back to article Nerd alert: First Lucid Lynx Ubuntu beta fun

Lucid Lynx, Ubuntu 10.04 that Friday entered the beta stage, looks to be taking the popular distro to an entirely new and very consumer-oriented level. Between Canonical's web-based syncing service Ubuntu One - unveiled last year - the coming U1 music store, and the new Me Menu, Lucid Lynx is looking less like the stoic Linux …


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  1. Jelliphiish


    i'm not very penguin experienced.. if i want to improve how the front end looks, what's the best thing a nonce can do to improve it and make it a look little more impressive? without having to go to any great lengths.. and, please, there's a free rectal cactus implant for the first person to advise bye a mac/winbox/whatever.

  2. Daniel B.
    Thumb Up


    Goody! I remember that one of the turn-offs of Linux is that starting with Red Hat 9, they started disabling the mp3 codec because of "patent problems". OGG support is nice, but useless outside the nerdy geek community. MP3 is by far the standard for most everyday users, lack of MP3 support won't bring in the "mortal" users to Linux. Nice to see that Ubuntu is actually taking back mp3 into their distro! :)

  3. No 3

    mp3 is the only worthy choice

    Give me a break, you're talking about how this is the version of linux for consumers, and then harp that the music store offers it's tracks in mp3 format? Listen, ogg may be "better" to some, but the fact is mp3 is more the good enough for the general public, and if you try and have a music store that doesn't sell mp3s you WILL fail in this day and age.

  4. bexley


    i wonder if i'll be able to reboot / shutdown my netbook in this one

    They better have made this a whole lot more reliable than 9.10 or they will loose a lot of their user base

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      How do you define that?

      Most of these desktop environments are really fairly flexible and customizable. Just have to rtfm.

      Personally I think gnome is ok but bloated. I also think ubuntu as a distro is bloated. Maybe that's why there's so much brown in it, 'cos it's full of s.... :P

      xfce imho, but ymmv.

    2. Geoff Smith

      @Jelliphish, re: gnome

      "i'm not very penguin experienced.. if i want to improve how the front end looks, what's the best thing a nonce can do to improve it and make it a look little more impressive?"

      Check out the art and themes pages under See for desktop customizations you may want to try out. You may want to create an extra local user id on Ubuntu for testing these out, rather than taking the risk of hosing the gnome desktop config for your primary user id.

      Granted, Ubuntu's brown is looking a bit tired after a some years. But purple and orange? Yecch. I think I'll keep my boring old shades of blue and grey.

    3. Goat Jam
      Thumb Up

      Get thyself to

    4. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Gnome is only the default GUI.

      Gnome has a few useful building configuration tools but for full-on GUI I tend to prefer KDE. For day-to-day use I prefer minimal environments like twm or openbox. Right in the middle you have XFCE. Chose your own.

      I'm not very familiar with Ubuntu but I have extensive knowledge of its older brother, Debian, so I suspect that you should only need to install the relevant packages, and chose your environment at graphical startup time (ctrl + backspace to restart the X server). (I suppose that GDM is still the default x session manager). If that doesn't work, try and RTFM...

    5. Ceiling Cat


      Running 9.10 on 3 desktops and I've never once had a problem shutting down. Wish I had a laptop to test it on.

    6. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Ogg is better AND free AND more flexible

      "in this day and age" my hairy ass. Pushed by financial interests is more like it.

    7. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      MP3 will be dead in 5 years

      And mark my word.

      It's a very dumb format, which was pushed by hardware vendors only for cross-licensing reasons. Ogg will continue to grow (it integrates video capabilities, too) while MP3 reached its peak and will now begin its descent into oblivion as audio-only devices disappear....

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Dream on Pierre

        The market values compatibility more than it values your non-standard format.

        Geeks will never understand consumers. You've just proved that!

    8. Martin Owens


      The mp3 support isn't installed by default by the way, it will install when you buy music.

      The parent problems still exist and only those legal barriers preventing mp3 support on install make ogg vorbis superior,

      Of course since rythembox will transcode for your devices, I don't think it's too much of a problem to have ogg and never know it.

