back to article Ubuntu's Lucid Lynx: A (free) Mactastic experience

Ubuntu 10.04, officially available as of Thursday, is an important update for this popular Linux distro. It's a Long-Term Support (LTS) release - the first since 8.04 two years ago - and it wraps social network with media capabilities and a brace of online services in a brand new look. As an LTS edition, Lucid Lynx will be …


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  1. Wile E. Veteran

    Can I...

    Synch the calendar and address book off my BlackBerry without going through a kludge of different processes to get from Ubuntu to BlackBerry and back?

    Get "pixel perfect" translation to and from Open Office to MS Office and back so the documents from the Department of Homeland Security I have to deal with don't get their formatting screwed up in the process of my editing them?

    Deal with Adobe Forms for the same reason?

    If not, Ubuntu doesn't do me a bit of good and I'm stuck with Windows, movie editor, music store or not.

  2. tom truong

    so far no go...

    popped it into a VM to try, could not VNC to it (keyring password bug stuck), could not install freenx... don't have a real box somewhere... don't want to dual boot...

    so much hope, so much hype... i guess i'll do more wating, it's a LTS afterall

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      I like the downvotes

      Indicates that the Linux groupthink is still in full effect. Someone requires something of Linux that it doesn't offer or support? They must be spreading FUD! It can't possibly be the case that Linux doesn't have or do what they want!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Logic fail

        So Belkin (for example) doesn't supply drivers for linux - shows how crap linux is.

        HP printer didn't work with Vista - shows how crap HP is.

        Please explain.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Downvoted because...

        .... complains about OpenOffice as it if is a problem with Ubuntu itself. Here, take a downvote too for being the first to hysterically mention FUD.

    2. J 3
      Gates Horns

      Could you... think?

      "Get "pixel perfect" translation to and from Open Office to MS Office and back"

      Well, if not even MS Office can do that... Ever used MS Office on Windows AND Mac? I've lost count of how many times a document someone sent (from Windows) got butchered in one or another way (mostly small, sometimes not so small) by our lab's Mac mini running MS Office. And while I don't see how that could be the OS's fault... who knows?

      See, MS Office <-> MS Office trouble. Read again.

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      @ Wile E. Veteran

      I understand your comments, but, to be fair, Ubuntu isn't the problem. It is just an operating system. Open Office is produced by another organisation entirely. I, too, wish they would make some more effort to keep the formatting from MSWord documents - yes, that is the way it should be, because there are far more MS users than OOo, so it is up to the little guy to keep up with the big one. I also wish OOo would put in a wordcounter that works the same as the one in MSWord - like it or not, that is the de facto standard when setting word counts. Editing documents created on my wife's work (i.e. MS) computer has become so difficult I've had to reload MSWord - and that is a big FAIL as far as OOo is concerned.

      Equally, I suspect your Blackberry problem is down to the software made available by Blackberry, not Ubuntu.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Missing the point

        Regardless of who is at fault or what software company makes what, if software/hardware that I am obliged to use for my job is not available on an OS (any OS) then I can't use it. It just happens that all the software and hardware I need to use works in Windows 7 but not in Linux. Believe me, I'm not blaming Linux, I love the idea of Open Source, but the fact remains that the big names out there will support Windows before Linux. It's getting better but we all know it's not there yet.

        I'd love to be able to NOT spend £150 on an OS but, unfortunately, I don't have that option.

  3. WonkoTheSane

    Default search provider

    Ubuntu switched back to Google several weeks ago.

  4. Nigel Callaghan Silver badge


    Don't get me wrong, I really like Ubuntu - been using it for a year or more as my main machine, and will upgrade shortly. But why on earth make it more 'MAC OSX'-like? Okay, perhaps the Mac OS is much smoother and better than the various flavours of Windows, but die-hard fanbois are unlikely to switch from Mac even if Ubuntu came with a free bar of gold, and the less it looks like Windows the harder it is to convince the everyday Windows user to switch. If Canonical are after increasing market share this seems a bit strange!

