Next really bad bug, and this is more of a feature-request: at the moment, it is downright impossible to burn an Audio CD with Ubuntu. Gnome has a bad history of not having a decent CD Creation program. This issue is almost solved now: creating Data CDs with Nautilus is really simple and works wonderful, burning iso-files is a matter of right-clicking them and selecting "Burn Image". Very cool. But if I want to burn an Audio CD from my mp3-collection, I still have to either use the command-line, install an unsupported CD-burning application from "universe" or boot into Windows. Using the command-line is just not acceptable for a distribution like Ubuntu that features the latest user environment and focuses on ease of use. I have tried some of the CD-burning applications in "universe", but none of them cuts it: eroaster crashes, gcombust looks ugly. I'm left with K3B, which is really fine but beats the purpose of being Gnome-only and also looks ugly in Ubuntu. The solution could be very easy: just let the Nautilus-CD-Burner ask if I want to burn a Data Disc or an Audio CD when I put mp3, ogg or wav-files in it. Or put the Audio-CD-Creation into Rhythmbox (and you all know where I got this idea from...). However, this situation definitely needs to be adressed in Gnome 2.10.
A small annoyance: despite having set the root-filesystem up on an ext3-partition, Ubuntu forces a file-system check at boot time every now and then. The first time I saw that I thought that maybe I just selected ext2 accidentally. That thought freaked my for a second, because I am normally very careful when I do the partitioning. However, I didn't really care because I knew that I would do a clean install as soon as the final Warty was available. Just yesterday, after working with Ubuntu 4.10 final for a week, the partition got checked again. A quick dmesg showed that hda6 definitely is ext3. I don't really mind the checks, but it feels so 2001-ish. Have not had this since Suse 7.2. I didn't find anything on the mailing list. I wonder if this is intentional...
Then there's Multimedia and proprietary plugins. As a good Fedora citizen, I know what to expect (ogg-playback) and what to not expect (mp3, avi and dvd playback, lame-mp3-encoder, flash and java plugin). So I fired up Synaptic and installed gstreamer0.8-mad for Rhythmbox. Solved. "apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree" - here we go! You'll have to add the Debian marillat packages to your /etc/apt/sources.list to get libdvdcss, w32codecs and lame. You can find them, for example, here. But even then, some of my videos didn't work. The solution was to install totem-xine. You'll have to uninstall totem-gstreamer and ubuntu-desktop to do this but since ubuntu-desktop is just a meta-package, removing it does not cause any harm. I have not installed the Java Runtime Environment for now. Well, I guess, I just don't want to go through the hassle of installing it whenever I install a new distribution - I just don't need it anyway.
Oh, yes, and I had to install the German i18n files for OpenOffice.org. I guess that's the downside of having a distribution that comes on a single CD. That would be bad, if I installed Ubuntu for a friend that doesn't have Internet access. On the other hand, I can't recall anyone within my circle of friends who is not online... Plus, I'd need Internet access to set Ubuntu up anyway, so it's just one more package to download...
All in all, Ubuntu will be a strong competitor for Fedora Core on my desktop. I will definitely install Fedory Core 3 in November, just to see what it has to offer. And then I will make a strategical decision. The differences will be subtle: an ocean of Debian packages vs. freshrpms.net, Redhat System Utilities vs. the brand-new Gnome System Utilities (which are very good in my opinion), Human vs. Bluecurve. Ubuntu has good cards to become my Linux distribution of choice. By all means, it's good to have a worthwhile competitor for Fedora in the Gnome arena. Kudos to Mark Shuttleworth and his gang of hackers!
About the Author:
Christian Paratschek is a very happy person at the moment since he finally managed to finish his studies after a decade (wow, I never realized that it was THAT long). His next plan is to annoy and bore as many osnews.com readers as often as he gets the chance to... Other articles can be viewed here.
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