    9. sheehanje

      improving apperance

      If you are looking to improve the desktop appearance and give it a cool factor, look for compiz-settings-manager in the software center or synaptics package manager. This will allow you to enable things like the cube desktop, window animations, wobbly windows, etc.

      Cube desktop is by far the most useful eye candy I have ever used. Works much better than the standard desktop pager when trying to navigate through applications with a lot of screen updates. I use it with my recording software to navigate between my mixing, editing and mastering programs.

    10. Greg J Preece

      GNOME-look and KDE-look sites

      Last time I used GNOME, it was generally a case of heading over to and having a leaf through. Select the shiny bits you want, download them, and drag and drop them onto the appropriate settings box. Done! Though you should be aware that Firefox has some issues with dark themes - take a look at the gnome-look page for a theme called Divinorum Revisited for a fix.

      Me, I'm a KDE user, so I have the rather nifty Get Hot New Stuff system (no seriously, that's what it's called). It launches from inside the various theming panels, and lets me browse theming options and install them with one button click. It's not perfect yet, but it's a very cool feature. I'd love to see how it's improved in Lucid, but alas, Ubuntu give less and less of a crap about KDE users - do we at least get Ubuntu One with this release?

    11. Greg J Preece

      That did have me wondering

      Ubuntu does have a few real hippies at the higher levels, hence the "free" and "non-free" repositories, and previous distros not coming with support for anything proprietary out of the box - not even via a simple "do you want the stuff we don't like?" button. Yeah, nice one guys, Joe Average will love having to add a repository and install "restricted" packages just to watch DVDs/play his music...

    12. James O'Brien


      Buy a mac/winbox/whatever :P

      Can I please have my cactus rectal implant now?


    13. Mark 65 Silver badge


      In this day and age surely we should be promoting AAC (or FLAC at a push) as the download choices. Any decent linux distro would be able to transcode to mp3 if you really need it. mp3 itself was nice but it's a little long in the tooth compared to AAC.

    14. Brian Morrison

      Patent problems.....

      ....are real when you are the software vendor, Redhat had no choice but to remove the patented stuff from its distributions. On install it takes all of 5 seconds to enable the RPMFusion repo and it's all back.

      Also, Ogg is available in a stunning number of products, but it isn't listed to avoid frightening the horses. Nearly all Samsung media players support it, and certainly all the Android phones do.

      And not *all* of those are bought by geeks! And anyway, what's wrong with geeks anyway. We should rule the world....;-)

    15. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Check out

      Lots of themes of various degrees of impressiveness are available at

    16. criscros


      Look up the emerald window manager (there should be tutorials online for how to use it; the packages are in the standard repos, I think). It lets you install very fancy themes.

      You also want to look for tutorials on compiz. Install the compizconfig-settings-manager and gnome-color-chooser packages.

      Go to for themes. You can install them from System>Preferences>Appearance.

    17. Robert E A Harvey


      If you are going to stick with gnome, you can obtain eye candy either as individual bits or as whole themes from places like for example has some interesting ideas and a simple explanation of how to load them.

      Mostly you can use the package manager to suck them from repositories, like everything else.

      If you are not going to stick with gnome, you can try things like

      after installing them you can just pick them as an alternative to your default gnome session when you log in.

    18. Gilbo


      Get rid of Ubuntu and install Linux Mint.

      If Shuttleworth wasn't so bloody minded and trying to turn Ubuntu into something that doesn't resemble either Windows or OSX, he'd have bought the Mint team by now and handed over all GUI design to them.

    19. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      One word


      The rest is up to you and your favorite search engine.

    20. Anonymous Coward

      9.10 worked for me...

      9.04, 8.10, 8.04 didn't. But 9.10 did.

      In my case, it was down to the proprietary NVidia drivers. If I used the generic drivers, it was fine - but I lost Compiz.

      Compiz or suspend. Difficult choice. Not.

      Anyway - for me, the problem wasn't Ubuntu or Linux or FOSS - it was the closed-source NVidia drivers.

  5. Matt_W

    Is it a bit sad...

    ...that I've really been looking forward to this?

  6. Adam Williamson 1


    "Ubuntu founder March Shuttleworth has set Linux the target of beating Apple on the desktop in terms of features and polish. Has he delivered with his Lucid Lynx?"