    Shouldn't it be possible to have a simple 'OS look' choice screen on first boot? Do you want your Ubuntu to look and feel a lot like a) Mac b) Windows 95 c) Win XP d) Linux command prompt?

  5. BigRedS


    "It's a small change, but an endlessly frustrating one if you're used to the old style."

    Really? It took me well short of a day to stop expecting them on the right, and I spend my days switching between Ubuntu and Debian Gnome and WinXP.

    Frustrating, yes. Endlessly? Not according to most of the (rational) people I've spoken to. In fact, all the _really_ annoyed people I've spoken to switched it back within half an hour.

    Might also be worth noting the not-quite-complete absence of tooltips from the panel (gnome icons have no tooltips, other apps' ones often do). That's likely more irksome, particularly in the long term, than the buttons shifting to the left. Especially since you can't turn them back on again. And some of those panel icons have subtly changed in purpose.

    1. BigRedS

      Because people *like* OSX

      General opinion is that, whatever else they get wrong, Apple get design *right* (not necessarily UI, just design).

      In general, Windows users see OSX as a step up in design, and OSX users see Windows as a step down, this has always been the case. If you're going to emulate one of those, it'd be the one held in the higher regard, which is not Windows.

      The kind of users who need it to look like Windows in order to think it's usable will not like a "Please choose which OS you want me to look like" ballot screen on first boot.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      My thoughts exactly. Like many open source projects, it seems to be trying to be something else. If you want a Mac then go out and buy one. If you want Windows then go out and buy it (or have it thrust upon you whether you want it or not).

      MS is (quite rightly) criticised for it's constant "innovation" nonsense. Yet, what are all these OS projects doing? They're not innovating at all - they are (like they have been for many many years) just playing catch-up and copying what's already out there instead of coming up with something that is genuinely new. Just because Apple come up with iTunes, does that mean all MP3 music players then have to look like iTunes? Why? Because they have no other ideas?

      If it is because Linux is trying to appeal to the unwashed masses, then I have to ask why does this matter? And if it does matter for some reason, then just how stupid do they think the target audience is to think that all the applications and even the icons and widgets have to look the same as on a Mac or Windows box for the user to understand and use it?

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I was thinking the same thing- Windows is still hugely dominant in the workplace and home user sectors, right?

        So why, presumably to "make it easier to use", would you make it different to anything they'll have used before unless they're part of some IT minority (or, as my boss would say, "MinorIT")? Especially when you're more likely to tempt people away from Windows than Apple.

        The rule they follow should be a Futurama-inspired KISS KIFF- Keep It Simple, Stupid, [but] Keep It Familliar, Fool!

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @AC - Different but the same?

          "So why, presumably to "make it easier to use", would you make it different to anything they'll have used before"

          How can you make it easier to use and still keep it the same?

    3. Robert McCracken


      have it look like Windows 3.11

      Mines the one with the ZX81 in the pocket.



      MacOS has this reputation for being the Gold Standard of UIs.

      Most of this reputation is hype and mythology but it is still there.

      Really, Ubuntu should concentrate more on driver support and applications.

      As far as ease goes, automation is the key. Make more things more automatic like package management and plugin updates. Ubuntu already stomps all over the Mac when it comes to being open to different formats and supporting them in a well automated fashion.

      Sure. Steal whatever good ideas you can find (and there are some). Just don't drink the cool-aid.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I suppose I'll follow the same path as I usually do with major Linux desktop releases, format a disk for a test machine, install it, play with it for a week or two, realise just how many arcane command line tweaks need doing and how many magic chickens need to be waved to get it to work the way I want it to or even play nicely with my other machines then, finally, rinse and repeat when the next all singing all dancing (allegedly) Linux Distro is released.

