Geek; Programmer; Pythonista; FOSS enthusiast, evangelist and contributor; Melange developer; opinionated about programming languages; crazy about cars and air-planes; choosy in watching movies; loves Bangalore, San Francisco and Southern California; and most importantly addicted to coffee!
Madhusudan C.S.
map (thoughts) => words;   reduce (words) => this;
April 23, 2009, 5 a.m.
Ubuntu

I have rare feeling that I am always second time lucky. And this time it seems like even Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope wants to prove that :)

I started with the torrent, the download did not start because of the error in the torrent, I had to download the torrent again and start for the second time. I burnt the iso into the CD and did boot into Jaunty Jackalope(JJ or Jaunty henceforth) to only see that my Desktop was blank except the top and bottom GNOME bars.
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So I thought there was some mistake and did a reboot, to realize that JJ has the funniest bug ever. Live CD has shipped with nautilus that does a segmentation fault. The consequence of this being not able to see any icons of Desktop, being restricted to use only terminal for all navigation purposes, no desktop background(totally blank like a black hole). LoL! It was fun.
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Oh I also forgot to say that, the splash screen has been changed, the progress bar's thickness has been reduced. But TBH, I personally did not like the splash screen.

I started out the install menu from System->Admin->Install this time, since I had no access to Install icon on Desktop. Somehow the installer started and closed, I don't know the reason yet. I started again. It seemed fine this time. Installer has been improved a lot. I really liked it. All credits to Ubuntu team. The installation just got much more easier and better(It was already easy). The TimeZone selection is brilliant this time around. You just click on your place on the map, it automatically selects the nearest timezone. You really need to experience this, rather than reading it here.

The partition selection step is a bit messed up. I did not like it at all. I was looking as to where the Manually Partition was placed on the dialogue. But overall looks with graphical layout of partition is good. After I selected manual partitioning, I just noticed remembered that ext4 was added. Thank god, I remembered at that moment, otherwise I would have really repented for not having upgraded to ext4 for next months :P
Partition setupImageHost.org

Partition table showing ext4
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From here on installation looked almost like a breeze, there were not much changes. When installation reached 82% everything went dead. It started pulling out indexes from Ubuntu servers, it was not even a couple of hours after the release. So you know how jammed out the servers will be. It took almost 40 minutes to update the indexes (just 12-14 MiB) :(. Afterwards there were no other problems. Also I clocked CD-in to CD-out time. It is sharp 1 hr 19 secs. Excluding those 40 mins wasted for update you can safely consider it as 20 minutes. The LiveCD boot time has been reduced a lot. It is under 2 mins. To be precise, it was 1 min, 45 secs on my stop watch.

I did a reboot, to only know that, GRUB failed. It failed miserably with an error 15 message. WTF!?!?!? I could not believe my eyes. I started all the muttering and ranting at Ubuntu developers. I sent out messages to my friends not to try Jaunty(LoL!). I thought of trying my luck for the second time with the live CD. I realized there were some issues with booting into ext4 from grub 1. Now I really started feeling, I should have proceeded with ext3. To for sake of trying. I Googled a lot for this issue, but could not find anything relevant. I started the terminal and just tried re-installing the grub. WTH, I realized it was totally my mistake. I have 2 HDDs and I had given the wrong HDD as the setup path for grub during first install. Anyways I am second time lucky. After the reboot, grub worked fine.

And now came the real "WoW!" thingie. The boot time of Jaunty is lightning fast. Developers have really kept up their promises. You really won't have time to see the splash screen(may be that explains why it is not so good? ;-) ). I clocked the speed. From POST to GDM login screen it is 35.6 secs. From GRUB to GDM screen it is flat 27.8s. Wow!!! I really cannot believe this still. Though it was benchmarked to be 21secs, 27.8s is still fast for me.

After the boot, I just got a glimpse of few important tools I was looking forward to. The changes seem really simple but are subtle. Jaunty has shipped with Mozilla Firefox 3.0.8 (Canonical's off shoot of Firefox upstream project). It has some really noticeable changes, like when I click on the GMail status message box it expands. This is really convenient among others.
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Pidgin 2.5.5 seems good. It has been integrated into the Desktop Universal notification system with few plugins enabled by default. Some are really helpful, like notifying about the new IM/IRC messages you get. But few things were irritating too, like showing sign in/out for every user. I disabled this one. And also, Ubuntu has kept up its mess of creating GTalk account. The talk server is not taken by default.
You have to goto Advanced settings for GMAIL account and set talk server as talk.google.com. Everything else seems good.
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Also I got irritated by one another change. The Quit and Log out options have been completely taken out from the System menu. I was very much used to this. There is only one way now, you have to reach the right top corner of the screen to shut down/log out.

I tried Open Office 3.0. I was really looked forward for this one. It looks good on the whole, but I could not take a look at the features in detail. I also could not get the most hyped import PDF as a document feature working. It is a bit sad. But I will have to Google a bit about this I think before talking more.

And how can I forget Python? LoL! But this one really upset me. Jaunty ships with Python 2.6 as default. This has a lot of problems. There are many packages which still run on Python 2.5 only. For example, Google App Engine SDK runs of 2.5 only. There is no support for Python 2.6 yet. It breaks like hell. With me being selected for Melange, which runs on App Engine, for this year's Google Summer of Code, this came like a big shock. I badly wanted to run Python 2.5 as default. I did a bit of research, asked in #ubuntu and finally install Python 2.5 and set is as default. Thanks to Debian's update-alternative manager. It is brilliant. It helped me to set Python 2.5 as default.

I still haven't understood the implications of this work around. People on #ubuntu told me that, many of the maintainance scripts and programs on Ubuntu have Python 2.6 as the dependency and setting 2.5 as default may break the system itself as a whole. I haven't experienced anything as such till now. I really really pray that won't happen.

And finally I cannot close this post without talking about the artwork. The design, icons, desktop wallpapers and themes are really awesome!!! Brilliant I must say. There are two new wallpapers. Three new black themes. The GDM login screen theme is simply awesome!!! The artwork seriously steals the show this time. Seems like Ubuntu team has got this one right for the first time! Also the all new notification system is really worth all the hype it created. It truly deserves it.

I must conclude this review saying that, Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope is worth a try, just for the artwork and the speed itself! Please give a try!

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