Skip navigation

As of October 26 2006, Ubuntu has released their latest Linux operating system, version 6.10 aka Edgy Eft, which can be downloaded here. Ubuntu has been the up and coming star company in the Linux O.S. scene for the last couple of years. They just seem to get more popular with each release and along with their releases getting better with each release. I would dare say they have nearly the cult following like Apple Computers or Google. Ubuntu, as you might be able to tell, is an unorthodox company, even for a company in the Linux scene! Ubuntu was originally founded by Mark Shuttleworth, a South African multi-millionaire, who once paid $20 million to ride into outer space on the Russian Soyuz TM-34 mission.

The company’s name Ubuntu actually derives from the South African (Zulu) concept of ubuntu, which means “I am because you are” or “humanity towards others.” Ubuntu tries to apply that concept into their business model. The companies slogan is “Linux for human beings” and they go as far as to offer to ship for free a copy of their distribution to anyone in the world. The concept of Ubuntu fits perfectly into the world of Linux and open source software. Without the work of others, there would be no way that Linux would be what it is today and the same applies to Ubuntu.

Enough with the background and onto the review of Ubuntu’s Edgy Eft.

Initially Edgy Eft was planned to be more of the cutting edge type of operating system, while their previous release (Dapper) would be the more stable release – including support for up to 5 years. In actuality Edgy isn’t quite so on the edge of the latest in Linux software. Compared to Fedora Core 6 and Mandriva 2007 – Ubuntu’s Edgy Eft comes with slightly less bleeding edge software. Edgy Eft uses the 2.17 kernel, no default 3d desktop applets, and does not even have beagle installed in their default installation. Even though it would have been nice to see the 2.18 kernel or 3d desktop or Beagle included by default, all these things can be installed or upgrade by the user. What Edgy Eft offers is one of the nicer Live CD installation methods around. It takes roughly 6 clicks to get through the installation procedure and from there they have “apt-get” package management system, which is the best package management system in Linux. Also they do offer the final version of Firefox 2.0, along with Gaim 2.0beta3.1, OpenOffice 2.0.4, and Gimp 2.2.13. They even included the Firefox logo in this release.

Well the installation was truly a walk in the park. Ubuntu has streamlined their install process so much that there is only 6 steps to take from clicking “install” to rebooting into the installed desktop. No complaints on that part whatsoever.

Once I booted into the desktop, I was a tad bit disappointed with their latest GDM login screen and their default Edgy Eft theme. Ubuntu has never been known (unless you are a fan of brown desktops) to have really cutting edge artwork, so that part was not a huge surprise. There was nothing terrible about their default setup, just that everything leaned towards the boring side. Light brown wallpaper, no logo to be found anywhere, looked like a desktop made for the corporate desktop. Luckily changing the layout of the desktop is quick and easy.

The first thing I did to change the look of the desktop, was to download the Blended Metacity Theme from Gnome-look.org (can be downloaded here). What that theme does is change the brownish window borders in all the applications to a softer white color. From there, I downloaded the Simple GnomeIII wallpaper from art.gnome.org (the wallpaper can be downloaded here) and I was very happy with the layout of my Edgy Eft desktop.

gnome-before.jpg
Gnome-after.jpg

The only issue Ubuntu had with my hardware was the sound. My Audigy soundcard did not work initially, but it was super easy to fix (I want to hear the bongos when I log in). For whatever reasons Ubuntu (as well as FC 6/Mandriva) installs 2 entirely different drivers for my soundcard and it always defaults to the wrong driver, Conexant CX8811. The correct driver should be “Audigy” so it required nothing more than for me having to click System–>Preferences–>Sounds and then select “Audigy” rather than “Conexant” as my default sound card. I had to reboot so I could hear the bongos!

