I Need to Apologize to Ubuntu

A few months ago, I tried to update my existing Desktop Ubuntu to version 10.04, and I hated it.  All of my configurations were ruined, and it looked and felt downright awful.  I immediately made a fuss about how I was leaving Ubuntu and moved my desktop to Sabayon.  We have since seen what has become of my Desktop (see my previous post).  In despair, I decided I’d give Ubuntu another whirl, wondering if a fresh install would be better than my abysmal update experience.

And it definitely was!  The new Ubuntu is fantastic on a fresh installation.  From the attractive new branding to the innovative features and relatively bug-free experience, Ubuntu definitely holds its place as the most user-friendly Linux distribution.  I think the entire installation and configuration took less than an hour, but I was away from the computer a lot that day and could only check on it periodically, so I’m not sure about the aggregate installation time.  There were also a handful of features which I noticed for the first time after this install (some new, some that i just realized existed):

  • Music Store: The bundled Rythmbox music player finally has a real music store (not just Jamendo and Magnatune) that sells songs in MP3 format.  This is fantastic because I’m sick of buying music in proprietary formats and losing my music in a crash.  Chances of losing your files are reduced even more by the compatibility which the music store has with another feature, Ubuntu One
  • Ubuntu One: Ubuntu has a feature, called Ubuntu One, which gives users 2GB of free online storage (50gb for $10 a month) that can be used to sync files between computers, backup data, share files with other Ubuntu One users, and even automatically keep copies of your music from the music store.  Although I haven’t used this much, I can see how it could be extremely useful for people who buy lots of online music, have multiple ubuntu computers, or need to back up/synchronize things like email contacts.
  • “Me” Menu: This release has introduced Ubuntu’s new ‘me’ menu.  The me menu is a menu in the taskbar at the top right of the screen that allows for easy access to things like, chat, email, and social networking.  It gives quick access to the empathy chat, evolution email, and gwibber social networking clients.  This is a great idea and works well enough, but I’d like to see some improvement in it for future releases.  It’s not that it doesn’t work, but the software that is incorporated into the menu is not ideal in my opinion.  I’m not a big fan of evolution email or gwibber, so I would prefer different applications to be integrated into the menu.
  • Ubuntu Software Center: The Ubuntu Software center has become much, much nicer than it was in the past.  It’s really convenient and good-looking now.

So this is yet another victory for Ubuntu Linux.  Now is a great time for everyday users to switch to Ubuntu from Windows or Apple OSX because there is finally a linux distro which not only matches the other operating systems in most areas but also surpasses them in innovation of useful features.  I should never have doubted a solid distribution like Ubuntu.  It may not be as easily configurable or minimalistic as my favorite distro, Arch Linux, but it is the hands down best choice for new Linux users or people who need stable systems.

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