Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ubuntu Mate 14.10 Review: For GNOME 2 lovers and offers awesome performance

I am not sure if Ubuntu Mate 14.10 is an official release from Canonical yet. It is still to be listed in distrowatch. But, never-the-less I came across this distro as a reference from a couple of readers from my blog. I used the distro for a week and I am writing down my experience with the distro. It has the same specifics as Ubuntu 14.10 - the desktop environment is different here: Mate 1.8.1, with it's typical GNOME 2 looks.

From Ubuntu Mate 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
For this review, I downloaded the 1 GB 64-bit ISO from the Ubuntu Mate website for this review. I used Linux Mint Image Writer to create a live USB and used it to install on my favorite Asus K55VM laptop.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ubuntu 14.10 vs Kubuntu 14.10 vs Xubuntu 14.10 vs Lubuntu 14.10 vs Ubuntu GNOME 14.10: A Comparison

Honestly, I have used better Linux distros than Ubuntu. But, I don't deny that Canonical's Ubuntu took Linux to the masses. Five years ago when I started using Linux, I started with Ubuntu as well. Those days none of my friends knew about Linux and now almost everyone of my friends knows Ubuntu, if not any other Linux. And even in my blog, articles on Ubuntu gets 30% more hits than non-Ubuntu articles. And the request for this article came from quite a few readers of my blog. Here I won't compare a lot on the aesthetics bit as each distro is unique and it is good to have diversity. My primary focus will be on comparing performance and ease of use.

I reviewed each and every one of the official Utopic Unicorn releases separately. If interested you can visit individual reviews:
Further, 64-bit versions of all the five distros were benchmarked using the exactly same machine over last 1.5 months. So, in this comparison I am comparing apples to apples.


Operating System (64 bit) Ubuntu 14.10 Kubuntu 14.10 Xubuntu 14.10 Lubuntu 14.10 Ubuntu GNOME 14.10
Release Year 2014 2014 2014 2014 2014
Size of ISO (GB) 1.109 1.017 0.979 0.702 0.998
Base Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic Ubuntu Utopic
Desktop Unity 7.3.1 KDE 4.14.1 XFCE 4.11 LXDE GNOME 3.12
Linux kernel 3.16.0 3.16.0 3.16.0 3.16.0 3.16.0

Hardware Used for the Review
Asus K55VM laptop with 2.3 Ghz 3rd Gen. Core i7 3610QM processor with 8 cores, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, 1366x768 resolution, 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphic card.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Fantastic performance and upgradable to GNOME 3.14

Ubuntu GNOME is the youngest official flavor from Ubuntu stable. The first release was in 2012 with 12.10, followed  13.10, 14.04LTS and now, 14.10. Though I am not a big fan of GNOME 3 but of late, GNOME 3 has stabilized and offers some real cool customization ability. The latest release of Ubuntu GNOME, Utopic Unicorn, ships with GNOME 3.12 - the latest offering from GNOME stable 3.14 can be downloaded from launchpad ppa's. The development of this distro started before GNOME 3.14 became stable and hence, not included, as explained by the release note. I checked the distro as it is and after a couple of days of usage upgraded to GNOME 3.14. The release note states of some incremental improvements, namely: "The Ubuntu GNOME team is proud and happy to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn). Ubuntu GNOME is an official flavour of Ubuntu, featuring the GNOME desktop environment. Features: most of GNOME 3.12 is now included, the few missing bits of 3.12 are available in ppa; gnome-maps and gnome-weather are now installed by default, gnome-photos, gnome-music and polari are available to install from the Ubuntu archive; a set of 10 new high-quality wallpapers are included by default; GNOME Classic session is included - to try it, choose it from the Sessions option on the login screen; new themes (like numix) are available in the archive."

From Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
I downloaded the 998 MB 64-bit ISO for this review and created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer. I installed it on 250 GB partition on my Asus K55VM laptop. But, before I jump into the review, lets check what's new in Ubuntu GNOME 14.10.

What is new in Ubuntu GNOME 14.10?
  • GNOME 3.12, but GNOME 3.14 can be downloaded from the ppa's. Even GNOME 3.12 is not complete. But, the few missing bits of 3.12 are available in ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
  • Linux kernel 3.16.0
  • Updated applications
  • gnome-maps and gnome-weather are now installed by default. gnome-photos, gnome-music and polari are available to install from the Ubuntu archive.
  • A set of 10 new high-quality wallpapers are included by default.
  • GNOME Classic session is included. To try it, choose it from the Sessions option on the login screen.
  • New themes (like numix) are available on the archive.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Much improved over the LTS version

Lubuntu's Trusty Tahr LTS release actually put me off because of the Wifi bug and using nm-applet I found a workaround. My expectation was higher from the LTS release honestly. So, I started evaluating the Lubuntu's latest release, 14.10, with almost zero expectation and I was pleasantly surprised. The release note states that this release is kind of calm before the storm.
"A new version of our operating system has been released. You won't notice many cosmetic changes, as this version is considered as a bug-fix release, preparing the way to meet LXQt. Here are some changes: general bug-fix release as we prepare for LXQt; many LXDE components have been updated with bug-fix releases; an update of the artwork (more icons, theme update, more compatibilities); the Ubuntu 14.10 release with 3.16-based kernel; Firefox is updated to version 33; GTK+ updated to version 3.12; X.Org 1.16 has better support for non-PCI devices." 

From Lubuntu 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
For this review, I downloaded the 64-bit Lubuntu 14.10 702 MB ISO and created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer. I used my favorite test laptop, Asus K55VM, to test the brand new release from Lubuntu. Before jumping on to the review, let me start with what is new in Lubuntu 14.10.

