This will be one more unsigned long long story in my list of long stories here. Please bare with me. I hope you enjoy reading it, or at least know why I have titled this post so.
There is really a reason, a very big reason, rather reasons to call the all new latest and the so called greatest Ubuntu 8.10, Intrepid Ibex as Interesting Ibex. Let us discuss them in detail. Firstly back to the Hardy Heron days. When Hardy Heron just released and while I was downloading it and also during the development cycle of Hardy, I kept on thinking that since Hardy was an LTS, I may not end up in a situation of installing Intrepid since I assumed Hardy to be most stable. Initially 2-3 days after I started using it I was of the same opinion. But things started changing later.
In a couple of days I discovered that Hardy was not as stable as I had imagined. It had its own problem. DVD writing used to take 30-40 minutes with CPU usage jumping to 100%. That meant I could not do anything else in that time. CD writing took around 20 minutes again with 100% CPU. I filed bug reports in Launchpad but in vain. I was fed up. There were some issues with Pidgin. And above all, the audio on Hardy sucked for me. It sucked like Hell. The pulse audio server simply was not as awesome as the Ubuntu community publicized it. I somehow started feeling that Gutsy was good. But still Feisty was the best I had ever used (Though Dapper is considered to be the most stable till date, I don't have much personal experience with it) My friend Kavoor asked me to do a fresh install once, since he had very big problems on first install but a fresh install again made the Heron, Happy Heron for him. But unfortunately I could not do this. I was in the course of Google Summer Of Code, 2008 period and I had no time and patience to do a fresh install. Rather I could not take that risk.
So I thought I will manange and do a fresh install of Intrepid Ibex when it releases. Also in the due course I screwed up my Pulse Audio and had to temporarily install OSS. It worked like a charm. Though it was not running out of the box. So a fresh install became more and more inevitable to me.
Since I was fed up with burning CD/DVDs and moreover I had money :P (Thanks GSoC) I bought a 360 GiB Hard Disk.
My initial experiences with Intrepid Ibex were not good. I mean, I should actually say it was hopeless. Since I had more Hard Disk space now I thought of trying the Alpha 3 release of Intrepid Ibex. Unfortunately it did not install GRUB since I was trying to install it on second hard disk and the installation failed. What the hell? I thought and forgot it. Then I tried Alpha 6 and funniest thing was the LiveCD did not even boot this time. He He He. I laughed to myself and I totally lost interest in Intrepid's development. When the Beta was released I came to know that Intrepid is firing the Ethernet LAN cards. I mean I heard it was damaging the cards physically and I was shocked. I was scared even to try Intrepid now :) But later I came to know that it was a regression in upstream 2.6.27 kernel release and that was fixed. And thank god I said.
Just by the Release Candidate released, we had organized a GNU/Linux Install Fest in our college and I thought of trying it. And we did so. We were definitely shocked in our very first experience. The Intrepid installer has been given a big makeover. The partitioning step looks awesome cool! I don't what to say other than this. Its simply SEXY!!! You will now get a visual image representing your Hard Disk Layout before and after partitioning. This gives even a n00b a clear idea of what is happening. He can himself make sure that nothing wrong happens while partitioning and all his data remains safe. Its simply awesome cool! After that we did not have enough time to experiment with it and we left that day.
Finally the D-Day arrived :D. We are all eagerly waiting for the release. But I realized that I did not have enough bandwidth for the month to download it in the day time. So had to wait for the Free Download hours. I was really really sad and felt like crying. Thats the attachment I have with Ubuntu. This was the first time I had missed the party. From the first release since I started using Ubuntu I would be one among my friends to grab the new release early (may be Kavoor is the only one who beats me in this race at times. Its either me or him always getting it first.). But this time I inevitably waited, started the download at 2AM. Slept off since it was too slow. Morning when I got up, the download was complete. I rebooted in Fedora to write the CD because the problem in Ubuntu. But I realized that it was a problem in that Linux kernel version itself. Same problem again with Fedora. Took 20 minutes to write and then done! I was all set for the reboot!
The Installation procedure was more or less the same as it was in Release Candidate. But one thing I noticed was that the installation process had become too slow. I had read the phronix article which had test results of Feisty Fawn, Gutsy Gibbon, Hardy Heron and Intrepid Ibex. The test called Intrepid the Idling Ibex. But people kept on telling that they won't believe in such tests (even Kavoor told the same to me). But when I saw the way it was installing the Phronix article really made me to frown. I thought this may not be the release I was looking for. The CD-in to CD-out time was more than 45 minutes, with core installtion itself taking well more than 20 minutes. I was sad. Also during the install I tried connecting to Google Talk using Pidgin but failed. I was a bit intimidated, since IRC was working fine. But anyways did a reboot after installation was complete to see how it looks after it installs.
But now I was surprised for 2 things. Firstly my GRUB showed up my Fedora installtion. I had installed Fedora in second Hard Disk and I had pulled my haird to configure grubs either way to show up both Ubuntu on Disk and Fedora on another Disk but with no success. Viola! I can now boot into both Fedora and Intrepid. Hats off to Intrepid's GRUB. The boot time was faster than ever. It was faster than Hardy. I did a reboot again to time it. It takes exactly 29 seconds for the boot consistently. What more can we expect!?!?!? I was really happy. After I logged in, I notice sound worked like a charm this time (Although much more testing is required to jump to any conclusions). Now it was time to test. First I did was I installed few important packages like lvm2 and others and tried Pidgin again but in vain this time too. By this time I was feeling like giving up, but I thought of giving one last try by asking in #ubuntu IRC channel. But later I thought of seeing the advanced options and WTF? Pidgin on Intrepid does not by default take the Connect Server. You need to put it as talk.google.com (which I remembered from Feisty Days) and done I got it working. Sooper cool! I felt.
FireFox seemed to be slow as was other applications. It again reminded me of Idling Ibex. But I later realized that it was the problem of automatically enabled effects. The effects worked like charm, in the sense no issues with the ATI drivers I have. But I don't have a good card so I had to disable it and the whole think worked simply awesome for me. I installed lamp-server from tasksel. I was surprised to see a Tomcat Server. I was struggling to configure it on Hardy Heron. The installations went smooth. I tried Apache, it worked like a charm again. But have to test tomcat yet. Will do it soon.
With this I think I will wind up this post. I think I have lots more to share. But lastly, before I leave you, if you again ask me how I rate Intrepid Ibex, I can only say Above Average not outstanding though at the moment, considering the installation time it took etc. But its not right to conclude so early. I still have to test Pulse Audio, CD/DVD Writing stuff. So more posts to follow. If you ask me how I rate it relatively to other release, I personally feel Feisty Fawn is still rocking. Personally thats my favourite still. But considering the fact that Intrepid is an October release (feature rich rather than stable), at the moment I am happy with it.
I think I have now convinced why Intrepid is interesting. From the days of development cycle its making interesting news and hence I call it ...
-- Yours affectionately