Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jaunty is Jumping.

So, I had a few days off work, which gave me a long Easter weekend. I took this time to play around with the latest Kubuntu Jaunty Jackalope beta 9.04. So far I'm very impressed.

First, I'd like to mention that the boot time has been cut in half. I'm very impressed. I press the power button, blink once and I'm looking at the KDM login screen. KDE 4.2.2 is very, very stable. There's nothing to complain about for the first time in the KDE 4 release. I love it. All the plasmoids worked as expected, which has been a problem in the past. I guess there is one thing I can complain about. I don't like the default KDE4 theme and I can't for the life of me figure out how to install and apply a theme change. This should be an option that is plain as the day is long. So either I'm a moron (which is generally the case), or KDE4 devs are making things very difficult. All other desktop customization wasn't an issue.

Another wonderful and time saving feature in Juanty is the installation of restricted codecs. I would usually have to manually add the mediubuntu repos, update and then install the necessary codecs. In Jaunty, I opened Dragon Player selected a .avi video file and was presented with a dialog box suggesting that other codecs be installed. I clicked a button to accept the suggested installation, and in less then a minute, I was playing my video file. Wonderful! That is exactly as it should be.

Finally, I'd like to mention that this is the first time Koffice 2.0 beta is available in the main repos for Kubuntu. I'm not sure why I'm so excited about this new Koffice release. Koffice has always seemed featureless and awkward, but the rewrite of this suite seems to include some neat improvements. I really like the look and feel of kwriter, but found kspread frustrating to use. Being an accountant and spending 80% of my life interacting with a spreadsheet I feel that I'm a fairly advanced spreadsheet user. So when I was playing around with kspread and attempted to create a simple chart, I hit a brick wall. This is usually a very straight forward feature in most spreadsheets, but I couldn't get it to work with kchart, the integrated charting tool. I googled and read a few posts that the kchart feature had been turned off for a period due to some testing issues, but couldn't verify if my installed version of Koffice was part of that test phase. I'm assuming it was.

Overall, I'm well impressed with the new Juanty release, so I'm going to keep it. I don't see any reason to wait for the official release on April 23. The beta seems to be a very solid system. I highly recommend Jaunty, so go take a peek, I think you'll be pleasantly impressed.