nothing to write about – upgrade to 7.10

No, really. The upgrade was as routine as brushing teeth.

Except I cannot stress enough how important having a good net connection has become for Linux installs. By good, I mean reliability. It won’t matter if its going to take ten hours, as long as after ten hours, the stuff will be downloaded and ready for action.

One reason is, of course, the way software is installed on Ubuntu (or Fedora, for that matter). You configure your system to use trusted repositories available on the net. These provide a list of the packages on offer. With the help of capable tools like apt and yum, you are spared dependency hell and provided with clean rollbacks. Of course, this means if you have an unreliable connection you have to turn to tools like apt-on-cd.

The other reason is updates. Updates on Linux are reassuringly regular. They range from a few kilobytes to whatever is the largest package you have installed. Sometimes, updates are available for a bunch of packages. Then, we need to download around 100 MB or so! Sure, we can choose to skip the updates, but then installing new software becomes a pain – outdated packages and so on. Updating is better, and fun.

Finally, there’s the dist-upgrade. When I popped in the alternate CD, it flashed a warning about some incompatible packages (from the universe repository, I believe) and aborted. On the third attempt, I connected to the net. It downloaded a hefty 434 MB! And it was worth every byte.

And of course, mailing lists, forums, wikis and IRC – all need a net connection!

On the surface, 7.10 is almost same as 7.04 for me. I don’t need to go ‘Wow!’, so no wobbly windows and cube desktops for me. The changes are subtle. Like sharper artwork on the GUI widgets. One big change is Audacity. Its moved on from the clunky “old” GTK look and now is on par with the rest of Ubuntu applications. GIMP is also updated, I think.

Thunderbird, long held back in 7.04, is now at 2.0.0.x. And it looks great! Wonder why it wasn’t showing up as an upgrade in 7.04.

Hardware? 100% perfect detection!

One of my few remaining friends, Bhise, bought an Acer 4710z. He installed Fedora 7 on it – wiping the stupid Linpus that came on it. Everything works except for the integrated webcam and microphone. And I believe he’s steadily bringing those issues to a close too.

But then well, for every “Linux worked for me”, we have a “Linux didn’t even boot on my machine”. Guess we still have work to do.

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