something else because I wanted to get something closer to my comfortable working environment.
  • One thing I did here that I did not do in the previous installations was to check for and install updates. Do this via System > Administration > Update Manager. There were a lot of changed things to be installed, but I expected this with a beta. As it gets closer and closer to release, items that are fixed or added witll show up as updates.
  • I had no problems with Firefox not restarting properly as I did with the netbook.

As I looked at the newly installed Ubuntu I couldn’t help but think that even a couple of years ago, Linux desktops were functional but were somewhat unattractive. Kind of like a coarse and fuzzy Windows XP installation. Now they are sharp looking and show the benefit of years of polish and community input.

I am absolutely comfortable in working in a modern Linux desktop all day long. I know many of you have done this for years, but for those of you who have not, give one of the new Linux desktops a try.

There are many of them listed on DistroWatch, but if you jump over there and scroll down, the most popular ones are toward the top of the page hit rankings. For your convenience, here are the top five listed there:

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One Comment

  1. I would recommend you to use Chrome instead of Firefox,,, there is some PPA in the web… or the development releases that google updates almost every day.

    Advantages:

    . fast startup

    . more polished and non-intrusive interface

    . rational, simple and elegant “web site with auto signed certificate” versus the-worst-GUI-message-in-history 5-clicks-to-go Firefox’s solution (*)

    . one process per tab ( tab isolation )

    . really fast javascript engine

    (*) http://www.gnome.org/~federico/news-2008-08.html#05

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