The best way to download and install the latest Ubuntu? Avoid the rush, and download the Release Candidate a couple of days before the official release. I’ve been testing each and every Ubuntu release since the first one, so this time I thought to try something different and install Xubuntu on my girlfriend’s Dell Inspiron laptop (the one I had previously installed Arch + XFCE on).
The result leaves me with mixed feelings, I must say. To make things perfectly clear, everything works. All I did after the install was change some programs (replace Pidgin with Emesene and Listen with Rhythmbox for example). Wireless worked, printing worked, the default screensettings were correct, suspend worked, downloading and installing extra codecs worked…everything worked as expected, and since this is Ubuntu, I did expect everything to work.
But it’s hard to see the point of Xubuntu. Most of the polish and new features Canonical comes up with are reserved for Ubuntu itself, and I feel that side projects like Xubuntu and Kubuntu just can’t keep up with that. What you get is basically Ubuntu with vanilla XFCE slapped on. without much added value. Okay, it’s made to look like GNOME, but I don’t prefer the whole two-panel layout, and it has another GTK-theme…supposedly better looking because it’s blue. Can’t argue about tastes, but it’s worth noting that my girlfriend preferred the orange icons…µ
Another point is the language support, which isn’t as good in Xubuntu: many of the menu entries remained in English, resulting in a rather messy multilingual menu.
I guess the lesson here is, if you want Ubuntu, just go for the real thing, so that’s what I’ll do tonight. Maybe Ubuntu will be much slower on that laptop, but I doubt it. We’ll see.