According to Brian Lunduke, Ubuntu 9.10 is almost perfect, and I concur.
Being a bit of a purist, I ran Debian for very many years but found their stable releases lagging behind far too much. This was largely due to their perfectly understandable view of it being ready only when it is right.
For a while, I ran their unstable distribution called Sid, based on the disturbed, hyperactive 10 year old boy in the film Toy Story. The idea being that Sid breaks things, and it certainly did. While it taught me a heck of a lot about linux (and the terminal), my computer was broken on a very regular basis.
I switched down to the testing version and that helped ease the pain to a very large extent. I had always thought that Debian with a more regular and shorter release cycle would make a world of difference. Clearly, Canonical had the same idea.
Thus Ubuntu was born and it has grown from strength to strength. Its latest distribution of 9.10 codename karmic koala released October 2009, is a massive step forward.
Stephen, the head of krayatec was so impressed by the new release that he conducted an experiment. He asked three people in the office who are not tech savvy to install and try out the new release. My view was that it was still too early for such kind of an adoption. I felt that pushing people to try it out at this stage would damage the reputation of the user friendliness of Linux rather than help it.
I must admit that I was proven wrong. All of the installations went smoothly and it was possible to log in and do the things that they wanted to do.
Do they now use Linux instead of Windows – No! There is still a learning curve and with tight deadlines and little time for re-learning how to navigate around a computer, it remains an experiment.
However, it does answer one question. Can a user who is not tech-savvy, pick up a CD/DVD of the latest version of Ubuntu and run with it? The answer, from this very tiny experiment is a resounding Yes!
As someone who is technically very demanding, I have very few complaints about the latest version. The only one is that it still looks largely the same as the previous version. Then, the release is a collection of tools, so this is understandable.
My three favourite things about the new release are:
- substantially faster bootup times
- Empathy (particular for people-nearby which works great in the office)
- Cloud (Client & Server)
In my opinion, this is the beginning of the end. Linux, has finally taken a leap that shows its potential to change everything… I would wish it luck, but it looks like it doesn’t need it 😉
Why not download a live cd and try it out?