    This sounds like a good release of Ubuntu with some worthwhile improvements, but this kind of blinkered focus on Ubuntu and even more tightly on Shuttleworth is kind of depressing.

    Let's take a look at the next paragraph:

    "all my hardware was supported, including my NVidia graphics card"

    obviously this is important to you. Funny, then, that Canonical / Ubuntu / Shuttleworth do almost zero work on hardware support. Your NVIDIA graphics card works thanks to the nouveau developers - led by Red Hat's Ben Skeggs - if you're using that open driver, or thanks to NVIDIA themselves if you use the proprietary driver. All your other hardware? Nope, not thanks to Ubuntu either. Thank Red Hat, Novell, Intel...just about anyone but Ubuntu. (note, I work for Red Hat, this is a personal post, not representative of my employer, blahblah.)

    "even my iPhone showed up in Nautilus thanks to the latest version of libgpod"

    ...which is mostly written by Mandriva's Christophe Fergeau.

  7. popey
    Thumb Up

    3 download limit

    I've been beta testing the Ubuntu One Music Store for a while now and the 3 download limit is really not an issue. As soon as you buy a track (or indeed a full album) the MP3 files get transferred to your cloud storage in the background, directly from 7digital servers. Once there any computers that are connected to your Ubuntu One account will automagically get the music. It works really nicely. I have four machines connected to my U1 account and the music just 'appears' on all of them.

    I have no need to go and manually download the files - thus consuming more of my limit of 3 - because they're downloadable from storage and they're already on all my machines. I'd have to be some kind of idiot to lose every single copy (and all backups) of media before I went and had to download again.

    I'm sure someone will though. :)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "only" 3 times

    "Also a bit disappointing is the three-download limit"

    The ever popular iTunes only *officially* allows you to download a song once (though if you lose everything I hear they will consider a one off redownload on a case by case basis if you put in a support request), so I'd say 3 is actually a move in the right direction

    1. blackworx

      Look children! Here we see....

      ...the first signs of "yeah well I liked Linux before it got famous" syndrome.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Hardware compat

      You are obviously right. The Ubuntu crowd mostly adapted work from othe members of the OSS community. But let's compare apples with other rosacea fruits... MS people never, ever developped any comparable driver. Mind you, they even never _participated_ in the developpment. So in a way, as bastardised as Ubuntu may be, as a rule of thumb you can still thank Ubuntu (or, in that case, Debian. Or whichever distro you chosed, or depend on) for the hardware drivers. No matter who did the real work: you personnally are closer to getting credits for that than the MS crew (even if you didn't do fuck all).That's the MS magics for you: 1) strong-arm the hardware makers into writing Windows-only drivers; 2) try and steal credits for said drivers.

    3. Martin Owens
      Thumb Down


      Red Hat, Novell and Intel don't have to carry a huge user base. They're quite happy living in their windows desktop happy worlds where they don't have to dedicate resources to user focus.

      Ubuntu however has users who don't contribute, there just isn't the time to look after both hardware support and users with the tiny budget and small technical community.

    4. frymaster

      depends how you define "hardware support"

      quite often in the linux world, it's defined as "there is a kernel module for this" and userland programs to leverage said support aren't mentioned. The work ubuntu does is integration work i.e. ensuring that the nvidia drivers can be downloaded and auto-updated via the package management system, in sync with kernel updates, instead of having to manually recompile the kernel module with every update, which is what you have to do with the nvidia-supplied module

      ubutnu are very obviously standing on the shoulders of others - almost all the software is written by other people, and even the package management owes everything to debian - but they are still adding value

    5. That Awful Puppy

      The hurt of the butt

      Butthurt much? All the fine specimens of hackerdom you mentioned are perfectly happy to work for free - in fact, I'm sure they evangelise their position to anyone, whether they want to listen or not. Ubuntu use this to their advantage, and to the advantage of their users, who mostly won't give a thimbleful of fresh iguana faeces about who wrote the stuff anyway.

      If they actually manage to turn the egofest of criminally abysmal user interfaces that is Linux into something that is viable for consumers, so much the better. Not that I'm likely to switch from OS X anytime soon, of course, but then again, unlike most Linux advocates, I actually use my computer to earn money*.

