Having been a long time user of Ubuntu, before moving over to Arch Linux, I thought I’ll give Ubuntu 16.10 a whirl. I have my interests vested in the development, even though I have not followed on with the last couple of releases.
My interest is ofcourse on the development of Unity 8, which has been in development for some time and is now, finally available for preview in 16.10. The reason I give 16.10 a go is because Unit8 is available finally for users who been longing to have a look and also becase I have no way of testing it out natively on Arch Linux (or no way that I know of atleast)
Having prepared my partitions before hand, I thought the installation process would be easy. It should have been, and undoubtedly for most users it would be, but once I got the ISO on a pendrive and booted into it, I found out something that would haunt my experience event after installation: my wifi mouse was not working. So at this point I thought I would just go on, get the missing firmware later. I’m comfortable enough to work without mouse now, and even though the installation included manual setup of partitions (to share the home and swap partitions from Arch setup), it was manageable. I did notice that the whole installation took a long time (roughly 30 minutes), which wasn’t the case for previous experiences. After installation, like a good computer user, I had to make sure all other OSs were still playing along well. It wasn’t and I had to fix that up by reinstalling GRUB from inside Arch, but I’m not going to go over those, because I’m fairly certain that Ubuntu is not at fault for that. Of note however is that Grub from the Ubuntu install didn’t pick up the Windows installation, which for me is a trivial matter. Running update-grub command from inside Ubuntu fixed that anyway.
Booting up, I noticed that the mouse was still not working. Still ok though. First thing first. Unity 8 preview session! I switched to it and logged in and… nothing. Which was expected, as I had an NVidia GTX 1080, which I assumed wouldn’t have worked. Oh well… guess I’ll have to wait longer for that. Moving on.
As I played around inside Unity 7, which hasn’t changed much from the previous releases, I noticed that the mouse cursor (stuck to the upper left corner of all the screenshots) was registering clicks. At first I thought that it was registering clicks at the same position, but then I noticed that it was registering clicks at different location, but the cursor was stuck to the same position. So essentialy, the mouse works but I had no idea where I was clicking. No software updates were available, so I assume this is some bug or a kernel thing.
The biggest visual update is nautilus, seen above. It looks a bit out of place though. The lone ‘Files’ text right below the title bar seems quite useless to me. I thought this is because it’s a patched Gnome app, so I checked out Gedit, which had no such text.
I checked out some other apps, namely software center and Libreoffice Writer, both of which works well. I liked the speed of the interface and apps, things open and close quite fast. I remember when Unity 7 was sluggish and slow, that is no longer the case.
It’s still the same old unity era Ubuntu. Personally, I still prefer Arch, but Arch is an acquired taste, whereelse Ubuntu is more up and running distribution marketed for the everyday computer user. But evaluating this release without any comparisions, there are things that need to be fixed. For instance…
I was not able to install the propietary drivers for my graphics card. Trying to do so results in the dialogues that is burnt into my memory now.
And these just kept popping up everywhere, all the time. Didn’t help with the overall experience. I guess these are still early days, and things needs to be fixed in the code. A point release (I’m not sure if non-LTS releases have those) should clear things up a bit.
The good things? Unity 7, even in its dying breath, is now super responsive. No lag time for opening and closing the launcer or the HUD. I had a good time with HUD, given that I had no mouse functionality. The core apps all open and close quickly.
Getting Unity 8 running now for a lot of users should be a priority for Canonical, and I’m keenly waiting to try it out.
A dark wallpaper consisting of puzzle pieces
Wallpaper inspired by the old and new colors of Ubuntu and the Pointillism style of artwork. Stress relieving work 😀
A linux themed wallpaper
A wallpaper showing symbols of releases for Ubuntu.
A wallpaper depicting the progress of default wallpapers in Ubuntu