Friday, April 25, 2008

New Ubuntu Release

Yesterday, a new version of Ubuntu was released. This release will be one of their more stable releases and will be supported for several years. (However, if you want real stable stability I would wait for the "service pack style" update in a few months. That gives them a few more months to work out tricky bugs).

Several people are giving it great reviews, take for example eweek with Ubuntu 8.04 Is Ready to Take On Windows. or Hardy Heron Makes Linux Worth Another Look.

Without going into details let me say a few comments:
  1. Linux is not ready for the average Joe... yet.
  2. This release keeps them on pace to their 2010 stable release that I have predicted will give all people a serious reason to consider switching to Linux from Windows or Mac.
  3. With this release, Linux is ready for any and all people who have above average computing skills with the time and patience to spend a few hours each week for a few weeks learning about how Linux works.
  4. Anybody, in a scientific field, will find it as easy, if not easier to to get science done with this recent Ubuntu release than with Windows or a Mac. That includes computer programming, linking to super-computers, analyzing data, doing LaTeX, etc...
  5. This version can be installed on a Windows machine without re-partitioning your hard drive. Now you can install Ubuntu without any risk to messing up your computer.
I really think Linux is almost ready for the masses. Below I will list the things keeping it back, but these things can, and are being resolved as we speak. I am not claiming all people will adopt Linux over night in two years. But I am claiming Linux will be at a point where there will be no other compelling reason not to switch other than, in the words of one of my favorite musicals: Tradition! or "I'm to used too Windows/Mac to even want give it a try".

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

Areas where Linux needs improvement:
  1. Networking- (Next version of Ubuntu has this as main feature worked on.)
  2. Power Management-(Things like using less power and suspending better. )
  3. Corporate Backing-(This is happening better than most would imagine.)
  4. Pre-installed (Now Dell, HP, Lenovo and more pre-install Linux on desktops and laptops. Just to remind people, this started just last year. Now every few months someone new is pre-installing linux.)
  5. Better Hardware drivers- (I hesitate to say this is a problem since every 6 months Linux gets noticablly better in this area. It is almost there.)
  6. More technically savoy people to give it an honest try. (If you have trouble composing an email message wait two more years.)
  7. Eye Candy - (Linux needs to make people look at the screen and say, wow, I wish my OS looked that pretty.) (This feature is what draws people to Apple.)

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