Today, version 7.04 (“Feisty Fawn”) of Ubuntu Linux was released. Yay! Earlier this week I installed the Feisty beta release, and rediscovered Linux happiness.
I first started using Linux at home in the mid/late 90s, installing Redhat Linux 4 on a second-hand PC. I faithfully followed the Redhat releases, installing Redhat 6 on a new PC, and eventually upgrading to Redhat 9. Then, Redhat went all “enterprise”, and stopped their free package update management service. My old Redhat 9 box slowly became impossible to maintain. Maybe Redhat thought focussing on the enterprise was good for them – and maybe it did help their stock price for a while. At the time there was no credible transition (e.g. to Fedora), and so as a home user I just felt abandoned. Now I think Redhat’s getting what’s coming to them.
To successfully install Redhat 4, I had to host a private “installation party”, and buy pizzas for the Linux geeks who came around to mess around with OS configuration files on the command line. For a while I thought my Feisty beta installation experience was going to be similar. The desktop install stopped half-way through (ubiquity crashed), and then the alternate install managed to corrupt my software RAID configuration before failing. But finally the alternate installation worked without software RAID. Afterwards I was left in 800×600 screen resolution for a while, until I discovered some advice on the net about using dpkg-reconfigure.
There are still dome problems remaining now I’ve finished the installation. My box won’t poweroff when I shutdown. And, it’s still hard for Windows and Linux boxes to play nicely together on my network. I can share files in one direction but not the other, and it hasn’t “just worked” setting up my Linux box as a network print server for its local printer.
But, these are minor problems that don’t diminish my renewed Linux happiness. The desktop menus are clean, the system administration tools work (apart from the problems noted above), the package update management is fantastic, I like the use of sudo for root-less security, and it’s very neat to be asked to install system features only if/when you need them. Now we’ve upgraded, our scanner finally works, and we’ve been able to install Wesnoth to keep Liam occupied these school holidays.