First impressions on Ubuntu 9.04

After swearing that I’d give up on Windows since I started using Ubuntu, I’ve finally taken steps towards my goal. This morning, I hosed my Ubuntu 8.10 install and decided that it was high time I tried 9.04. After all, it’s been around for a good three months, so it should be pretty stable.

Well, it turns out it is stable. Just as good as its predecessor (8.10) in fact. I used the Alternate (text mode) installer because my system uses a FakeRAID, and said FakeRAID was detected with absolutely no problems whatsoever. In fact, the only way I could tell it was using a fakeraid was the prompt that asked me if I wanted to enable the FR volumes. Very nice.

First boot took less than 30 seconds, and the little bit of configuration I needed to do (installing the nVIDIA drivers and some security updates) took about 10 minutes. Most of which was the time it took to actually download the stuff… Installing build-essential, debhelper, Mercurial, Subversion, a few video plugins, and Kaffeine was just as breezy. And I killed off Compiz. Sorry, if I wanted Vista, I’d have gone to CCL, bought a copy and installed it.

There are a few things I don’t like, though. Most of them are to do with the app bundle included with GNOME…

* **The default media player (Totem) can’t handle DVB.** Despite the options in the menu, the DVB functions in Totem just plain don’t work. I think I spent a good half hour trying to make it work, got a channel list, but couldn’t get it to actually play video. I gave up, removed Totem and installed Kaffeine instead (which took five minutes or so to do a full scan of the local Freeview muxes, then displayed BBC One as its starting act, complete with EPG).
* **Sound-juicer seems to have “problems”.** Clicking “Help” in the Edit Profiles window makes sound-juicer exit with neither rhyme nor reason. Poof, gone.
* **Sandisk Sansa isn’t detected.** Pretty much as it says. 9.04’s kernel doesn’t detect my brother’s Sansa e280 media player. Meaning he’s cheesed off because I can’t copy bits of my music collection onto it for him to listen to.

On the plus side:

* The GNOME interface still looks pretty spiffy. One quick-access bar and system tray, one window list and desktop-switcher. Not a single bit of wasted space. Turning subpixel anti-aliasing off did clean it up a bit, though (white text in the Terminal gained a light blue tinge — turning SPA off fixed this).
* Rhythmbox seems to have improved a lot since the days of 8.04 — in fact, it resembles an earlier version of Amarok 1.4. I can’t actually see any point in installing Amarok any more…

So a bit of a mixed bag really… I like 9.04, but I’m going to be leaving 8.10 on my Eee until I can find some updated ACPI scripts and packages for it. I really don’t fancy installing Netbook Remix…