Ubuntu Natty Narwhal Review

Linux version for mass consumption has finally made its mark. I have followed all versions of linux for the past should I say 10yrs and more.. Ubuntu for the last 3..

Natty Narwhal confirmed my first love for the netbook interface..back in 2009, is the future. Its nice, simple, unintrusive and almost ready for the mass non-geek world. Well some loose ends still remain: VCD/ restricted DVDs and the Sun/Oracle JRE.. or other lil stuff that non-geeks will bump over.. and will need help.

Looks great on a 19″ screen.. Not sure if that is by design.. but 14″ and lower actually reduces the launcher menu appeal tad lower than one a 19″..! Simple n efficient with the dots on left, switch to the window you desire, 4 desktops by default with easy switcher and a search which is for now buggy , sure it will be fixed in a short run from now..

The right upper corner access to cop out, suspend, log out and the System Settings is just right. That top bar has finally worked out just perfect. Cant ask for more simplicity.. overall. Nothing of the zany feeling from Windows 7 , overburdened, artificial pizzazz which many do like.

Corporates.. well Evolution is just a long haul away.. If only Cannonical can do something about that..? or Libre Office takes over to give it the same overhaul as the Libre Impress… that one is real neat.. Unless Outlook can be booted out, Ubuntu will wait on the doorsteps where it ought not to.. Its got all the rest right there, from Samba networking, to Libre Office to Terminal Services Client et als.. Wine too where it matters.. Outlook on Cross Over office/ Wine is ok to talk off.. but that is not Linux pure and simple. That is hacky push to Linux and a workaround. Even a complicated Banking app thick client built for pure windows show.. worked well from Wine.. so there are its usefulness…

Dell needs to push back on its Inspiron Zino and the laptops and the rest..  I love the Lenovo – Linux Mint combo so far.. I guess can move over to core Ubuntu now.. not much that Mint will offer beyond tiding over some minor irritants for a non-geek. Maybe there is something Mint will offer post Natty … to keep its tilt  going..

DVDs of the full stuff, EasyLinux tips blogs , support et als.. have to go up..

What have I done so far over the virgin Narwhal:

1. Medibuntu all restricted stuff..

2. SMPlayer and DragonPlayer ( I love this actually though does not for now play the VCD.. that SMPlayer fulfills..)

3. Sun/Oracle JDK/JRE.. java6-plugin..

4. Chromium Browser

5. Changes in the /etc/default/grub for the GRUB2 changes: quick 3 sec boot, a splash image setup.. lower vm.swappiness to 10

6. On the laptop: use powertop and all tips to reduce battery burn downs..

7. Compiz settings manager and then settings there of for transparency and twiddling thereof.. on the gconf-editor a wee bit

Way Ahead:

1. Back to all tools and stuff I run on including Pharo , Groovy, maybe the others: python/ ruby I dont do much of now.. Tomcat, Spring Eclipse, et als…

2. Evolution.. will keep chugging and trying to use it.. till I find a day when I can throw Outlook away..

3. Use of  Ubuntu One.. 2 GB is way too small for longer term goals.. but nice to experiment my type of use..

4. Ubuntu on the Cloud with Spring+Groovy+Pharo.. here I move on…


Well there are many if I have stumbled on few on the first day.. tiny ones..

* .deb files downloaded dont install all that perfectly.. as it hops to a Software Download screen and then to prompt for Install that does not work well.. but then for geeks dpkg –install always works..

* try some more fancier stuff of multiplexing the Software Center operations.. and you can get a freeze..

* app shell from the compiz settings manager and others disappear.. compatability of stuff not in the virgin install could be moot for many..

* Skype pulse audio has never worked from a get go ever in Ubuntu.. but right now I am having issues with Del Zino back audio outs.. not recognized.. so no mike/ no sound from the back for now..

* Webcam: Iball F2F works ok.. but it aint as good as it might be in Windows.. but then i should use Creative in Linux..

* Wireless USB plugin: will probably have to repeat the old stuff of windows driver wrapper to get it working if I need it.. but dont for now with a wired connect..

Lots of great stuff.. so this is minor change for now..

3 Responses to Ubuntu Natty Narwhal Review

  1. Tobias Mann says:

    I am glad to here you had such a possitive reaction to Natty? Do you use it as your primary OS and if so since when. A lot of long time users and madder than new users.

    I may have a look around your blog perhaps you will take a look at mine.


    • skrishnamachari says:

      Well I am trying hard since the past two years to keep my work solely going on Ubuntu / Linux Mint.

      1. Home : Completely Ubuntu: My 5 yr daughter and wife have no issues beyond occasional shout why we have to do a right click Open VCD on SMPlayer.. when earlier Dell Ubuntu9.04 would start it up.. auto. This is now about 2 yrs since I have never touched windows at home.

      2. For my actively working Dad(75 yr ), gifted a laptop with customized Linux Mint loaded. He has carried it to UN.. NY and worked on it too.. he does not understand the difference per se of OS.. beyond the fact that I have had it worked out for him to do Docs, Picassa, view VCD/ DVD / Photos, Faxes, Basic Gmail, Skype et als… but happier for me that I do not have to help him trouble shoot, firewall, virus and the sundry other things that were a bother for me…. earlier.

      3. Work laptop is exclusively Ubuntu.. now Natty N. very happy with it today.. even more so.. tsclient worked perfectly right.. no extended screen connecting to a projector.. auto detecting the projector too.. , skype beta right out of the deb box.. perfect. Dev tools.. are as usual lot more efficient than on Windows: eclipse, Pharo, Squeak, Groovy, …

      But work mostly happens on the Windows machine bcos of the Outlook stuff.. Evolution MAPI is not yet good enough to work even for a die hard willing to struggle Linux fan..
      Even ported the ruddy windows app that I work on.. ( Smalltalk based.. but heavily windows tainted over 15 yrs.. all dll invocation based connections/ capabilty) to work with Wine.. so even that part I can move on.. but not the mails as yet..

      Would be working on my pet project on Ubuntu Cloud – Pharo Smalltalk – Spring with Groovy framework.. shortly a month later on my spare time to beat it around more big time..

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