As many of you know, yesterday marked the release of the much anticipated release of Ubuntu 10.04, codenamed “Lucid Lynx”.  As I covered in my previous pre-release article, this release is important because it is an LTS, or “Long Term Support” release, which means that the desktop version of the operating system will be supported for three years, and the server distribution will be supported for five years.  Because of this, many applications are not the newest versions, but rather the most recent proven version.  This is apparent in the implementation of Gnome 2 as apposed to Gnome 3, and in other miscellaneous applications throughout the operating system.

After installing the system, it quickly became apparent that asides from social media integration (I’ll get to that in a second), there were not many new features integrated into the operating system.  Rather, the system sported familiar, well-supported software that will ensure that the operating system is stable throughout the support period.  This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, as stability definitely trumped new features in this LTS release.

While Lucid Lynx did not sport many new features, the most notable change was easily in the default theme and layout.  Having said this, over the last few years Ubuntu has earned the reputation of using themes with many brown and orange tones.  However, this was not the case for Lucid Lynx, which has implimented a much more calming purpleish color-scheme.  There was nothing wrong with the default theme however if anyone wanted to change it, it would be a simple task of heading to the “Theme” tab in the “Appearance” menu.

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As far as layout is concerned, I installed Lucid Lynx fully intending to revert the maximize, minimize, and close buttons back to the upper right-hand corner, however found that I quickly got used to the new layout.  Another change that I noticed is that Lynx now uses four workspaces (separate desktop areas which can be used to group related windows and applications) as apposed to the two that were configured in previous versions.  While this is definitely a minor change, it shows that Ubuntu is being targeted towards heavy multi-taskers and power-users.

Media-wise, I was pleased to see the implementation of PiTiVi, a simple open-source movie and video editor.  In my mind, this gives the operating system a lot more functionality out of the box,  and because of the layout of the program being similar to that of Apple’s iMovie or Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker, there is likely a very slim learning curve for people who edit home videos.  This, combined with the new iTunes-like music store shows that Ubuntu is attempting to gain a larger user-base consisting of every-day home users, as apposed to just power-users and “geeks”.

One of my favorite features in Lucid Lynx has to be the implementation of “Simple Scan”, a built-in application which makes it easier for a user to use a scanner to scan in a document.  While many people do not necessarily need this feature, it is definitely one that I welcome with open arms, as it fills in a relatively big gap in an office or corporate environment.

Another implementation that I was glad to see in this version of Ubuntu is Gwibber, a social media client that supports numerous social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to see status updates from their friends and post their own.  While I still feel that TweetDeck is easily superior to Gwibber, I am glad to see that some sort of social networking was introduced to the operating system, and am very impressed with how well it ties into the shell (status updates from the user bar, etc).

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In addition to the new and revamped features, all of the features that people have come to love Ubuntu for seem to have been kept, including the much loved “Software Center”.  Again, seeing as how Lynx is an LTS release, I didn’t expect in the line of new features, however am happy with the features that they did implement.  Ultimately, I feel that this release has a little of something for everyone; a movie editor and social network client for home users, better scanning and hardware support for business and power users, and greater stability for everyone.

I would definitely recommend that any Ubuntu user look at upgrading to 10.04, because new features aside, it is a solid operating system, and the fact that it’s an LTS release makes it even more appealing.

Have you tried Lucid Lynx yet?  If so, what do you think of it?  Do you see yourself transitioning to it as your primary operating system?


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