back to article Distro diaspora: Four flavours of Ubuntu unpacked

It's nearly spring, which means it's time for the first installment of Ubuntu for 2014. Version 14.04, nicknamed Trusty Tahr, will be an important one because it culminates in a Long Term Support (LTS) version, the first in two years. That means not only will Ubuntu 14.04 be supported for five years, this will be the first time …

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Jad

Gubuntu

IIRC they did call the project Gubuntu (or Gnome Ubuntu or gnubuntu, or similar), but either the Gnome org or the Ubuntu org told them off for using their name incorrectly ...

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Re: Gubuntu

I imagine RMS would've had strong words if they'd chosen Gnubuntu

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Re: Gubuntu

No one would call dibs on Noobuntu, though, Shirley. The G is both silent -- and invisible!

If it fits...

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Anonymous Coward

Gnome vs Unity

The big advantage that Ubuntu GNOME has over vanilla Unity is that it provides a cleaner 3D desktop without sending all your shell activity to Amazon unencrypted. Some (including myself) would call that a very clear distinction.

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Re: Gnome vs Unity

My Trusty xbuntu test box has zero Amazon crap on it (thankfully).

For alpha software, it's surprisingly stable! Especially considering that it's running on an old Acer Apire One ZG5, with 8 gig SSD.

Saucy had all kinds of Amazon crappage to disable/remove. I'll not even go into the idiocy of the DM, having to install classic menu and avoiding that idiotic sidebar. That one is on my old Toughbook. Nearly installed Fedora...

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Headmaster

It's spring already.

> It's nearly spring

Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/learn-about-the-weather/how-weather-works/when-does-spring-start

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Headmaster

Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

That's because they like to analyse and organise their data in nice monthly chunks. The truth is that, as it begins in ten days time, it's nearly spring.

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Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

Ooh, one completely arbitrary yardstick faces off against another! These are always fun. /popcorn

FWIW (sweet FA), I don't consider Spring to have sprung until it's stopped snowing where I am. So currently that's yesterday, but I consider it fairly likely this will be revised again in due course. White Easters have been known...

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Headmaster

Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

Calendar dates are arbitrary. Equinoxes and solstices are not.

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Pint

Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

Heh, touché. My point was really that the seasons don't really lend themselves to a nice neat demarcation (and that's as true of your equisolsters as of his gregorifaxen), as exemplified by Easter (which most of us consider part of "Spring") being occasionally snowbound. But I should have sensed from the icons that I was in the wrong company for such levity ;)

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Paris Hilton

Re: It's spring already.

Not in the Southern Hemisphere it isn't.

Paris because 'I love Paris in the Springtime, I love Paris in the Fall'

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Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

"Calendar dates are arbitrary. Equinoxes and solstices are not."

That may well be true for you, unfortunately the net is global - we are heading into autumn here .

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Mushroom

Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

So, you believe that summer begins on midsummer's day then..?

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FAIL

Re: So, you believe that summer begins on midsummer's day then..?

No. Midsummer's day is a calendar quarter day (feast of St John the Baptist.) It is not the same thing as the summer solstice. Spring goes from the spring equinox to the summer solstice. In the northern hemisphere this equinox happens in March. In the southern hemisphere it happens in September. Come on people! You've got an internet at your fingertips. Read up on this stuff. It's not difficult.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

'So, you believe that summer begins on midsummer's day then..?'

No of course not, summer starts on the Beltane

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Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

Calendar dates are arbitrary. Equinoxes and solstices are not.

Partitioning the year into seasons is arbitrary, regardless of the length of the day. There's no more justification in using the equinoxes and solstices to demarcate the seasons than there is to use any other event for that purpose. It's pure fetishism.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

"Partitioning the year into seasons is arbitrary, regardless of the length of the day. There's no more justification in using the equinoxes and solstices to demarcate the seasons than there is to use any other event for that purpose. It's pure fetishism."

Err .... if seasons are arbitrary .... and pure fetishism ... walk us through why it doesn't snow very often in summer.

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Re: So, you believe that summer begins on midsummer's day then..?

I did read the internet, all of it. Firstly the link I posted earlier from the (admittedly, more scientific than your biblical sources) Met Office about when spring starts. Then this one, about midsummer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer :

"Date: June 21, 24, 25 or a date close to the Summer Solstice on June 20–23"

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Re: I did read the internet, all of it.

