A few days into the newest release from Canonical, Ubuntu GNU/Linux 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), what are my initial opinions?  On the whole the upgrade from 9.10 went very smoothly.  Since I’m using a customised desktop with Compiz effects, I didn’t see too much in the way of visible changes.

The seemingly much-discussed move of window control buttons from the right to the left of the window title bar completely passed me by, as this is how I’ve had my desktop for a few years now.

Not much different in boot-up times, but this is a seriously tweaked notebook which slows it down post-login.  On my desktop PC, boot seems very quick, as does the post-login desktop setup.

The new version of the Gwibber social networking app seems a big improvement.  It now seems to filter out the vile Farmville crap from FaceBook!  A simple interface as well, enabling access to different feeds (though I’m only using two Twitter accounts and Facebook).

The big news for me is that iPod Touch support is there.  I believe that on a fresh installation this would probably work out of the box.  In my case I had to install ifuse (easy enough via synaptic).  Now I can add music to my iPod without having to go to a Win PC and load iTunes.  This worked well, but appeared to disrupt album artwork for those albums I’d already uploaded via Windows iTunes.  I restored the iPod, and repeated the album transfer, and this time, everything went smoothly – no artwork corruption, so perhaps this was just a coincidence.

I picked up a tip (from somewhere out there on the web) to edit /etc/fuse.conf and uncomment the line

#user_allow_other

to

user_allow_other

This seems to have helped the upload of music files to the iPod.

Related to this is the development of Rhythmbox as an alternative to iTunes.  I buy the occasional DRM-free mp3 album from Amazon: Rhythmbox has links to three other online music stores, including Ubuntu’s very own Ubuntu One.  I decided to have a go with Ubuntu One.  This proved a bit interesting!  The interface is clean and easy to use: making a purchase of an album was pretty straightforward.  However downloading seemed a bit complex, though probably this was just because it was different to systems I’d used before.  Firs, the files get transferred to one’s Ubuntu One cloud storage, of which there is 2Gb for free (you can upgrade to 50Gb for $10 per month).  From there, manual downloads are a bit of a nuisance: as far as I could tell you have to download each file one by one.

Firefox was updated to 3.6.3 – no major issues.  (while this is nothing to do with Ubuntu, one of my plugins got updated and broke some website JS functions – this was Ghostery version 2.1, now inactivated until such time as the Ghostery developers get their act together – this isn’t the first time the Ghostery plugin has affected Firefox function)