What is new in Lubuntu 14.10?
  • General bug fix release as we prepare for LXQt.
  • Many LXDE components have been updated with bug fix releases.
  • An update of the artwork (more icons, theme update, more compatibilities ...).
  • Linux kernel updated to 3.16, enhanced support for the latest Intel CPUs (Cherryview, Haswell, Broadwell and Merrifield systems), initial support for Nvidia GK30A and GK110B GPUs and enhanced audio support for ATI Radeon devices
  • Updated Packages, like Ubuntu 14.10

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Xubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Looks great but slightly disappointed with performance

XFCE is my favorite desktop environment for all for being lightweight and ability to support customization. Generally Xubuntu or Linux Mint XFCE always satisfied my requirement. Hence, with that expectation I checked out the brand new Xubuntu release, nicknamed "Utopic Unicorn". The release note doesn't say any radical change except for some incremental improvements, namely:
"The Xubuntu team is pleased to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.10. To celebrate the 14.10 code name 'Utopic Unicorn' and to demonstrate the easy customisability of Xubuntu, highlight colors have been turned pink for this release. You can easily revert this change by using the theme configuration application under the Settings Manager; simply turn Custom Highlight Colors 'Off' and click 'Apply'. Of course, if you wish, you can change the highlight color to something you like better than the default blue. Starting with Xubuntu 14.10, you should use pkexec instead of gksudo for running graphical applications with root access from the terminal for improved security."
What is new in Xubuntu 14.10?
  • New Xfce Power Manager plugin is added to the panel
  • Items in the newly themed alt-tab dialog can now be clicked with the mouse
  • Starting with Xubuntu 14.10, you should use pkexec instead of gksudo for running graphical applications with root access from the terminal for improved security
  • Linux kernel updated to 3.16, enhanced support for the latest Intel CPUs (Cherryview, Haswell, Broadwell and Merrifield systems), initial support for Nvidia GK30A and GK110B GPUs and enhanced audio support for ATI Radeon devices
  • Updated Packages, like Ubuntu 14.10
I downloaded the 979 MB 64-bit ISO and created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer. I did a live boot on my Asus K55VM laptop and installed it on a 250 GB partition.

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Amazing performance and with KDE 5!

I did not get many exciting things in Ubuntu 14.10, in my previous review. But, my experience with Kubuntu's new release over the last couple of days has been really exciting. The release note states of a couple of options, one with stable KDE 4 and another with the next gen KDE 5.
"Kubuntu 14.10 is available for upgrade or install. It comes in two flavours, the stable Plasma 4 running the desktop we know from previous releases, and a tech preview of the next generation Plasma 5 for early adopters. Plasma 4 is our recommended stable offering and what you get from the default download, but is now in maintenance mode. It runs the software you are familiar with and will be getting updates and bugfixes but not new features from now on. Plasma 5, the next generation of KDE Software is still a work in progress. You can test it and install it from the Kubuntu Plasma 5 image but beware it will remove your stable software. We love testers but no support is offered. If there are problems you may need to reinstall to revert back to Plasma 4."

I tried both the releases for this review, first the stable release and then upgraded it to KDE 5. The experience has been pretty awesome I must say. But, let me first start with what is new in Kubuntu 14.10.

From Kubuntu 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Very similar to Ubuntu Trusty Tahr!

"Once upon a time" - every story my 4 year old daughter would narrate, starts with this sentence. And while penning down a review of Ubuntu Utopic Unicorn, I was also thinking the same. Once upon a time, every new release of Ubuntu meant excitement of something new, something very radical and innovative and something worth trying out. LTS or no LTS, every release was worth upgrading those days and I would inevitably ditch the old release and upgrade.

But, day have changed and Linux is moving toward more stability or is it the lull before a storm? I am not sure. With that prelude I start my review where I document my initial experience with Ubuntu's brand new release, Ubuntu 14.10 named "Utopic Unicorn". The release note states a host of improvements for the server version but very few for the desktop or home user version.
"Ubuntu 14.10, the latest desktop release is today available for download from Canonical. This release focuses on the developer experience, overall quality, and brings a number of important features and security enhancements. The Ubuntu desktop continues to be intuitive, easy to use and reliable for users all over the world. Ubuntu is a popular choice for developers targeting the cloud, mobile or devices because it is easy to use, fast and secure. Ubuntu 14.10 introduces the first iteration of the Ubuntu Developer Tools Centre, which makes it even easier to develop on Ubuntu. It downloads all the Android toolkits and their dependencies and integrates them with the launcher in a single command. This is first available for Android and will soon extend to other platforms such as Go and Dart."
From Ubuntu 14.10 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

What is new in Ubuntu 14.10 for normal users like us?
Let me start with what's new in Ubuntu 14.10 for a casual home user like me. The following are the new points:
  1. No Unity 8 or Mir,  or systemd, still with Unity 7.3.1 and Xorg 1.16 server
  2. Linux kernel updated to 3.16, enhanced support for the latest Intel CPUs (Cherryview, Haswell, Broadwell and Merrifield systems), initial support for Nvidia GK30A and GK110B GPUs and enhanced audio support for ATI Radeon devices
  3. Home and videos icon changed in Files 3.10.1
  4. Updated LibreOffice and GNOME components
    • LibreOffice 4.3.2.2
    • Firefox 33
    • Thunderbird 33
    • Files 3.10.1
    • Evince 3.14
    • Rhythmbox 3.0.3
  5. Ubuntu web browser works far better now with a normal address bar at the top. 

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