Ubuntu is still my fav. Linux distro because its stable, you can game with it and it just works – while other bloody distros often crash or simply are more complicated to use – time is money baby! The problem is that you might have some troubles in customizing it or you ask yourself how can I make the switch from Windows?! So this guide is exactly for you! The overview gives you a short opinion what is well done in Ubuntu and what could be improved based on my experience.
I decided to test Ubuntu 14.04, which I found to be amazing in all scenarios, on the LG laptop. Let’s see what gives.
My history with Ubuntu 14.04 covers a lot, including but not limited to:
- An Ultrabook machine with UEFI, used a production system.
- A very nifty multi-boot setup on a laptop with SSD.
- I also used it for early tests on the Lenovo G50 machine.
- And I DID test it already on the LG machine long time ago too!
Now, on top of that, I crowned it best distro of 2014, and it’s one of the rare few distros I use seriously on production systems. At the moment, this highly prestigious award goes to only one other distribution, and it also happens to be in the family. But let’s move on, shall we.
This one was quick and painless. Clean initial boot, no text noise. Fast, responsive desktop. The new kernel and five revisions of LTS improvements also help make Trusty sleeker and more stable than it was a couple of years ago. Very neat and elegant. The installer also looks better, and it responds more quickly. Just a delight.
Better than Aardvark
So, this may read like a proverbial slaughter, and it is. But it’s not just Ubuntu Aardvark. It’s the entire crop, mostly Gnome systems, like Fedora 27 for instance. We’re talking years worth of regressions crammed into the Linux desktop. The damage also affects Kubuntu 17.10, too. Or for that matter, another gem and total surprise was the less popular Mageia 6, which delivered a fresh, solid experience.
Wireless worked in both bands. Bluetooth, check. Samba sharing, yup, and it was fast, both the initial connection and the overall throughput. Printing, again, no issues with either the Samba printer or the Wireless device.
You get all of it, Windows Phone, Android, iPhone, no problems! Yes, as easy as with Windows!
Like most distros, if you choose a multi-locale language (English), it will default to the nearest timezone choice, which I do not like, because if I choose a US keyboard layout, there’s a reason for that, right. That’s something that can be polished. On the other hand, Mint manages to provide the input method for East Asian languages in a sensible way, and there are few distros that do this well.
The codecs are there, no errors, no bugs. Rhythmbox is pointless, but at least it did what it should, and you get system integration without any extras or hacks.
Updates were offered right away, in a clean, consistent manner. USC is light-years ahead of Gnome Software. It looks better, behaves more professionally, offers more relevant results, and it just has the feel of a proper store. This includes extra software as well as additional drivers. No problems whatsoever.
Usability & Fonts
Trusty is so much better than any recent Gnome. To begin with, you do not need half a dozen extensions to be able to use the desktop. People mistake aesthetic minimalism with functional minimalism. Gnome destroys the desktop by providing a bland and useless interface. You need two extensions to be able to install extensions, and then two or three others plus a couple of programs to get basics like window buttons, a panel, show desktop shortcut, and more.
Trusty has none of those issues, and you can create files with a right-click in the file manager. There are tons of options, so you can configure the file manager, which is not the case with the abstract monstrosity that is Files recently. Normal-sized window borders, good layout. Excellent fonts, sharp and crystal clear, best in the class.
You can also choose custom locations and any which file for your wallpaper, which is not the case in recent Gnomes. You can show your desktop without any hacks. You can hide the Dash if you want. Superlative search capabilities. The good ole Ubuntu when we all had a dream.
Proprietary drivers & Hardware compatibility
Worked without any problems. I got both Nvidia and Intel firmware – reboot, done. The sequence became low-res, but still no spurious text vomit, and you get a single Nvidia splash screen.
Even with Nouveau, there were no stupid color issues the way you get in these new distributions. Nvidia drivers installed without any problems. Fn keys are working. The webcam also works nicely, and it comes with the correct theme, matching the desktop layout. The only real bug here is with the suspend & resume functionality, but that’s neither a new thing nor an exception. Both the boot sequence and the shutdown remain clean, without any silly artifacts, even with the Nvidia drivers in place. Ubuntu, somebody I used to know.
No silly borders or artifacts in the Nvidia settings panel – superb fonts.
Resource usage, performance
With default kernel 4.4 in place, you do get some noticeable improvements. Compared to what we had about two to three years ago, memory utilization is much better, at only about 500 MB, almost three times less than most current Gnomes. Idle CPU figures are about 6-7%, again better than most Gnomes. More importantly, the system feels snappy and responsive, far beyond the age and wear of this laptop. Fewer CPU spikes, less lag. Only under heavy load you notice that this isn’t the best of breeds, and it’s been about eight years since this laptop first saw light. But it is decidedly fresher than most recent Gnomes, and somewhere in between Kubuntu and Xubuntu Aardvark. Yup.
Extra software & customization
It was also quite fun customizing things, because you don’t need much. I did configure several new PPA and added Papirus and Numix icons. Here, I had my one and only app crash throughout the entire session, and it was apt not being able to install the Numix White icons package. Broken, so apt quit abnormally, and Ubuntu complained that it had encountered a problem.
I also installed some additional programs – VLC, GIMP, Steam. Both Skype and Chrome were manually downloads, but they both will configure their own repos, too. In the end, it’s a delightful little setup.
No, it is not me. Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr shows – once again, that it is the undisputed king of professionalism and quality, and it is the best Ubuntu ever made. What happened more recently is just slow asphyxiation of enthusiasm and happiness.
After testing this system, I am amazed by how much the recent editions have regressed, across the board. Stability, performance, overall quality, fine details, hardware support, even the basics. Better yet, not only is Trusty better than all these other distros, it’s also better than its former self! It has improved – less memory, less CPU, more stability! And all these other distros – Well. It is appalling and alarming. It is disheartening. You can read those reviews and weep. One thing is sure. Aardvark and friends take the entire distroscape back to 2005.