From here on, Heron

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Today, the new Ubuntu Linux version—8.04 the Hardy Heron—will be released. I have been using the beta or test version for the last two weeks and have found Ubuntu to be easier to use and install and its whole computing experience better than ever.

I had initially decided to stay away from using the beta version—the amount of updates you have to download on the run-up to the final version can be huge. I had several urgent tasks and didn’t want to deal with regularly updating my laptop.

Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron HARDY HERON running on my MSI S260 laptop. Click to enlarge photo.

But Chin Wong made me do it. The devil, in turn, made him do it, or at least that line kept playing in his head as he installed the beta version in his desktop computer. During the installation, he had problems with sound in his system.

A day later, however, he posted a fix to the problem.

That broke my resolve to stay away from the Hardy Heron beta and proceeded to install it, as opposed to upgrade, in my MSI S260 laptop.

Clean install

I’ve never upgraded Ubuntu in my laptop. What I do is perform a clean install of a new version. This is a habit carried over from Windows and retained because I hate to wait for downloading of files to complete while doing an update to a new release over the Internet.

A new install, after all, takes just a few minutes and I take pleasure at customizing my installation all over again.

I downloaded the beta version of the desktop edition via Bittorrent and burned the ISO file. Installation was a breeze and after just a two-stick cigarette break, Hardy Heron was already running in my laptop.

The first thing I did upon logging in was check for updates. The update manager listed 287 files to download, amounting to a whopping 128 megabytes. At least two more update queues had more than 200 megabytes of files each.

Ubuntu Hardy Heron updates UPDATE QUEUE. When you install the beta release, be prepared for frequent application updates. If you install the final release, you won’t have to download huge file updates. Click on photo to enlarge.

What I did was I left the laptop on and worked either on my office desktop or my Asus Eee PC.

If you want to go over the details, including the minutia, of the new things in Ubuntu Hardy Heron, just go to the Ubuntu website. Hardy Heron is a Long Term Support (LTS) release, this means it will be supported for three years.

Desktop eye candy

Compiz, with all its snazzy desktop effects, is installed by default in Hardy Heron but not its configurations manager. It’s easy to add it, though, through the synaptic package manager, just look for compizconfig-settings-manager.

The network manager applet has improved compared to when I last used it in Feisty Fawn and I saw no need to install wicd, my manager of choice for LAN and wireless connections. Firefox 3 beta was installed by default but then removed in one of the updates. I just reinstalled it after a few days.

Avant Windows Navigator GET YOUR DOCK HERE. Avant Windows Navigator, a cool applications launcher dock, can be easily installed from the repository. Click on photo to enlarge.

Avant Windows Navigator or AWN, a cool Mac OS X-like dock, is now in the repositories and can be installed easily using the package manager. If you want to start AWN, just include it in the list of startup programs in System > Preferences > Sessions. The command is avant-window-navigator.

Using Bluetooth also seems so much easier in Hardy Heron. In previous versions, I had to wrestle with using the command line to detect my Bluetooth USB dongle. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I gave up (what can I say? I’m lazy). With the Bluetooth tools in Hardy Heron, pairing is easier. I haven’t tried sending files from my Sony Ericsson P1i, though, because I encountered an error that I had no time to check yet.

Hardy Heron also comes with the latest stable version of Open Office, which is 2.4. If is a full office software suite for writing documents, creating presentations, managing spreadsheets, among other tasks.

JDarkRoom

But while Writer is a good writing software, I’ve always preferred to write my first draft on the minimalist and full-screen editor JDarkroom.

JDarkRoom on Ubuntu Hardy Heron NO-DISTRACTION WRITING. I write my drafts on JDarkRoom, a minimalist and full-screen editor.

It’s easy to install JDarkRoom in Ubuntu. Just go to this site and download the jar file. To start the application, just open up a terminal and navigate to the folder where you stored the jar file and then type java -jar JDarkRoom.jar.

To save myself from the tedium of having to do this every time I needed to write something, I created a batch script using instructions in this forum post. In my case, I saved the JDarkroom jar file in its own folder in my home directory so my script is:

#!/bin/bash
cd /home/max/jdarkroom
java -jar JDarkRoom.jar

After that, I CHMODed the file, again using the instruction in the forum post. I could now start JDarkroom by typing jdarkroom in the terminal. But, as I’ve repeatedly said, I have a terminal case of hatred for the terminal and so I created a panel launcher using whatever icon I could find in the system that had a pencil on it.

Web development tools

With my writing tool installed, I proceeded to add other web development tools. The first program I added was Bluefish, a really good text editor that I use alternately with gedit, depending on my mood. I then added Filezilla for my FTP needs.

Since I use versioning for some of my work, I installed the SVN Nautilus scripts via the package manager but couldn’t get it working. I just installed RapidSVN, taking time to say a short prayer for the emergence of a Linux tool akin to what TortoiseSVN does in Windows.

With all the other tools installed, I then went on to download Aptana Studio, a really good IDE for web development. Aptana is my HTML and CSS editor of choice and I use it extensively for initial work with WordPress themes.

I installed Aptana Studio last because I thought I’d encounter problems with it. It turned out installation was as easy as just unzipping the downloaded file. I then created a launcher for Aptana using the icon from this site.

The Hardy Heron beta did not come with Wine, a software that allows you to run Windows programs in Linux. I wrote about installing Adobe Photoshop 7 in Linux previously. The current Wine version allows you to install and run Adobe Photoshop CS 2 in Ubuntu Linux smoothly. I had to install Photoshop because I still haven’t gotten around to learning how to use Gimp (soon, I know, soon).

