The latest version of the Ubuntu operating system was released today: 8.04, or “Hardy Heron.” See this review of the new features. You can download it here using a bitorrent client, or try it out inside Windows without having to install it to a separate hard drive partition at all, using Wubi, a tool I covered earlier.
I’ve been using Ubuntu as my primary, full-time desktop for a year now, with no real issues at all. My wireless card wasn’t supported out of the box, but these instructions fixed that. OpenOffice can handle all Microsoft Office stuff including 2007 docx files, R statistics software superseded SPSS, and everything else is cross-platform anyway like Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.
I decided to install Ubuntu Hardy to a new partition instead of upgrading my existing Ubuntu install, so that means I have to redo some of the tweaks and customizations I made, which I list below:
- Go to the top menubar item System->Administration->Restricted Drivers to see if there are any special drivers you need to enable, such as Nvidia or ATI 3D acceleration or wireless drivers.
- Like I mentioned above, you still may need to use ndiswrapper to get your wireless card to work, which wraps the Windows driver. See also the gui frontend for ndiswrapper: ndisgtk.
- Disable the system beep / motherboard speaker
- Run gconf-editor to show icons for your computer, home, and the trash on your desktop.
- Edit /etc/fstab to mount other partitions at startup if need be.
- Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to get a second monitor or projector working with Ubuntu.
- Add the Medibuntu repositories to get the Adobe Acrobat viewer (acroread), Skype, and other applications. I found the Adobe viewer was better for printing some pdfs than the Evince viewer that comes with Ubuntu.
- Enable VPN support for secure net access if need be, or else what I actually use is SSH tunneling.
- Here are some applications you might find useful that aren’t installed by default:
- Mozilla Thunderbird – email client
- VLC – video player
- Deluge – bitorrent client
- Kdenlive, Cinelerra – video editing
- Adobe Acrobat reader (acroread)
- Audacious – mp3 player
- R (r-base)
- And some tools or libraries:
- nvidia-glx-new (or similar drivers)
- See the older Ubuntu Guide for more tips.