It’s been 2 weeks since I installed Karmic Koala, the latest version of Ubuntu. After having to use Windows Vista and Mac Leopard, here are some of my reviews and opinions on Karmic Koala:
INSTALLATION – 7/10:
- Installation is easy. It has the graphical interface to prompt user at every step of the way. You can either install within your existing Windows partition or install Karmic in its own partition.
- The most embarassing problem you’ll encounter in Ubuntu is lack of device drivers. This is due to lack of support from hardware manufacturers to write drivers for Linux. But once you got the device drivers right, everything else will be better. Luckily, on my VAIO VGN-SR35G, only the internal mic was not supported.
- Installing applications is quite easy as well. There is a “Synaptics package manager” that takes care of listing, installing and updating your application… provided there is one available for Linux.
PERFORMANCE – 10/10:
- The speed and response time of Karmic is lightning fast. Opening applications is as fast as blink of an eye. Compared to Vista, Karmic wins by 10,000 miles. Compared to Leopard, Karmic still wins by a few miles.
- Startup and shutdown time is amazing. I’ve compared start-up time with Vista and Leopard side-by-side, and Karmic is faster by 10 – 30 secs.
USABILITY – 9/10:
- Interestingly, I find the organization of files and programs of Karmic better than Mac’s OS. Documents are easy to find using the “Places” menu. Programs are automatically organized into groups within the “Application” menu. The toolbars are easy to configure as well.
- There is no clutter in your desktop because programs can be dragged into various “spaces”. So, you can easily switch from your “office space” to “media space” easily.
- The visual effects are astonishing. In Compiz, you can use the burn effect when closing your window and even 3D cube effects upon switching workspace.
APPLICATIONS – 6/10:
- Despite lack of commercial software for Linux, I find most of my daily needs supported in Ubuntu. Open office is acceptable in 90% of the time.
- Eclipse, MySQL, Tomcat and other Java development tools are well supported.
- Installing Eclipse is a bit tricky. There are a couple of reported bugs if you are installing from the tar.gz file while the Synaptics package manager supports only core Eclipse modules. My solution is to install Eclipse via Synaptics and override the plug-ins with the files from the J2EE version of Eclipse.
RELIABILITY / SECURITY – 10/10:
- We all know that Linux security is topnotch. Thanks Mr. Torwalds!
- If your devices are supported, expect the best reliability of your applications.
Unfortunately, not all users have the patience and experience to setup an Operating System. But for the lucky ones, Karmic Koala is a great operating system… For me, its better than Mac Leopard and Windows Vista. If computer manufacturers would adopt to supporting Ubuntu on their hardware, this could certainly change the perspective in computing. With my recent experience, I think we can move our organization closer towards adopting a full open-source system on our software development needs.