Gibbon may be good but only in the wild; not on my box


Posted by SV on November 15, 2007

I had read some very good reviews about the latest release of Ubuntu-Ubuntu 7.10 aka Gutsy Gibbon. This review is not an expert comment by a geek about its performance, but feelings of an ordinary user. Performance-wise, all the applications – office applications, browser, mail client, chat client, image viewer, etc… all seemed normal. Let me summarize in the beginning itself that I disliked Gibbon for reasons that are very personal.

I’ve a very modest pc and a 256kbps connection. For most westerners/Americans it may be nothing. I’ve read them talking about speeds in Mbps/Gbps(?!). Here in India and the place I stay, 256kbps is pretty good speed. Anyway I was impatient to use Gibbon so thought of downloading instead of ordering free cd or purchasing it. It took about 10hours -( I then checked the md5sum to make sure the file is not corrupt and burnt the iso (in terminal using cdrecord. Its a nice geeky feeling you know -) ).

Once my install cum live cd was ready I booted through it and once I was in the desktop tried to move around. Found the layouts to be similar to Fedora except the colour-scheme and icons! It could be the feature of new GNOME. Then I clicked on the installer and it started to ask the regular questions. I choose the manual partition and continued to install. The first time however the installer got stuck. The busy curson icon kept rotating for a long time. I dont know if it takes that much time or it really got stuck as I thought. Anyway I restarted the installer and this time it went smoothly. It started copying files and then came the two most irritating parts.

First, it automatically started updating the apt by ’scanning the mirror…’ . It took hell lot of time. Why the f**k should it update apt while installing. It could very well do it afterwards. What if I had a 56k modem connection. I had no Idea it would to it otherwise would have disconnected the wire. No information, no choice -(

Second, it automatically installed grub on MBR. Why? Why do you assume that people only run Windows and its ok to install grub provided you make it dual-boot? Again where is the choice? I have Debian as my main OS and want Debian to run its grub. Well I’m not an expert and probably it doesnot matter what os runs grub. But _still_ I prefer Debian to take care of bootloading. Its for the same reason I hated Mandriva installation.

In both the cases why are they trying to be over-smart? They can give choices and tell the novice users what is the defaults are and ask them to stick to defaults if they get confused. Do they think users are idiots? As I type this I remember Linus’ comment on GNOME. He while asking people to prefer KDE to GNOME said if one thinks that users are idiots only idiots will use their products.

Ok, it finally finished installing (took 40m) and then I rebooted the system. Dont know what went wrong the boot menu was a trash. There was 4 repeated entries of Slackware, 2 of Fedora, no mention of Debian, CentOS! I restarted the system with my Debian DVD and reinstalled the grub. Then booted into Ubuntu.

Once inside, it was pain to see all my partitions auto mounted. Why do you auto mount all the partitions? Mount windows drives if you want (except the c drive which users can f**k up by mistake now that Ubuntu supports ntfs write).

By default, in Gibbon all the partitions are mounted in /media. May be others too do the same. But I’m kind of fuzzy about this. Ideally I want only the removable media(floppy, cds, pendrives) to be mounted on /media and all the harddisk partitions to be mounted on /mnt. I edited my fstab but it doesnot seem to work. Still all the drives are auto mounted. May be there is some tweaking which I dont know.

Now regarding performance, I found nothing very special to mention. All the applications – office applications, browser, mail client, chat client, image viewer, etc… all seemed normal. As I said except for the colour-scheme and icon graphics, it seemed similar to Fedora desktop. They may be just the updated versions with security fixes and optimised for the new kernel/GNOME etc… In that sense, ya it sure ‘just works’. As for music playback, there is one thing to note, the choice to install ‘ugly’ codecs to play mp3, mpeg, divx etc… some choice at last!

Last but not the least I dislike about Ubuntu is their too much talk about humanity. Sir, its good that you have such high ideals but why tomtom it. That Mandela speeches, brown colour themes, ‘linux for human beings’ stuff… Why over do things? Too much of anything is too bad. Look at Fedora. They dont talk much. Though their products are not the best all the time they dont irritate me by their touchy-touchy ideals. Have ‘freedom’ as your ideal and then shut-up and do your work.

If my vote counts I would give only 2 out of 5 to Gibbon. This release will not be my default desktop OS. Of all the releases of this year, Fedora has no competition-atleast on my personal computer! D


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