Friday, 25 April 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Heron First Impressions

I have been using Hardy Heron for about 3 days now and I can't think of a single good thing to say about it. That's not strictly true, I really do like the new wallpaper. I think this release needs to go back to beta for about a month or so.

This is probably the least stable release I have tried so far. Even as I write this Firefox is freezing randomly so its taking a lot longer to write. I understand Firefox is still in beta and it has its own issues with flash and stuff, so I wont say much more about that.

The first thing I noticed about Hardy Heron is that its boot time was no better than Gutsy, in fact it felt quite a bit slower. A second or two longer boot time is not really an issue but the next problem is. For some unknown reason all of my desktop items and the desktop folder itself just disappeared. I had a lot of files on my desktop and have no way of getting them back. The first time this happened I simply restarted the computer and everything was back where its supposed to be but the second time the desktop disappeared no amount of rebooting made them re-appear again.

The other problem is media playback. This is another randomly occurring bug that stops me from playing any music or video files. I have all the required codecs and the files usually play fine most of the time. But now and again something would happen and non of the media players do anything. Even Firefox stops playing videos from youtube. Again rebooting or logging out then in again seems to solve the problem, for a while anyway.

I thought this was supposed to be a stable long term release but it feels like some early beta. I'm sure the problems will be sledgehammered out soon but I don't think it should have been released without solving these.

I'm really disappointed, I was looking forward to trying out the new features but the computer doesn't stay on long enough until I have to reboot again. I was going to write more about some other minor bugs but Firefox is really getting on my nerves so I'll just leave it for now. Hopefully I'll write another post soon about how all the problems are solved, till then its back to Gutsy.

Update: My desktop folder has finally reappeared but without any of the files that was in it. Unfortunately at almost the same time all my music has gone AWOL. Hopefully they'll find their way back soon. I've been meaning to submit a bug report but I don't really know what to put in it, it's like my os is possessed. I don't think it's my hardware, never had any problems like this before. Had a few screen resolution issues pre-Gutsy but that was all solved fairly quickly. Did a little search and it looks like I'm the only one experiencing this, maybe I'll do a clean install and try again, just as soon as my music returns.

Update 2: I decided to clear my hard drive and do a fresh install of Hardy. This obviously meant that I definitely lost all my music if I hadn't already lost it before. So far, I'm glad to say, everything is running smoothly. I haven't enabled compiz or installed the nvidia driver for my 8600 card. Firefox is also behaving itself, although I am using something called Swfdec instead of Adobe flash. The advantage of this seems to be stability but the downside is that it doesnt work with a lot of video sites, most importantly it cant play videos from bbc's iplayer. I may have to get rid of it and used Adobes one instead.

Since firefox is not freezing every two minutes I can now mention the other little annoyance I have with Hardy. GDesklet no longer includes the launcher/ dock that I have used with every other version of Ubuntu. Infact it barely has anything at all now. You can see the dock that I used to have here. That was such a useful little application for me, why would they get rid of it? It wasn't buggy and it's better than any other dock out now. I also hate that Mac os x like awn dock that takes a whole strip away from your screen.

Well, as you can tell, I am not very impressed with Hardy Heron. There are a lot of important updates and features behind the scenes but it's the little things that have been overlooked. It's not an OS that I can convince my non Linux friends to ditch their Windows for.


  1. I'm sorry your experience with hardy has been so horrible. But as i see it, until the 27th, it still remains a beta release, not the official one. Not to mention, you havent said anything about the hardware you installed it on. Your comments that you shared here i will take seriously though. I was considering installing hardy on one of my spare drives to test it out once the official release is made available.But instead i think i will withhold from that and just monitor the forums until i see that things seem fixed. Music and video are my life, i couldnt exist without music . so i would rather be reasonably safe than sorry. its the reason i rolled back to fiesty than upgrade to gutsy. had too many media problems in trying to get everything to work. But i decided that my mistake was upgrading to gutsy instead of fully installing it on another drive. so. thanks for your review and I will give it consideration.

  2. Im guessing your desktop display problems have to do with some sort of nautilus bug; try going into system manager and killing the nautilus process; it will automatically restart itself in a few seconds.

    As for FF, try opera for now and try reinstalling flash itself.

  3. [i]This is probably the least stable release I have tried so far. Even as I write this Firefox is freezing randomly so its taking a lot longer to write. I understand Firefox is still in beta and it has its own issues with flash and stuff, so I wont say much more about that.[/i]

    Why on earth did they shipped a beta application? That's just asking for trouble if you ask me...

  4. No one knows why they shipped it with Firefox 3. Silly move if you ask me, none of my preferred addons work.

    But i have Hardy 8.04. Ive had it for over a week, i got the Release Candidate. And for me, it's very stable, i so far, have had no problems.
    I agree partly on the sluggish boot speed but that can be solved by tweaking boot using simple programs such as sysv-rc-conf and profiling boot at the GRUB menu.

    Login is much faster than it was at Gutsy 7.10. If you ask me 8.04 is very good, very stable and secure. Although 7.04 was the best release imo for performance.

    I have a Dell E520 and all my hardware is compatible, even my 8800GT is supported well by the restricted drivers. No sound problems occur, some bugs to iron out but nothing threatening to security or performance in general.

    at the end of the day it can be down to hardware that gives you a bad experience. It's always good to cross reference and make sure your hardware is fully compatible. To diagnose slow boot install bootchart to see what is loading and what is taking a long time.

    Hopefully this answers, thanks for reading =)

    Scott, 16.

  5. I have to agree... I didn't have nearly the problems you did, but I did have some issues as well, although I upgraded from Kubuntu Gutsy to Kubuntu Hardy (with stable KDE3)...

    Firstly, the Firefox 3 issue that everyone is having. Why the hell would you ship your "final" with your main browser that's still in development, when the latest version of FF2 just came out? (I think its, or something like that)... Extensions were broken. Themes were broken. The very first thing I had to do was go into Adept, and uninstall FF3 and go back to FF2. A pain.

    Then, because I have an Acer Extensa laptop, there was a keymapping issue where my *delete key did not function*. How can you ship a release when a popular brand of laptops will not be able to use the f***ing delete key? Luckily, I googled and found a workaround here:

    Finally (at least I hope its the last problem, I've only been running it since it was released as final), because of my wireless driver (I forget which one it is, but I have Intel PRO Wireless) the wireless indicator light never came on. There's a reason to have one- to check status, to see whether you have it turned off or on... its necessary. Well, it didn't work at all. I could connect, but you wouldn't know it if you would consult the wireless LED. A (partially functional) workaround was found here:

    Now I have everything working the way it was, but I don't see the new "features" being anything great. Even the compiz inclusion caused problems for me (Intel chipset w/ integrated graphics). For me, it was a lackluster release, but hopefully the LTS will improve upon this distro version, which does have potential.

  6. Ha. I found this post just after my desktop disappeared. I have been waiting for this new release because I need the updated kernel so my intel pro 4965 works. That it does and I'm reasonably impressed so far, but I also have the strange sound problems too. I am just happy to be back in linux since I have been away from it since January because I'm too lazy to fix the wireless in gutsy. My logitech mouse buttons work too. That's worth a disappearing desktop, but not worth disappearing files from my Windows install.

    I will be pissed if that happens.

  7. I got the same file disappearance problem. I hope they come back soon.