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Ubuntu 9.04 desktop... linux returns to it's crapola roots


With one exception that we noted on the Mono Configuration page, the installation and setup of a Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty server is the same as 8.10. The 9.04 based desktop though is a completely different animal :(.

Ugh. Kubuntu 9.04 returns to the old desktop uselessness.

Ubuntu and Kubuntu desktops all the way to 8.04, for me, had always been just as lousy as all the rest of the distros I've tried over the years. But a glimmer of hope happened in October 2008 with the 8.10 releases. Finally my Acer Ferarri (a perfect machine with Windows Vista Ultimate 64 from betas to release) got a Linux desktop that worked. Not great and the 64bit never worked out, but in general the 32bit OS was stable and the biggest thing I had never ever had out of Linux worked: Wifi. Even upping it to KDE4.2 kept it a useable OS.

Well, finally got around to spending a day with 9.04. And what a waste it was.

As with 8.10 the 64bit version was useless, even worse than 8.10 because I couldn't even get a wired connection out of the new network manager... had to hack the configuration files. But, past that: The Hardware Devices applet just hung and hung and hung so no wifi drivers were going to come down, just as nothing at all showed *at all* in the old Adept on 64bit nothing at all showed in the new KPackageManager (and you can't install synaptic or Adept). So, as with 8.10 I dumped it all and went 32bit. Figured since that made K/U useful with 8.10 it should work at least as well with 9.04 too. Nope.

With 32bit I was able to get a wired DHCP connection without editing the interfaces and resolv files and the Updates service popped right up... telling me that it would be a good idea to get the 54 security updates and 9 bug fixes. This from an ISO that I just downloaded from MIT ten minutes earlier, of an OS that was officially released just 3 weeks ago following supposedly exhaustive testing.

After all the updates, plus a force of a refresh of the universe sources cache I did at least get my wifi detected BUT to connect to a network with a static address you now have to enter a CIDR netmask value in the KNetworkManager. It says "Netmask prefix" (if you can get your mouse to hook the ui so you can read what it says, that is) which implied that something was weird... but how weird is that? Come on now, what normal person is going to know their CIDR netmask value? A user-oriented system says "Netmask" and users type "255.255...." Jesus already, Windows and Mac can even autotype the value in for the users!


And the pain just continues from there. Need to hit a non-ssid-broadcasting network? You can't. That ages-old bug of not being able to connect to a hidden network is back. Go looking for a hack or tip on it and you're reminded how annoying LiunxLand is. Loads of posts for help followed by uber-smarter-than-you forumfeeders telling you that a hidden ssid isn't secure so having yours off makes you an idiot. Many people don't have control over it and just need their OS to work and all they get from the "experts" is scorn.

Yep, you bastids. You are right. The OS is perfect and the humans have usability bugs. Glad that makes you sleep well at night ... alone (Sorry, that was rude. Some of these geniuses occassionally do share their beds with anime blow up dolls).

A server can be geeky, I don't mind that. I can even like that. But a desktop should be a turn on & use tool. Windows remains the most useful OS "for the masses" out there, with OSX a good webbrowser option for people who have more money than actual computing needs. But the massmarket Linux going back to making basic networking a frustrating convoluted chore shows that 8.10 was an aberration and reaffirms the old addage that 'Linux just doesn't "get" the desktop.'


Tomorrow the Ferarri goes back to openSUSE so I can test out a few new Mono 2.4 features. But I know that it really wants to have its Vista Ultimate 64 back. It wants to be useful again.

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