Is Ubuntu getting any better?

Here’s the same Ubuntu Forums experience polls charts as in Ubuntu release quality, but I’ll keep this one up-to-date with each release:

These charts lump together upgrades and clean installs, since the ratios are similar for both, and it shows more clearly the overall trend.

Feisty (1,387)
47% 23% 30%
Gutsy (5,479)
22% 44% 34%
Hardy (4,296)
23% 46% 31%
Intrepid (1,962)
21% 35% 44%
Jaunty (2,025)
30% 37% 33%
Karmic (4,326)
31% 33% 36%
Lucid (2,608)
27% 34% 39%
Maverick (604)
41% 29% 30%
  • The green bar is for the percent of users who found the release “worked flawlessly”.
  • Yellow is for “few things to fix, nothing serious though”.
  • Red is for “many problems that I’ve not been able to solve”.

There are some small changes between releases, but overall they aren’t terribly different. Considering there are millions of Ubuntu users, there are a huge number of people who have major problems with every single release. I’d like to see that red bar get drastically shorter with each release, but it doesn’t seem to be one of Canonical’s priorities…

Jaunty fresh install notes

Similar to the Intrepid fresh install notes, I kept notes while installing Jaunty from the CD on my Dell Inspiron 8600, trying to see it the way a complete newcomer would.

  • Again, the language selection screen is ugly.
    • language-selection
  • Again, you have to reboot after checking the CD for errors.
  • Currently it says “Press F4 to select alternative start-up and installation modes“, but it should explicitly say “Press F1 for help.”, first, for ultimate newcomers.
    • press-f4
  • After pressing F1, Help page should describe basics at top, for ultimate newcomers.  “Use arrow keys to move, press Enter to select etc”. Right now it just looks like this:
    •  HELP INDEX 
       KEY    TOPIC 
      <F1>   This page, the help index.
      <F2>   Prerequisites for running Ubuntu.
      <F3>   Boot methods for special ways of using this CD-ROM.
      <F4>   Additional boot methods; rescuing a broken system.
      <F5>   Special boot parameters, overview.
      <F6>   Special boot parameters for special machines.
      <F7>   Special boot parameters for selected disk controllers.
      <F8>   Special boot parameters for the bootstrap system.
      <F9>   How to get help.
      <F10>  Copyrights and warranties.
    • help-screen
  • Release note complaints still apply.
    • It should show a rich text box with scroll bars that contains the most recent release notes, and offer to download the rest if you have a connection. If there is a connection, download the latest rich text release notes and display them automatically.  If not, display the ones packaged with the CD, and a note saying they are out of date.
    • “If you have Internet access, read the release notes for information on problems that may affect you.”    (Bug 254639)
    • release-notes
    • Why in the world does it open up Firefox when it could just display the release notes in a rich text box in the installer itself?  There’s plenty of room.
    • release-notes-error
    • Should be able to prompt for a wireless key
  • It says “Select your time zone from the map”, but you’re really selecting location, not just time zone.  Does this affect language, keyboard layout, weather, units, or other local properties?  If not, it probably should.  (Bug 380171)
    • select-time-zone
  • Partitioner is the worst part:
    • “Install them side by side” needs wording improvement.  What is “them”?
    • It’s good that it warns “This will delete x and install y
    • Don’t show a drop-down box for disk selection if there is only one disk  (Bug 380175)
      • Use a list (with dynamic scrollbar if needed) instead so they can see and understand instantly that they have multiple choices; plenty of screen real estate for this
    • If you have multiple disks, it only shows a color bar for one disk at a time.  This drop-down selector is for that, too?  If so, shouldn’t it be at the top, instead of inside an option so that it looks like it only applies to that option?
    • If there is a big empty space on a drive, default to that. If the disk is full of partitions, but one is Linux format and completely empty, default to that.
      • This isn’t just a matter of what option comes up as default, it’s also a matter of the slider not stopping at partition boundaries.
      • So if you try to use an empty space, you’ll end up resizing an existing partition because the graphical slider mechanism only gives you so much accuracy.
      • It should just default to the boundaries of the empty space if possible, and the slider should stop at partition boundaries.
      • “Use the largest continuous free space” doesn’t even work.
    • If there are human-readable descriptions of disks and partitions, show those first.  Showing /dev/whatever should be parenthetical.
    • Why does it show a brown bar if I select manual install?  What is brown supposed to signify?
    • Slider behaves super oddly, moving all above partitions at once as I slide it.
    • This partitioner scares me, so i canceled it and modified the partitions in GParted first, then went back into the installer and used manual mode to mount the partition I wanted as root.
      • I’d like to see Canonical take a survey about the partitioner.  Does anyone actually use it?  Do most just use manual mode?  Does it really only work on drives that have Windows and nothing else on them?
    • Ask if I want to shrink another partition?
    • Partitions are not obvious.  Brown and a different shade of brown right next to each other.
    • Should show used and free space for each partition.  This helps in identifying them, helps in seeing how much space there is to work with when resizing them.
    • Should have same functions as GParted, basically (Idea 19218)
  • “What is the name of this computer?” prompt:  Are there any recommendations on what this should be?  Should it be all lowercase or less than a certain length for compatibility?  If so, it should say so.
  • In step 6, it says “Migrate documents and settings”, which presumably copies settings from existing partitions?  It didn’t recognize my Windows partition or my Ubuntu partition for migration.  It should do both.
  • It should show the password strength meter when entering the main user’s password for the first time. (Bug 155308)  Apparently it does show a “weak password” dialog if you type less than 8 characters, though.
  • The boot noise infuriates me.  I’ve heard it so many times now, and there’s no way to shut it off.  If you boot to the LiveCD, there’s going to be an extremely loud drum sound on startup, and you can’t do anything about it.  The volume buttons don’t kick in until after the sound has played.  I tried to leave the room whenever I knew it was going to happen, or cover the laptop with pillows.  (Bug 114160)
  • After finishing the installation, my computer would no longer boot.  Bad Ubuntu.  It should warn the user before installing in a location that’s not accessible by the BIOS.  I had to create a separate boot partition to get it to work.  (Bug 379348)