Okay, so shoot me. I know I said I wouldn’t upgrade to the new Xubuntu again until it was well out of release, at least 12.04.1, if not until Lucid reaches end-of-life.
But everything I’ve read about Xubuntu 12.04 since it’s release has been positive, and my inner geek refused to wait. At least I gave it a thorough test-drive before giving in to the powerful urge to install it.
I’m delighted and surprised by a few things:
1. Ordinarily the sound never worked in Xubu until I purged PulseAudio and defaulted entirely to ALSA mixer. This time, sound works perfectly out of the box!
2. Seamonkey has been in the Ubuntu repositories since forever ago. Surprisingly now it’s not there at all. I always am a little fearful about adding PPAs to any distro, but adding the Ubuntuzilla PPA and getting the latest edition of my favorite browser/Email client was a breeze, done effortlessly, downloaded and installed in seconds. Perhaps it will find it’s way into the repositories soon anyway.
3. Abiword is a little buggy this time around, but at this stage in any new release, minor bugs are “normal” and I can live with the little ones. No showstoppers in Abiword so far, and it does just about everything LibreOffice Writer does – only with less of the unnecessarily geeky interfacing. And guess what? If I completely lose my fear of PPAs, the newest version of Xfce, my favorite Linux desktop environment, is available for Xubu (Lucid through Precise) through an Xfce PPA. Abiword is an Xfce project, as is the sleek, ultralight, yet surprisingly well-featured web browser Midori. For private browsing and other little features not available in Seamonkey, Midori offers a speedy, ultralight alternative to Firefox, Opera, and even Chrome.
Xubuntu is a truly community-developed Linux distro. It’s not “just Ubuntu with Xfce tied on.” Users who participate in the mailing list and the Launchpad team actually get to make suggestions and even vote on stuff. A much more direct link to the developers than is possible with Xubu’s older siblings, Ubu and Kubu. This Xfce mixture is every bit as configurable as the old Gnome desktop (including editable menus now!), and certainly more configurable than the tablet-like Unity interface. Funny thing is, I might really like Unity if it wasn’t such a resource hog on this old hand-me-down Dell.
My Linux mentor would have described it this way: Bestest, most wonderfulest Linux distro in the history of ever.