I’ve been on Xubuntu 10.04 for quite a while and finally took the plunge into version 12.04 over the weekend. 12.10 version 2, whatever that means, is out now. Maybe I’ll take a look at that one in a few weeks.
The 12.04, 64-bit ISO file was downloaded from the Xubuntu page and burned onto an 8-GB USB stick using the Startup Disk Creator. I then booted off the USB stick.
I always set up several partitions on my notebooks. My current configuration is made up of two 50-GB, a 100-GB, and a 120-GB partitions. The 120-GB slot holds all my data and is designated as the /home directory. With this upgrade, I installed version 12.04 in one of the spare 50-GB partitions and then choose the version on the boot selection screen.
Boot up to the login screen took about 20 seconds. That’s on a duo-core, 1.6-GHz Asus notebook with 4 GB of RAM and a 5400 RPM, 320-GB hard drive. After login, ready-to-go on the desktop time is about 10 seconds. Version 10.04 (on the same notebook) took about 30 seconds to get to the login screen and another 20 seconds for the desktop. Noticeably better, in my opinion, on a slightly aging machine.
WiFi immediately came up then found and connected to my network.
Firefox, Abiword, Thunderbird, and the terminal all functioned as expected without any glitches.
Shortly after first booting into version 12.04, I started getting task bar alerts saying that an application had crashed. Apparently the jockey_gtk application was acting up. I un-installed it and that warning went away. Later I also had an error alert about nvclock_gtk and removed that program as well. As outlined on a couple of Xubuntu forums, this seems to be an ongoing problem with this version. I found that I could turn off the crash reporting, seemingly without any ill effects, by editing the /etc/default/apport file. The Xubuntu Geek blog shows a solution in the related links.
After the initial installation was completed, I added the Arduino IDE, the Compiz window manager, the Chrome browser, and LibreOffice.
The Arduino IDE, version 1.0, was loaded using the Synaptic package manager. It looks pretty much the same as the old version 0.22. I was sad to see that the monitor button was removed from the main task bar area. It’s now available under the tools drop down menu, which is a bit annoying. I use the monitor extensively for debugging, and taking it off of the task bar adds an extra step to my development effort. Version 1.0 handles 21 different types of Arduino boards including the new Uno, the Arduino Fio, the Ethernet variant, as well as the nearly antique NG models.
Overall the program is fast and stable. Make sure to use the latest library files for projects using OneWire and Dallas devices, otherwise you’ll get lots of errors.
Compiz loaded and ran well for the most part. One glitch was that whenever I’d change to a new desktop window, the screen would flash, with a very brief image of the last screen. So, for example, if I went from the desktop displaying Firefox to the desktop with LibreOffice on it, a flicker of the Firefox screen would show up. Odd.
The Chrome browser worked well, as did Firefox. Both were fast and stable.
LibreOffice, too, worked as expected and I immediately used it to write this story.
It always takes a little while to discover all the nuances in any given release. Xubuntu 12.04 has been out since early-mid 2012 and seems faster than the old 10.04 version, both with loading from power-off through to application startup. I haven’t moved to Unity yet, since I like Compiz. Maybe we’ll look at Unity in a an upcoming article.
I can certainly recommend Xubuntu as a fast, stable, and mature distribution.