Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Long Term Support) Lucid Lynx Release Candidate hit the streets. I didn’t notice any huge differences from Beta 2. It sports the same purple default theme with some new icons. For example, here are the folder icons from Places:
I think that they’ve done a pretty good job with the new icons. New to Lucid, the system tray icons/gadgets change color to indicate information available like new messages or the need to restart after a kernel update. The most controversial and ubiquitous change in Lucid is moving the window controls to the left side of the title bar:
That takes some getting used to. Switching back between Karmic and Lucid can cause constant wasted mouse trips. The decision to move the controls to the left side was purely Mark Shuttleworth’s because he wanted to open the right side for future functionality.
As usual, Lucid comes with a good array of standard software in their current versions: Firefox 3.6.3, OpenOffice.org 3.2, FSpot 0.6.1.5, Empathy IM Client, Gwibber Social Client, Transmission BitTorrent, Brasero 2.30, PiTiVi 0.13.4 video editor, and Rythmbox 0.12.8. The video editor is a new addition, while the GIMP graphics editor was left off the default list.
The new version of Rythmbox automatically prompts you to load the MP3 support on its initial load if you haven’t already:
Also note that Rythmbox integrates the new Ubuntu One music store, which will apparently only work if you install MP3 plugins. Ubuntu One had a large Jazz selection that went on for pages:
You can search by artist as well as filter by style. I searched on “Grover Washington”, received a bunch of albums, then chose one:
Songs seemed to vary between $0.77 and $0.99, and the albums prices simply add up the individual songs. Albums with more songs cost more than those with fewer. You can listen to a short sample for each song. Note that this album is available in a bit rate of 320 kbps, which is pretty much the highest practical for MP3 and provides outstanding quality. Best of all, all music is DRM free and plays on any MP3 player! I think that I’ll be using them quite a bit as I was given a cool, tiny Ativa Mobile IT KS02 MP3 player that holds 2GB of music and seems to last forever. It’s great on airliners with my Sony MDR-EX300LP earbuds. Ubuntu recognizes the Ativa as a music player and a storage device when I plug it into the USB port. Don’t need no stinkin’ iTunes DRM.
Another major change in Lucid involves additional NVidia card support through the open source drivers. I’m a pretty big fan of NVidia’s proprietary drivers which are best installed using Ubuntu’s Restricted Drivers installer, but it’s nice to have a choice between full 3D support and pretty basic VESA.
Kubuntu Lucid comes with KDE Plasma Desktop 4.4.2 and Amarok 2.3. Like Ubuntu, many of the system tray icons are now notifies that change color to alert the user to things like new messages or the need to restart the system after a kernel update. KDE 4.4.2 also allows users to group running applications into tabs. KDE 4 seems to have come a long way since its initial release.
Overall, Lucid looks like an outstanding upgrade. The final release will be on April 29. I’ll be running the 64-bit Ubuntu release, which is what I’ve been testing in a virtual machine.