Intrepid Ibex – new version of Linux due out tomorrow

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intrepid-ibex-desktop.jpgThe Linux development team follow a much shorter release cycle than Microsoft or Apple do for their operating systems. Whereas the big players pump out a new OS every few years, there’s a new Linux release every six months or so. That means that the features are almost always cutting, but it also means that the releases lack polish somewhat.

Intrepid Ibex, or Ubuntu 8.10, has been in development since May and follows the Hardy Heron and Gutsy Gibbon releases. It’s not a big update, rather an incremental build on Hardy Heron, but it does provide a few quality-of-life improvements.

Thanks to an update to Xorg 7.4, Intrepid is much better than Hardy when hotplugging mice, keyboards and tablets into your machine. It’ll recognise these devices much more reliably. It also provides a failsafe desktop environment – you’ll never be without some sort of graphical user interface, even if the OS can’t boot, your computer catches fire, or a comet slams into the earth.

There’s also a useful new Guest mode. If someone wants to use your PC, just log them into Guest mode, let them use it, and when they log out, everything they did will be deleted. Very handy. Also very reminiscent of next-generation browsers’ porn mode.

A new network manager makes it into Intrepid. This adds considerably better support for 3G. Using a 3G data card promises to become just as easy as switching onto Wi-Fi or Ethernet connectivity. At the moment it’s no mean feat to do that, but this will greatly help laptop users who travel a lot.

Another new bit of code, DKMS, has been contributed by Dell. It’ll make it much easier to push out graphics driver updates for Linux users. Thanks, Dell. There’s also a new version of Samba, which will let your Linux boxes see your Windows shared folders – great if you’re using different OSes on your network, which almost everyone who runs Linux will be.

Lastly, a plugin for the media player called “Totem” will be added. This will allow users to play back BBC content. A nice little addition for the UK.

Overall, these are all solid, if incremental, changes. Ubuntu’s slowly working its way into being an OS that people can use without knowing a tonne of command line instructions. If this continues, then it’ll be a viable option within a year or two.

Did I miss anything important in Intrepid out? Educate the world in the comments.

Get Ubuntu (via GearDiary and Dedoimedo)

Duncan Geere

8 comments

  • No, you could not “do everything” from the GNOME gui in Hardy Heron. I wasted hours trying to get Samba to work right in an Active Domain network, including the required reboots. As has been said before, tell a Windows user that he has to reboot his Ubuntu in order to share a folder, and you’ll be laughed at. I hope Ibex fixes some of the awful things that made Heron a real step backwards.

  • Just consider the little Asus laptops with Linux on them. Granted, they are not almighty Ubuntu but there’s a purpose built distribution that doesnt require any poking/proding. I think Linux’s nature is that of giving you the freedom to do whatever you want with your OS, and if that worries you, there’s always SELinux to put a cap on that freedom to a more user-like standard.
    I think there’s flavours for all tastes, I for one can’t give up Fedora for Ubuntu, I just got too used to the good old Redhat distros.

    • That’s a great example. I use an Aspire One. To get my mobile phone to act as a USB modem, I immediately had to go to the command line…

      I love it, and I think Linux is great for some people. I just know it would terrify my mum.

  • @Paul
    >although everything works nicely in the GUI a lot of the time, as soon as you start poking or prodding or doing anything remotely out of the ordinary, suddenly you’re left googling your way through message boards and “sudo” commands.

    You can do everything in a GUI if you like to.

    The reason why you see “sudo” commands for the command line posted on Ubuntu help message boards is that this is shorter to document, far easier to document correctly, and … here is the shocker … easier to actually perform.

    Imagine this is a message board, and my post’s instruction for you was to do the following:

    echo “Select each line of text in turn, then middle-click”
    echo “See, it really is too easy isn’t it?”

    What you would do is to open a terminal application window, arrange it alongside your browser as you were reading this, select the text above one line at a time from this post as you read it, then middle-click anywhere in the terminal window.

    Easy peasy. Quick to do (just two mouse clicks per line of text). Accurate to perform. Way, way easier to both write and follow (and get 100% correct) than it is to follow a set of GUI instructions.

    The people who write out “sudo” commands for you in Ubuntu help forums are doing you a favour. They are making it far easier for you than making you follow a difficult-to-describe set of GUI actions.

    • Ah well, I’m just sharing my experience of the OS. I think Linux newbies find a terminal window intimidating and scary – no-one likes just putting commands into their computer that they don’t understand.

      Linux is fine for some people, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. Ubuntu is the closest distro to that “everyone” in my mind, but it’s still a way off.

  • I really wish they’d drop those annoying and incredibly tacky ‘pet names’ for releases. That’s what takes the polish off for me.

    All I need is a version number and a changelog. No gimmicks.

  • Risking sounding like “just another linux fan” I slightly disagree with the “lack of polish” although I have always followed the redhat/fedora line and, correct me if I am wrong, but Ubuntu is much younger, although very promising.

    I also think Linux is quite ready for people to use without knowing command line, its more about the acceptance and losing the fear to try it really. I’ve been surprised to be able to use Fedora’s “add and remove software” facility to get Openoffice installed and create a presentation that was completely compatible with Powerpoint. And let’s not get into how much Windows software you can run under Wine almost seemlesly by just double clicking on an exe file.

    It’s only when you want to push the limits that you need command line and, any user that wants to do that, should know what they are getting into.

    • I know exactly where you’re coming from – I really want to love Linux, because I love everything that it stands for, but although everything works nicely in the GUI a lot of the time, as soon as you start poking or prodding or doing anything remotely out of the ordinary, suddenly you’re left googling your way through message boards and “sudo” commands.

      Linux is great, but it needs more native app support that doesn’t rely on WINE. Of course, it won’t get that until the userbase increases. And the userbase won’t increase until app support increases. Vicious cycle.

      I’m looking forward to Intrepid, and I’ll install it. I just really don’t think that I’ll full-time use it.

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