Ubuntu Day 8.04

Today marks the release of Ubuntu 8.04, code named “Hardy Heron”. This is the day that occurs twice a year to celebrate the culmination of 6 months of hard work from the folks at Ubuntu, Gnome, Linux Kernel, and the thousands of other free software organizations who’s work is combined to make Ubuntu possible. I have been using the beta version of Ubuntu 8.04 for about a month now, and I can honestly say that I’m really loving it. I’ve got it made, since my ThinkPad contains only free hardware. My graphics card is the fantastic on-board Intel X3100, for which Intel has wisely released all the specifications. This means that Intel graphics work better than almost any other graphics card on Linux. This is especially true compared to nVidia and ATI cards, which many people have. ATI and nVidia do not give good support to the Linux community. This means that Linux users are stuck using their buggy drivers or open-source ones that have been reverse-engineered and are not full-featured. I have an nVidia 6600GT on my desktop, so I will see how things are working on it in a day or two. All-in-all, I think this is a great release from Ubuntu. I can’t help but stand back and marvel at what can be accomplished in the free software community.

In honor of Ubuntu Day, I will be turning my laptop into a make-shift freedom toaster. I’ll be burning and handing out copies of my favorite operating system to anyone who wants to have a look. Try that one with MS Windows or Mac OS! Want to try it out yourself? Go download a copy for free or get a free copy in the mail! If downloads are going too slowly, you can always use BitTorrent (see the list half-way down the page).

Upgrades

Lots of upgrades for me over the past 24 hours. The most relevant one is that WordPress 2.5 was officially released today, so my blog is now running on 2.5. What does this mean? Well not a whole lot for you readers unfortunately, given that the big changes occurred on the back-end (where I write my posts from). Two things you may notice are the introduction of galleries and Gravatars. I’ll try posting a bunch of photos in a gallery later.

Gravatars are “Globally Recognized Avatars”. To use them, you need to sign up for an account with Gravatar.com. Once you do that, you will need to upload an image that you’d like to use as your avatar (you can trim the image down after you upload it). Your image will be linked to your email address. A lot of websites (like this one), forums and other online services use email addresses to identify you. If they use Gravatars on their site, they’ll be able to display your image just by using your email address. Want to see it in action? Check the comments. A nice feature of Gravatar is that you can manage multiple email addresses and pictures all from 1 account, so there’s no worries if you get a new email address. Plus, if you ever want to change your picture, it gets instantly changed all over the web. Gravatars can also be integrated into email clients and more. Expect this service to take off considerably over the next few months.

The next upgrade probably won’t concern anyone, but I realized that my fonts on the new website weren’t displaying correctly on all browsers. Apparently I’ve been doing font sizes in CSS wrong for a long time. You should use pixels instead of points unless you’re designing something for print. So I changed a bunch of stuff, but hopefully for most people you won’t even notice a difference.

Finally, my big upgrade was installing Ubuntu Hardy Heron (beta) on my new Thinkpad T61 last night. Everything seems to be running super-smoothly so far; I’m really liking it. The “official” release is not scheduled to come out until April 24th, but considering how much I like Ubuntu, I thought it would be good for me to test it out and report any bugs I can find. Yeah right. This was just my excuse to install it a month early 🙂