Ubuntu 10.4: My first impressions

Jack Wallen
Feb 27, 2010
Updated • Dec 5, 2012

I couple of months ago I covered what was to be expected in the upcoming release of Ubuntu (Lucid Lynx - 10.4). This release will happen in April 2010 and is much anticipated by users across the globe. I have installed the Alpha of 10.4 and have been using it for a while now. It is time to offer up my impressions of what is to come to those wacky Ubuntu fan boys and girls.

At first blush

What I was really surprised about was the lack of the new look. I had reported that a team of Ubuntu developers were developing a new GTK+ theme that would include RGBA support. This support would introduce a better (and native) transparency to the widgets. At this point I can find no indication that this is going to happen. In fact, the only change of appearance I now hear of is Ubuntu moving away from the brown color scheme in favor or a gray color scheme. What I have seen, of proposed themes, are not attractive at all.  Modern desktops have taken a very different approach. To that end the average users are expecting a bit more from the look and feel of their interface. I have always wondered why a distribution, such as Ubuntu, hasn't always installed Emerald by default.

So upon boot (for the Alpha at least), we're looking at what appears to the same old Ubuntu...with one MAJOR exception. After installation the boot time of Ubuntu 10.4 has finally reached that 10 second mark. Of course this will depend upon your hardware...but my test machine is nothing to WOW anyone. But without a single tweak I am seeing 10 second boots. Pretty amazing!

File sharing

You may have recently read my article "Easy folder sharing in GNOME". Well it looks like 10.4 will take this a step further. If you click on System > Preferences you will see an entry labeled Personal File Sharing. It seems as if the Ubuntu team has picked up on the users' needs to share files with Windows users and make that process as painless as possible. Unfortunately, in the alpha release, this system isn't working. I'm sure it will when the full release hits the net.

Where's my music?

Weren't we promised music in the Ubuntu Software Center? That has yet to appear. There is, however, one minor difference in the UBC. When you open up the software center you will see that the old "Get Software" section is now a directory tree which can expand. When you do expand the tree you will see a "Provided by Ubuntu" entry. This is new. I am certain this is the pre-cursor to the addition of third-party software and music to the Ubuntu Software Center.


The alpha version of 10.4 is certainly NOT to be used in a production environment. If you want to see what is up and coming make sure you do so in either a virtual machine or on a test machine only. Why? You will experience crashing. Right now you can not install software with the UBC without a crash. The software installs, but a crash is reported as well.

I have also noticed if you have your screen set to lock upon starting of the screensaver, you will wind up having to do a hard shutdown. When you try to enter your password to unlock the screen the spinner just keeps spinning away - but no unlock action occurs.

Outside of those two issues, I have yet to come across any deal breakers. Normal day-to-day usage works as well as any release of Ubuntu to date.

Final thoughts

Ubuntu 10.4 is going to be an exciting release. I am only hoping that Canonical will get the music added as well as the stability of the Ubuntu Software Center and the themes straightened out. Other than that, you can finally look forward to that heralded 10 second boot time you have been waiting for!


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  1. Solospace said on October 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I just recently installed ubuntu linux 10.4 on my windows computer and it used my default windows username! then I tried to enter my default password i used in windows it says “Authentication Failure” cause it asks for password. How can I hack the password? please i would really love to use Linux.

  2. Stephen said on May 19, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I have spent the last 2 weeks with the latest version of ubuntu while running windows 7 ultimate as well since it came out along older versions of ubuntu and this latest release is now the only operating system on my main machine

  3. Jim said on May 15, 2010 at 12:32 am

    The brown theme always was the first to go on any install or upgrade of Ubuntu. Netbook Edition 10.04, love the standby login screen that allows you to leave a message for the user. Not sure if these are stored and accumulate or whether they are purged as soon as you read them ? But how much cooler & nicer is that when you go to another’s office and they were out, rather than waste a post it sticky note, just type in a message that the user gets when they unlock the computer after returning from wherever they were ?

    I don’t want Ubuntu to turn into Windows or OS X. Granted there are neat features that maybe those companies have implemented that are “cooler”, but for the most part Ubuntu still has cutting edge ideas that the other 2 can’t match. It’s a major reason I use Ubuntu 99.9% of the time at home. I just don’t have the patience to see what OS X left out of Linux or improved with their own version. And that goes for Windows too. I like the Netbook version of Ubuntu so much more than Windows XP and Windows 7 Starter. I can’t say whether OS X would be preferred or not on a netbook, it’s pretty impressive on an iPad for a “Kindle-beater”, but the iPad leaves me wanting more functionality than it has, I just can’t justify paying the $ 500-800 for a glorified pdf reader or even an internet media playback system that the MSI Wind netbook I have does just the same and then more.