      * for values of money approaching a bloody pittance.

    6. bill 36

      They have a long long way to go

      I read this article the other day and thought, yeah why not give it a go on an old laptop (Siemens Amilo) just to see what all the fuss is about. So i spent 5 hours yesterday including the download time, trying to get an iso image on cd to boot.

      I tried the beta first, then the latest supported version on 3 different machines all written on a CD-R as recommended......and at the slowest speed.

      So, after that, and utterly pissed off, i took an old copy of the Sarge Debian kernel, written with the same burner on the same machine, and with exactly the same media,4 years ago, and it boots and loads without any trouble at all.

      So i agree, you must have got lucky with the hardware support.

      Just another case of bullshit i'm afraid.

      1. Rob Dobs


        I've never heard of a Siemens Amilio before, ever. Been in the business for decades. Now I did use to see some fujitsu laptops like 12 years ago, but haven't come across one since.

        Apple, Dell, HP, and Linovo (IBM) all very popular, and you will see the occasional Asus, Toshiba and Sony. That's the big guys. Maybe i missed an obvious one, but if you laptop isn't one of those listed, and you bought it more than 3-4 years ago, you shouldn't expect it to work effortlessly. If I have a 2 year old Dell, or HP I should more reasonable expect various OS to have done the effort for it work out of the box.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Praise Jesus

      Someone with their head screwed on that's happy to point out that Ubuntu is little more than a bundle of other people's hard work with the majority of their "contributions" to upstream being little more than self-serving tweaks.

      There's nothing inherantly wrong with that, but I'm sick of articles like this suggesting that Cannonical is doing all the development work here.

      I know someone who works for Cannonical's design department who, with a straight face, told me the other day that 50% of Ubuntu is community developed and 50% is Cannonical's code. Even their own employees are buying into Shuttleworth's distortion field.

      1. Rob Aley

        This is what OSS is all about

        Canonical may not be doing a lot of the development work, but they are doing the bits Red Hat et al are failing to do (at least well(, namely bundling the right bits together, promoting and distributing, and supporting users. And excelling at it. Open Source means you don't need to re-invent the wheel, you can take other peoples work and add what you are good at to the mix, to the benefit of society at large.

        Like every good development they are standing on the shoulders of giants. And many other smaller fish are standing on their shoulders too.

      2. Rob Dobs

        U can always "Ubuntu" Ubuntu

        This is what is great about open source. If Ubuntu takes all this great software code, and makes it easier to use on their OS, Redhat, etc, can turn around and make their distro that much easier to use too.

        Redhat I think is at fault themselves for retreating into a niche. They saw Enterprise support contracts as their main revenue source, and appeared to the market to have abandoned any plans at being a significant player in the home-user desktop market.

        So 50%.... well first off assume this is common speech, and not meant to be a scientific fact.

        It's not entirely unreasonable (especially from their work-day perspective) that people at Cannonical could feel that half of what comes out of their OS is their work. It also depends on how you weigh the "total package" that is the OS.

        Say you bought a Cell phone - One ergonomic engineer may think that the phone is 90% his device, and that the software only counts for 10%. The software programmer probably feels the same in reverse about the silly hardware that runs his precious code, a matter of perspective.

        If Ubuntu is easier to use/install for average users, that is a major value add, and a real tangible benefit.

        So is 90% of the OS the underlying Kernel?

        How much would each application account for?

        As much as the coders may think otherwise: marketing, presentation, packaging, ergonomics, easy of use, etc. are all EXTREMELY important factors to the average PC user. MUCH more so than the software code, or even security. The average user cares about who wrote the code in their machine as much as they care who painted the numbers on their keyboard (hint: they don't ever think about either).

        Ubuntu has done major contributions to Linux with the development of their OS. If Debian, RedHat really have that much work-hours going into desktops, they should be able to freely adopt all of Ubuntu's work also.

        That is the nature of a community project people!

  9. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    Also, Radeon users....

    Don't use the fglrx drivers, they don't work with the bundled Xorg properly yet - at least not with my HD4850.

