So on Thursday 17 April when the patriotic amongst were preparing for independence day and the religious for the Good Friday mass-or Judgement night 2- the geek in me waited for official unveiling of the latest offering from Canonical. It came rather late in the night but it was worth the wait. After spending the entire Easter weekend dipping my connoisseur toes in Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) I can say to you my fellow countryman and those from beyond our borders- it is really time you chose Ubuntu. Now this is not one of those Year of the Linux Desktop brouhaha.
The Unity Saga comes to a happy ending(Skip this if you are a newbie)
In my 7 years of using Ubuntu nothing has been as polarizing as the decision by Canonical to make Unity the default Desktop environment in Ubuntu 11.04. I have to admit I was one of the users that was so shocked by the decision I hung on to Lucid Lynx. Unlike most people however I have constantly kept an eye on Unity and it really grew on me in the last LTS; Precise Pangolin. If you were one of those put off by the Unity Desktop I would really encourage you to give Trusty Tahir a try because as a result of the gradual improvements Unity now offers an unparalleled desktop experience. FYI this is not Metro this is the HUD and its intelligence and anticipation of your needs can be quite uncanny; a feat only rivalled by Google’s creepy ads.
- New kernel means new drivers for your devices. Since most of the hardware people use in Zimbabwe is usually mainstream and has been on the market for at least six months the kernel will contain a good number of drivers for the hardware. My Canon iP7240 printer from First Pack was recognized without a problem.
- You can now resize the Ubuntu launcher to fit your needs without having to install Ubuntu Tweak.
- In App menus now available although you have to fiddle with the configuration a bit to enable it.
- Theme changes and other eye candy tweaks.
- A local official mirror from ZOL for your updates and ISO. You don’t even have to do anything, as soon as you click on the download button on the official website you will be redirected to the ZOL mirror directly and when you select Zimbabwe as your country during installation your updates will come from the ZOL mirror which has- rumor has it – local bandwidth in Gps.
- The click to select a text field (I did not say textarea) feature found in Windows would be awesome. I hate having to hit Ctrl+A every time I need to select something.
- The local mirror only has the Ubuntu Desktop and Server images. If you want the other flavours of Ubuntu: Gnome, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Edbuntu, Kubuntu, NetBoot and Kylin you will have to download them from the CdImage server at Ubuntu which can be rather slow.
The other local mirror Ubuntu.org.zw appears to be down or the firewall is just denying my request. The admin hinted that he might be doing some upgrades on it.The Yo! Africa mirror is now up. You can download Trusty Tahr iso here.
- It’s 2014 and you still have to install the Restricted Extras in order to watch movies. When are people at Ubuntu going to learn: Hollywood is never going to adopt Ogg theora as the format of choice just copy mint and ship it with the codecs required to play MP3s and Mpeg movies out of the box otherwise newbies are going to continue to flock to Mint.
Hints for newbies and sages
- If you are so unhappy at the prospect of using free software you pay to receive support from Canonical. This starts at $105 per year for individuals and $320 per year for 5 desktops for businesses.
- Instead of using the normal image to install your operating system and having to install a ton of uploads when you use Ubuntu for the first time, you can download the Daily Images which are always up to date. These can be downloaded from the server here.
- You can opt to use Kingsoft Office instead of Libre office. It the former is good enough for your tablet then surely it is good enough for your desktop. The debian package can be found here. Warning this is a 32 bit image if you are running 64 bit Ubuntu then you will have to install the package ia32-libs first. This can be done by clicking on the link in Ubuntu.
- Chrome is to be prefered to Chromium download the .deb package for your architecture and install it. If the installation fails because of unmet dependencies just fix this by running the command sudo apt-get install -f.
- If you download a lot of stuff from the internet and you are a fan of the Internet Download Manager then you will be well served by using Flareget. I have used the app for three years now and it is unmatched when it comes to providing download acceleration on Ubuntu. You can get the awesome pro version for $23.99 and believe me it is worth every dollar.
- You don’t have to burn the image on a disk before you test or install it. You can get a feel of what your experience will be like by running Ubuntu on a live USB disk. Windows users can find the installer here.
- For testing purposes only you can use the Wubi installer. Just download it here, put it in the same folder with your ISO and preferably in a directory where there is no other ISO.
The Yo!Africa mirror is now up and running. You can download the iso images here.
Enjoy your Freedom with Ubuntu.
If you have any tips hints and tutorials please feel free to include these in the Comment section.