Friday, May 7, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04

I firmly believe that one can never have too many computers. I have my Arch/Win7 dual-boot Desktop for general use, my Mint server which does too many things to name here, my Arch netbook for school (portability is key when you have to lug something around all day), and my laptop, which has become a sandbox of sorts. I've designated it the 'laboratory-box', basically meaning I use it to toy around with things that I don't want to risk doing on one of my main boxes, or may simply not have the room for on those computers.

Now I use GRUB's legacy version on my desktop, but was curious about GRUB 2. The laptop was OS-less at the time (an fsck gone horribly, horribly, wrong) so I figured I'd install the new Ubuntu; I get to take it for a test-drive, and play around with GRUB 2... the whole two birds, one stone bit.

It's everything you would expect from a new Ubuntu release: Some minor changes here and there, as well as a few more noticeable improvements. First off, the exit/maximize/minimize buttons being on the left side of a window's title bar instead of the right drove me nuts... for about 5 minutes. You get used to it surprisingly fast, don't be put off by it, embrace it. The default theme and background is also better looking than the brown trend previous releases had. Aesthetics aren't huge to me, but in the interest of total honesty it was one of the first things I noticed. Now on to the good stuff...

Rhythmbox now features the Ubuntu One Music store, which has a surprisingly large selection, and the greatest part? It's all DRM-free. A commonly asked GNU/Linux-noob question is 'can I get iTunes running on Linux?'. Sure there's music players galore, take your pick, but up until this point there was no real viable Linux equivalent of iTunes and the iTunes store. Now you can pick up your computer, boot into your FOSS OS, load up (the also FOSS) Rhythmbox, and buy some DRM-free music. Only drawback is you need mp3 support, which is proprietary. However, if you're so inclined you can always convert it to FLAC, I wouldn't recommend using Vorbis only because converting one lossy format to another lossy format is like listening to a record that's been played a thousand times but in other situations I'm a pretty big fan of Vorbis.

As previously mentioned this Ubuntu install was also the first chance I've had to toy around with GRUB 2. I have GRUB 2 on my Mint-Server (which runs Helena, based off of Karmic) but since Mint's the only OS on it, and it's on 24/7 I haven't had much call to play with it. At first I was completely overwhelmed by how much more complex the configuration files structure was compared to GRUB legacy's relatively straightforward menu.lst, but after digging through some documentation, and toying around with it for a while I began to see its potential. I have a feeling that I'll be discovering just how versatile it is this weekend, when I plan on dual booting this Ubuntu install with FreeBSD.

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