Next thing I wanted to do was install additional applications that did not come on the installation disc. This was another easy step that required me to add the additional repositories of “universe” and “multiverse” on my sources.list for apt. That may sound like mumbo-jumbo if your not familiar with Ubuntu but it is a very simple process. If you wish to use a gui, then you can launch Synaptic (System–>Administration–>Synaptic Package Manager) and check the boxes for “universe” and “multiverse” (Settings–>Repositories). I manually typed in multiverse next to the lines that had universe, and removed the # for each of the corresponding lines in my sources.list (located in the directory /etc/apt/). If you wish you can paste this in the terminal :

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

then paste this in as your sources list or add the extra “universe” and multiverse” to your sources.list


deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ edgy main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ edgy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ edgy-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ edgy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

Next thing was to update the package list and see if there were any updates.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

From there I wanted enable eye-candy and install the latest nvidia drivers. Ubuntu uses the open souce “nv” drivers and I prefer the proprietary Nvidia drivers simply because it is a lot faster and has more features. Installing the nvidia drivers is incredibly easy.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx
sudo nvidia-xconfig

Normally that would be it, but I had to see what version would be installed. The version I needed was the latest beta Nvdia drivers to get AIGLX/compiz working on the desktop and the prior nvidia installed the last stable version. It was actually trickier than I expected to get this working but with some good advice from the ubuntu forums I was able to get it working smoothly. The method I followed was :

Add these two lines in /etc/apt/sources.list (sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list)

deb http://seerofsouls.com/ edgy contrib
deb http://gandalfn.club.fr/ubuntu edgy stable
wget http://seerofsouls.com/keys/hawkwind.asc
sudo apt-key add hawkwind.asc

gpg --keyserver hkp://wwwkeys.eu.pgp.net --recv-keys 0x483170E9 ;
gpg --export -a 0x483170E9 | sudo apt-key add -

then

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install gnome-compiz-manager compiz-freedesktop compiz-freedesktop-gnome

then add the following line in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file under the section “Screen” :

Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"

then reboot.

From there some really nice eye candy was available via gui app called GL Desktop (Should see it in System–>Preferences–>GL Desktop after the prior installation procedure). This application had way more features then Fedora’s Desktop-Effects or Mandriva’s 3d Drake. Here are screenshots of its options.

EdgyEft-GLDESKTOP-01.jpg

EdgyEft-GLDESKTOP-02.jpg

EdgyEft-GLDESKTOP-03.jpg

EdgyEft-GLDESKTOP-04.jpg

Some of the options I have never encountered before and the feature I was most impressed with was “Inside Cube” (able to spin the desktops like you are in the middle of the cube rather than outside) and “Use Metacity Theme” (I was able to still use the Blended Theme I installed earlier). Those were really impressive and here is a screenshot of it in action.

edgyeft-01.jpg

There was another feature I liked, but found it to be too “trippy”. That would be the “Water” effect. They should have called it the “LSD” effect or the “Abbey Hoffman” effect to be more accurate. All of a sudden, circle gradients started to appear in an eerie 3d effect. That effect was quite startling and maybe too much of a good of a good thing. Also, since the eye candy stuff is still beta software, not everything went perfect with it. The main problem I had with the desktop effects, was the high overhead these effects seemed to have own my cpu. At times I could feel the computer slowing down for no reason. But with the nifty GL Desktop as an icon the menu tray, I could easily disable the eye candy and then start it later.

Now there is another version of this 3D Desktop Eye Candy called “Beryl.” Beryl is flashier, newer so a little more buggy, but actually runs my desktop without the lag as Compiz. If you want to install this instead of Compiz :

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Then add these two repostirories to the bottom of sources.list

deb http://beryl-mirror.pricechild.co.uk edgy main
deb http://ubuntu.beryl-project.org edgy main

Then :

wget http://beryl-mirror.lupine.me.uk/1609B551.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install beryl-core beryl-plugins beryl-plugins-data emerald beryl-settings beryl-manager beryl
beryl-dev emerald-themes

Make sure you have this line under the “Screen” section in your xorg.conf (sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf)

Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"

Now reboot or restart X (cntrl + alt + backspace) and type in the terminal :

beryl-manager

A nice step Ubuntu has taken to make it easier for new users would be the proprietary codecs like mp3. Although Ubuntu doesn’t ship with these codecs, they do the next next thing. If you click on a mp3 file and do not have the appropriate codecs installed, you will see a message box asking if you want to install that codec! If you answer yes, then Adept Manger would appear and download the appropriate codec. Worked well and I was impressed by that.