    Can we have a 'Meh' icon please?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    buggy buggy buggy

    I don't know about the desktop/server editions and won't even touch them with a bargepole as the netbook edition experience has been a horror story. The installation procedure crapped out almost as soon as it started with some obscure message about being unable to mount something on a cow or words to that effect. Digging around in various forums found a workaround and also showed that this problem was around at the time of the previous (9.10) release - so much for Canonical's support. Anyway, got it installed and then while trying to simply add a small game, my entire wireless network gets taken down by yet another known problem that's been around for ages. To get past this involved a convoluted procedure of downloading driver sources and running scripts and editing configuration files - exactly the sort of thing that a new user shouldn't have to face. This was for an Acer Aspire One - not exactly the most obscure netbook, so it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in their long term support when major problems remain unresolved for over 6 months.

    Sorry, but there is still a very long distance to cover to make the experience as pleasant as Windows Millennium never mind "Mactastic".

  8. Paddy

    Authors lame flaim-bait

    An informative article is spoilt with this:

    "Those that consider GUIs bloat and think a good user experience involves green monospaced fonts on a pure black terminal window will not be pleased with the new Ubuntu. Unfortunately, from the looks of things, you are Ubuntu's past. The real world of everyday, dare I say ordinary, computer users are Ubuntu's future."

    You do know that people can use console interfaces as well as GUI's.

  9. mrmond

    new movie editor ?

    Nothing new about pitvie, it's been around a long time. And just like windows movie maker,while it does the job there's far more capable editors available from the add programs menu.

    As to rhythmbox syncing music automatically. If it's only 2gb available I'd much prefer to back it up to my external hadr disk than trust a flaky server on the cloud.

    Overall looking forward to trying out the upgrade

    1. Jad

      RE: Meh!

      I know I' m a Unix buff and general "windows hater", which gives me a head start with this sort of thing, but as long as you add medibuntu you're most of the way there.

      I used to install Linux in the real bad old days with floppy disks and you're right there were far to many magic chickens needing to be chucked at at, crossing fingers and throwing salt over your shoulder often helped too.

      However; the number of magic chickens required for an Ubuntu install is almost down to 0 ... and although I avoided it for being too "easy" or "glossy", it does install really well and there haven't been any SuSE or Redhat installs (let alone slackware) in our office for almost 3 years.

      It's worth a go, just give it a chance :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        FWIW, original AC here....

        I too have been installing Unix boxes for years, I still have SCO Xenix 386 here somewhere and I *think* I may even still have the earlier version (I *think* it was named '286' but it's been a while, the SCO unix System V I have doesn't count, it came on new fangled CDs) so I'm not scared of an install or the shell/command line to tweak things (hell,it's my favoured way, even on Windows)

        The fact that there are still any magic chickens needed to just install ubuntu (and that's on your hardware, mine will be completely different and therefore require completely different chickens and perhaps a goat) makes it unready for the mainstream because the average Joe user needs to be able to chuck a disk in and let it run. He shouldn't have to drop to a shell and type half the alphabet to get a dependancy to install or run properly. Leave the command line/shell stuff for the intricate difficult bits that require finesse and fine grained control, not the relatively simple task of getting something like a network card to work.

        Something the Linux zealots *all* miss is that computing is no longer the preserve of the geek, everyone has a computer now, everyone wants to be able to browse the 'net, plug in peripherals, share files etc. etc.. If it works wihtout intervention then fine but when Linux fails to work straight away, it becomes very unpleasant and difficult very quickly for end users. To be user friendly, it has to be possible for the majority of users to use and configure.

        FWIW, I do use Ubuntu desktop as well as Windows 7 and I run a couple of Ubuntu servers (one's a squid proxy and the other is a test machine) but it's just not there yet for the desktop.

        I can take a Windows disk and chuck it at almost any machine that has enough disk space, RAM and processor and it installs to the point where it can connect to the 'net and automatically download drivers or, more often, with no further intervention at all, leaving a working desktop.

