Feisty goodness

Ubuntu 7.04 (“Feisty Fawn”) is out. Upgrade junkie that I am, I had to install on my home machines.
I’m very impressed so far.

What I like

  • The network manager
  • The new icons
  • OpenOffice 2.2
  • Totem finally has the codecs that it needs to actually play anything

What I don’t like

  • Default disabling of restricted drivers. When one of those is your video driver, it makes it difficult to get to the desktop dialog that allows you to restore it. Fortunately I’ve been around long enough to know that I can edit xorg.conf, change “nvidia” to the open-source “nv” and get back into X that way.
    If the upgrade detects that I’m running restricted drivers, it should realise that I’m happy (or at least stuck) with them and restore them for me.
  • “Desktop effects”. I know they’re experimental but they’re worse than useless. Don’t bother – see below.

Just one minor issue on the laptop – Gmail started to crash Firefox. I fixed that one with:

sudo apt-get remove libflash-plugin

Follow the instructions in step 6 from this article for something rather special – the Beryl window manager. I’m usually sceptical about so-called “eye candy”: do you really need it? is it worth the resources? – but I like this a lot because it brings new functionality. Rather than switching between my 8 Gnome desktops, I now have a single desktop with an 8-sided “cube”. Ctrl-Alt-left/right spins between them. F8 scales my applications into thumbnails on one screen so I can easily select. The annotate plugin lets me highlight anything on the screen during presentations. The themes are varied and attractive. In short, I’m converted.