Home > linux > Ubuntu 8.10 Review – Desktop Emphasis on the Intrepid Ibex

Ubuntu 8.10 Review – Desktop Emphasis on the Intrepid Ibex


My previous experience with Ubuntu has been good. 8.04.1 did very well for me, even if I finally decided to go with SUSE 11.0 as my main Linux distro.

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex was a non-LTS release. People were expecting big changes, though perhaps a little irrationally. Nevertheless, the list of new features is given in this very short compilation.

So how is the new Ubuntu? I took a look, and in my own manner: desktop emphasis, the uses a regular desktop would be put to.

My test rig was the Acer Ferrari (2.0GHz, 64bit Dual Core, 2GB RAM, ATI X1600 Mobility Radeon)


To begin with, I did not experience the slow server speeds that could have been expected: I had a smooth, fast download. I burnt the CD image, loaded up the CD and went live.

The installation procedure is almost exactly like the previous version: simple, fast, working. If your Linux partitions are set up already, like mine, the whole thing is a breeze. You simply specify the mounts points for each of the partitions, and off you go. I installed mine in about 20 minutes, start to end.

First impressions

I found myself in a very familiar environment. Anyone who has used Ubuntu will note very few changes in the cosmetics – the change of wallpaper is the only notable change first go. You have the same simple, brown, theme. What I wished for, however, was a brand new theme.

There is indeed a new theme, though, called DarkRoom. It is good as far as it goes, but after a few minutes of using it, I got bored. That never happens with me as a rule, and still do not tire of the regular Ubuntu look, but this must then be an exception. Aesthetics are a matter of taste, and this one disagrees with me.

I switched back to the old theme.

Deeper in

Truth is, there is not much deeper to go. The almost exact same software selection as before is handed out: GIMP, Firefox, OpenOffice.org, Totem, etc. All are at their latest versions, except, surprisingly, OpenOffice.org. Version 3 is not present.

And the stability is exactly the same as before: high. I ran it for an hour or so, doing everything at once, and it held on.

I am sorry to say that my old issue with my graphics card drivers has not yet been resolved: I cannot turn on Desktop effects even after downloading the restricted drivers. The same solution as before worked: using the xgl-server package.

Overall, everything is generally the same as before. I did not get to test the new Network Manager: I have a static prock-sy (this is deliberately spelt as a workaround against a problem on my server) and no wireless connection to test. However, my Bluetooth device worked this time, and properly. One of the reasons for that may be the new Linux kernel this release of Ubuntu sports.

The New Things

And then there are the new things. The X.org server has been updated, but to be very truthful, I failed to notice any difference whatsoever in any regard. The new Linux kernel is also not noticeable to the average user, there is again no obvious difference.

The Nautilus file manager has been given a very browser-ish tab feature. While useful, I fail to see how it can be called a ‘major’ feature.

But I liked the Guest Account session. Much like the Guest Account Windows users are aware of, this is possibly more secure. I did test it out a bit, and checked my e-mail, did a bit of browsing. All good.

One trumpeted feature is the encryption of the home drive. This may be a boon for the over-careful amongst us, but for the average desktop user, this is as useless as it get. Vista had BitLocker, and this is nothing more than an Ubuntu version of the same thing. And I certainly don’t see too many people using it. Just another feature to add to the list, perhaps?

Oh, and one more thing. My Speedtouch 330 USB modem still does not work out of the box.

Final Words

My testing is not yet exhausted. I will post more updates if I think it worth the trouble.

Truth is, though, that I am disappointed. Though this is as good as the previous Ubuntu release, I fail to see what is so stunning about this. In fact, if you keep your distro fully updated, you practically already have Intrepid Ibex. The new features are, to say anything, niche features. Apart from package updates (OpenOffice.org was still missed), one can notice a definite conservatism on part of the Canonical team.

I would have loved to see brand new features, some radical changes. Even a great new look would have done – I saw some great possibles floating around the internet.

In effect, this new Ubuntu is a power up of the old one. And as far as that goes, this is OK, I suppose.

But should you get it? Yes.

  1. 31 October 2008 at 11:02 PM

    Did you get that speedtouch 330 modem to work somehow?
    I didn’t manage that. But I didn’t try it hard, anyways.

  2. Jonathan
    1 November 2008 at 2:59 AM

    I am also somewhat disappointed with this upgrade. I was really looking forward to the new “Dust” theme that I saw on Gnome look and the Ubuntu art website but it isn’t even here. Instead they include darkroom, which is just flat in my opinion. That is, of course not a big issue since I can just download the theme again if I want to. Really nothing in this release that impresses me though (since I don’t use 3G) so I will stick with Hardy (the first time that I am not rushing for the new Ubuntu!).

    Good review.