        I will try 10.04, I hope to be pleasantly surprised because I know the evil of Gates and would dearly love to drop him completely. I just can't, not until all my users, friends, family, aquaintances etc. all do too and for that to happen, Linux desktop needs to be *much* better.

        FWIW, I hate all Mac, Windows and Linux zealots equally.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Just to pick you up on that

          "The fact that there are still any magic chickens needed to just install ubuntu (and that's on your hardware, mine will be completely different and therefore require completely different chickens and perhaps a goat) makes it unready for the mainstream because the average Joe user needs to be able to chuck a disk in and let it run."

          I use all of Windows 7, OSX and Ubuntu so I'm not overly biased here but I will say that by your reckoning Windows 7 would also not be ready for primetime.

          I have tried with several machines and there's no way you can just pop in a disk and let it run. There's always plenty of unrecognised hardware items with drivers needing to be downloaded - normally from the vendor but only if they're making the driver for Windows 7 for that component (the bastards). However Ubuntu has generally been more successful out of the box although I will say that I had a bit of CLI action with 10.04 for my wireless driver whereas 9.10 was correct from the off.

          The only system that would get near 100% in this criteria would be OSX because they already know what hardware it's running on.

          I agree it's a prick when you need to fix up things like this but, given your average user doesn't normally do OS installations (just look at how many manufacturers include restore partitions), I don't think I could say that it's not ready for the desktop. I'd actually say it's more suitable for the average simpler-needs (web, email, photos) user.

          1. Gangsta

            Can I be the first to say...

            WTF with the magic chickens?

            Anyway, I'm running the 10.04 LTS, I find it fast and stable. The only problem I had was configuring my WiFi card, "BROADCOM". I had to compile the driver and install it manually via the bash prompt.

            While not a problem for me (read the readme) the average computer user, would not know where to start. Obviously an easier way, would to be to connect to the internet by ethernet, then download the pre-compiled version from CANONICAL's server. But both methods would still not be considered obvious for the average user to do. How would they know a precompiled version is available? Alot of the average computer users I know, won't even bother to copy commands from the readme, they'd just call their technical "friend".

            What we need to see is, distros shipping with a larger range of drivers. Also hardware manufacturers need to start to produce drivers for Linux. Luckily for me most of my hardware had open source drivers and the ones that didn't had restricted drivers.

            1. A J Stiles
              Gates Horns

              The crux of the matter

              "What we need to see is, distros shipping with a larger range of drivers. Also hardware manufacturers need to start to produce drivers for Linux."

              The problem is twofold. Firstly, only Open Source drivers can be included in the Linux kernel. A lot of manufacturers like to conceal information about their wireless cards; releasing an Open Source driver would break that secrecy..

              Secondly, Microsoft offer incentives to hardware manufacturers *not* to supply Linux drivers or even admit that their products are usable at all with Linux.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Why bother then, you muppet?!

      So if you know it's going to be an utterly pointless exercise, why do you bother time and time again? Oh yes, the same reason the average typical Windows user gets screwed for upgrade costs every 2 years, you're some kind of brainwashed, Windows masochist!

      Clear off back to the Gates-Balmer Merry-Go-Round Circus ride!

      Me, I am very happy with the new 10.04, seems nice and stable and all the stuff I am running is working great. I use it day-in, day-out as a work desktop to maintain dozens of critical Unix servers and while I use OSX at home and I can see this new theme has similarities, I can't really see that closer match.

      1. Rebajas


        Thanks for the comment - hope you take more care with your critical Unix servers than you do reading peoples posts!

        He didn't even mention Windows, nor going back to another OS after any amount of time, just that every time he installs a new version of Linux there is alot of configuration to get the machine how he likes it.

        Sounds fair enough to me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        Day in day out?

        Odd that, 10.04 release was only available this week...

        I call bullshit on the linux mactard fanboi.