From there I wanted to add my usual array of applications that did not come with the default installation. First thing I wanted to do was add Kubuntu (KDE)).
So I typed in :

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

****If you downloaded the Kubuntu (KDE) install cd and you would like to have the option of booting into Ubuntu (Gnome) then you can type in the terminal :

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

That took a while, because the Ubuntu servers are getting hit pretty hard right now with all these simultaneous updates but it should get faster very quickly.

After that I wanted to install the multimedia codecs that did not come with the installation.

sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-gl gstreamer0.10-plugins-base
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse libxine-extracodecs lame flac

After that multimedia applications :

sudo apt-get install vlc mplayer banshee xmms xmms-mad xmms-flac xmms-mp4 xine-ui kaffeine audacity kino amarok
sudo apt-get install gtkpod soundconverter easytag cowbell

And some additional internet applications & utilities:

sudo apt-get install xchat mozilla-thunderbird azureus klibido unrar par2 gftp network-manager-gnome beagle nfs-common

I should note that there are 3rd party scripts that installs these packages with just one or two clicks. Personally, I would rather install these applications myself. If there’s a problem with the installation it is a lot easier to fix, if you know what caused the problem. But if you prefer the automated way..Automatix and Easy Ubuntu are the most popular choices.

Now for some proprietary software.

Flash 9 beta

wget http://download.macromedia.com/pub/labs/flashplayer9_update/FP9_plugin_beta_101806.tar.gz
tar xvzf FP9_plugin_beta_101806.tar.gz
sudo cp flash-player-plugin-9.0.21.55/libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree

Java

sudo apt-get install sun-java5-plugin

Google Earth :

wget http://dl.google.com/earth/GE4/GoogleEarthLinux.bin
sh GoogleEarthLinux.bin

Picassa :

wget http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/pool/non-free/p/picasa/picasa_2.2.2820-5_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i picasa_2.2.2820-5_i386.deb

Skype :
http://www.skype.com/download/skype/linux/

Opera :
http://www.opera.com/download/

While using Edgy Eft during the RC series and now the final version, I can say that Edgy Eft is a sweet little operating system that gets the job done. Unfortunately there isn’t anything in the standard install of Edgy Eft that will make people drool with delight or think it is truly “Edgy.” Nevertheless Ubuntu 6.10 is noteable for its solid group of features and consistent amount of polish throughout. For Dapper users, you will probably want to upgrade just to check out the difference for yourself, but I will say that the differences are minimal. Especially if you enable backports for Dapper the differences are pretty indistinguishable. For users coming over from Windows or OS X….Edgy would make a great introduction into the awesome world of Linux. Lastly, for Linux users coming over from other distributions, Edgy will make a useful extra distribution to dual boot with, but you won’t be wowed over by this release. Edgy is actually a pretty conservative release when considering what Mandriva, Fedora Core, and the upcoming OpenSuse releases have packaged. For people that desire a hassle free install with all the latest eye-candy Mandriva 2007 may provide a better option. But on the other hand if you want to take the time to install all the eye candy yourself, the GL Desktop in Ubuntu has the best graphical app for compiz/AIGLZ that I have yet seen. I will close out this review by saying Edgy Eft is a fine release, perhaps hinting at Ubuntu’s apsiration to get installed onto corporate desktops. This release is certainly not as drastic as Dapper was to Breezy. For at least 6 more months, I will be using Edgy Eft as my primary workstations (booting into Mandriva and Fedora to see how they come along) and then I will say “Bring on Feisty Fawn!”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: