Ubuntu 8.04

The latest version of Ubuntu was released yesterday. Ordinarily I don’t really use Linux much, particularly because I don’t want the hassle of repartitioning and fiddling around with boot.ini (or with Vista’s new boot manager) etc.. But coming from an Amiga background, I’ve always wanted to try it out, particularly as there’s a 64-bit version of the OS which I’ve wanted to try out on my Athlon X2.

Ubuntu 8.04 also comes with a new install mechanism which (I believe) simply installs an image on your PC which acts as a hard disk to Ubuntu. You install in Vista, it adds an item to add/remove, and amends your boot-menu to offer Ubuntu. The installer process itself is a breeze and takes about 5 minutes working from an ISO image.

You then reboot into Ubuntu and it does the first-time configuration. This takes about 15-20 minutes and is completely automatic. So far, so good.

However, after this point it was all downhill for me. Firstly, the Ubuntu boot manager has some bug in it that meant that, for me, it looked on the wrong hard disk for the actual OS and wouldn’t boot. I got around this by manually changing the boot option hard disk (renaming HD2 to HD0). It then booted up, but my problems were only just beginning. It correctly detected my wireless NIC, which is good – when I first installed Vista a year ago, it didn’t and I had to download the drivers from another PC. However, it refused to connect to the network. I use WPA encryption, but I was only offered the choice of WEP or LEAP. So I tried manually connecting to the network, at which point the OS started to drag its heels. Windows froze – even the Task Manager-equivalent.

I rebooted. It then complained about the Gnome Daemon not correctly initialising, along with half the screen painted pure white. No way to get into the OS.

I rebooted again. Same thing happened, except this time the OS then showed a confirmation message box and let me into the OS again. Still no wireless connection. OS still unstable with processes freezing and keyboard presses being missed.

In the end I gave up and am back to good "old" Vista. Disappointing.

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