Updated: June 2, 2014
Hello, children of the Internet. Today, we will do yet another and possibly final test of Ubuntu 14.04, on yet another laptop, to make sure that we fully cover the whole spectrum of options. In this third review, we will focus on the SSD storage mostly.Now, we will not be repeating everything we have seen before. Most of the stuff covered in the first two articles remains 100% valid, so we will discuss chiefly the differences between the platforms. Performance, installation, things like that. Let us begin.
The first review gave you a unique perspective on Ubuntu 14.04, installed alongside Windows 8.1 on an ASUS laptop, which came preinstalled, GPT partitions, plus secure boot in UEFI. And we're talking Dedoimedo testing, so it kicks ass. A full dual-boot tutorial is available, if you need all the gritty details.
In the second, we tested on an older laptop, but it has Nvidia graphics, which has given us some trouble in the past. Hence, there's a lot of importance to this article, too. And today, we will use our four-boot T61 machine, with its two SSD and Intel graphics. This should definitely be interesting.
No worries. Ubuntu 14.04 booted just fine. All the usual things worked straight out of the box, so there was no need for frustration or cursing. Namely, Wireless, both in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz range, Bluetooth, and of course Samba sharing. SAMBA!
Speaking of Samba, it seems that the Ubuntu team has finally pimped up the network stack, because I managed to get rather impressive results while copying data. Normally, due to interference, range and signal strength, but also the implementation of the protocol in different distributions, my Samba copy speed varied between 1-4 MB/sec. CentOS and Windows were in the lead, followed by all the rest. Now, Ubuntu shows new promise, with almost 7 MB/sec at 6 m distance and a fairly noisy Wi-Fi neighborhood. Very nice.
As far as the installation goes, I displaced Netrunner Rolling from the quad-boot setup and installed Trusty in its place. There were no problems or outstanding issues of any kind, and the installation was rather quick, about 15 minutes. Now, if you want more details, please consult my full installation guide.
So far so good. The usual stuff works. The web cam detection was just fine, SD cards worked just fine, and the multimedia stack is just fine, and this also includes 720p HD and full HD videos encoded with H.264 and ADPCM.
The Dash is a little more accurate and relevant than it used to be when it comes to online suggestions. It still has a lot to go before it can become a powerful information engine, but it's making steps in the right direction. I also liked, much like Xubuntu, that updates are automatically downloaded, and you're asked whether you want to install them. Sleek and fast. Really neat.
There were no weird bugs, errors or crashes. Silky smooth. Furthermore, Trusty comes with the fastest resume from sleep that I have encountered yet, less than one second on this particular model. The system is also quite fast and snappy. The CPU could be a little quieter, the memory usage a tad slimmer, but it's still rather good.
There's one thing that Trusty does less well than its predecessors. On this same hardware, the Pangolin family range did its boot sequence in about 12 seconds, except Xubuntu, which rocked at only about 8 seconds. Now, 14.04 does it in about 13 seconds consistently across the range, with the biggest penalty for Xubuntu, as we've seen in the recent review, although I do have to admit it was different hardware, T400 versus T61. It's not bad at all, and let's not forget, these are old machines, but it can be better.
Samba printing was fine, but you need to choose the right plugin.
Well, it's more or less the same. Gauging the battery life can be tricky, because battery cells tend to deteriorate. Overall, on idle, T61's energy pack is good for about two hours of use, which is more or less comparable to most other distributions. Nothing stellar, but there's no big penalty either. Average.
Remember the bug where the Writer would not have its window controls available. Well, the problem has seen been fixed, so I can also report another little issue going away.
Just a silly wallpaper really:
Three laptops, thrice success. Really nice. Phenomenal, 100% hardware detection. But even if we narrow down our review to just this one specific model, Trusty Tahr delivers a pretty decent experience. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS seems to be a very good, very smart, well rounded choice for most uses and most users.
There were no outstanding bugs and problems. Some of the old issues have been resolved, some of the tiny niggles still remain around, and improvements can always be done. In all fairness, it's getting nigh perfect. I am not sure if I can really grant the full 10/10 score, because there are some small flaws here and there. Still, five years of free support, outstanding hardware compatibility, great usage model, after the installation that is, simplicity and accessibility of software, well, this one is going to be very hard to beat. Well done. Honestly. And so, if grade we must, then let's go for a very decent 9.999/10. There.