The new April Ubuntu 12.04 ‘Precise’ release is around the corner so we installed from the dailies to see what to expect. To configure it after it is installed we have another post here: http://jdnash.com/2012/03/configuring-ubuntu-precise-to-get-work-done/.
We have NOT installed the 11.xx versions on our production equipment because we cannot afford to loose the ability to zoom, have several (8) workspaces available for one-click switching, and use VMWare. We did install the Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10 on our 10 lab workstations as these concerns mostly do not affect their use. We have also been reflecting whether or not we would be forced to return to CentOS or change to MINT should the Ubuntu desktops continue to be problematic for us. I wish to be clear: for most people the little weird floatie, disappearing, cell-phone like launcher thingie is passable: in our case we have some serious work to get done and we need our 8 workspaces and the zoom functionality. VMWare did eventually work in the 11.10 after the usual month lag while VMWare updates their header requirements.
We have no beef against Ubuntu and we understand their wish to transition totally away from all menus to a totally voice actuated system. However, in a programming environment where real work must get done, the fingers are far faster, more accurate, and more efficient than creating voice commands for everything. If you are not familear with the business uses of computers to write code, think in terms of playing any fast-paced MMORPG — take away the keyboard and force *everything* to be solely by voice commands. 1. Duck! Computer I said Duck! No! No! Not that: DUCK! Oops: head shot again. 2. Honey will you please be quiet I am trying to sleep. Can you imagine doing private business e-mail during your lunch or riding on the tram to work and being forced to SPEAK every part of your replies? “Hello Mr. Smith: The results of your medical assessment is back and I need you to come to my office for additional tests on your enlarged…..” How would this affect the typical Coffee House work area where people quietly hack away at their tasks while enjoying a pleasant, quiet, environment? Think loud idiot on cell phone in restaurant.
Simply put, there are still some things to be worked out in the broader sense as to the practicality of a totally menu-less system that works solely by voice commands, not the least of which is training the computer to recognize each individual user’s voice.
So we are installing the Ubuntu 12.04 beta, “Precise” today, and it looks very fast and straight-forward. We set up a virtual machine on our Edubuntu 11.04 machine with two (2) processors, 2048 megabytes of RAM, and 20 gigabytes of disk. We set up one CD reader and pointed it to use the Ubuntu Precise image from the dailies. You can download and also update the .iso image daily with a simple script containing the line “zsync http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/precise-desktop-i386.iso.zsync” for the 32-bit or “zsync http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/precise-desktop-amd64.iso.zsync” for the 64-bit AMD. If you do not already have zsync installed you can install it with the command line “apt-get install zsync”.
When we ran the VM we got the basic Ubuntu install slideshow for 2-3 minutes while it all installed. After that it rebooted itself and started the install of VMWare tools. At this point it remained stuck: never installing the tools and never moving on. We tried disconnecting the CD with the autoinst.iso of vmware tools on it, resetting the VM, and so forth to no avail. We eventually deleted the VM and started over, this time installing the OS our self after creating the VM.
The install followed the usual path. We have screen shots in the gallery below, which is probably more useful than a written dialog here. Click each thumbnail below to see the larger image. If you want a longer discertation on installing Ubuntu you can read more at http://jdnash.com/2012/02/practical-ubuntu-part-1-of-2/ with ways to configure Ubuntu so it is more useful for work at http://jdnash.com/2012/02/practical-ubuntu-part-2-of-2/. Very honestly, we do not detect any difference in the user experience from the prior Ubuntu 11.10 release. We will try adding the options in Practical Ubuntu Part 2 of 2 in the next post.
To continue reading how we chose to configure our system after the OS was installed, click http://jdnash.com/2012/03/configuring-ubuntu-precise-to-get-work-done/