You didn't even read my post properly.

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FAIL

You didn't even read my post properly.

Yes I did, and you're wrong.

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Mushroom

Re: Yes I did, and you're wrong.

By referring to the Met Office you've Identified yourself as being in or from the UK. If you'd bothered to read the UK section of the page you linked to you'd have seen this:

"June 24, Midsummer Day, the feast of St. John the Baptist, is one of the quarter days in England."

The very "biblical sources" you accuse me of using.

As to the March 1st/Spring equinox debate, there are articles and discussions all over the web going back years decrying the former as a modern invention. Finally, if you prefer scientific over biblical then wouldn't an actual astronomical event that happens predictably seem more appropriate than a date in a calendar based on the erroneous calculation of the birth of someone who might or might not have existed by a Christian monk?

Another Wiki page for you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysius_Exiguus

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Re: Actually spring starts on the 1st March, according to the met office.

Err .... if seasons are arbitrary .... and pure fetishism ... walk us through why it doesn't snow very often in summer.

Sigh. Sometimes we have to explain things very ... slowly ... for the faint of thought.

Fixing boundaries for the seasons is arbitrary and calendar-fetishism. That's what we were discussing.

Of course, seasons themselves are a narrative that people assign to recurring patterns in the weather and length of daytime; they have no natural existence either. In the temperate zones we could as easily have decided on two seasons, or six, or eight. But that's a topic for advanced readers to discuss.

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Anonymous Coward

Let's hope it's less buggy than 13.10...

Never had so many crashes as I have in the last 6 months!

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Re: Let's hope it's less buggy than 13.10...

I haven't - it's rock solid on my PCs (two or three). The 14.04 daily I'm running on an MSI Windbox is also rock solid already - but then maybe I just use them for mainstream WP / web / streaming media etc - nothing too extreme. Anyway, I'm happy :-)

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Re: Let's hope it's less buggy than 13.10...

13.10 is working fine for me on my netbook.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's hope it's less buggy than 13.10... @Mysstic Megabyte

"13.10 is working fine for me on my netbook."

Well, that's OK then. The OP's obviously lying. Also relevant - I've had none of the problems with Windows with XP onwards that everyone else here reports. And it's a bit frosty this morning.

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Might check out Ubuntu GNOME. Hope they've got rid of that annoying menu bar. I wear glasses and I constantly find I have to move my head to focus on it. Very annoying. Just so the interface behaves like a phone. WINDOWS 8 ALERT.

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In 14.04 unity will have the ability to move the menu on the window bar, which make a lot more sense to me.

However I will stick to Ubuntu Gnome, I find it more beautiful than unity

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I think Fedora would be the best place to experience GNOME. The projects tend to cooperate quite closely so Fedora 21 will go out with 3.12 and their schedules are aligned to facilitate that.

It will be interesting to see what happens in 3.14 which is when Wayland will most likely be enabled by default. Ubuntu has chosen to develop their own display tech called Mir so it puts the GNOME flavoured Ubuntu in an interesting situation.

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Wrong KDE version mentioned - its 4.13

The developers plan to use KDE 4.13 for kubuntu 14.04 - makes some sense as its 5 yr support.

The KDE 4.13 release schedule is roughly the same time as 14.04 release - this means there may be more bugs initially but better 'long term'.

That is unless done major breakage occurs

i.e

https://www.kubuntuforums.net/showthread.php?64692-Kubuntu-14-04-LTS-Schedule-Plans

http://ubuntu.5.x6.nabble.com/KDE-SC-4-13-td5053114.html

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Pint

Minty

Actually newcomers might be happier trying Linux Mint. Built on Ubuntu and including codecs, media players (that actually work right), and accessories right from the beginning, Mint "Just works" Setup is painless and the OS has a lot more goodies available at first launch than Ubuntu and a familiar looking desktop for XP emigrees. The default color scheme is a lot less vomit inspiring than Ubuntu's too.

I have to say I like this distro more than any other I've tried in a long time.

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Re: Minty

I've got to agree, Mint XFCE 32 bit has proved a very satisfactory replacement for XP on our, err, period, hardware here at work.

I tried Ubuntu in various flavours first, but found them lacking in one way or another. Mint has worked for us, maybe others about to leave Microsoft should give it a try.

