I upgraded my laptop to the latest Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon a few days ago only to be greeted with an additional feel of polish and goodness. Read more for our mini preview.First of all, let me start by saying that lately bug reports seem to be resolved at a faster pace. Most of the bugs I filed back in March/April, are resolved. This is a great point for the Canonical guys and the community. They fixed the ethernet timeout after a laptop sleep, the laptop brightness applet support, the Bluetooth initialization bug, etc etc. I couldn’t be happier with these fixes.
As far as new features go, you will find there everything that comes with Gnome 2.20, the nice Tracker tool for indexed searches (feels faster and lighter than Beagle), a brand new Bluetooth panel that supports several profiles, a better Compiz, a dual screen setup utility, and voila! After having several reviewers whining about it, laptop trackpad properties in the mouse panel! However, what strikes you the most is the amount of polish that has been going on in the last few months on the existing tools. Everything just feels more professional, more stable, more good looking, heck, even more HIG-compliant. I like what I see and I hope more people take notice too.
Of course, being the infamous pessimistic perfectionist that I am, I can always find some flaws: from the two remaining bugs (“Places” has duplicated entries, and Clearlooks crashing for me after the latest updates), and the refusal of the Ubuntu team to provide an FFMPEG build with AAC support, kinda spoils it for me. Videography is my main hobby lately, and so I need FFMPEG to be able to produce h.264 .mp4 files with AAC support for my PSP, iPhone, iPod, XBox360, AppleTV and PS3. But no luck so far trying to talk some sense to them. To maintain a modern OS today, you need codec support, and if you can’t get these legally, well, license them. I just find it ironic that they would offer codec support for Totem and other media players (including AAC codec support), but they won’t recompile FFMPEG with AAC support, or create a second package that has that much needed AAC support.
Also, I would have prefered Ubuntu to move to Vera fonts with “medium” hinting by default, Tango icons and Clearlooks rather than trying to differentiate itself with this orange-looking feel that’s a worse alternative than the Gnome defaults. Something to think about…
Nevertheless, I think most users will like what they see and get in Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10. It’s by no means a revolutionary step forward, but a respectable evolutionary step. It even makes me feel that the Linux desktop big break started particularly this year, with the Feisty and Gutsy releases.
If only there was a A/V Gaim version that worked, and a port of Sony Vegas (no, there is no video editing app on Linux that does things *as well and as stable* as most Windows/Mac NLEs do it, so please don’t suggest to me your favorite Linux video editing app — I tried them ALL).
Anyways, thumbs up!