Intrepid Ibex: Several weeks in

The ubuntu project recenty released their 8.10 release, codenamed "Intrepid Ibex" upon the world. I decided to get a jump on the crowd and started using Intrepid Ibex about a week early, since most things would quiet down prior to release, and I wanted to get a feel for how the new OS would run on my machine. It's been pretty good overall, but not everything was smooth for this launch:

Pros:

  • GNOME 2.24 has few usabiity improvements, which make using it that much nicer.
  • Evolution 2.24 has support for multiple Google Calendars (more later)
  • Network Manager supports connecting to different types of networks, including ad-hoc networks, and 3G modem cards (haven't tried this out personally, but know some folks who are using it).
  • Sound support is improved, although there's still some maddening issues with PulseAudio. I expect these will get ironed out by the next release.
  • There is a new application called "Cruft remover" which removes unneeded packages from an upgrade. It works, but almost too well.

Cons:

  • Google Calendars are still broken with Evolution. There's a few maddening bit which may get fixed in the future, but for now I can't recommend using it, as it's unpredictable how it will work / not work.
  • Rhythmbox as shipped has some breakage, especially with podcasts. I couldn't seek in a file without causing Rhythmbox to do very bad things. Fortunately it appears the updates have addressed this problem.
  • Fortran support is a tad wonky. They've renamed the package to gfortran, which is fine, but a trick I gave to JoDee for compiling her Fortran packages no longer works (make programname used to call f77, but that is now tied to f2c's program). This may be a problem with my understanding of what needs to be where, though.
  • Pidgin has a serious memory leak issue when playing sounds. It will chew up 8-10MB each time a sound sample is played. Muting all sounds gets rid of the issue.

Additional Notes:

  • I did remove my .gconf directory after upgrading to remove some more of the cruft from my system. Certain applications didn't work properly until I did (notably Evolution). It's a shame that programs using gconf can't automatically deal with removing unneeded keys, and upgrading those that are in there. This is yet another strike for using the gconf database for storing configuration information.
  • Cruft-Remover appears to remove packages that are no longer in the repository. This is all fine and good, but it wasn't clear to me when I ran it what it was doing. I found out later that certain packages I would rather have kept were helpfully uninstalled for me. Not a big deal, but it would be nice if it was a little more explicit in what it was doing.
  • Totem now supports DVD menus, but doesn't support basic DVD functionality like next/previous chapter, and getting back to the menu from the content. Needs more work.

Overall Intrepid is a good release, but it seems like more things are getting reworked instead of actually fixed. I hope that as Jauntry Jackalope comes into view that more effort is focused on keeping the stuff that works working, and incorporating new features and fixes into the release.

Well done, Ubuntu folks! Keep up the great work!


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