If you’re Ubuntu-curious, try out Wubuntu, a web-based demo of the Ubuntu interface. It doesn’t give much real information though, since all it has is something that looks like the default Ubuntu interface (but not quite) and an embedded browser. Anyone who has actually used Ubuntu might be dissappointed, and the site owner proudly announces that you should use the Segoe UI, which is a Microsoft font. 🙂

Epiphany kicks ass, but…

The default browser for Gnome, Epiphany, is a really good web browser. It’s more lightweight than Firefox and it integrates much better in to the Gnome desktop. It has a lot of useful extensions such as a very good Adblock, but my gripe is not being able to use my favorite FF extensions such as Web Developer or del.icio.us. I’ll probably end up going back to Firefox. 🙁

Feisty upgrade

I upgraded my fiancée’s laptop a couple of days ago from Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) to 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). At first, update-manager didn’t offer the upgrade at all, and I had to delete the .update-manager -folder for it to work. Apparently this might be intentional, since quite a few people have had trouble with the upgrade. Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and try it anyway. Soon after starting the upgrade process, I got an error message about some repositories. Only after disabling some of the repos in the ‘package sources’ list did it continue smoothly. The rest of the update went just fine, but I do have some gripes about it. For starters, the download looked like it would take too long to wait around, so I went outside, thinking the install would be ready by the time I was back.

Not so fast: when I came back, I found the update was waiting for my permission to restart ssh. Argh. Never mind, but this was not all: As I mentioned in a previous post, progress bars can be useless and annoying, if they give false information. When the update resumed, it happily told me there was “1 day, 3 hours and 4 minutes” left. In reality the rest of the upgrade took about 2 hours, but at no point did the progress bar estimate reflect reality except at the last minute or two. What’s the point? Estimates like this only serve to build mistrust in Ubuntu/Linux and computers in general. Even the progress bar without the estimate would be better.

Apart from the aforementioned silliness though, Ubuntu 7.04 is a very fine OS for everyday desktop use!

Progress bars

Progress bars rarely work. A bar displaying a percentage of completed tasks gives the user an often false idea of how much time is left. Unfortunately, as is pointed out in the comments of silentk’s blog post on the subject, the percentage of tasks completed does not tell how processor-intensive the remainder of the tasks is going to be. It’s certainly important to give some sort of indication that stuff is happening, but a progress bar which gets stuck at 99% for half an hour can easily be misinterpreted as a crash, and the user might decide to give up.