The Dapperness of the Drake 5

This was originally going to be a response to a comment on my last post but it got a bit long.

I’ve been using Ubuntu Dapper Drake since Febuary and often forget about the improvements I noticed upon first upgrading. For me, Nautilus has finally become a pleasure to use instead of the pain it used to be. Although not in the default install, NetworkManager is my absolute favorite improvement. Even my wife can now connect to almost any network. The infrastructure for updates and adding/removing software is a huge step forward for linux distros. And last, but not least, the documention is light-years ahead of Breezy. I applaud the documentation and localization teams.

Some of the smallest things are also what makes Dapper such a pleasure to use. For example, my laptop’s (Thinkpad T43) volume keys finally change the master volume and not just the PCM volume. Also I now get an on-screen indication of the change. The menu layout is also much improved.

Even with all the wonderful improvements, there are still so many things to refine and many things that are still semi-broken. One of the more questionable choices in my view is making the live cd the recommended install path. I’ve tried this a couple times on machines with 256mb of RAM and it hung everytime. Even on the machines with plenty of RAM I found myself fighting with the partitioner. Both of these issues have been quite a lot of attention in Malone (The Ubuntu Bug Tracker). For me the “text-based” install is extremely easy to use and works flawlessly. I’d like the idea of have an atttactive introduction before the actuall install but not at the expense of causing a large portion of potential users the headaches that will prosumably come from the live cd.

Overall Ubuntu is hands down the best distro for the largest audience. Not only because it is currently the most user-friendly distro but because the communty (users and developers) that surrounds it is rapidly growing AND dedicated to continuing this tradition.

PS: For anyone interested in getting started with Ubuntu, Linux or open-source software, please don’t be afraid to ask questions to me directly. To start, go to to get a feel of what ubuntu is.

5 thoughts on “The Dapperness of the Drake

  1. Reply Sam Jun 5, 2006 14:36

    I also had loads of problems with the LiveCD graphical to work with a version I downloaded around a month ago. However, I tried downloading a LiveCD again about a week ago, and it worked on two different machines without a hitch. I actually think it was quite slick when it finally worked; particularly the idea of letting the user continue to use the internet, check email, etc. while it was installing. I still think it’s a little odd that with all the focus on polish in Dapper that they didn’t create a standalone (non-LiveCD) graphical installer as well. I know it’s not really a priority, but it would add to the experience for people who are testing the water.

  2. Reply Chris Jun 5, 2006 19:06

    Ok, maybe I should look at the Live CD intaller again. It was about a month ago that I tried it.

  3. Reply Marc Jun 8, 2006 09:17

    Ubuntu is great and Dapper Drake makes it even better!

    I upgraded to Dapper and was pleasantly surprised to find that my system is much more responsive than with Breezy. Firefox seems especially snappier. I really like the new GNOME deskbar applet too.

    Quite an impressive distro.

  4. Reply alex Jun 22, 2006 01:20

    hehe, i’m having trouble getting my thinkpad volume keys to work, the whole fn key stuff just won’t work. but fixing problems is what makes it worth…

  5. Reply Chris Jun 22, 2006 10:06

    Which thinkpad do you have? I know that on a T43 and T21 the buttons work fine. There are also some thinkpad specific packages that may help you. Do a search for thinkpad in Synaptic.

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