As my Ubuntu Edgy (6.10) was not quite cutting edge anymore, I decided to get Hardy Heron.
Upgrade over two skipped releases would be suicidal, so I decided to do a fresh install. I also wanted to preserve my old Edgy… you know — just in case. That involved cutting off half of my system partition to create a new partition. You might expect a horror story now, but in fact it all went flawlessly (I just used gparted, the ext3 got fscked, shrinked to a half without a single glitch, passed fsck again and voila).
Installation of Hardy was provided by a nice graphical installer that didn’t even bother asking questions about my hardware (it just asked me about country and language settings and stuff like that). It recognised my monitor resolution, I installed the proprietary nvidia-glx-legacy drivers with two clicks (yes, it’s not even necessary to touch xorg.conf anymore). I just had to set up the wifi connection manually, because the access point has a hidden ESSID (but all the drivers were already there).
I was amazed how everything works out of the box or almost out of the box. Need to play a movie and don’t have the codec? You get a pop-up asking if you would like to download the codec. You click yes and enter your password, you are all set.
Hardy Heron includes Firefox 3 (beta 5 as of now), which is great, because the speedup over Firefox 2 is rather significant (and it does have some nice new features too). The only sad thing is that Google Toolbar doesn’t work in FF3B5 (yet), but well, I don’t really need to see the pagerank of every page I visit.
With my old 32MB GeForce 2 I never bothered installing Compiz, but as it comes out of the box now, I just had to try it. And whooo it rocks. The cube is amazing and there is also this great “scale windows” thingy, that shows all open windows at once so that you can switch between them. And then there are hundreds of different visual effects…
Gnome now allows repositioning the window toolbar items by drag&drop’ing them. That is the feature I’ve always (secretely) wanted. It’s really useful (as opposed to grouping, which I always (not so secretly) hated).
All I can say is: “Wow“.
PS: I don’t say this often, but I have to say it now: In case you haven’t done so yet — with XP being obsolete and Vista near unusable — this is definitely the best time to switch to Linux. And if you encounter any problems, I’ll be happy to help you with troubleshooting.