Eight Distros a Week: Xubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft
[This is the seventh in an eight-part series on distros I use. These observations are based on distros running on one or more of the following hardware: Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop, an brandless Pentium III-based desktop, an IBM PL 300 Pentium II, an iMac G3 (Indigo) and an iBook G3. As the auto commercials say, your mileage may vary.]
You might ask, “Hey, Lar — why are you so far behind? Edgy Eft? You’re already two . . . .”
And I would interrupt and say, “Tsk, tsk, tsk. You know, when Ubuntu made that fatal error of dropping PowerPC support a while ago, 6.10 is the latest I can go on the iBook.” This has been my experience — my foray into the update for 7.04 on the iBook led to a mildly traumatic episode where I thought I had killed the machine, so it was back to the nervous newt (which, if you look it up, is what an “edgy eft” is, after all).
[I understand this is not the case, and I am told that 7.04 and 7.10 both run on PowerPC G3 architecture. If anyone can point out how, I’m all ears.]
A little more history (and thank you for bearing with me): After my first exposure to GNU/Linux with Debian GNU/Linux, Xubuntu was my first other-than-Debian experience and, essentially, it made me what I am today: A happy distro wanderer (and, to some who are somewhat “distro dogmatic,” I am a shameless distro polygamist — and actually I’m at peace with that). Finding the Xfce desktop environment a little perplexing at the time, not to mention a challenge to overcome, the Xubuntu experience was enhanced by the fact that the GTK+ programs were an education to yours truly as a newbie.
As has been a theme in this series, the fact that you can have a desktop environment that does not take up a lot of resources is like having a 426 cubic-inch Hemi planted into a Mini Cooper — the power-to-weight ratio makes the vehicle fly. Xubuntu on the PowerPC G3 in the iBook G3 is no exception to this theme.
There is a debate within the Xubuntu community about whether to include GNOME programs into later editions of the distro. Despite the fact that both sides present good arguments for and against, I think that Xubuntu should stay true to its roots and not weigh itself down.
Of all my portables (and there have only been three), the connectivity of Xubuntu deserves special mention. Despite the fact that Apple’s Airport wireless card has yet to be connectable with any distro — and my guess is that it may never be (thanks, Steve) — the wired connection, whether in my house or in the computer or networking labs in Cabrillo College, has never failed; neither has the iBook had to be reconfigured. I know this ranks way up there in the miracle department, but it’s true (and maybe I’m just lucky). This is not a complaint, but rather I’m sort of awed by this phenomenon that I can’t explain — and, sadly, I can’t repeat this “miracle” with my Intel-based hardware.
With Ubuntu and its family of distros making great strides in the FOSS realm, it is clear that Xubuntu will continue to grow and flourish as part of this tribe. As far as the iBook goes, it has everything it needs , and everything I need, in Xubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft.
Coming tomorrow: Wolvix 1.1 Hunter (Note: Yes, I know I went out of alphabetical order — I can’t keep track of letters after R. Sorry.)
(Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source and Free Software Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)