    The open source drivers bundled with it, however, work fine - my biggest bugbear with recent Ubuntu's on my Big Box has been tearing on the display [videos, compositor, etc] which made me stick with Windows 7 RC - this release has VSync properly sorted it seems.

    The fglrx binary not working is a known issue apparently - if you do end up wanting to try it, don't forget that in usr/lib/shared/ati there is an uninstall script too - that removed the prorietary driver, and a reboot got me back on the FLOSS one perfectly.

    I;m really liking 10.04 Alpha3 [updated to Beta] though - it's very nicely done.

    Now, to get those window management controls back on the right hand side...

    Steven R

  10. Nigel Wright

    I think Ubuntu is great, but...

    I am not very comfortable with the creeping commercialisation of it.

  11. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    No text browser, then?

    At first glance I thought this article was going on about a new version of the venerable ol' Lynx browser. "Surely," I thought, "you must be joking."

    Definitely not, and I apologize for calling El Reg "Shirley."

    Paris, or so I thought.

    1. Ian McNee

      Linux should be for everyone, not just us geeks

      Nigel: there's always the Ubuntu Alternate distro if you want to remove the "commercial" parts that you don't like or you're free (in every sense) to use Debian if you want to be pure of heart.

      Don't diss the mainstream Ubuntu distros for doing just that: going mainstream to popularise a quality Open Source OS among non-geekdom. If this happens then maybe one day us geeks can give up our Virtual Box Windows VMs as Linux gets much broader support from software and hardware vendors.

    2. Paul 129

      ATI Drivers your mileage may vary

      The ATI provided drivers are required to get the best out of your system. They release a new one every month, but some are distinctly better than others. Older versions are available from their website. My HD3200 borked using Feb's driver, but Jan's is fine, keeping my fingers crossed for the march one which should be out any day now..

      Decent drivers from ATI would help linux along enormously. Must admit though, they are improving.

  12. John Sanders

    This being ubuntu...

    Most of the bugs will remain well after the release date, and many will stay forever, there will be lots of regressions.

    And unfortunately for all, this is what one of the best Linux distro is.

    Imagine the bad ones.

    And what is with the stupid button change on the windows, who asked for that?

  13. geronimo hashbucket

    Alpha Beta Soup

    I installed the Alpha 3 version just for shits and giggles, as it were.

    It works as expected and it's not brown.


    A lot of Gnome is still slightly annoying and OSX just leaves it dead in the water.

    But still.

    Linux - love the ethos - hate the GUI.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Only observable here

    ... is that press releases from linux and google seem to be on the "better than a Mac" basis.

    Sorta makes a compliment really

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      "A lot of Gnome is still slightly annoying and OSX just leaves it dead in the water.

      But still.

      Linux - love the ethos - hate the GUI."

      Ehh.. don't use gnome.. there's more than just gnome.. or kde... try xfce.

      Did I ever say I liked xfce? :P

      Macs are nice but they have idiosyncracies and definite cons - let's just talk UI and input devices.. windows don't have menu bars. trackpad has only one button (this is the stupidest and most stubborn thing apple keep insisting on)... what else? stupid keyboards are nonstandard. machines cost too much.

      This is being typed on a mac running debian btw.

      1. geronimo hashbucket


        I've run them all at one time or another.

        KDE (crashes a lot)

        Enlightenment - beautiful but idiosyncratic

        Blackbox - too minimal for me

        Fluxbox - see above

        XFCE - hmmm, OK I suppose but annoying in places


        Windowmaker - just plain weird

        Which is why I use Macs. Not to knock the effort of the Open Sourcer's and I adore the ethos behind it.


        OSX is a thing of beauty.

        Installing Debian on a Mac is like buying a Ferrari and ripping out the engine and replacing it with a 2 stroke lawnmower engine. IMHO

        1. M Gale

          Installing Debian on a mac...

          "Installing Debian on a Mac is like buying a Ferrari and ripping out the engine and replacing it with a 2 stroke lawnmower engine. IMHO"

          More like ripping out the engine and replacing it with the monster you normally get in a Formula One car. Needs careful, professional handling or you'll either blow yourself up or end up wrapped around a lamp post in short order.

          But yes.


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