Ubuntu 6.06 LTS release

Probably the biggest news so far today, at least in linux circles is the official release of the Dapper Drake…. Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Long Term Support) (and kubuntu and edubuntu all…). I’ve been playing with an install based on the Release Candidate (and now upgraded to even include KDE 3.5.3….. I’m really impressed that there were kde 3.5.3 packages available for Dapper Drake 1) before the official release which only officially includes 3.5.2 and 2) almost simultaneous to the KDE announcement. Anyway…. (Almost all links are to the US mirrors…) Kubuntu download images are avialable as is the shipit free cds for kubuntu and shipit free cds for ubuntu and the various ubuntu cd image downloads………….

and the Edubuntu cd image downloads and free cd shipit program for edubuntu.

There are various downloads available for each of the above, let me try to summarize. There are amd64 preperations, i386 and ppc downloads for each of the following. Ubuntu Server (which will do a server install), Ubuntu Desktop (Gnome Desktop), Ubuntu Alternative disc gives the traditional text based installer which may be desirable for less common hardware setups. Also there’s the edubuntu desktop and install, kubuntu desktop and alternative.

The Desktop cd is quite well done. It has a live cd image so you can try the system out first. There is a graphical installer (link on the desktop) that seemed to work quite well. I did a complete disc install. (The installer seemed fairly quick as well – 20 minutes perhaps from starting the install process to having a bootable system.) I didn’t time it – it may have been a bit less.

Another thing that I like about the cd – is if you put it in a running windows install it has an autorun of course, telling about itself. It also offers the install of a few windows versions of cross-platform software. Firefox/Thunderbird for instance. Also kde-pim is available (didn’t know there was a windows version of that…) and a few others. That can be a nice way to introduce the idea to some. The only real quible I can have with it is that I used it to install firefox on a system and found that it was the EN-GB (English – Great Britain) language version of firefox (Google searches offered to just show search results from the UK….) I’m not quite sure how you can “fix” that without just downloading and installing your language version of the browser (in this case EN-US). (At least that seems to be the only way under Windows…)

Anyway, from all I’ve seen Kubuntu 6.06 is a VERY well done linux distribution. There are few things I’ve seen to complain about overall. The graphical package manager works well, is fairly easy to use and is essentially preconfigured for the main software repository. (Easy setup of the universe/multiverse and backports repositories for those that are in pursuit of more software – the other repositories are already configured, just disabled by default.)

The LTS in the release name means Long Term Support which is to say that security updates will be available for 3 years on this release for the desktop and 5 years for the server. (I’m assuming this means that server applications such as apache, ftp servers, ssh will have security updates for 5 years and desktop applications such koffice will only get security updates for 3 years – I don’t know quite how else they would distinguish since you can do a kubuntu install and then install the ubuntu-server metapackage.)

By the way, there is a variation of ubuntu that I haven’t seen an install download for yet today and that’s xubuntu which I thought was a slimmed down version for older hardware. It uses Xfce as the window manager. Ah…. look and you’ll find…. I didn’t find it mentioned in the other references, but at xubuntu.org there are links to the various download cd images. There are not as many mirrors for this one (UK and the rest of the world mirror….) With Xubuntu there is the alternate cd images and the desktop as well. I don’t see shipit as being available for xubuntu.

Given the extended support and the way updates are handled (nice gui notification and easy updating through the gui.) I’m seriously beginning to lean towards kubuntu instead of Mandrake/Mandriva as my recommended new linux user system. Especially with an add on like easyubuntu to make install of the non-redistributable things like flash player easier to install/setup. I still want to spend a bit more time with it – the fact that you can let someone try the livecd without any commitment is a nice feature as the same disc can be used for an install.

Mandriva is getting better in the “new software available for a released version” area with the new kiosk, but 1)you have to subscribe to get that…. 2) I don’t want to have to enter MY subscription information on X # of machines in order to get those updates on X number of machines…. yes I could download on one and burn to disc, blah blah blah…. I’d rather it not require burning cds if possible and just quickly pull the new software from the internet.

The graphical update monitor in Mandrake/Mandriva is nice, but again requires subscription. Yes, I could have urpmi do a “urpmi.update updates” and fetch updates automatically from a script – but with Kubuntu the monitoring is done automatically, little icon shows up automatically and the gui installer works fairly quickly and well without me having to remember to load another script and put it in roots crontab….

Let me make it clear though, I don’t MIND supporting a linux distribution financially. I have done so for the last 3-4 years (maybe a bit more) through my Mandrake/Mandriva club subscription. I guess I’m just not as comfortable having some items “held hostage” for the ransom of a club membership. Now, I haven’t looked closely at their policy lately with regards to kiosk updates/the graphical update agent that deals with security updates…. but I have never felt comfortable using the same login information for such a service (which is subscription based) on multiple machines (ESPECIALLY if I’m not the primary user on the machine, but supporting it for someone else.) Maybe this is a holdover from trying to respect the license restrictions of proprietary software.

Kubuntu as the recommended “new user” linux for me, would make life a lot simpler because I could have them 1) configured for security updates “out of the box” and 2) easily pull in new versions of software without entering club information on a computer that’s not mine…. 3) if they WANTED to donate then it would be a true donation as opposed to “if you want an easy way to get new software then give money to them…” 4) 3-5 years of security updates so I don’t feel like I have to upgrade them every 18 months…. (Plus the distribution updates within the gui seem to be a bit smoother to setup – not sure how smooth in actuality they go… )

I don’t know, this has gone from a news announcement to a rambling debate with myself. As you can see I’ve toyed with the idea of switching to Kubuntu, I see a lot of advantages. Mandriva still works for me, I know my way around quite well (especially some of the command line tools). But this test system may be the precursor of me getting to know kubuntu much better. I’ve already requested 5 cds from shipit….

Well – enough rambling…. go and get to the downloading/bittorrenting/etc.

Can’t resist updating…. desktoplinux.com is announcing that “Ubuntu 6.06 arrives on time” which is true “from a certain point of view”. Of course, Dapper Drake was supposed to be released in April and the was expected to be called 6.04…. of course, they extended the release cycle for some extra polished and changed the name to 6.06…. so technically Dapper Drake is 2 months later than originally planned and 6.06 is right on schedule…. I’m sure they were just trying to get a dig in at Microsoft Vista… but….. Anyway – some would say software is released when it’s ready – and that would always be considered on time.

–another update–

If bittorrent speed is any guage of popularity – the ubuntu server download was VERY popular, followed by kubuntu desktop, then ubuntu desktop/edubuntu desktop were next and xubuntu-desktop is still downloading – I’m not sure if that’s a proper guage but it would seem to make sense that a REALLY popular torrent goes faster than a less popular torrent.

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