Hands-On with Ubuntu 8.04 Beta

transmission.jpgWhen you turn on your television, it’s hard to avoid those Mac vs. PC commercials. They’re clever, funny, and also misleading. Judging by those commercials, the average non-techie consumer would assume that those are the only two computing platforms available, which would be quite erroneous. Linux, the operating system that powers the Asus Eee PC and Everex CloudBook, comes in a variety of flavors, but the current face of the alternative OS is Ubuntu. The latest iteration is Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron Beta (the final release is slated for April), which adds more functionality to the rather impressive Ubuntu 7.10, including smoother Compiz compatibility, Firefox 3 Beta, Tracker desktop search integration, the Brasero disk burner, Transmission BitTorrent client, Vinagre VNC software (which allows users to view multiple machines simultaneously), the PulseAudio sound server (for more flexible sound output), Xorg 7.3 (a screen-resolution utility that improves connections to projectors and second monitors), ufw firewall, and Rt2x00 wireless drivers. We upgraded our Ubuntu 7.10 distro that was installed on a Lenovo ThinkPad Z60m in just over two hours. Let’s break down some of the sexier additions.


  • Tracker. I created a few documents in OpenOffice and saved it to the documents folder. I closed said folder and launched Tracker to see if it could dig up my “Why Jose Canseco Matters” document. Oddly, Tracker wouldn’t return a result from the desktop, but when I opened the documents folder and searched from there—BAM!—the article appeared. It would’ve been nice to have a universal desktop search akin to what you’d find in Leopard or Vista, but this is a step in the right direction.
  • Brasero Disk Burner. I was able burn Panic! At The Disco’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out to a CD-R without a hitch.
  • Firefox 3 Beta 4. New Firefox; same quality performance.
  • Transmission BitTorrent. This enabled us to download torrent files in snap.

Of course, 8.04 Beta includes the Rhythmbox Music Player, OpenOffice Productivity Suite, Pidgin instant messenger, GIMP image editor, and other popular open-source software. We can’t wait to dive deeper into the OS. Have you downloaded Hardy Heron, and if so, what’re your early opinions of the OS?

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  1. nosrednaekim Says:

    Xorg 7.3 is actually the entire graphical user interface sub-system (including 3 acceleration), I think you are getting it confused with xrandr (Xorg resize and rotate) which got massive improvements in 7.3

  2. Brian Says:

    Worthless review. “Burned a disk.” “Downloaded a file.” “Searched a document.” GREAT! Let’s box this puppy up and get it out there so everyone can start burning, downloading, and searching!

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