Back to Ubuntu

Well, I’m back to Ubuntu. This is starting to be a common theme: new release of what appears to be a promising distribution appears, download it, install it, play with it, wipe it, reinstall Ubuntu…

I spent a couple of weeks running the then newly-released Fedora Core 5 on almost all of my boxes. Initially, it seemed promising. Having read several reviews of different releases that incorporated Gnome 2.14, I was anxious to play with some of the shiny new stuff. When Ubuntu announced that they were delaying the release of Dapper Drake until June, I felt like I couldn’t wait that long and wasn’t really all that interested in running a pre-release version of Dapper on my boxes. “Probably not stable enough”, I told myself.

Well, I’m back to Ubuntu on all of my boxes. The experiment with FC5 got off to a promising start with a relatively unexciting installation on my Dell laptop. Wireless just worked. So did pretty much everything else I really care about on the box. My dual-boot desktop at work was a different story: something about the way in which grub gets installed on that box just doesn’t work (it seems to have something to do with the presence of 2 IDE hard drives, with Windows XP installed on the first). Clobbered the Windows XP installation so that the box wouldn’t boot either OS. Sigh…

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth, accompanied by promises (subsequently broken) of regular backups of some sort later, I managed to recover all (or at least, I think, all) of my work-related files from the corrupted Windows XP drive. At that point, I decided perhaps I would try that box as just a Linux box, and installed FC5 on the primary drive. That worked and life was good. I even went so far as to drop Ubuntu from my home system and installed FC5 there.

All was good. Time passed. A couple of weeks later, a kernel update on my desktop box at work left it unbootable again. “Enough!”, I told myself.

I pulled down the latest beta of Ubuntu (beta 2, at that point) and installed it, starting with my then-unbootable desktop at work. Slick installation process that has been completely and totally overhauled compared to other versions of Ubuntu. Up and running in less than 20 minutes (followed, of course, by the obligatory download of 200+ MB of software updates that is normal for any pre-release of a distro). It seemed solid enough — and high enough on the cool meter — to give it a shot on my laptop. Same thing: flawless installation, good performance, zero stability problems. After that, I clobbered the FC5 partitions on my home system, and installed Ubuntu there again. I timed the whole process: just under 17 minutes from the time I booted Windows XP to clobber the FC5 partitions until I rebooted under a fully-functional, Internet-connected Ubuntu system from the hard drive. I’m on DSL at home, so the big update took another couple of hours, but that installation process from the live CD image is pretty amazing.

For a pre-release, this system is incredibly stable! Others’ experience may differ, but I have had zero problems. At this point, we are still in the daily update mode of anywhere from 10 to 100 MB of updates each day as we get closer and closer to the real version of it in a couple of weeks. I have absolutely no regrets about jumping back, even though this is just a pre-release. I will probably never leave Ubuntu again…

Yeah, right…

If only Ubuntu would come up with a graphical boot loader as attactive as the one Red Hat and Fedora have…