Photoshop CS 2 using Wine in Ubuntu Hardy Heron
Adobe Photoshop CS 2 running in Ubuntu Hardy Heron using Wine.

Overall, Hardy Heron is a great release. With its ability to be installed in Windows, I’m sure more people will be trying out Linux for the first time using the Hardy Heron release.

I told a colleague, who is about to embark on a career-changing project, to use Ubuntu for the computer component of his program. He agreed and I’m excited for it to start.

Since I started using Ubuntu last year, I’ve never encountered major problems in my laptop. Maybe I’m just lucky with my MSI S260 hardware since I still read posts trashing Ubuntu hardware support.

The only thing that’s not working in my laptop is the built-in card reader. I tried looking for fixes last year but just gave up and bought a cheap USB multi-card reader.

Part of me keeps saying Hardy Heron will be the last version in this laptop. I don’t know whether its specifications can still meet requirements of coming development releases. But let’s see. Six months from now. But from here on, it’s Hardy Heron.

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22 Comments

  1. I’m also planning to do a clean install once the Hardy Heron comes out. I’ll be waiting for the release of 8.04 today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Good decision. I also couldn’t wait for the final version so I got Hardy Heron RC, but I prefer Xubuntu.

    Regards,
    Jun

  3. 2 weeks ago, I started with Feisty Fawn, a week ago, the Gutsy Gibbon, this week, the Hardy Heron… oooh, can’t wait to use it, I’m now downloading as I write this…

  4. I should like to order a installation-CD with a copy of Ubuntu. Please ship it to my address:
    Jan Jansen
    P.O.Box 78
    6015 Lapu Lapu, Cebu
    Thanks!

  5. I’ve read from Sunstar that you’re giving out a copy of Ubuntu. May I ask a copy from I’ll appreciate it..thanks a lot.

  6. Nice review. I just want to say that nautilus svn’s script is probably correctly installed but you should activate it. nautilus-script-manager works fine for this issue.
    Anyway
    RapidSVN worth much more than nautilus’s scripts.

  7. I’ve read your article about Ubuntu free CD, tried to access its website but I have not received a reply from them. I’m planning to install it to our computers in our school. CanI have a copy of that CD?

  8. hello! i have read the news paper last may 05 about this new linux. you said in your article that if we want a copy just contact you. how can i get a copy? and how much? im interested.

    thanks

  9. How can I obtaim a copy of the ubuntu? Unfortunately, i dont have a fast Internet connection…

  10. hey, just wanna ask is this software for laptop only?can i install it even if im using the microsoft?thanks

  11. Aitor,
    Thanks for the update. I’ve just enabled it. Will still try working with my subversion repositories.

    For all those requesting CDs, my request from Ubuntu still hasn’t arrived but I’ve burned a copy. I’ll add a comment here on how you can get the CD.

    Kelly,
    Ubuntu can be installed in any desktop or laptop. With the latest version, you can now install it under Windows.

  12. regarding your article on sunstar, i really think ubuntu is not a pirated OS replacement. it is something that gives freedom to the users.
    –at kelly–

    ubuntu has its own base. it does not require other operating systems for it to work. ubuntu is an operating system, just like windows…

    ****moving to SUSE, dont like debian.. ^^****

  13. Max,
    I just assembled my own PC. I powered it with Ubuntu 7.10 using the Live CD and viola! Ubuntu all the hardware of my PC, no need for an additional restricted drivers to be installed. And this is what I am using now. I encouraged everyone to use ECS 945GCT-M2/1333 Motherboard. This is powered by Intel 945GC chipset just to be on the safe side.

  14. Jan Jansen
    P.O.Box 78
    6015 Lapu Lapu, Cebu
    Thanks!

    You can email me on how you can get it. I have lots of Ubuntu CDs (Ubuntu & Kubuntu 7.10).

  15. Max, try vectorlinux. It’s a slackware based distribution… its fast and also installs easily ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Max,
    I just received my Ubuntu 8.04 and I do a clean upgrade of my PC system. Ubuntu 8.04 really rocks in my system. Compiz fusion is great. Ubuntu is so easy, I can set it up with all in all in it in just an hour (depending on the connection of your internet).

  17. Kevin,
    I agree, Ubuntu is more than just a replacement for a pirated Windows. But, it is also that. And for many people, that can be a lure toward trying an open source system.

    Of course Ubuntu is an operating system and does not need another operating system. But the latest Ubuntu comes with Wubi, which allows it to be installed in Windows. For many people, this a good way of trying out the system first for some time. While you can check the system out using the live CD, installing Ubuntu in Windows using Wubi allows you to try out a persistent Ubuntu install.

  18. Guys,
    If you want an Ubuntu Hardy Heron CD, just go to the Sun.Star Publishing Inc. office on P. del Rosario St., near the University of San Carlos main campus.

    Just tell the guard that you will be going to the newsroom to claim the CD. In the newsroom, look for editorial assistant William Rama, the CDs are in a sleeve tacked to his cork board. Leave your name and e-mail address to acknowledge that you got the CD. Please feel free to pass it on.

    I also have a handful of stickers. If you claim the CD in the afternoon, I can give you an Ubuntu sticker ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. […] Linux has a lot of variants called distros or distributions. Among the popular distributions are Ubuntu, which is supported by the company Canonical; Fedora, the community edition backed by Red Hat; […]

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