Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New video widget

Official Compiz logoImage via Wikipedia
"For the rest of the changes, we needed a video widget that was more flexible than the X-based one we were using. So from Totem 3.2, we'll start using clutter, and clutter-gst," said Hadess.

What does this mean for , since it uses Compiz? Will Canonical's desktop become more and more divorced from GNOME standard, including the included apps? I'm betting it will. In fact, I've been encouraging Ubuntu to go this direction for quite some time.

The Choice of AMD is Rewarded and Go Ahead with AMD64

Image representing AMD as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseThe last couple of laptops I've bought have been machines, largely from my desire to get the best performance to price ratio, but also because the integrated graphics chips are much better than . That choice is being rewarded with 11.04. The open-source drivers work extremely well for daily desktop use, though they have half the performance of the Catalyst driver.

Phoronix recently also benchmarked 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit systems, and the 64-bit systems were significantly faster in almost all tests.

The takeaway? If you're going to run 11.04 on a laptop, AMD's Fusion is a good choice, and you'd be best advise to install the AMD64 version.

Friday, April 1, 2011

eOS 0.1 (Elementary Jupiter) Released and Reviewed

As I've written before, I've been using Natty and Unity for about three months straight now, and I'm extremely happy with how it's shaping up. I'm always interested in other projects, though, especially ones with a philosophy which includes consistent look and feel. Elementary is a project like that, so I leapt on the release announcement and torrented the 614MB .iso.
Two words described the distro -- fast and elegant.
I first ran the live CD in Qemulator under Natty, but I knew the video drivers were holding me up so I wrote out a USB drive for it and rebooted. Even running from the drive, everything is extremely responsive. It works as expected.

  • Fast
  • Limited, very consistent applications
  • Midori is awesome and is  all that I wanted Epiphany to be for years
  • Postler only asks for your e-mail address and password to set up common mail options. Amazing and easy
  • Looks amazing and the applications take up little vertical space
  • Abiword and Gnumeric instead of OO.o or LO
  • Traditional GNOME app menu
  • I like that the Elementary devs have standardized on Vala and GTK+
  • Postler had trouble connecting to my GMail account and gave no feedback for about fifteen minutes
  • Dexter doesn't use my webmail coontacts
  • Empathy's setup screen isn't at Postler's level yet (and why should I have to input my GMail account again?
  • Inconsistent configuration options for the non-eOS apps. I assume that they will be modified later
  • Midori lacks installed extensions (edit: open the sidebar to find them) and doesn't work with some web apps (e.g. Picasaweb)
  • There is a lot of turmoil about the installed apps and that has to be getting in the way of work
This is a 0.1 release, but it's based on Ubuntu 10.10 so it's already quite stable. If the choice of applications settles down (Elementary Nautilus or not?), eOS should be great by 0.2. Who can ask for more than that?

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