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Ubuntu Linux--Would You Like Some Community With That? - page 3

Looking at Ubuntu

  • February 3, 2005
  • By Bill von Hagen

As stated earlier, a primary goal of the Ubuntu project is to provide a more accessible, up-to-date version of Debian Linux than the Debian project. In general, no one who installs Ubuntu and is searching for up-to-date versions of their favorite software packages will be significantly disappointed. The following table shows the versions of some of the most popular GNU/Linux software packages found in the current (Warty) and upcoming (Hoary) Ubuntu releases. For those new to Linux, this tables lists the versions of the Evolution mail client, the binutils, GCC, GDB, and Glibc packages for compilation and debugging, the GNOME desktop system and its graphical underpinnings in the X Window System, the Perl, Python, and Ruby scripting languages, the Open Office desktop office software package, the Linux kernel itself, and the Synaptic graphical package management system.

PackageUbuntu 4.10 (Warty)Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary)
binutils2.14.902.15-5
Evolution2.0.22.1.3.2
Firefox0.9.31.0
GCC3.3.43.3.5
GDB6.1-36.3-5
GIMP2.0.22.2
Glibc2.3.22.3.2
GNOME2.8.12.9.4
Kernel2.6.8.12.6.10
Open Office1.1.21.1.3
Perl5.8.45.8.4-5
Python2.3.4-22.4
Ruby1.81.8
Synaptic0.53.40.56
X Window SystemXFree86 4.3.0X.org 6.8.1

Because this review discusses a live CD pre-release of Hoary, the full Hoary release will no doubt include slightly updated versions of some of these packages.

As you can see, Ubuntu's Warty and Hoary releases are generally quite similar, and feature a default desktop configuration. Figure 4 shows Warty's default desktop with a few open applications. Figure 5 shows Hoary's default desktop (from the Live CD pre-release) with other sample applications.

As you can see from these figures, Ubuntu offers a nice look and feel for GNOME fans. KDE fanciers will no doubt be disappointed, but independents who aren't registered with the GNOME or KDE parties will find an eminently usable and attractive desktop. The primary difference between the two is that the Hoary desktop uses the new GNOME menu defaults that will be used in GNOME 2.10, which (among other things) have broken the contents of the old Computer menu into two menus: Places (which deals with access to folders, devices, and so on) and Desktop (which deals with general desktop-related tasks such as administration, setting preferences, locking the screen, logging out, and so on). IMHO, the new GNOME menu organization in Hoary is an improvement to the older GNOME organization used by Warty. YMMV. Flames cheerfully ignored.

With the new version of GNOME used Hoary comes the traditional slew of GNOME application updates and some new GNOME applications. Most notable among these are the GNOME update manager, customized in Ubuntu as the Ubuntu Update Manager, and a parallel daemon, the the Ubuntu Update Notifier. The latter watches your repositories and lets you know when updates are available, while the former is an even friendlier front end to Synaptic. Figure 6 shows the version of the GNOME Update Manager currently available as an update for Hoary from the hoary repositories (update-manager and update-notifier, respectively).

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