A Peek at Xubuntu Gutsy

Posted by jun auza On 10/13/2007
A Peek at Xubuntu Gutsy: A few days ago, Ubuntu announced the Release Candidate of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Gobuntu, and Xubuntu version 7.10 codenamed "Gutsy Gibbon". My wife’s old Prestigio laptop runs Xubuntu for several months now and she has already become fairly comfortable with it. She uses it mostly for web browsing, email, and office application tasks.

After I have read the release announcement, I downloaded Xubuntu Gutsy RC right away to see what’s up with the new version. I then tested it to find out if it’s compatible enough with the old laptop computer. So after playing with the Gibbon, here’s my quick assessment.

Test Machine Specs:
Prestigio 109 laptop
Processor: 1GHz VIA Nehemia
Memory: 256MB RAM
Hard Drive: 20GB

Xubuntu is one of the many flavors of the famous Ubuntu distribution. Currently at number 25 in Distrowatch distro ranking, it made its own name and quickly became one of the most popular light-weight distros. Xubuntu may be optimized for lower-end computers using the XFce desktop environment, but it still inherited the strength of its mother distribution.

The download site can be found here. Xubuntu Live CD installer is only 565MB in size. I loaded the CD then at boot option screen I added ‘noapic nolapic’ parameters to disable buggy APIC interrupt routing. At desktop, I clicked the install icon and from there, the installation process was no-nonsense that even my grandmother can do it; it’s the same old 7-Steps Ubuntu-style setup. The installation finished within 45 minutes but I have to hard-reset the laptop in order to reboot the system. The good thing is that all of my hardware was well-detected, and everything worked fine after the install including the usb, ethernet, audio, and display.

Look and Feel:
I found this new version a bit faster than the previous. The boot/startup time is faster and the responsiveness has improved significantly. My screen resolution was properly set to 1024x768. The bootsplash logo appeared not centered as shown on the screenshot; I don’t know what happened there. Xubuntu’s polished default desktop theme is called Murrina Storm Cloud, with some other additional themes to choose from. The wallpapers included mostly came with the XFce desktop by default.

Package Management:
In Xubuntu, there are plenty of updated and valuable free software applications that are already pre-installed. This includes Firefox 2.0.06, Gimp 2.4.0rc3, Python 2.5.1, Samba 3.0.26a, and OpenOffice 2.3.0. A few software for setting up Linux web servers are also included. However, restricted/non-free software like Flash and MP3 and DVD support were not installed by default, I easily added them using the Synaptic Package Manager. Synaptic is also very handy in removing and updating software packages.

I still cannot fully judge the stability of Xubuntu Gutsy as it is still a Release Candidate version. There are still some minor bugs to be fixed like the freeze that I have experienced after the installation. I also found out that the Synaptic Package manager is a little slower to open and close compared to the previous version.

Based only from my quick peek on the RC version of Xubuntu Gutsy , I noticed that it made a one step forward improvement over its Feisty predecessor. It also maintained its outstanding ability in properly detecting my old hardware. For now, it will stay installed on the old laptop until the Final Release comes out; or until my wife gets mad at me after encountering a serious problem while using the RC version.

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