  4. Yogesh Vaidya said on May 14, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Ubuntu new version is fantastics. But Windows drivers are not showing.

  5. John Howell said on May 1, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I just finished an installation on my 2008 Mac Mini of Ununtu 10.4 release.
    This is the first Ubuntu I haven’t replaced the default theme straight away. It is very a modern, and stylish colour scheme, and I think I will stick with it for a while and see if it really grows on me. The Social network chat presence is nice to have set up out of the box, but the Ubuntu One cloud? I’m not sold on it as it is a bunch of services that again tie you to one platform, in this case even one flavour of Gnu/Linux to use all of the services to their full.
    I’m Happy with 2GB of storage on DropBox, and sync mail, calendars and contacts with Google, and pictures with flicker, and chat with Facebook. I don’t know enough people on the UbuntuOne system to make this appealing for me.
    The installation was super smooth though, the usual couple of questions about time zone, and how much of your disk to use etc, and 20 minutes later I was messing around in the new system. The only change I made from default was switching from Evolution to Thunderbird3 as my main mail client.
    Same old problems with tool bar widgets locking to the wrong location and ending up in the wrong place when the screen res changes, but this is more a of general Gnome problem I think, not just Ubuntu.
    Solid, and with a reliable history, I would definitely recommend this to any new Linux switcher or old hand alike.

  6. Shane said on March 27, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Do you know if 10.4 will allow common software like Windows live messenger, Adobe photoshop, adobe fireworks, and AVG in particular?

    1. John Howell said on May 1, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      They’ll allow it if someone writes the software for it.
      I’s a different operating system. There are many other replacement clients that will hook into MS Messenger chats etc and you actually WANT adobe software on an otherwise secure system?
      If it was the same as Windows, it wouldn’t be able to be better.
      Windows is actually getting more Linux-like.
      You don’t run as admin any more, applications tend to be installed in common places away from the operating system stuff, Powershell gives you a very powerful command line etc. But still limited to only 2 types of file systems, NTFS and FAT32, no native SSH or encryption on the base versions, now not even a mail client included in Win7, no common application and OS patching system.
      On my new install I’m going to try and see if I can live without flash for a while too 8)

    2. Nathan said on April 5, 2010 at 3:54 am

      Whilst I doubt native support for these programs will be included, WINE has come a fair ways and allows you to run such programs pretty much transparently.

  7. CHANGE_ICONS said on March 24, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I like how theyre changing everything around… THIS is what makes an OS different from another.. Yes it took a bit of an OSX direction but its good that theyre CHANGING in some way.. They should try to integrate things betteryly like in Windows 7


    1. John said on May 19, 2010 at 10:38 pm

      Stop worrying about he default look and feel. If you don’t like the default, change it. It’s not like windows or os x where what you see is what you are stuck with without third party help.

  8. v3rs3rk said on March 19, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Hope all those talks about 10-second boot are not just ad trick.
    I was utterly disappointed when my pc (that was perfectly speedy with Intrepid) turned into a 2-minute-booter :'( after upgrading to Karmic.

  9. Mo said on March 16, 2010 at 5:38 am

    I remember when I was a kid and I wanted to go somehwere I would not go to sleep that night. Now, I have the same feelings and these feelings until April. It is a long time wait.

  10. wonea said on March 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    10 second boot time? Yeah, great. That’s a nice improvement although personally I’d rather see application focus. I know it’s an operating system, but it’s all about the apps when it comes down to it.

    I’d like to see, stuff like what happens into the media centre when I dump 20,000 flac files into it? Can I drop a gimp image straight into Dia then rotate it? Does Open Office clip images yet? Can I colour my folders? PDF editing software? I dunno, just stuff I’m gonna do everyday. Using Ubuntu to write a book. How good is it? Be nice to see some reviews coming from a totally different angle, about I want todo something, rather than this is what it provides. Okay, network setup, print setup are obivous ones, but I’d like to see new benchmarks. Just a little rant, enjoyed the article. :-)

  11. Graeme said on March 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    That screen-saver log-in bug has been ongoing for at least the last couple of releases. I have it just now on Karmic although it wasn’t there when I initially installed. No idea what triggers it, but I also had it on Jaunty, Intrepid and Hardy. One way to get around it without a hard-reboot is to select ‘switch-user’ and then log back in as yourself. Your session is preserved.


    Ubuntu One is indeed cool, but was introduced in Karmic. Its not new for Lucid.

  12. Hannah said on March 11, 2010 at 6:12 am

    “I have also noticed if you have your screen set to lock upon starting of the screensaver, you will wind up having to do a hard shutdown. When you try to enter your password to unlock the screen the spinner just keeps spinning away – but no unlock action occurs.”

