Xubuntu Hardy Heron is Ready for Takeoff

“So far, so good.” That is all I can say when I tested Xubuntu 8.04 RC last night on my Macbook Pro. I didn’t want to wait for tomorrow’s distribution release because I know the download will be slow during that time due to expected heavy traffic. Anyway, the Release Candidate version will almost be the same as the finished product, I think.

My first impression with Xubuntu “Hardy Heron” was rather respectable because first and foremost, the installation was trouble-free and it was smooth sailing all the way. The bug that I talked about on the Xubuntu Beta release was fixed. I also want to point out that the partitioning was much simpler and the overall installer was much more responsive and quicker than its predecessors.

The looks were pretty much the same as that of “Gutsy Gibbon” except for the default wallpaper. It’s not the usual boring light-bluish wallpaper anymore. The “Murrina Storm Cloud” theme was kept which I think was a good decision, because for me, it’s one of the best gtk themes out there. Also, I’m glad that there is now a ‘places menu’ at the top panel which I find very useful. I know that it is very easy to add the "Places" plug-in, but I think it is handy to include it by default for those who are new to using an XFCE desktop like that of Xubuntu.

There were some good and bad changes with the included and excluded applications or packages in this latest edition of Xubuntu. Let’s start with the good. Xubuntu now features the latest XFCE 4.4.2 desktop, Linux 2.6.24 kernel, 7.3, Gnome Office 2.20.2 and Firefox 3 Beta 5 among others. Also worth noting is the new image viewer called Ristretto. The bad part is that I can’t seem to find the ‘Screens and Graphics Preferences” in the Settings menu. I think it is not included anymore or they must have forgotten it, I don’t know.

Some of you maybe curious to know how well my Apple (Macbook Pro) hardware handled “Hardy Heron”. As of the moment, the important components that are working properly are USB, Bluetooth, graphics card, CD/DVD drive, and Ethernet. The track-pad worked but with no multi-touch function. The keyboard is also usable although I still can’t get the special keys to get going which means I can’t use the screen brightness keys, eject button, and volume control shortcuts. Also, the audio and wireless Internet still needs to be configured. However, I find it consoling that the suspend/resume is working flawlessly, and I have successfully extended my laptop display to a secondary monitor.

To extend the Macbook Pro (Penryn) display to a secondary monitor in Xubuntu, you have to install and enable the Nvidia proprietary driver first, and you will need to reboot after the installation. Then, open a terminal and install Nvidia settings manager with this command:

sudo apt-get install nvidia-settings

Next, open it with the command:

sudo nvidia-settings

A graphical Nvidia settings manager will appear, and from there you can now easily configure your dual monitor setup.

I noticed a slight glitch or bug every time I’m selecting a screen saver because the X server will restart on its own. I hope this will be fixed with a patch or in the final release.

Though I was kind of disappointed with the hardware support I’m getting with my Macbook Pro, I have high hopes that I will get everything going in due time. I will just keep you all posted especially those who are having the same problems like mine as soon as I have them fixed. For now, I will hang on to Xubuntu because it is still the best Linux desktop distro for me.

UPDATE: WiFi card is now working!
Keyboard Special Keys and Sound is Fixed!


  1. wow linux gets cooler and cooler everyday! :)

  2. Thanks for the review. It's a relief to know that they fixed the bugs you talked about in the beta review as I was planning to use it.

  3. Great review, great distro :-)

  4. @Master J: Thanks for the comment and for being here.

  5. @MKx: Thank you also. Try it and let us know how well it works on your hardware.

  6. For backlight/keyboard extra support, install "pommed" and "gpomme", and launch gpomme when your session start. ;)

  7. @mr_pouit:

    Thanks for being here.

    Pommed 1.15 from Ubuntu repo doesn't work in MBP Penryn. I also tried installing 1.16 and 1.17 from source but still no success. Any suggestions?

  8. I'm not sure as I can't check right now, but didn't the Screens and Graphics application move to the System menu?

  9. Hi all, just to add that rebooting all your comp isnt necessary after installing nvidia drivers, just reboot the x server (Ctrl+alt+Backspace) do the trick