  3. 1 November 2008 at 11:31 AM

    @ chris: Yes, I have managed to get it to work, please use one of the following methods:
    Both worked for me…

    @ Jonathan: I loved the Dust theme too, though some might call it too Vista-Mac-ish…
    Here’s a screenshot link: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Artwork/Incoming/DustTheme?action=AttachFile&do=view&target=ubuntudust.jpg

  4. 1 November 2008 at 6:02 PM

    say that is Ubuntu 8.04.1 is OK. but it is not !!
    Ubuntu 8.04.1 won’t boot on Asus A7U new laptop etc…
    and won’t boot on new ECS KA3MVP mobo !
    i try everything and no result. On this hardware
    Ubuntu 7.10 work and boot fine !?!
    Sure is kernel issue !
    And right now Ubuntu 8.10 work on all machine
    as far as i tested !
    So Ubuntu 8.10 is 100% better then 8.04.1
    I love Ubuntu 8.10

  5. 1 November 2008 at 11:18 PM

    @ Grbic Branislav: It is relative. What works for me may not necessarily do for others, running different hardware. Yet, my own opinions are shared by my many others testing Ubuntu 8.10: it is good, but the changelog is disappointingly conservative.

  6. Jákup Lutzen
    2 November 2008 at 3:33 AM

    @ Grbic Branislav:

    Try to add hpet=disable to the boot parameters. this made all the difference on my asus A6rp laptop.

  7. zac
    2 November 2008 at 5:38 AM

    8.10 is an improvement over 8.04, seems to have a better ‘feel’ than 8.04. No big changes but an improvement is an improvement, it’s progressing. With 9.04 they will make a major theme change, best to do it properly than rush it. Still a happy Ubuntu user.

  8. L
    2 November 2008 at 8:31 PM

    Yes 8.10 is a bit conservative, and that is just the way it should be! With the sheer number of inexperienced linux users that have jumped on the ubuntu bandwagon, it would be insane to release unstable hacker editions. And don’t tell me those users should stick to the LTS releases, you know they won’t. Ubuntu aims to be a distro for the masses, and a little conservatism comes with that. There are plenty of distros out there for those wanting to be on the bleeding edge.

  9. 3 November 2008 at 12:13 AM

    @ L: There is such a thing as being conervative, and then there is such a thing as being too conservative. I feel that Ubuntu is 8.10 is the latter. They did not even bring a breakthrough theme to the board, let alone anything under the hood.

    Not that I think Ubuntu 8.10 is bad – look at the very last line of my review.

  10. Zammi
    3 November 2008 at 8:23 AM

    I was googling last 3 days to get my motion eye integrated webcam on sony vaio to work on 8.10. Any one out there who managed to get it work?

  11. Ion Ion
    5 November 2008 at 8:33 AM

    This is not a review. Maybe a silly parody, or just a stupid rant.

  12. 6 November 2008 at 7:45 AM

    @ Ion Ion: Most interesting to hear from you. Sorry to know you did not like it… What would you suggest as an improvement?

  13. 7 November 2008 at 10:54 PM

    When it comes to OO.o 3, I’m happy to see that Canonical decided to include version 2 with 8.10. I’ve been running OO.o 3 on ma Arch Linux latop for few weeks now and I must say it’s very, very bugy and unstable. Some applications doesn’t start at all (Draw and Impress have hard time to launch at all, everything just freezes) and others are slow and sluggish.

    So it’s a rather good choice to include version 2 of OpenOffice with Ibex.

  14. 8 November 2008 at 9:51 AM

    @ Verner: That is a very surprising experience. I have used OO.o 3 extensively with SUSE, and I have experienced no such instability. Indeed, most people out there have experienced very few, if any problems as severe as the ones you mention.

  15. vener
    12 December 2008 at 12:19 PM

    Frezier!!!You have made my transition to Linux much smoother … [edited]

  16. robertneville777
    12 December 2008 at 10:38 PM

    How did you get xserver-xgl working on your ubuntu 8.10 version? In the 7.10 version, I was able to just type “xgl” in the search bar, and a xgl package would pop up. But in 8.10, I will type “xgl” and “aiglx” and nothing comes up. I want to keep the compiz effects I have, but I can’t get it to work without xgl or aiglx. Are you able to find any packages in synaptic that come up when you type “xgl” or “aiglx” in the 8.10 version?

  17. 13 December 2008 at 6:32 AM

    @ vener:

    …””Frezier!!!You have made my transition to Linux much smoother…””

    …Sorry, but I had to cut off the rest of the comment… I do wish people would not advertise to unrelated sites in their comments.

    @ robertneville777: I used the xserver-xgl package from Ubuntu Hardy, worked for me… just had to download a long list of dependencies, though.

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