Ohayo my peepels!
Let’s not kid ourselves. Ubuntu is great. For various reasons. Without Ubuntu we wouldn’t have nearly as many users on Linux as we have now. Ubuntu brought the freak circus Linux to desktops around the world, by making it usable. Usable by humans, normal humans like your granny and you. That’s all sorts of great and we all should be grateful for it.
But is Ubuntu still the great and easy Linux distribution it once was? Does it still earn its position as the most widespread Linux in the world? So widespread for many uninformed users Ubuntu and Linux are synonym. Can we really forget that Ubuntu itself is standing on the shoulders of giants that came and existed before it? And is it not right to assume that many many newer forks and other Linux distributions have surpassed Ubuntu on all fronts?
Yes, it’s right. And as you might know your editrix ain’t a fan of Ubuntu, has never really used it, and is very sceptical not only about the system itself but its parent company Canonical’s business ethics.
But hey, 99.9999% of first contacts with the wonderful world of Linux happen via Ubuntu. Ubuntu! Not Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu or Ubuntu Mate. And not bespoke n00bie Xubuntu distros like Linux Lite or the fancy posh Linux Mint but stock standard Ubuntu, the mother of all the *buntus. And since Canonical just yesterday released the finished version of Ubuntu 18.04, and since it’s even a Long Term Support version, your editrix thought this is the perfect time to check it for herself and for you and see if it’s any good or if Ubuntu’s grand kidz have eaten and devoured their granny and there is no need to even look for her anymore.
So today I downloaded Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (codenamed Bionic Beaver, the desktop version of course) and installed it on little Gaga to abuse it on a litte test ride. Let’s see how it went down:
Pheeew … you know what? This is all shit!
No, it’s all perfectly serviceable and the formerly unmentionable Gnome has gotten better, much better, as I’ve found out already in my Antergos Gnome review a couple days ago. And I guess it’ll serve all you n00bs just fine. Fine in a way like Windows serves you fine, not fine as in fine wine or something even remotely fun and inspiring and for connoisseurs of fine Linuxes. Like Windows it’ll just do its duty. Slowly and cumbersome. Meh.
And then there is the speed question. Fukn Gnome is a resources hog! 😮 And what was bearable in Antergos (Arch Linux), which I tested on this very same computer, in Ubuntu’s implementation it strangled all the fun and spunkyness out of the experience. Add to that the fact that Canonical have stopped development of 32-bit versions and you can forget about ever running this standard – or any other – Linux version on your older 32-bit lappy that you just freed from your granny’s attic. And, hey, if you don’t believe me, please have a look at this YT video. That guy noticed Ubuntu’s chewing gum behaviour too.
So my verdict can’t be a positive one. I knew it all along, still I downed and installed Ubuntu on one of my desktop PCs (that I even totally cleaned out and formatted before I started the test) and tried to be as objective as possible. And yes, I noticed how much better Gnome 3 has become and that it’s indeed very much possible to work on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. But that is in fact all I can say in Ubuntu Gnome’s favour. There isn’t a single thing other distros don’t make better, faster and more convincing.
And that’s not enough to give Ubuntu 18.4 the Orca Seal of Approval.
PS: This devastating verdict is about Ubuntu standard, which is the specific version with Gnome desktop. Canonical has stopped development of their own, homegrown Unity desktop and ships with Gnome now. My review was about Ubuntu Gnome. Only and Exclusively! Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Mate must be reviewed on their own.