"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds

Ubuntu 5.10

Thursday 27th October 2005

Categories: Reviews, GNU/Linux, FLOSS


At this point, I'm trying to find something nasty to say about Ubuntu, and I'm really struggling. After the installation, during which there were only minor niggles, everything seems to be working perfectly well. I haven't experienced a crash yet, although I've hardly used enough packages for long enough to state confidently that Ubuntu is as solid as a rock. Naturally, it isn't perfect - for example, you'd struggle to get most games to run on Ubuntu without the use of another application, but there is only so much that the Ubuntu team can do.

Essentially, this release of Ubuntu is the most polished and well rounded yet. It is stable, and the installation is effortless, although it is somewhat mystifying as to why one of the Ubuntu's greatest strengths, the wide range of packages within the Universe repository, isn't advertised more. In spite of this, the three graphical interfaces to Apt make installing and updating packages a breeze, allowing even the most inexperienced user to maintain Ubuntu without problems. Just be careful what you do with those root privileges!


After writing this review, I've had quite a few comments - those that have chosen to make theirs public can be seen on the Comments page. Most were positive, but there was an interesting point that was repeated several times, and I'm glad that people have taken the time to write a reply. Many stated that the way the root privileges are handled by Ubuntu 5.10 was incorrectly stated by me. While I still stand by what I say, I probably didn't make myself as clear as I would have liked.

First of all, the first user does not have the root privileges all the time - this only comes into effect through the use of sudo. This can be used in a terminal, or when using certain programs, such as Synaptic. Each time, you are prompted for your password. I will admit that I have overstated the effect of this... in retrospect, it probably isn't a huge security risk.

However, I do believe that while it is more secure than running as the actual root user, it is still less secure than the first user not having any extra privileges i.e. being able to use sudo. For example, should the first user's password become compromised, for whatever reason, then the potential damage is greater than if the first user did not have the ability to use sudo.

With regards to the comment on the Universe repository, I still believe that it could be mentioned. It is a perfectly sensible decision not to enable it; however, I believe that there would be nothing wrong with telling people of its existance provided that it is clearly stated that it is in no way supported.

I hope that clears up the article, and apologise for the misunderstanding. If you have still have any comments to make, they are more than welcome! And a final thanks to all that have already taken the time to read the review, and reply.