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Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot

Some months ago, I had written a post on why Mark Shuttleworth never fails to disappoint. Today, I installed Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot on my computer, and it managed to last for just 5 minutes. This post should give a good overview of the five minute experience that is Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot.

I recently bought a new computer. I need Linux on it, so I decided to install Ubuntu. However, I realized that Natty Narwhal was just too old, and that I had to wait for just a week to get my hands on the brand new Ubuntu Oneiric Ocelot. The promos promised a lot. The very name, Oneiric, which is associated with dreams seemed extremely enticing. Moreover, it was not really all that worth installing Natty, then updating it within a week. For some reason, I have never had a good experience with Ubuntu upgrades, and hence I prefer clean installations.

So, today, I finally downloaded Wubi and an AMD64 iso of Ubuntu 11.10. I ran Wubi, installed the system, and rebooted into Ubuntu. I was impressed with the entire UI design. The colours and textures are chosen with a lot of care, and give a very good feel. However, that feeling soon vanished.

I first ran into difficulties with the login screen itself. As I have mentioned earlier in my posts, I use the Dvorak layout for typing because I find it convenient when I type long text articles of code. Earlier, Ubuntu allowed me to change the keyboard layout to Dvorak right at the login screen itself. It meant that I could easily touch type my password. Now, I'm forced to type my password in QWERTY, which is a real pain in the neck. Nevertheless, I bit the bullet and entered my password. I then faced the Unity UI.

The Unity UI has again been designed rather well, blatantly copying greatly inspired by the Macintosh and the Windows 7 UIs. Now, if I wish to access an application, I need to click on a menu launcher (similar to the start menu on Windows) and then type in the name of the program that I wish to access. Gone is any way to actually browse for programs; you can best filter programmes by category. (At this point, I forgot to mention that I had already configured the IP address for my network.) The institute where I study has uses a squid proxy to connect to the internet, so I typed in proxy into the search to enter the settings. To my surprise, the search yielded no results. Then I entered network into search. I found an applet named network, but I assumed that it would show devices connected on the network, not what I wanted. The other results were related to IP settings, again not what I wanted. I clicked on the network applet. To my surprise, I found proxy settings buried there. I had an option to enter proxy settings, but then, there was no option to Use the same proxy for all protocols! So, I entered proxy addresses for all protocols manually. Then I realized that there were no options for proxy authentication, nor for ignored hosts. Now, local addresses are always supposed to bypass the proxy, mainly because they do not have any DNS lookup on the internet, i.e. those sites are local only to my institute network. Blow! This means that I cannot access the intranet sites!

Nevertheless, having entered the proxy, I noticed another defect. There is no easy way to switch the proxy settings, unlike earlier versions of Ubuntu. I travel home regularly, and need a one click method to switch the proxy settings. Windows offers me that facility: simply uncheck the use a proxy server box; not as cool as the earlier versions of Ubuntu, but it serves my needs. Here, I see no such option.

I fired up Firefox, but it could not use the system proxy settings, so I could not surf the internet. I gave up, rebooted into Windows and uninstalled my Ubuntu installation.

Final verdict? Don't use Ubuntu 11.10, aka Oneiric Ocelot. It's not worth it.

Oneiric means relating to dreams. Maybe the name holds true. Only in the dreams of its designers could they have envisioned this version being anywhere close to accepted.

Please feel free to share your views in the comments below.

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