Linux Distro Review #1: Xubuntu 9.04

My laptop is a piece or crap, I know this. 512Mb of RAM, Intel graphics card and a Intel Centrino Duo processor is nothing to write home about. This is why when I read that Xubuntu is a Linux OS designed for low-end machines, I downloaded the ISO, burned a live CD and had it installed in little over two hours. Now, if you are new to Linux and would like to know what Xubuntu has to offer you (Or any Canonical distribution for that matter) I suggest you take a look here. For everyone else, I’ll cut to the chase.

I installed Xubuntu because I wanted a very fast desktop that was stable and made the best usage of resources available. Xubuntu disappointed me on all these points.

Speed: I had previously been using Ubuntu 9.04, which I found slightly sluggish when using applications like Firefox and XBMC. Xubuntu did seem a bit quicker when navigating folders (Xfce being the desktop environment and thunar the file manager) but not a lot faster with resource hungry apps open. Worse, Xubuntu proved ABSOLUTELY unusable while installing new packages, something both the experienced user and the curious newbie do frequently. I also experienced several bouts of CPU 100% during each day with no obvious offender.

Stability: I never had problems with stability in Ubuntu, save when upgrading to a new release rather than installing it fresh. Xfce suffered a bug in where the entire system would stall, and even hitting standby would produce no results. This could happen every 3-4 days, taking into account I shutdown at least every two days.

Ease of Use: Ubuntu comes with a strong suite of applications included such as OpenOfice, Tomboy Notes, Firefox and Pidgin. Xubuntu sacrifices some of these for faster equivalents which is understandable. However, with the amount I use the former two apps I mentioned, I had to install them myself, which means an extra 300+ MB download at each new release.
On Ubuntu, it is simple to toggle touchpad preferences, and within 5 mins of install I had turned off the dreaded “tap-to-click”. There was no such similar GUI for Xubuntu, and this led to stressful editing of config files.

Worth a Install?: Simply, no. I appreciate the amount of work the community puts into a release like Xubuntu but if you’re system can’t handle Ubuntu, then you should look to other distributions such as Crunchbang Linux or even DSL (Damn Small Linux)

If you have any problems with my review, or would like to share your own experiences, please leave a comment.

I got my college offers!

Well I knew from twitter leaks last night I’d gotten my coarse, but clicking accept on cao.ie is a whole different ballgame, and a relief to be perfectly honest. As of September I will be studying Software Development in Computing at GMIT Galway. I’m over the moon, and can’t wait to get started. Congratulations to all other Leaving Cert students, and to those of you in Galway, let’s do drinks sometime 😀

I See Radiohead Have a New Song

Recently the last remaining UK veteran of the 1st world war Harry Patch died at the age of 111.
I had heard a very emotional interview with him a few years ago on the Today program on Radio4.
The way he talked about war had a profound effect on me.
It became the inspiration for a song that we happened to record a few weeks before his death.
It was done live in an abbey. The strings were arranged by Jonny.
I very much hope the song does justice to his memory as the last survivor.

It would be very easy for our generation to forget the true horror of war, without the likes of Harry to remind us.
I hope we do not forget.

As Harry himself said
“Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims”.

This morning the Today program played the song for the first time and now it is available to download from our website.

Please click here to download.

The proceeds of this song will go to the British Legion.

To peace and understanding.

Thom

Banging. Quite a beautiful song, and well worth a pound in my opinion.