Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do you have Guts?

Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon is coming. October 2007. It looks like they've added some really interesting stuff. AppArmor will bring an added level of security to the Linux Distribution. One thing I'm glad to hear is they're adding a new printing system. The other system wasn't well maintained. In the new system, more printers are supported, a PDF printer is automatically installed and is the default printer. That's a boon for the paperless office people. Even better, plug a printer in, and it's automatically detected and setup. That will be a huge blessing for Free Geek FreekBox installation. A FreekBox recipient won't have to go through the 'add printer' routine. Plug it in, let it set itself up, and you're good to go. Most excellent.

My hope is for better wireless support. I know much of that is out of Linux developers hands, and sits on the decisions of Wireless card manufactures. But, I hope they've added more cards to be automatically detected in Gutsy. And, I hope they fixed the ones that were broken, particularly my Belkin USB sticks.

Anyway, you can checkout the testing release for Gutsy here.

Upgrading your system in Ubuntu takes a bit of strategy. It's not necessary to upgrade with each release. My Desktop computer, for instance, is a Dell GX260, dual boot Windows XP and Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Dapper Drake. The LTS of that version means Long Term Service. I can expect updates to specific programs till 2009. On my server, till 2012. I keep Dapper on my desktop because it's stable. It works fine, and I dont' need to change it. I need this computer to be secure, and dependable. This is the computer I do much of my school work from, usually on the Windows XP side of it. I only boot into XP when I have to for school, or studying for an IT certification.

If Gutsy turns out to be a good version, I may upgrade to it. That will not be an easy thing. I would basically need to rebuild the entire computer system from scratch. Save all my personal files on other drives (pretty much do that anyway), Dban the hard drive clean, clean install of Windows, then a clean install of Ubuntu. If I'm going to bother to upgrade my system, I'm going to upgrade some hardware too, especially the graphics card. Right now, it's a 32 meg card. Good enough for what I do, but not enough for what I'd really like to do: FlightGear Flight Simulator! I will put Gutsy on my laptop, especially if it gets the hibernate/suspend function working again.

Ubuntu does an upgrade ever six months. Not ever five to six years, like Windows. What Ubuntu doesn't do is a rolling upgrade. A rolling upgrade would mean they would distribute individual package, program, or kernel upgrades as they came available. There are some advantages to such a system, but I'm guess there are some disadvantages too.

Ubuntu completely rebuilds their distribution every six months. They support that build for 18 months, and three years on the Long Term Service releases. The next LTS version is suppose to be Ubuntu 8.04. I might wait for it. We'll see.

If you use Ubuntu, or are the recipient of a FGCF FreekBox, I recommend waiting at least 2-3 weeks after a release to upgrade. Watch the Ubuntu Forums, and see what works and what doesn't. You may find something of yours doesn't work anymore, or something you wanted to work now does. Also, the servers are slammed at first. If you do upgrade, use bittorrent to download a CD, and do a clean installation from that. The biggest hint I can give you about Ubuntu upgrades: Be excited, be patient, be cautious, and be prepared.

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