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Re: Minty

I agree. I have used Mint with the Cinnamon desktop for the past few years and it works great. Lately I've playing with KDE and decide to switch desktop environments, but decided to go with Mint/KDE after test-driving openSUSE and Kubuntu and being rather underwhelmed.

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Unhappy

Re: Minty

Regrettably for me, the latest version of Minty (201403) claims to require PAE. that may limit its "XP-replacement" potential.

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Re: Minty

Are you sure?

MM yes. 32 bits is a long time ago tho.

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Re: Minty

> Are you sure?

The poster is correct. Mint 14 requires PAE, the version of ubuntu it is based requires this, Ubuntu do have a nonpae version but Mint have not done so which is a shame. Mint 13 however does support processors without PAE and will be supported till 2017, I'd recommend just using 13 it will still have most of the stuff from 14, especially security updates., course it depends on what you want it for.

> MM yes. 32 bits is a long time ago tho.

It is, but putting linux onto old hardware is an excellent way of getting extra life out of a machine, Mint have dropped the ball here IMHO

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Re: Minty

Another Vote for Mint here, switched to it after the whole Unity fiasco, still hate Unity, anyway, never looked back, love the interface, can not wait for the next LTS version of Mint.

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Re: Minty

Ditto

But if anyone is thinking about installing it; be aware, check out your wifi chipset first to make sure it's supported and there are still some issues with certain graphic card chipsets.

I have a machine running an old Netgear usb stick using RTL8187 and you have to force it to run at 11mb/s to stay stable in /etc/init.d

Its no big deal of course because when i get round to it i'll change it for a stick that is reported as having no issues like the Netgear WNA1100

Other than that i really like it more than some others i have tried.

64bit edition Olivia with Mate desktop.

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Re: Minty

I replaced WinXP on very old Toshiba M300 with mint 13, and couldn't be happier. Well, for the thing's I'm using it which is reading, bit of email and ssh :) I also replaced HDD with Transcend PATA SDD - odd beast, but it does bring "second youth" to an old machine.

It would be a shame if this old 32bit machine was to be never upgraded to a newer version, though.

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Re: Minty

I've been using Mint also but am switching folk to Xubuntu. Its the most attractive XFCE distro, and although not quite as pretty as Cinnamon is still pretty good. But with either of them, I find folk are generally up and running in no time, as opposed to the Win8-ness/WTF-ness of Unity/Gnome Shell.

Cinnamon is a great desktop, but I find some glitches in Nemo (memory/CPU leaks); but more to the point, there's no upgrade path on Mint. Although it's possible to do an in-place upgrade, officially it requires a complete reinstall and migration of data. This is a bit tiresome, after tweaking your computer to just how you want it; and keeping current is often attractive as some packages don't get included in older repos.

NB If using Xubuntu, strongly recommend using Whisker Menu as it's a nice upgrade to the stock applications menu.

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Happy

Re: Minty

Mint Mate here...has been for the previous two releases, and quite satisfied with it.

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Re: Minty

Well you have Bodhi Linux

http://www.bodhilinux.com/downloads_desktop.php

E17/19 is insanely fast and uses low resources - would seem far faster than XP did... They will always support a non PAE version. (including 14.04)

There is also Lubuntu fake-pae (not really sure about that)

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu-fake-PAE

Of course there is absolutely nothing (aside from knowledge/skill) preventing you compiling your own kernel with any distro and removing PAE - that's one of the beauties of Linux and opensource in general - flexibility.

i.e something you can never do with Microsoft/Apple OS's.

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Re: Minty and PAE

I must admit that I was really annoyed about the requirement for PAE on most modern Linux distributions, because even though PAE has been a feature on a majority of Intel processors since the Pentium Pro (IIRC), there are particular more modern processors, especially the Pentium-M, Celeron and early Atom processors that either do not have PAE, or do not flag it in the way that the boot/kernel checks work.

This is very annoying for people who have laptops of the generation just before the Core processors came along, which include a whole raft of perfectly capable HP and IBM systems, and those with first and second generation netbooks. These are precisely the type of system that Linux should be able to life-extend.

So why is PAE required? Well, it's not in order to support more than 3GB of memory, because it is not necessary to have over 3GB for general work on most Linux distributions (I had Precise working fine in 1GB of memory on my Thinkpad T30 before it finally gave up the ghost, and I currently have Xubuntu 12.04 working on a 512MB eeePC 701).

