Skip to main content

Thoughts on Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition

This isn't intended to be a full-blown review since there are plenty of those out there, but while I was installing Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition on my Asus 1000HE this weekend, I thought I'd jot down my basic thoughts.


A+++. Absolutely amazing. 25 years later Windows still doesn't even come close to having such a fantastic installation process. Fast, clean, and flawless. Couldn't ask for anything better.

Boot Time
Notably faster than 10.04 on my netbook. My main laptop has a solid state drive and already boots up in about 7 seconds with 10.04, so I can't wait to see if 10.10 makes a difference on that machine.

Ubuntu Font
Ubuntu ships with a new default font called (not surprisingly) Ubuntu. It took some getting used to at first, but I like it! Very readable and easy on the eyes, not to mention Ubuntu-sheik styling.

Unity Interface
I have to give Unity about a C for the time being. The idea of it is awesome, but there are a lot of idiosyncrasies and display issues.

For example, Eclipse flat-out doesn't work because the entire top menu bar in Eclipse doesn't appear. There are also many applications (UltraEdit being one example) on which there are too many menu items across the top for the Unity interface to handle correctly, so they spill over into the notification icons on the right-hand side of the screen. (See screenshots for some examples.)

It's not so bad that I'm going to uninstall 10.10, but I really hope they address the issues soon. If I had to use Eclipse on a regular basis on my netbook I'd simply have to move over to Crunchbang or Easy Peasy, or back to Ubuntu 10.04 which ran Eclipse just fine.

Unity also seems just a bit sluggish on my 1000HE. Not to the point where it's irritating to use, and a VAST improvement over some of the release candidates. I was using RC1 a few weeks ago and the entire machine was horrendously slow, so if you tried an RC and were turned off by the performance, rest assured they fixed that issue for the most part. Seems just a bit more slow than 10.04 when doing certain things, but overall the performance is acceptable.

Software Center

Huge success here. Software Center got a major upgrade both visually and in terms of functionality. I still do most of my installs in a terminal, but Software Center is a real treat to use. Search and categorization is better and when installing a .deb, there's a very nice progress bar and clear notification of when the install is complete. It's a lot more easy to use and clear, particularly for less technical users.

Other Random Thoughts

  • 10.10 is a bit more locked down than 10.04 was in terms of customization. If you like doing a lot of customization to your desktop, menu items, etc. this probably isn't the distro for you. Adding a launcher for programs you install yourself, for example, simply isn't possible from what I've seen because you can't customize the launcher directly, and not all programs support the "Keep in launcher" option when you right-click in the launcher after starting the program from a terminal. This isn't really a criticism per se since if all you want to do is surf the web and read your email 10.10 is fantastic for that, but if you're more of a hacker with your machines, look elsewhere.
  • Ubuntu One got some really nice new features that I haven't had time to dig into just yet. Definitely notice fewer random "your login failed" type issues so they've clearly been focusing a lot of attention here.
  • The Ubuntu One music store is really awesome. I still have to jump over to's MP3 store for some things that Ubuntu One doesn't have, but overall it's really nice and incredibly usable.
  • The social features in 10.10 seem about the same to me as on 10.04, with maybe just a bit more polish. Note that if you rely on using Gwibber for interfacing with Facebook (which I don't), there is a bug that is preventing a lot of people (myself included) from being able to successfully add their Facebook accounts to Gwibber. Facebook *chat* works fine in Empathy, but Gwibber has issues.
Overall this is another great release from Ubuntu. If any of the annoyances I'm outlining here are dealbreakers, just stick with what you have for now. The new features are nice, and I like upgrading every six months to have the latest and greatest, but I'm not sure this is a "must have" upgrade. To be fair the .10 releases aren't really supposed to be "must have" since they don't have long term support (LTS) like the .04 releases, but there's enough here to warrant an upgrade if you're not put off by a couple of glitches here and there.

Will I upgrade my main laptop with Ubuntu 10.10 desktop? Still debating on that one. Short answer is "probably" since I doubt I'll run into the display issues with Eclipse, and my main laptop is in need of a scrubbing anyway. And if I can brag to all my friends that my laptop boots up in 5 seconds instead of 7, all the better.


translucenteye said…
So after forwarding this to my friend Serge, he pointed me to this blog entry by Mark Shuttleworth that gave some good insight into what they are trying to accomplish with 10.10 and the new UI:
Matthew Woodward said…
Excellent--thanks. I hadn't seen that blog post. Really great to see more about the thinking behind it.

Popular posts from this blog

Installing and Configuring NextPVR as a Replacement for Windows Media Center

If you follow me on Google+ you'll know I had a recent rant about Windows Media Center, which after running fine for about a year suddenly decided as of January 29 it was done downloading the program guide and by extension was therefore done recording any TV shows.

I'll spare you more ranting and simply say that none of the suggestions I got (which I appreciate!) worked, and rather than spending more time figuring out why, I decided to try something different.

NextPVR is an awesome free (as in beer, not as in freedom unfortunately ...) PVR application for Windows that with a little bit of tweaking handily replaced Windows Media Center. It can even download guide data, which is apparently something WMC no longer feels like doing.

Background I wound up going down this road in a rather circuitous way. My initial goal for the weekend project was to get Raspbmc running on one of my Raspberry Pis. The latest version of XBMC has PVR functionality so I was anxious to try that out as a …

Setting Up Django On a Raspberry Pi

This past weekend I finally got a chance to set up one of my two Raspberry Pis to use as a Django server so I thought I'd share the steps I went through both to save someone else attempting to do this some time as well as get any feedback in case there are different/better ways to do any of this.

I'm running this from my house (URL forthcoming once I get the real Django app finalized and put on the Raspberry Pi) using I don't cover that aspect of things in this post but I'm happy to write that up as well if people are interested.

General Comments and Assumptions

Using latest Raspbian “wheezy” distro as of 1/19/2013 (’lll be using Nginx ( as the web server/proxy and Gunicorn ( as the WSGI serverI used heavily as I was creating this, so many thanks to the author of that tutorial. If you’re looking for more details on …

The Definitive Guide to CouchDB Authentication and Security

With a bold title like that I suppose I should clarify a bit. I finally got frustrated enough with all the disparate and seemingly incomplete information on this topic to want to gather everything I know about this topic into a single place, both so I have it for my own reference but also in the hopes that it will help others.Since CouchDB is just an HTTP resource and can be secured at that level along the same lines as you'd secure any HTTP resource, I should also point out that I will not be covering things like putting a proxy in front of CouchDB, using SSL with CouchDB, or anything along those lines. This post is strictly limited to how authentication and security work within CouchDB itself.CouchDB security is powerful and granular but frankly it's also a bit quirky and counterintuitive. What I'm outlining here is my understanding of all of this after taking several runs at it, reading everything I could find on the Internet (yes, the whole Internet!), and a great deal…