        Paris, somewhat less dim.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Had a similar nightmare trying to get a version of Linux on an ASUS eePC 901 after trying two versions and having OpenOffice screw up several powerpoints I gave up and installed Windows 7/Office 2007 and it went in like a dream (apart from needing to run the graphics driver in compatibility mode), cold boot ~35 seconds.

      Shame, I had such hopes, do you know how much Win7/Off2007 cost? (I don't)

    4. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      It's a shame

      that you can't read (or spell).

    5. Chika
      Thumb Up


      Actually, I can agree on this one. Whilst I did make a comment elsewhere about how easy Linux (in general) is to install these days, Ubuntu isn't alone on having something of a blind spot when it comes to netbooks such as the Aspire One, and many of the bits I had to do to get my own Aspire One to run openSUSE11.1 are things which one might expect to be easily coded into the installation yet, when 11.2 came around, I still had to edit my fstab, force my install not to partition a swap area to keep the SSD usage low, add a couple of extra files, install a driver for the webcam, yadda-yadda-yadda.

    6. Nexox Enigma

      Desktop Distros == meh

      """I suppose I'll follow the same path as I usually do with major Linux desktop releases, format a disk for a test machine, install it, play with it for a week or two,"""

      I usually get to that point, then go back to Slackware, because all of those "Arcane command line tweaks" are really just situation normal for me, and I'd take them by the truck load just to avoid just one wizard.

      I can see how some people might like the GUI configuration panels and wizards, but damned if most of them (In just about every OS) block me out of the functionality I want (Frequently a 'yes, yes, gimme the defaults with one click, not a steady stream of "Next" buttons' option.) All that simplified GUI 'user friendly' nonsense frustrates me in a hurry, whereas a nicely commented text file is so friendly (searchable, copyable, diffable, remote-editable, the list goes on.)

      Last time I installed Fedora, I had to do quite a dance with it to avoid both a massively bloated install, and LVM. The options were either A) Minimal install with automatic partitioning or B) Massive install with custom partitioning (And that gui partition editor was a pain.)

  10. Tempest 3K

    Netbook Remix 10.04

    I'd been playing with the 9.10 version on a Mini 9, so decided to upgrade last night. This is definately a major improvement and it runs about 5 times faster than XP did on the same machine.

    What worries me is the RDP client works faster on this than the one on my XP desktop.....if it wasn't for the fact I have a lot of games and broadcast software needing Windows I would finally consider moving all my machines.

    Pint, because it's Friday and the guys that worked on this definately deserve one :)

  11. Anonymous Coward

    But it's not Windows!

    As an occasional and casual user of various flavours of linux over the years, including Ubuntu, I have gone through lots of frustrations yet each year it does actually get better and easier to use, especially for novices like my wife and kids who prefer to spend more time on Ubuntu on our dual boot home PC than on XP!

    They say that ubuntu is more intuitive and user friendly and also more stable. The only reason that we have a dual boot, and the only reason that my business laptop has not yet converted to ubuntu is that I simply must have all of Office 2003 including Visio and Project and Outlook and they simply do not work well enough under wine or crossover yet. Plus I don't have the time to fart around to try and optimise and trouble shoot.

    If Ubuntu could offer out of the box an easy windows apps installation procedure to seemlessly run under wine without having to faff around, including direct access to printers and scanners etc, then they would win me over immediately and I am sure thousands or perhpas millions of others.

    I do not like Windows 7, it is trying to be all things to all people and as a result is a mess that also has an awkward GUI with big icons for pre-school kids as well as more serious problems with some security suites, drivers, etc. I even considered reverting to XP but then I thought I don't want to lose a weekend installing it all again.

    No, I want my fresh 20 minute ubuntu installation but not until it is seemless to install windows apps via Wine to the extent that I don't even know I am in wine or have to configure it. Then it will be bye bye Windows 7 and all my security and and driver and UAC and activesync headaches.

    And please, don't anyone tell me that Openoffice and Evolution are an adequate enough replacement to Office, at least not for my specific needs.

  12. colin79666

    What Yahoo?

