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Ubuntu Linux 12.04: Microsoft's Worst Nightmare?

By Katherine Noyes
May 3, 2012 5:00 AM PT

Well there's a new kid in town here in the Linux blogosphere, and it's already caused quite a stir.

Ubuntu Linux 12.04: Microsoft's Worst Nightmare?

It's one of the Ubuntu clan, as its nickname makes clear, but that's as far as the foolin' goes. With five years of support and a scaly, tough hide, this one's here to stay. With time on its side and its eye on the prize, it may just blaze a new trail.

Can freedom take hold in a world that's been dominated for so long? That's the new hope among the Pangolin-watching throngs.

'Canonical Has Succeeded'

"Literally every review of Precise I've read has been positive, and that's in spite of the fact that it's still got Unity in it," began Google + blogger Linux Rants down at the Linux blogosphere's seedy Broken Windows Lounge.

"I've always been kind of a one-off in that I've always kind of liked Unity, but it sounds like Precise has brought a lot of people around to that way of thinking," Linux Rants added. "In fact, the reviews have been significantly more positive for Precise than they've been for Windows 8.

"Having tried them both, Windows 8 feels like a Frankenstein's monster of an OS compared to the fluid beauty of Precise," he opined. "It's obvious that Microsoft's intent is to make Windows applicable across form factors, but Canonical has succeeded with Precise in a way Microsoft only dreamed about with Windows 8."

'What's the Logic?'

Similarly, "having tried the latest Windows 8 consumer preview, I'm confident that any version of Ubuntu released in the last five years will have absolutely no problem beating it," agreed Barbara Hudson, a blogger on Slashdot who goes by "Tom" on the site.

Of course, "after the success of Windows 7, this is Microsoft snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," Hudson added. "What's the logic? Did Steve Ballmer secretly invest a fortune in Apple stock or something? Off his meds? Run out of chairs?"

In any case, "one thing is for sure: Windows 8 will cause more disunity in the Windows camp than Unity ever did in the Ubuntu camp -- and we know how Windows users have a lot lower pain threshold when it comes to change," she said. "If Ubuntu can capitalize on Microsoft's latest and greatest mistake, more power to them."

'A Weird GUI'

In fact, "I doubt '8' is a challenge for most GNU/Linux operating systems," blogger Robert Pogson suggested.

"An operating system is supposed to be software that allows a person to use his PC," Pogson explained. "Too often that other OS is used to prevent a person using his/her PC without spending a lot of extra money and effort."

Not only that, but "on top of the baggage that M$ carries, '8' has issues with a weird GUI," he pointed out. "I doubt any user of that other OS familiar with windowed processes would be uncomfortable using GNU/Linux."

'I Recommend Debian'

Both Windows 8 and Ubuntu actually have GUI issues, Pogson opined.

"I recommend Debian GNU/Linux -- it's the right way to do IT," he concluded.

Indeed, "Windows 8's new touch interface leaves a lot of room for competition to step in, but why waste this opportunity with Unity?" wondered consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack.

'Amused and Glad'

"I'm glad to see a new release of Ubuntu," Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza offered.

At the same time, "I'm both amused and glad to see a configuration utility for the Unity dock, when Shuttleworth swore up and down it didn't need one, as it didn't exist in previous releases," Espinoza said.

"This seems to me to closely follow the Apple model of telling you that only idiots would buy a certain class of hardware right up until they begin producing it themselves, at which point they tell you that you must be some kind of genius because you want to buy what they're selling," he added.

'Their Crown Was Taken by Mint'

Slashdot blogger hairyfeet questioned Ubuntu's relevance.

"Seriously, after Unity and their fumbles and arrogance I just don't see Ubuntu being relevant anymore," hairyfeet opined. "Their crown was taken by Mint."

After testing out the new Ubuntu, meanwhile, "I see nothing that I care for that I couldn't get in a dozen other distros," he concluded. "While it might work nice on a touchscreen like Win 8, I'll give it a pass."

'A Good Release'

Not everyone saw it that way, however.

"All-in-all, a good release, but it really is not a game changer," offered Roberto Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor.

"I do not see the Windows crowd flocking to Ubuntu because of Windows 8," Lim added. "Those who don't like Windows 8 will simply stick with Windows 7.

"If Windows 8 is unpopular, Microsoft will probably simply offer a free downgrade to Windows 7," he suggested. "I do not see other Linux users flocking to Ubuntu because of HUD."

'Too Much Freedom'

Still, "a better Linux operating system is not needed to challenge Windows -- Linux has been good enough for many years now," Lim opined. "It's really about the app ecosystem and driver support."

Linux is "terribly fragmented," he said.

"It does not look like there is going to be one dominant Linux consumer platform at this point in time," Lim concluded. "Third parties are not going to support a minority operating system with more versions than you can count.

"Different developers agreeing to a single package management system for all Linux distributions would be a step in the right direction," he added. "Sometimes too much freedom is not a good thing."

Katherine Noyes has been writing from behind Linux Girl's cape since late 2007, but she knows how to be a reporter in real life, too. She's particularly interested in space, science, open source software and geeky things in general. You can also find her on Twitter and Google+.

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