It’s been four days since I’ve switched my main blogging tool, an MSI s260 laptop, into the beta version of the next Ubuntu release—Gutsy Gibbon or Ubuntu 7.10. This next version of Ubuntu is scheduled for release in the coming weeks but I couldn’t wait for the final version. I wanted it now.
After the beta was released, I started preparing to upgrade. I downloaded a disk image of the installer via Bittorrent while backing up files in my laptop. Since there were many seeders, the download took less than two hours.
You can upgrade to Gutsy Gibbon from Feisty Fawn, the version prior to it. I chose to do a fresh install partly because I was reared in a Windows world and that’s how I installed new operating system versions—starting from scratch.
The installation was easy and went without a hitch. The installer detected my built-in dial-up modem, which I haven’t used since I bought the laptop, and informed that “restricted drivers” were available for it.
Gutsy comes with the latest version of Gnome: 2.20. The latest Gnome version comes with a lot of new features, among them assisted codec downloading in the Totem movie player; note synchronization via WebDAV or ssh for the note-taking application tomboy; and syntax highlighting (yay!!!) in the gedit text editor.
According to the beta announcement, in Gutsy “several drivers, including ones for ATI, nVidia, and Intel graphics chips now support the X Resize and Rotate Extension (xrandr). This enables dynamic monitor detection, and resizing and rotating of video output, for no-fuss support for projectors and external monitors.”
Gutsy also includes the latest Linux kernel and “allows the processor to use less power and produce less heat.” This is particularly useful for laptops as it extends their battery lives.
What’s good about the Ubuntu 7.10 installer is that it includes in the packages “Ubuntu restricted extras,” which comes with it Microsoft fonts, MP3 playback support, Flash plugin, Java runtime environment, LAME, and DVD playback. These packages are not included in the Ubuntu package by default because of licensing issues.
Gutsy also enables Compiz Fusion by default to give users with compatible hardware stunning 3D desktop visual effects. You can enable the effects by going to System > Preferences > Appearance.
The Compiz Fusion configuration manager, however, isn’t installed by default but can be easily added via the package manager by going to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager.
Gutsy also comes with an “improved plugin finder wizard” for Firefox and you can now also add Firefox extensions from the Ubuntu application installer.
I still haven’t tried adding a dock although I’ve read in the forums that Avant Window Navigator will be added to Gutsy’ repositories.
On the server installation side, Gutsy includes among the pre-configured installation options: mail server, file server, print server, and database server options. The previous option was for a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server environment.
Since it’s still in beta, there are tons of updates daily. A few hours back I had to download about 60 of them and these came a day after I downloaded more than 300. This provides a peek at the rapid development of parts of the Ubuntu system as it moves toward releasing the final Gutsy version.