    The author states that Yahoo has replaced Google as the default search in Firefox.

    No it hasn't

    Been using Ubuntu 10.04 RC for a few days and its worked flawlessly with a few exceptions:

    1. Had to manually drop in the Flash plugin as software center only has the 32 bit version

    2. Had to edit out a line in the Grub file which caused the Plymouth splash screen to corrupt with the Nvidia drivers.

    3. Had to add a script to stop the wifi light flashing with network activity

    None of which were real show stoppers and 2 and 3 were only minor annoyances.

    To make Ubuntu properly user friendly will require some moral/legal changes so it supports DVD playback etc out of the box. Trying to find the restricted package and running a script from the terminal is probably past those completely new to linux.

  13. James Foreman

    Mac like?

    Well, I suppose the desktop wallpaper is purple by default...

    It doesn't look that Mac-like - look at Gwibber for a start - all the buttons look cartoonish. Banshee is much the same. It certainly doesn't feel like they've provided a nice, clean look and feel to all the applications (and I'm running a vanilla install of UNR 10.04, so it's not like I'm complaining that I've downloaded a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn't look the same).

    On the positive side, it doesn't seem to die when I turn my netbook's webcam on (unlike 9.10) and the boot screens look a lot less cartoony than 9.04 did. Feels a bit snappier than 9.10 too; launching applications always felt slow on 9.10, even though they ran fine once they were up.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Ubuntu One

    Not every good. Use Dropbox Instead:

    (2GB for free, but multiplatform, including iPhone and Android, and upto 10GB free with referrals)

    Other than that, a big improvement over Ubuntu 9.10, which was a bit steaming turd, and broken many things than worked in 9.04

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But but...

      Dropbox's url is already shorter...

  15. iamapizza

    Looks interesting

    Looks like a re-theme and a lot of bug fixes over 9.04/9.10, then, for stability purposes?

  16. iamapizza

    also also

    I heard there were some social networking features - do those features cover Flickr? Or is it just the usual twitter and facebook trite?

  17. cyborg

    Fail on install on my eee

    Having issues getting the live installer to work. Looks nice enough on the live version but won't be progressing any other upgrades to my other machines until I can try it out properly on my netbook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here's the list

      Flickr, Twitter, StatusNet, Quaiku, Facebook, Friendfeed, Digg and according to the list of options on the install in front of me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Broadcast" accounts are: Flickr, twitter, Statusnet, Qaiku, Facebook, Friendfeed, Digg and

  18. Daniel 44


    No more brown! They should have come up with that colour scheme, what, 6 releases ago?

    I'll wait awhile before checking it out, see if anything serious crops up, the last couple releases were a nasty mess of unfinished, untested code with some gaping flaws right off the top, so here's hoping they got this one right.

    1. Code Monkey

      No more brown

      I agree. No more brown may be the killer app for a lot of users (Ubuntards?).

      And yes I know you can change it.

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


      I know that this is a trivial change, but the default background for Lucid reminds me of the early days of colour television when the tube would become magnetized leading to unpleasant blotches of colour.

      It's different, I admit, but not pretty by any stretch of the imagination.

  19. Spiracle


    I notice that the BBC used the Ambiance theme on the leader's debate set last night.

  20. dirk_diggler
    Thumb Up

    Good Review

    But as someone who's been running this for months through the dev process, I'm quite surprised you didn't make more about the social networking integration, it truly sets it apart from other OS's. OS X and Windows 7 haven't cottoned on to how people really use their computers these days, Canonical have.

  21. That Awful Puppy

    Good, now all they need is apps

    Yes, I'm talking about an office suite that isn't quite as terrible as OpenOffice, an image editing app that isn't quite as useless as the GIMP, and some sense of what's important.

    Oh, and yesterday, I saw a truly sad sight. A severely overweight freetard with a GPL 3 T-shirt. I bet that particular piece of apparel has all the pulling power of a snail.


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