Over the past couple of years, Ubuntu has matured into one of the most stable, universally liked Linux destros. Previous versions have enjoyed a lot of popularity, in part thanks to ease of use, regular support from the developer, and easy configuration.
This popular OS recently got an update to version 8.10, codenamed 'Intrepid Ibex'. After putting it through its paces for a longish period of two weeks – resulting in some inevitable flak from my editor(s) for the delay – here's my take on the new release.
Ubuntu, like other Linux distributions, offers a variety of options for installing the OS without too much fuss. There are the standard 32-bit/64-bit installers, the live desktop CD, the server edition, and with the introduction of 8.10, a 'Netbook' version. We selected the 64-bit version, downloaded it off the canonical FTP, burnt it on to a disc and were all set to go.
We chose to install it on an AMD Athlon X2 machine with 2GB of RAM, 160GB HDD, Nvidia 8600-series card and 24-inch monitor. Barring the monitor, this is a very ho-hum system specification, and given the very low requirement of the OS, a perfect machine for our test.
The installation procedure was flawless. We booted off the CD, started the install process, and used the guided wizard to allow the OS to do its thing. Mind you, while we installed it on a completely formatted machine, the installer is quite open-ended and for power users offers a large variety of options to customize the install.
This availability of choices comes as a very welcome move. For example, if you're a Windows user who would rather not disturb your current OS, there's an option to install a demo that will allow you to experience the OS without a problem.
The Windows-based installer also allows you to completely replace your current OS, partition etc without fuss. The GUI is on par with anything Microsoft offers. Not only does it look slick, it’s very functional in the way install options are grouped. It also offers step-by-step installation instructions for first-time users.
The install process in our case took around 40 minutes. Since I had performed a guided install, all I had to do in the end was give the installer a machine name, create a user for standard login, and restart. (story Link)