That’s the new Ubuntu in a nutshell. Yesterday I explained how Ubuntu 10.04 can integrate all your inboxes – including email, social networks and instant messaging – into one central place. But that’s not the only new feature that’ll come with the new release on April 29th: there are also a number of small changes that, collectively, give Ubuntu 10.04 a polish I’ve never seen in any Linux distribution.
I’ve been using the beta version of this Linux-based operating system for a week now, and I have to say I’m really impressed. Ubuntu 10.04 is by far the best Linux release I’ve ever used.
While there’s no one killer feature, a number of small improvements add up to an attractive operating system usable by anyone right out of the box. The release shows a great deal of maturity on the part of developers, who continually try to find balance between satisfying their core audience of Linux fanatics whilst still making a platform viable for the average user. I’ve already explored several things that are easier to do in Ubuntu than in Windows, and if this release is any sign of things to come I may have to do another such list before the end of the year.
Let’s take a look.
No More Confusing Graphics Programs
My first example of polish: the Gimp is gone!
Now don’t get me wrong: I love the Gimp. It’s a fantastic photo editor, and I’ll be using it for years to come. But it shouldn’t be included in Ubuntu by default.
Ubuntu should be the distribution that’s easy to use. So with this release, Ubuntu leaves out the complex-by-design Gimp and instead offers basic image editing through F-Spot:
With these Ubuntu 10.04 tools, average users can quickly get done what they want to get done. I know, I know: this is basic functionality at best. But it’s impossible to make an advanced photo editor that’s easy to use, and Ubuntu shouldn’t include anything the user can’t figure out quickly – that can make people feel overwhelmed. Not including the Gimp by default shows a remarkable degree of maturity on the part of the Ubuntu project; they’re taking themselves seriously as an operating system, and not thinking of themselves as some mere Linux distribution.
And for the user who already knows how to use the Gimp? A quick trip to the software manager and you’ve got it. Everybody wins.
Additionally, the ugly and confusing Xsane is replaced with a new, easy-to-understand program called Simple Scan. Xsane always worked great for me, but I hated the interface. This solves that, and I’m happy about it.
Built-In Video Editor
It’s always been hard to find a decent video editor on Linux. Ubuntu 10.04 has one out of the box: PiTiVi.
Sure, it’s not an advanced video editor, but it does a pretty good job at what it’s for: putting together quick videos for the likes of YouTube. I managed to throw this video together using it, and it amuses me to no end, so I’m happy with video editing in Ubuntu.