    If you click “Switch User”>”Your Name” and then sign in again, you don’t have shut down.

  13. Bender said on March 11, 2010 at 3:53 am

    I keep watching, and waiting till I can use my IPod touch or IPhone with a distribution of Linux.

  14. GreyGeek said on March 2, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    About a week ago I replaced Kubuntu Karmic, which I loved, with Kubuntu Lucid. Even though it is alpha, and plasmas crash and restore themselves occasionally, EVERYTHING I have tried works.

    In Karmic the Stellarium app menus were garbled. That video based problem (i915 video driver) has been cleaned up. While Lucid “looks” similar to Karmic, it runs both faster and smoother than Karmic. Removable media is added and removed like liquid Silver. The system tray, and its configuration, is more functional and controllable. The Knetworkmanager has REALLY improved, so much that I have replaced wicd with it. For those wireless chips it recognizes, connecting is just a matter of two clicks and a password. One click to open the wifi points, one click to select a wifi point, and a dialog for the password. All the other details are detected and configured automatically. Notification icon problems and actions appear to be solved.

    Lucid may have problems detecting and configuring wifi for boxes older than 5 years, but wireless.kernel.org supplies the necessary answers. The 2.6.32- kernel has some problems with older sound chips, too. ICH5 is detected and Kmix allows you to make setting changes, but no sound appears. Seems it is a kernel problem for those older sound chips, but that’s not Kubuntu’s fault.

    From the way it is shaping up I’ll be staying with KDE 4.4 and Kubuntu for the foreseeable future. It is an LTS, after all.

  15. CJ said on March 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I’ve been using it for about a month now since I can’t get Jaunty to work with the Intel graphics on my new laptop. All I can say is that it runs wonderfully. I haven’t had any major issues with it and it’s shaping up to be a pretty good release.

  16. mc said on March 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Sounds good. Will get its special place as a client in my upcoming virtualbox hosted on my new Macbook. expected next week.

  17. MasterNetra said on March 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Your not going to see the visual improvements until the Beta’s.
    No, it hasn’t.

    1. haydoni said on March 3, 2010 at 12:20 am

      @MasterNetra I’m pretty sure @brownknight is right: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2010/02/ubuntu-lucid-aero-style-gtk-posponed-to.html

      If not, please give us a reference :) thanks

  18. haydoni said on March 1, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    That screensaver password business doesn’t happen to me…
    The crash report sent upon installing software is just that – a report. It doesn’t seem to affect play.

    A cool thing you missed out is Ubuntu One: this allows files which you drag and drop into the /home/Ubuntu\ One folder to be automatically updated/uploaded into the cloud (provided you have a registered account set-up). Now that: is very cool.

    It’s a shame about the RGBA thing but I think that more user oriented things which are taking priority (many of which you mentioned)… the next hurdle is top end games! But with steam employing Linux experts (as well as some new game engines which work for Linux and Windows), I suspect we’ll see some real change by the year’s end.

  19. aaron said on February 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    i am waiting for it as well with microsoft crying about people stealing windows 7 i think the later part in may i will be getting my hands on ubuntu and hopefully its good enough to install on my system. the reason i stopped using ubuntu 9.10 or past versions it doesnt allow me to change some of the windows size on my smaller screen. yes i am running a full desktop version on my netbook i hate the netbook version and i dont enjoy how it is setup id rather hide my bars on the top and bottom of the screen and go that way then have a very limited netbook edition…

  20. brownknight said on February 28, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I have read a while back that the RGBA support has been posposed to the next release after Lucid. Lucid is an LTS so RBGA is too green to be included in this release.

  21. Jack said on February 28, 2010 at 12:01 am

    I’m looking forward to this release. I’m not a Linux fanboi, but – in conjunction with my Windows partition – I find Ubuntu increasingly useful for a whole range of tasks. I’m not ready to go 100% Linux (don’t know enough), but I can see the time coming when that might well happen as I get more and more disillusioned with MS.

    I didn’t much care for Ubuntu 9.10, and quickly reverted to 9.04. Many people seem to view the spring editions as ‘in between’ versions. But I have to say I’m more and more coming to view them (to use MS parlance) as the Main Editions plus Service Pack. Hopefully this will be the case with Ubuntu 10.04.

  22. Paul said on February 27, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    My gut feeling is Lucid Lynx will be hugely popular.

    I’m eagerly waiting for it.

  23. AmblestonDack said on February 27, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Erm… Just one thing, isn’t it supposed to be 10.04 and not 10.4?

    Rhythm box will have the music store, powered by 7digital (if all the rumours are true). As for the new look, its Alpha 3, and the interface freeze hasn’t happened yet. Give it time :)

    Other than that, your conclusions are the same as mine, in that (hopefully) we’ll have a good LTS release.

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