The problem is that the NX bit, which allows pages to be flagged so that the processor cannot execute code in the page (a useful security protection against things like stack-smashing attacks amongst others) is bound up with PAE. If you want NX, you have to have PAE turned on, and the more recent Linux kernels default build requires NX.

It's not really a restriction by the distro maintainers, it goes all the way back to the Kernel development team. It is still possible to build a kernel without NX and PAE, but it is necessary to have such a kernel on the distribution media in order to build a system, and most distros have a PAE kernel by default, and now are even removing the non-PAE kernel packages from their repositories.

This has taken the edge off my anger about PAE being necessary, but it does effectively mean that many people with 6-8 year old laptops or netbooks will seriously struggle to get a modern Linux working, and will result in a generation of perfectly usable laptops ending up in recycling.

Mind you I am getting really tired of the distro forums containing comments like "why are you using such old kit - buy something new" when the commenters do not really understand the problem.

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Happy

Re: Minty

Another upvote for Mint, here. Was dual-booting with Vista but, since I upgraded my hardware, Vista almost never gets booted, anymore. As of Mint 15, I didn't even have to faff about to get my Broadcom Wifi working, either.

Does everything I want, bar playing nicely with the household printer, for some reason.

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Re: Minty and PAE

I completely understand that you want to make use of working but old equipment, I do too!

However, would it be fair to deny those who use recent hardware a good security feature, that their hardware provides?

I'm surpised this isn't available as a boot option.

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Re: Minty and PAE @Bullard

I'm not suggesting that the default installation disks ship with a default non-PAE kernel. I like your idea of making it a boot option, but the kernel would then have to have both the PAE and non-PAE code compiled in. I don't think it's written this way. It's a conditional compile time option.

But the real problem is that if the kernel that boots off the media to install the system is a PAE kernel, you cannot even start the install process on a system that does not flag PAE as an option.

It would be possible to make it an install-time option. Boot using a non-PAE kernel, and install a PAE kernel during the installation, although the kludged version of Grub or whatever it is that used by the no-PAE install process that is on one of the support threads does give an alternative, although whether this really works on a processor without PAE at all, rather than one that just lies about not having it is debatable.

Where I really do have a problem with Canonical is that post 12.04, there is no non-PAE kernel in the repositories. This seriously complicates the process of putting together a modified boot image (as was done with the alternate Xubuntu 12.04 install disk) to give you a chance to install it on older hardware.

If you really don't have a PAE capable processor (like a Banias Pentium M in a Thinkpad T40, 41 or 42), then to install any *buntu post 12.04 it will be necessary to find a PAE capable host system you can install, pick-up the kernel sources, compile them, and then insert the resultant kernel into some distribution medium to allow you to install your Thinkpad (other packaging methods are available).

This is not going to be suitable for your average Joe User. It would have been minimal work, and not a lot of maintenance, for one Canonical employee to maintain a non-PAE kernel, and package an alternate install image to put on their site, like they used to. My view is that Canonical want to leave behind their Linux legacy to a world where they ship the Unity OS, that may still be based on some form of Linux, a bit like OSX is built on some form of BSD.

Me, I'm looking at buying a cheap T43 with a Dothan processor or maybe a T60 to replace my T30 which finally died at Christmas. ThinkWiki says that this should have PAE.

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Re: Minty and PAE @Bullard

"I like your idea of making it a boot option, but the kernel would then have to have both the PAE and non-PAE code compiled in. I don't think it's written this way. It's a conditional compile time option."

Yes, I meant the boot-loader uses a different kernel, depending on the selection.

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Re: Minty and PAE @Bullard

Hmmm. You're right. It can be done just using grub. Install both kernels, and then set the default boot to be the one you want. Trivial really if you think about it.

Shame there's no nonPAE kernel in the repos. any more!

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I don't get it

I don't understand this whole fascination with "flavours" (and what a silly moniker to boot). Why can't you just apt-get install a couple of new window managers, and then switch between them whenever you feel like it rather than installing a whole new operating system? It just seems like an entirely ass-backwards and inefficient way of trying new window managers.

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Re: I don't get it

I'd agree with you, except I ran KDE and Gnome 2 in parallel that way for a year or two and every last single update caused trouble that required console-jockeying to resolve -- making this Not Recommended for anybody who isn't a console jockey. I swear they forbid their QA to test setups like that.

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